Paramilitary attacks in Primero de Enero


To the National and International Press.
To Public Opinion.

Brothers and Sisters:

From the seat of our Primero de Enero Autonomous Municipality, we are denouncing the following:

As we already denounced on April 4, we now would like to inform you as to what happened today, April 5, at 4 in the morning.

The ORCAO people have a paramilitary group, they are armed with high-powered weapons, and they stay some distance from our Autonomous Municipality.  They started the problem, they seized, tied up and imprisoned our compañeros.  We let the days go by, and we gave them enough time to come to a fair arrangement.  After 72 hours had passed, and no evidence had been presented against our compañeros, the Autonomous Municipality decided to set up a blockade against ORCAO, and we detained Señor Marcos Méndez Sánchez, of the community of Sibacá.  He is the local ORCAO leader, who coordinates with the other leaders of that organization:  Nicolás López Gómez, Juan Vázquez and José Pérez.  Marcos Méndez Sánchez is one of the intellectual authors of the arbitrary detentions of our compañeros and of the threats, provocations and attacks which have been taking place lately.  In exchange for taking actions against their indigenous brothers, they have become the board for regional indigenous funds.  He is fine, and we will send him to his house if our two imprisoned compañeros are released, because they have had them in jail in Sibacá for days now, and we know that they no longer have them there.  They have taken them to another unknown place, and we fear for their physical and emotional safety.  We demand that they release them.

The way in which ORCAO has been unfairly imprisoning our compañeros is not just:  that is not how problems are resolved, nor how they are fixed.  We object to our land being filled with cows, but they cannot blame us because of that for something we have not agreed to or done.  The cutting down of the fence posts and wire was an action which we know was taken by the ORCAO itself.  They say that it was so they would give them more money and more cows, and in order to make life impossible for those of us in resistance in the Autonomous Municipality.

We know that our compañeros are innocent, and we have to defend ourselves from the unjust and treacherous action of the ORCAO.  Our Autonomous Municipality has experience in solving problems, and it is done in a respectful manner, and not by imprisoning people for more than 72 hours when there has been no crime and no evidence.

The ORCAO is backed by the local and state governments.  It is looking for anything in order to have more money and more posts inside the government.  They have already forgotten the struggle for indigenous dignity, now they have become government supporters, ambitious for money and for power, and what is most reprehensible is that they have their paramilitary group against the Autonomous Municipalities, and they are being supported by soldiers and the police.

Our blockade and detention of Señor Marcos Méndez Sánchez will be maintained until the ORCAO people release our compañeros.

Sincerely,

Primero de Enero Autonomous Municipality

[seal]  

Leave a comment