PRESS RELEASE: We repudiate the homicide of our friend cesar garcia a comrade, and a defender of the rights for life, water, and territory.

Fuente: Comité Ambiental en Defensa de la Vida.

Logo Comite Ambiental Defensa de la Vida 2013

PRESS RELEASE TO THE NATIONAL AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

WE REPUDIATE THE HOMICIDE OF OUR FRIEND CESAR GARCIA

A COMRADE, AND A DEFENDER OF THE RIGHTS FOR LIFE, WATER, AND TERRITORY,

 CESAR GARCIA was a hard working peasant, defendant of the territory, environmental leader, president of the Communal Action Board of the ‘Vereda Cajon la Leona’, a member of the Environmental and Peasant Committee of Cajamarca and the Network of Environmental and Peasant Committees of Tolima. He opposed the Anglogold Ashanti’s mega-mining project of LA COLOSA.

FACTS

CESAR GARCIA was killed today (November 2nd, 2013). Between 5 and 6 pm. He received a bullet to his head when he arrived to his farm, located in the “Vereda Cajon la Leona”, in the municipality of Cajamarca.

BACKGROUND

The men and women leaders of the Environmental and Peasant Committees have been pointed out and described as enemies of regional progress. They have been called guerrilla members. In the last few months diverse disturbing and violent facts have created anxiety in the region. For example, last week a car was blown-up in the Vereda Potosi.

  • On October 25th, Caracol Radio broadcasted the following statement:

“The group, formed by 6 people [workers of the Agustin Codazzi Geographic Institute (IGAC)] and the driver, were driving on the Potosi road when they were attacked with explosive artifacts that where fired from the mountain. Although, the authorities believe that the commission may have been mistaken as mining company staff, the board of the Institute (IGAC) does not reject the possibility that the attack was related with the Institute’s work to limit the Paramo area in the region”

  • On that same day, the Agustin Codazi Geographic Institute (IGAC) publicly said:

The initial information pointed that the IGAC commission was mistaken as Gold Fields Mining staff.  The Mining Company has been rejected by some people in the community.  “For that reason it is important to reiterate that the job of the IGAC is doing in the area is in no way related to the mining corporation previously mentioned. We are working on the delimitation of the protected area. We are creating technical documents that will be used by the authorities in charge to make decisions”, said the director of the IGAC.

 

  • On October 27th the Editorial page of  “El Espectador” made reference to the same facts:

 “On top of it all” was the title of the newspaper article where the author argued that it is not enough with opposing and rejecting these violent situations. There is a need to stop and think. More than an unexpected form of the intolerance that characterizes us, this could be an indicator of something that is not working. There could be something wrong with the way decisions that affect the environment and territory and life of local communities are taken. This could be the first symptoms, in our land, of one of the illnesses that affect the contemporary society: the violent manifestations of those who feel that social and environmental values are in danger due to economic growth, and that these values should be defended by actions.

  • During the days of the Agrarian Strike, several peasant and environmental leaders of Cajamarca and members of the Environmental and Peasant Committees were intimidated and the police forces are connected in these threats.
  • In February 22nd 2013, in the frame of the citizenship meeting organized by Cortolima, the director of communications of ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI –AGA, sent a text message to RAFAEL HERTZ (president of AGA-Colombia) indicating that: THEY HAVE IDENTIFIED, AMONG THE PUBLIC WHO WAS OPPOSING THE PROJECT, SEVERAL GUERRILLA MEMBERS THAT CAME FROM THE TOWN OF ANAIME.

CAJAMARCA and TOLIMA are becoming today territories for dispute between those who defend their right to decide the future of the region, the water, and the life, and those who are benefiting from violence and threating the security of the region. Those who kill, and intimidate the people who resist.

DUE TO THE SEVERITY OF THE FACTS

 WE UGENTLY DEMAND

 That through the System of Early Alerts the People’s Ombudsman documents and writes a report that evaluates the risk in which men and women who are leading the Environmental Committee of Cajamarca are immersed.

That the Minister of Interior – Protection unity – coordinates with the People’s Ombudsman to generate protecting measures that prevent future killings and enforced disappearance of these leaders.

That the Nation Prosecutor, the National Human Rights Office and the International Human Right Office start investigations to clarify who killed CESAR GARCIA and why was he assassinated. This investigation should start immediately.

That the Tolima Government exercises its regional authority and demands an effective and transparent investigation that clarifies all the facts that surrounded CESAR GARCIA’s assassination. Perpetrators and intellectual authors should be judged. Also, people who possibly benefit from this crime should be investigated as possible perpetrators.

That the national and the international community join us in distributing and disseminating this press release, and write letters to the national government of Colombia requesting that the government acts to protect the life, integrity and security of all the men and women leaders of the committees. Also, please request the total closing of the mining activity in the area.

That all citizens of Tolima, the region and the country of Colombia be present in all the events that advocate to clarify the assassination of CESAR GARCIA so it does not remain in impunity.

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