2011-12-05

FARC harasses indigenous Colombians

About 40% of Colombian indigenous leaders have been threatened by the FARC, according to the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC). In this picture: Children of the Embera-Katío tribe.  (Courtesy of ONIC)

About 40% of Colombian indigenous leaders have been threatened by the FARC, according to the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC). In this picture: Children of the Embera-Katío tribe. (Courtesy of ONIC)

By Carlos Andrés Barahona for Infosurhoy.com—05/12/2011

BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Aureliano Socarreño, 79, and his grandson Julio, 14, two Indians from the Nasa West reservation in the central western region of Colombia, are the latest victims of violence by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

While they were walking along Planadas, in the department of Tolima, last Nov. 18, Socarreño stepped on a landmine buried by the FARC and was killed in the explosion.

Other members of the tribe rushed to help him, entering the landmine field. It was there that Socarreño’s grandson also succumbed to one of the explosive devices. A National Army soldier who was taking care of them also died, while two more Indians were hurt in the rescue attempt.

General Henry Torres, commander of the Fifth Division of the National Army, told local media that the FARC actions “are a clear violation of humanitarian international law by a drug trafficking group.”

The truth is that, besides placing bombs, kidnapping people and holding them for years, financing itself through narcotics trafficking and other illegal activities, and even abusing its own ranks, the FARC also relentlessly attacks the indigenous population of Colombia.

From 2002 to 2010, 1,500 indigenous have died at the hands of the terrorist organization, according to the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC).

“One thousand five hundred indigenous killed in eight years is a number that truly makes one think about the ignorance and barbarity the FARC use to deal with their issues,” said Gloria Amparo Rodríguez, specialist in indigenous legislation at the Universidad del Rosario.

Since 2004, 80,000 Indians have been displaced from their native lands because of FARC aggression, according to ONIC.

“Our indigenous people cannot walk freely on their land,” said Luis Evelis, an indigenous leader and ONIC representative. “The guerrilla force has them surrounded by landmine fields, or they murder their leaders to weaken the communities, sowing fear and forcing the [natives] to disperse. [The FARC want] control of strategic areas for their fight against authorities and to grow coca leaves.”

There are 1.3 million indigenous people in Colombia, or 3% of the population, according to the 2005 census.

In November, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) stated “the security of the indigenous Colombians is at risk, and UNHCR expresses its concern about the serious acts of violence faced by the indigenous communities of Embera-Katío, Embera-Dobida and Senú in Antioquia, and the Awá People in the department of Nariño.”

After the death of FARC leader Alfonso Cano, the Colombian Army was able to verify that the terrorist group routinely assassinated indigenous leaders of the Awá community in 2009, as captured in this communication found on one of the guerrilla leader’s computers: “The Mariscal Sucre column executed eight indigenous bandits, snitchers rejected by the community, captured when they were exploring for the Army.”

According to ONIC, 40% of Colombian indigenous leaders have been threatened by the FARC.

The departments of Antioquia, Nariño and Cauca live in a precarious situation with regard to the aggression against and murder of indigenous, Colombian daily El Espectador reported.

During the first six months of 2011, 19 indigenous were murdered in Antioquia, while the Embera communities of Nariño have already been declared by ONIC as being in danger of extinction.

“The different armed players cannot continue killing us,” said Evelis to local media after the FARC murdered Fabio Domicó Domicó, leader of the Embera community last November in western Antioquia. “The Colombian state and government must immediately implement actions to preserve the lives of our leaders and the survival of our communities.”

For Cecilo Medina, political scientist at the Universidad Javeriana, the FARC’s intentions in murdering indigenous leaders and displacing communities are clear.

“Historically, indigenous Colombians have been neutral with regard to the conflict,” he said. Nevertheless, the FARC seeks control of their lands to “turn them into bases for cocaine trafficking.” What better way to accomplish this than to kill the community leaders and force the rest of the population to disperse."

Medina added the FARC often accuses indigenous individuals of collaborating with authorities before executing them.

President Santos has made clear he will protect the indigenous of Colombia.

Upon assuming the presidency last year, he said, “The Colombian government is committed to protecting our indigenous communities. We are committed to protecting their sacred lands, their environment, and we respect their neutrality with regard to the conflict, but we will not allow [the FARC] to continue running over our indigenous people and their leaders. Each indigenous community is part of a great joint security strategy the government is implementing to keep peace in the country and put an end to the FARC.”

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28 Comments

  • jesus urueña | 2012-05-29

    But the saddest thing is the government can't keep its pants up and just lets everything happen what else awaits us with such weak government authorities with our Senators who just make laws to defend themselves from all the twisted things they do and know that we ourselves are to blame for not knowing how to elect friends now what president will we elect that is why it is so sad

  • yimmi | 2012-02-20

    For God's sake what do the indians have to do with the drug traffickers absolutely nothing for God's sake the authorities have to do something since our only ancestors on this planet are about to disappear our indians use their help let's go Colombia let's go in the fight against the FARC

  • hector zapata | 2012-02-16

    It is the sad reality for the Colombian people faced with a situation that got out of hand because of the military forces and many governments themselves who orchestrated these merciless massacres against the civilian and indigenous population in every region

  • cunny | 2012-02-14

    I thought this was the case, and the press says it every day. There is an armed conflict and there are millions of Colombians who have been forced to leave their indigenous and rural lands.

  • valentin | 2012-02-13

    With such difficultly the citizens of our brother country Colombia live, one knows that the governments themselves are as guilty as those terrorists, murderers, degenerates, traitors... and what is sad is that the government isn't interested in putting an end to what they themselves promoted, it is now out of their hands, it's too bad..

  • cesar quelal | 2012-02-13

    The FARC are no more than murderous terrorists and kidnappers who are after no political objective to benefit the most disadvantaged their only objective is to profit by means of extortion and drug trafficking.

  • German Leon | 2012-02-13

    THIS IS SOMETHING THAT IS UNDER THE GOVERNMENT'S PURVIEW BUT ALSO THAT OF ALL THE CIVILIZED WORLD, THROUGH WHICH WE ARE INFORMED OF THE DIFFERENT TRIBES, WHO FILLED IN A NOT-TOO-DISTANT PAST THESE PRODIGIOUS LANDS, WHICH ARE RICH IN IRON MATERIAL AND GOLD WEALTH OF EVERY KIND. TODAY MODERN ANTHROPOLOGISTS ARE MORE FOCUSED ON FINDING THE ORIGEN OF THE GUERRILLA STRUGGLES, THAN OF THE BEGINNING OF INDIGENOUS LIFE ON THIS LAND, THEREFORE THESE TRIBES ARE ALWAYS THE WORST OFF, IN THE FIGHT FOR EQUALITY, ON EVERY LEVEL OF INSTITUTIONAL ORDER. WE SHOULD FOCUS OUR EFFORTS MORE ON OVERCOMING THE ARMED CONFLICTS, TO GIVE THESE INDIANS A SPACE ON THEIR LANDS, WHICH ARE THERE ONLY HOPE IN THIS WORLD!!!!!!.

  • fabian | 2012-02-12

    It's sad that intelligent Colombians like us let ourselves believe the lies the oligarchs tell to serve their own purposes and confuse the people, and then after they wave the flag, they continue to do whatever they want together with mercenaries and derivatives of themselves to hide their corrupt and shadowy hand.

  • miguel arcangel ARELLANO VILLACIS | 2012-02-11

    HOW CAN IT BE THAT IN THE 21st CENTURY THESE KINDS OF SITUATIONS OCCUR IN COLOMBIA. WE WANT GENUINE PEACE IN LATIN AMERICA, ALL THE GOVERNMENTS IN THE REGION HAVE TO MUTUALLY AGREE TO FIND A DEFINITIVE WAY OUT OF THIS UNREST FROM WHICH NONE OF US IS EXEMPT, BECAUSE IT HINDERS THE FORMATION OF THE GREAT UNION TO WHICH BOLIVAR AND OUR FOUNDING FATHERS ASPIRED. SAY NO TO ARMED SOLUTIONS AND YES TO SOLUTIONS WHERE COMMITTED DIALOGUE REIGNS FOR REGIONAL WELL-BEING, WHICH WILL ALLOW FOR TRUE PROGRESS AND THE MEANINGFUL CHANGES THAT WE ALL URGENTLY NEED.

  • david | 2012-02-11

    The naivete and blind minds of some Colombians are incredible, when they don't realize who is really committing genocide and selling out our country.

  • HECTOR | 2012-02-11

    IT IS HARD TO BELIEVE THAT AFTER COLOMBIAN CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE ARMY MURDERED INDIANS, IN WHAT WAS KNOWN AS GUAJIBIANDO, AFTER WE SAW THE COLOMBIAN ARMY AND THE AUC ASSASSINATE OR MASSACRE PEOPLE THOUSANDS OF TIMES DRESSED UP AS GUERRILLAS TO BLAME THE FARC, THAT IS THE SO-CALLED FALSE POSITIVES THAT ARE STILL GOING ON, YOU COME UP WITH THIS UNUSUAL NEWS. COULD IT BE ANOTHER FALSE POSITIVE???? TO ASK FOR MORE MONEY FOR PLAN COLOMBIA!!!! THEY HAVE MORE THAN ENOUGH REASONS.

  • Alvaro Arango Rodriguez | 2012-02-10

    The only way to put an end to this pack of criminals is to using military intelligence and fill the crooks with lead, without a second thought, like they do to the defenseless population. No more dialogues with those filthy, motherless criminals. Proceed, Mr. President- you have the every Colombian's support. We can't have a few imposing their will on us. To hell with all of them.

  • krhist | 2012-02-09

    Yes it's truly sad how everyone who has opinion is complaining, but those same persons stick to politics as usual for their personal interests and talk about a movement party, etc... but none of this benefits the actual population, here those who are primarily responsible are the same Families who have run our country selling it to their supposed friends who want to centralize power, control information and generate chaos to keep the people brainwashed... NO LEFT, NO RIGHT THEY'RE JUST A SYSTEM TO CONTROL US! WAKE UP!!!

  • julian eduardo | 2012-02-08

    It is very sad to see the cruelty of the FARC, planting land mines against innocent and defenseless people like the Indians and rural population, who have nothing to do with the war

  • julio betancurth | 2012-02-08

    President Santos needs to have an iron fist because we see the damage done to indians and peasants who have no protection due to these FARC and ELN assassins and another such bad actors.

  • alfredo urarte | 2012-02-06

    As a Colombian it hurts to see this reality and have others not believe it. So much indifference hurts, and the fact that these terrorists find out how easy it is to deceive everyone else, to have them laugh in their faces, how the indigenous peoples and peasants must hurt... let us hope that good people become aware of this.

  • freddy | 2012-02-04

    If the Revolutionary Forces of Colombia didn't exist, would you ever think that the country could turn into an Earthly Paradise, full of submissive landlords, with an equitable distribution of wealth, where transnational companies would only have a role as impartial mediators. And the politicians and embezzlers in Colombia would assume their messianic mantle of dispensers of Truth and Justice. Well, you answer for yourself and stop being naive. Dogs don't wear leashes made of sausages anymore. (Nor did they ever).

  • BALERIO ENTZACO | 2012-02-04

    This can't happen. The government of Colombia has to stop this crime wave. Seeing those children in that situation is very sad; I stand with the first peoples; it is a human rights violation -- they are discounted because they are indigenous people. In Ecuador, we have something like reservations, but some people don't respect the reservations and they injure the Ecuadoran people, even though we give them support. I, as an indigenous person, support Nationality and hope that the Colombian government will intervene and help them to have a decent life. Please, racism and xenophobia in Latin America have to end. Let us move forward, friends, we are with you.......

  • G. Bolivar | 2012-02-04

    I don't know how far the government can go to arm indigenous peoples so that they can fight those soulless murderers. It's not possible that the only way to defend them is to put their lives in danger. Well, the followers of insane murderers like Nelson Silva might have a different opinion. It is so easy to talk big when you're comfortable and safe in the city, where people like Nelson couldn't for a second imagine a family being chased by a murderous horde hunting them down like prey. And for that matter, Teodora Bolivar and her Colombian men and women who support the FARC don't figure in. And since she's shouting from the mountaintops that she's defending Colombians, then why doesn't she defend the native peoples, who are more Colombian than any of us? We are imports, and have invaded the lands that belong to them. They have always suffered persecution and forced migration; now it's time to stop the violence against the owners of these lands. Ms. Teodora Bolivar, you, as the chief narcoterrorist, must order your narcoterrorist underlings to stop the persecution, the forced migrations, and the massacres of Native Americans by your murderous groups. Remember that for all your obsolete communism and alliances with Chavez, what you're doing is clearing a path toward the International Criminal Court, where sooner or later you will be tried for sponsoring these massacres. And then not even Chapulín Colorado can save you.

  • PEDRO | 2012-02-03

    THIS IS A HUGE FARCE, THE COLOMBIAN GOVERNMENT ITSELF HAS PROMOTED TAKING LANDS AWAY FROM FIRST PEOPLES. IF YOU TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED IN THE SIERRA NEVADA WHEN DURING URIBE'S ADMINISTRATION, 10,000 HECTARES OF LAND WERE SOLD 15,000 OF WHICH BELONGED TO INDIGENOUS TRIBES, AND IT WAS DONE BY FORCE BY AUC PARAMILITARY GROUPS. ALVARO URIBE PLEASE DEMOBILIZE, WE ARE TIRED OF SO MUCH PARAMILITARY ACTION IN COLOMBIA AND SO MUCH DRUG TRAFFICKING.

  • william tierras | 2012-02-03

    A good school project.

  • EDUARDO | 2012-02-01

    IT'S SOMEWHAT DIFFICULT TO BELIEVE THE GOVERNMENT MIGHT DO ANYTHING WITH REGARD TO THE FARC. SINCE THEY'VE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO CONTROL THEM, THERE ARE ALWAYS CERTAIN INTERESTS INVOLVED WITH OTHER COUNTRIES, TO KEEP THEM GOING, BECAUSE WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS IN THE REGION, THE FARC ARE THE SCAPEGOATS.

  • nelson silva | 2012-01-29

    This is the most vile lie, the one to have historically murdered not just indigenous peoples but also peasants, fishermen, union members, workers and social fighters among others is exclusively and only the Fascist government of Colombia by way of its official army and the parallel one who are none other than the paramilitaries led by the bully JORGE 40.

  • paola | 2012-01-25

    I hope President Santos does what he says about protecting the indigenous peoples.

  • cecilia martinez | 2012-01-21

    These are situations that the national and state governments are responsible for, to look after the safety of the citizens, especially the indigenous peoples, the territorial governments must form assemblies and create a base to guarantee security

  • Mauro Shakai | 2012-01-14

    Really this extremist group commits genocide against the indigenous people of Colombia, how can they kill innocents and what do the indigenous people have to do with it, my solidarity goes to the leaders. In South America's current politics, many speak of left and right, really they are blind. What does it mean to say that the left kill people let's not be hypocrites let us say what our true interest is, if you are an enemy to capitalism burn all the money in the world.

  • Miguel Angel Feijoo Serrano | 2012-01-09

    It makes me so sad to hear of the unpunished murders of poor Indigenous Colombians. I lived in Cali and I love Colombians very much (they treated me well) but these crimes have no pardon. How do the indigenous people defend themselves? To think that this president of Ecuador does not acknowledge that they are "drug trafficking guerrilla murderers". I congratulate you for providing this information. I write to you from Ecuador, El Oro province, Machala. I would like the friendship of a little Colombian lady, educated, sincere, pleasant, pretty, for a good friendship. Thank you. Regards.

  • luz mary g m | 2012-01-06

    It's sad to see how these people harass innocent beings and many say they do nothing wrong if they know the damage that these people cause my country they wouldn't support them so much truly they do too much damage and those who are always hurt the most are the poor peasants who have nothing to do with the armed conflict