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The main social and political groups gathered around the Agrarian, Peasant, Ethnic and Popular Summit of Colombia are expressing their concerns over the latest attacks against their organizations. The most recent attack took place on July 8, when 13 social activists were arrested and then sent to prison on July 28.
They were accused of being behind the explosions against financial institution Porvenir, in Bogota, and of being linked to an urban network of the left-wing guerrilla National Liberation Army (ELN), in addition of being the people responsible for the riots at the National University. For the latter, the judge ruled that “precautionary measures” should be imposed on the people arrested due to being considered “a danger for society”.
The Agrarian Summit launched the campaign “Breaking with Fear” aiming to send a message of strength for the social movement. Under the expression “To thinking differently not costing our lives and freedom” the campaign invites not to give in. This is why the Agrarian Summit is planning regional and national mobilization actions in the near future.
A day after the activists were arrested, the Peoples Congress held a press conference outside the building where the hearings were taking place in Bogota. There, they denounced the irregularities of what they call a “judicial false positive” in the process with reference to the claim filed against the judge for having met with a high-rank Police officer in her office minutes before the hearing of July 28.
Lawyer Gloria Silva, representative of feminist activist Paola Salgado, filed the complaint against the Judge. She is now considering the possibilities of filing this case to international bodies, in order to take measures in response to the serious irregularities.
In the interview with Real World Radio about the resolution of sending the people arrested to prison, the national spokesperson of the Peoples Congress, Alexandra Bermudez, said that “this was a decision made because of the political pressure exerted by the government” and she added “we keep saying that this is a political trial to continue persecuting, criminalizing and trying social movement organizations”. In addition, she demanded Juan Manuel Santos administration “to ensure the exercise of our work” which is “legitimate and legal” and is recognized by the government itself through a decree.
News agency Colombia Informa pointed out that in addition to the arrests against members of movements Peoples Congress and Marcha Patriótica we have to add the long history of discredit against indigenous organizations by TV channel Caracol. In response to this, they have planned strengthening and mobilization actions through a campaign launched on August 6 in the main cities of the country.
With this they aim at a better visibility at national and international level. In this way, the different Latin American social organizations gathered in the social movements network Alba de los Pueblos expressed their support. This has to be added to the international pressure by judicial spaces over the multiple irregularities in the processes against the activists of these social organizations.
Este jueves se cumple un año del asesinato de la dirigente lenca Berta Cáceres en Honduras, y los grupos de Amigos de la Tierra Internacional (ATI) se movilizarán en decenas de países a partir de hoy, en el marco de una Semana de Acción que tendrá como cierre el 8 de marzo, Día Internacional de la Mujer.
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