A national summit of indigenous and campesino organizations is meeting at the Guambiano indigenous reserve of La Maria Piendamó, along the Pan-American Highway in Cauca, southern Colombia, and has just been attacked by the security forces. At least one death is reported. From the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), via Colombia Indymedia, May 16 (our translation):
Four helicopters have attacked the summit, launching tear gas. One person is dead, more than 50 injured, 36 persons under arrest and more than 10 disappeared following the assualt by the National Army, the [National] Police and the ESMAD [elite riot squad], against the indigenous, campesinos and Afro-descendants in La María Piendamó, vereda [hamlet] El Rosal-Mondomo, in Cauca.
The indigenous authorities report: “The army and the Police are shooting directly to the Indigenous Guard, registering the first death by bullet on the part of the military authorities; the indigenous respond only with their humble voice, demanding respect for their rights; we have only our bastones de mando [ceremonial staffs] of command and our words to defend our lives.”
While the name of the assassinated indigenous is still not known, the civil population is being “attacked with tear gas and bullets from four helicopters that fire indiscriminately, without regard to the presence of children, elderly and pregnant women.”
Confronted with the situation on the Pan-American Highwayw at Maria Piendamó, Cauca, the president of the ONIC, Luis Evelis Andrade Casama, said he rejects the utilization of the weapons of the State against defenseless peasants, indigenous and Afro-descendents.
We are issuing a call for accompaniment for the indigenous and campesinos, who are today holding the second day of the peaceful summit. These are some of the names of those wounded in the repression:
From Amnesty International, May 17:
Not a word about the violence in the next day’s New York Times, but this AP account ran in the Houston Chronicle. Note cynical claim that the FARC are behind the protesters:
Protest in Bogota
A protest occupaiton reported today at the offices of the Defensoria del Pueblo, Colombia’s official human rights ombudsman. From the anti-militarist group Red Juvenil (our translation):