12 January 2005: From The Organizacion Femenina Popular
VOICES OF WOMEN
We feel like blasting the war into a thousand pieces!
We denounce the discovery of a recent plan to assassinate our Director, Yolanda Becerra Vega, and persecution of her in both public and private spaces.
On 24 December 2004, while Yolanda Becerra was engaged in making public declarations on television about an assassination that occurred in Barrancabermeja, a paramilitary watching the news in a public place affirmed that “that bitch is lucky; she survived the accident and has escaped my hands. Along with a fellow partner, I was responsible for following her for a month, and when the time came to draw that assignment to a close, I had her right in front of me and had the opportunity to kill her without the internationals being present. I prepared to act; my partner got frightened and started to argue that I should not do it, that the order wasn’t precise, and at that point the bitch got in the car and left. Now I regret not taking action -- that bitch is a problem that we could have eliminated and nothing would have happened.”
The pressure of persecution has been felt on subsequent occasions.
We denounce the persecution and threats aimed at our colleagues: Gloria Amparo Suarez, who has received intimidating calls both at home and at her office in Barrancabermeja, and our coordinators in the municipalities of Cantagallo and San Pablo in the south of Bolivar.
We denounce the recent threats and harassment aimed at the Organizacion Femenina Popular and towards our campaigns and symbols.
(See attached document regarding the events of 2004)
VIOLENCE IS NOT JUSTIFIABLE
The pursuit and persecution of these colleagues in their public and private spaces indicates that there is something wrong in Barrancabermeja and Magdalena Medio and that the civil, police and military authorities have the obligation to undertake an investigation and recover social and political control in this region and to guarantee, as well, the life of its citizens.
In their year-end reports and statistics, the authorities want to minimize or deny the crisis in Human Right, erasing it with official figures, as if 21 assassinations during the month of December 2004 were not serious, or that the hunger suffered by thousands throughout the year could be compensated by Christmas campaigns and gifts.
The communities in general observe these figures with astonishment and rage, almost always critically, asking themselves: To what country are they referring?
Today the Organizacion Femenina Popular reaffirms that we have the political and moral obligation to continue working towards the same goal we established 32 years ago -- to organize women to reclaim and vindicate our rights as active members of a society, a society in which one has fewer and fewer guarantees from one day to the next and in which the State unloads its duties onto the men and women of the civilian population, making them responsible for their own misfortunes.
We demand that the official statistics include the real numbers regarding human rights and the humanitarian crisis, and that they take into account the denouncements made by the civilian population, as well as by social organizations and the Organizacion Femenina Popular, in particular, regarding harassment and threats.
We demand that said figures include and draw attention to the plight of the women as a specific violation of human rights.
We demand that the civil, military and police authorities undertake an investigation and recover social and political control in the region of Magdalena Medio and that they guarantee the life and liberty of its citizens.
We demand safety and security for all the members of the Organizacion Femenina Popular.
We call on the international community to:
Continue supporting the work of the Organizacion Femenina Popular in defense of human rights in the region of Magdalena Media and in the entire country.
Follow up on the commitments of the state of Colombia regarding human rights for the region of Magdalena Medio.
We women do not bear sons and daughters for war.
Organizacion Femenina Popular
Barrancabermeja - Magdalena Medio – Colombia
12 January 2005