“We want recognition for the pain that the civil war, the us has caused’

82a0b8b1c6014165490d2f0678f619c7 - "We want recognition for the pain that the civil war, the us has caused’

In the northwest of Colombia wants to Ríos Vivos, a group of local farmers, that there is research coming to the disappearances and murders during the civil war. ‘The government keeps this game prefer to be covered, ” says Isabel Cristina Zuleta.

‘Forced disappearance’, Isabel Christina Zuleta know all about it. “No, that is not kidnapping, because then there is the ransom asked,” she says delicately. In a forced disappearance is not intended …

‘Forced disappearance’, Isabel Christina Zuleta know all about it. “No, that is not kidnapping, because then there is the ransom asked,” she says delicately. In a forced disappearance is not intended that you come back. Isabel is barely to escaped. They went in december 2015, to a meeting to protest against the arrival of a large hydropower plant in the area where she lives and she saw the masked men in the distance. ‘Where is Isabel?’, asked the men to her friends. They now had all the legs taken. Jumping on the rocks in the river, she could escape. Her friends – strong farmers and koene fishermen – were the men to stop. It has so not its close to Isabel was one of the more than 700 missing persons in the region.

Isabel Christina Zuleta live in Ituango, a municipality that was once on the banks of the Cauca river in northwestern Colombia has nestled. If the government and the company Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) on it, then it disappears the village soon of the map. In June of 2,800 acres of land blank. The area should be a reservoir for Hydro Ituango, the largest hydropower plant in Colombia. The central will have fifteen to twenty percent of the current energy production. It is a huge project.

Constant terror

‘It is the intention that the electricity to the foreign countries is exported. The reservoir and all facilities, will come together to 26.000 hectares occupy. In addition, there are also large electricity pylons in the landscape with the cables above the villages walk, ” says Zuleta. She is, at the invitation of Broederlijk delen in Brussels to the European parliament and the Belgian parliament to call attention to the fight against the hydroelectric power plant. The core of her argument is not that the giant central not welcome; Zuleta is here mainly to talk about the intimidatiecampagnes of the company and the Colombian government, about the constant terror under which she and her allies have life: phone calls from paramilitaries who say they are her or know where to find construction workers, which predict that there is a tree on her house, masked men who want her to kidnap. That the threats are not just empty warnings, learn the fate of two activists who in 2013 have been shot down. Until now the perpetrators have not been found, because all the complaints to the police remain a dead letter.

Zuleta is the face of Ríos Vivos, the action group of campesino, farmers whose roots in that region. The area where they live, was in the frontline during the forty-year-long civil war in the country. Some parts were in the hands of the Farc, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, other were under the control of the Colombian army. Each family in the area has a story about a son, husband or daughter, who disappeared or was shot down. According to Zuleta, it was the paramilitaries – to the teeth armed private groups that government has a hand toestaken in the fight against the left-wing guerrillero’s – that most of the victims have made. Second on the list of perpetrators is the Farc itself, then follows the regular army.

In the fight against the Farc used the government to the plans of the dam as an argument to the area to wipe clean. “Away with the weapons, to the development’. That was the logic of the -then governor of the territory and later, president Alvaro Uribe when he permits awarded. “Away with the weapons, to the development,” were the words of the negotiator of the peace agreement, Humberto de la Calle, to the people to terminate on October 2, 2016 in the referendum on the peace agreement with the Farc ‘yes’ vote.

The resistance of the campesino’s against the dam -they had already lived for centuries of the river and its banks – was dismissed as if they guerrillero’s were or cocaboeren their stuff to the Farc delivered. That stigma is still today used, you should be on the internet not to search long for it in official publications.

“We want the coming of the dam did not hold back,” says Isabel Zuleta. “But we want to higher areas, so that we of agriculture may continue to live. By the war and by the advent of the dam is about half of our population to Medellín drawn. We want that the others can continue to live in the area where they belong at the same time, we want clarity about the fate of the many missing persons and deaths in our community.”

Ríos Vivos will that all the dead are excavated before the area was under water. According to official statistics, there are 721 of them in the area, which are in the meantime, 159 seem to be unearthed.

But the excavations and the civil war are the difficult points in the discussions with the company that the hydroelectric power plant builds. EPM wants to consider the campesino’s land on the higher areas, on the condition that they stop whining about the civil war. The company nor the government wants an investigation into the murders and disappearances in Ituango. ‘It is a pattern of the government, that its role in the killing of innocent citizens in the civil war want to minimize, “says Zuleta” we feel we have a right to the truth.”

Therefore, Ríos Vivos the leg stiff. The group wants that the truth is unearthed. The suffering that the community for the last forty years has been caused is too big to conceal.

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