Crisis in Colombia: Awá Killed by FARC

awa-indians-colombia

A great piece was posted today on Upside Down World by Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca, on the recent killings of Awá Indians who, according to FARC, were army informants. It begins:

    We write these lines overcome by tremendous pain and sadness. We write from the shared rage we feel towards this criminal act, apparently committed by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cauca, FARC, whom we condemn for these irreversible horrors and the shedding of innocent blood.
    As we write, the Colombian Minister of Defense, Juan Manuel Santos, is arriving in the Department of Nariño to conduct the military operations that constitute the government’s response to the massacres and terror these indigenous communities are now facing. Referring to the difficulty the government authorities are having in obtaining the cooperation of the indigenous peoples, Minister Santos stated to the media: “We hope we can convince [the Awá] that the best position, the best attitude they can have is to collaborate with the authorities, with the Armed Forces.”
    “Kick them while they’re down” is the phrase that best describes the government’s reaction to these terrible circumstances, basing its response on the supposition that, according to the information available, the FARC committed the massacre. The result is that the atrocity—this massacre, the ongoing massive displacement, and disappearances, all faced by the indigenous communities caught in the middle of this terror—is blamed on the victims. It is their fault, implies the Minister, because they refused to collaborate with the Armed Forces. He tries to convince us that, if the Armed Forces had been in the territory, the violence would not have happened. As a consequence, the complete militarization of the territory is underway with the pretext of protecting the Awá, who in turn run to the forests while some of their leaders, seeing no other option, call for the help of the Armed Forces. The Colombian corporate media, the government coalition and their spokespeople all echo these calls, and Colombians -terrified by the horror of this ongoing genocide, in turn call for the same…(to continue)

minga-popularOf course, Colombia has been more polarized in the past year with the emergence of a middle ground between the murderous government and the murderous FARC. The Popular Minga, a movement out of Cauca who marched to Bogotá this past October to speak to President Uribe, where the killings took place last week, have provided Colombians with a middle-ground as they stand for more than just indigenous rights, they stand for all Colombians, and that’s why these deaths are so tragic.

Our good friends at IPS have another angle on the story, available here that references the forces that played into the terror last week. A segment of the story:

    The Marshal Antonio Jose de Sucre Column of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) acknowledged that it had “executed” eight Awa people, accused of being army informants, in the conflict-ridden department of Narino, in the southwest part of the country.
    Huge tracts of land on the way to Narino are now planted with coca and populated by drug laboratories, displacing villagers, ever since the Plan Colombia, financed by the United States, demolished drug production in Putumayo and Caqueta successively over the course of 2000. The two regions are neighbours to Narino looking eastward and north eastward.

    The objective of Plan Colombia was to expel the coca-growing population and isolate it from the FARC, which emerged in 1964.

    But the strategy failed to take into consideration the “globalizing effect”, observed by drug experts. When you “oppress” the business in one area, it will move to another. Now there are 20,000 hectares of coca in Narino.

    “The Awas probably have been hit hardest by this colonisation and coca bonanza, since large fields of coca have been planted around and within their lands,” said anthropologist Efrain Jaramillo Jaramillo. (to continue)

And finally, one more article from GlobalVoices, by Julián Ortega Martínez.

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~ by Daniel on February 23, 2009.

One Response to “Crisis in Colombia: Awá Killed by FARC”

  1. […] past decade, leading to greater viability. But, if not always good news (like the suppression of Awa Indians in Colombia, among others), people are still standing up and voicing their opposition to […]

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