Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Acts of Sabotage Carried Out Against the Main Voice of the Nasa People of Northern Cauca

This is the English translation of the communique put out by ACIN on Monday regarding recent acts of sabotage against the community radio station, Radio Pa'yumat. It is urgent that the national and international community make known their repudiation of these ongoing acts of intimidation and terror against one of the most important community media in Colombia!

ACIN’s primary community radio station suffers another technical setback by the forces of terror in Cauca


Author: Communication Team for External Relations, Life and the Truth – Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca, ACIN (Tejido de Comunicación y Relaciones Externas para la Verdad y la Vida-ACIN)

We are the victims of an integral plan of aggression that clearly emanates from all the armed actors operating in our territories. In the name of the struggle of the people for a country without owners, we reject these actions, come from where they may!

We call your attention to events that occurred on Saturday, December 13th, in the mountain of Munchique de los Tigres, in northern Cauca, where the small shed housing the transmission equipment and the antenna of ACIN’s community station Radio Pa’yumat was ransacked and damaged. The perpetrators stole the copper wires that protect the equipment, causing severe technical damage in all the transmission equipment of Radio Pa’yumat, the voice of the Nasa people.

It’s important to point out that this is not the first time that such acts of sabotage have occurred against our radio station, given that in previous occasions, not only have they robbed the copper protective cables, but thugs have also stolen the broadcast equipment from within the station’s studios in Santander de Quilichao. Not coincidentally, these prior acts of sabotage have occurred at the precise time that our communities were initiating major mobilizations and important actions against the armed actors that constantly provoke war in our territories.

Therefore, the assault against our community radio station is not an isolated incident, but is part of a deliberate strategy of silencing the indigenous movement of northern Cauca, because the radio station is the most important medium within the community. It allows us to listen to one another, to discuss important issues, reflect on them, make decisions in the interest of the community, and take actions collectively in defense of life and of our territory.

From the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca, ACIN, we publicly denounce these acts of aggression against the word of the indigenous movement, because to silence us within this context of aggression that we are living is to shut down the voice of resistance, and put us in immediate risk. This is because when something severely urgent occurs in our territory, the important mechanism of communication that is radio will no longer be at our disposal to alert the community and to create solidarity in times of emergency. From our own experiences, we know that when there are persecutions, kidnappings, threats, attacks and all the other acts of violence, radio is our primary means of communication.

Therefore, the intention of this latest act of sabotage is to silence the voice of the Nasa people, to weaken the political and organizational process, and the ability to react immediately to acts of violence in our territory. This is already evident in the resguardo of Munchique, where we currently have an entire family disappeared – the Sanchez-Serna family; Florentino Sánchez, 55, Aminta Serna, 47, and Carol Ximena Sánchez, 12. Precisely at a time when we need this important communication medium to move the community in search of this family, we cannot count on the station to carry out our work more effectively. Furthermore, we currently have information about diverse acts of terror, mobilization and defamation being planned against the indigenous processes, specifically against the resguardos of Corinto, Tacueyó, and Huellas-Caloto, among others.

These are actions that present themselves with different justifications, they are nefarious crimes carried out by actors who hide themselves from the public, with the objective of intimidation and terror. We denounce these acts of aggression with anticipation, come from where they may, considering that they only benefit those people who want to rob and displace us of our territory, and they work against the interests of the popular struggle, for the dignity that we defend through the agenda of the Social and Community Minga, la Minga Popular.

For all the reasons cited above, we reject the sabotage carried out against the indigenous movement, the Communication Team of ACIN, and specifically, against Radio Pa’yumat, because these acts once again prove the systematic strategies of repression and defamation being carried out against the indigenous communities of northern Cauca.

Finally, we put out a call to the indigenous authorities for their help in investigating these acts and catching those who are responsible, and to the national and international community, to denounce this aggression against our process and to mobilize the economic resources of support that might help us to recuperate the equipment that was damaged.

We are victims of an integral plan of aggression that undoubtedly emanates from all the armed actors in our territories. In the name of the struggle of the people for a country without owners, we reject these actions, come from where they may!

Tejido de Comunicación y Relaciones Externas para la Verdad y la Vida-ACIN Santander de Quilichao, diciembre 15 de 2008.


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