Friday, February 26, 2010

ACIN: Communiqué on Assassination of Andrés Fernando Muelas

War takes from us dreams, hopes, and the life of a weaver


This is the English translation of the communiqué put out earlier this week by ACIN; translation provided by La Chiva.

Author: Communication Network – ACIN (Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca)

Andrés Fernando Muelas, his warm and sincere smile will always radiate. The same one that inspired and reminded us that we must continue to fight during times of pain and sorrow, like today.

They don’t tire of causing pain. On his way home last night [Tuesday Feb. 23], a bullet took the life of our compañero, Andrés Muelas. At around 10:30 pm in an area known as El Frutal, five minutes away from the rural township of Mondomo, men in military uniforms came onto the road and began shooting indiscriminately. A truck driver was also killed, and four others travelling on the same road were wounded. It is unknown who is responsible for these killings, but we know that various armed actors travel throughout these areas.

Andrés Muelas began his community involvement as the youth group coordinator in the reserve of Concepción in Northern Cauca, where he was also from. He was an active member of the Council [traditional indigenous authority], acting as an official, secretary, and treasurer. He also worked alongside other compañeros from the Communications Program. Despite his young age, the community selected him to become the coordinator for the Sa’t fxine Kiwe community project for his leadership and intelligence. He also worked with the ACIN’s Communication Network and community radio, was a health assistant, and was part of the musical group Son Rumbero. As the coordinator of the youth and adult education program of the ACIN, our friend and compañero was truly committed to his community.

The bullets from these armed men, who have taken ownership of life, continue to threaten, displace, and steal our territory and our lives. The communities of Jambaló, Caldono and Cajibío have not had the opportunity to recover from the impacts of the armed confrontation that occurred last weekend, and yet this meaningless war continues to sadden and fill with sorrow the Nasa community of Northern Cauca.

Currently, our territory is completely militarized by various soldiers on the roads and highways. Certainly, this incident will be an excuse to increase the military presence in our territory on top of the president’s recent order to place 5,000 soldiers in our territories. Some say they fight for us, others say they fight in order to protect us. The truth is that none of them defend life, and their strategies of terror seek to rob us of our territory in order to take the resources from Mother Earth.

Andrés, your family, your community, and your people, cry for their loss. You leave us today in order to return to our territory’s womb, to accompany those who have given up their life in the name of liberty for our community and those around the world. Your struggle will not be in vain. There will come a day when communities will break the chains of greed and oppression, and we will return to feel that we have a right to life. On this day, Andrés, your name will be with all of us, accompanying and guiding the way of these people that watched you grow.

Safe journey, compañero!

La Chiva is a collective of people working in solidarity with Colombian and Canadian social movements and communities.

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