By Ramón Aceveda
Special to The Narco News Bulletin
November 14, 2005
NORTHEASTERN ANTIOQUIA, COLOMBIA: “Here in the region we are living with the severe violence of the military and the paramilitaries,” stated a peasant-farmer who did not wish to give his name. He continued, “At the moment we are being harassed by the military battalion ‘Demolisher Platoon No.1, Calibio Battalion of the 14th Brigade’, which is under the command of Sergeants Setina and Blanquiceth. The Battalion members present themselves as official military and then the next minute they change their armband and are the paramilitaries. Lately they have been detaining, intimidating, torturing, and assassinating local campesinos (peasant farmers) and community leaders.”
“To the citizens and social organizations of the United States we ask that you stand in solidarity with the Colombian campesino. Military, economic, and political intervention by your government has been devastating to our people. Your neo-liberal economy does nothing but take from the mouth of our children. Your helicopters, weapons, and troops support an oppressive, violent government.”
Loretta Nall in Bogota Colombia August 2004
Loretta Nall inspects coca field in Putamayo, Colombia August 2004
Colombian Citizen enjoys the benefits of U.S. Foreign Aid
Comment from Loretta:
When I visited Putamayo in 2004 the bus we were riding on broke down in the middle of the jungle. It just so happened that it broke down in front of a field of paramilitaries who were training.
You could see the armbands and our tour leaders confirmed that they were the "browns". We were not harmed or even approached as Americans visiting with NGO's are valuable. If we were killed then the US funding which supports the paramiliatries could possibly be in jeapordy.
Normally when a bus breaks down the passengers will (weather permitting) climb out and mill about on the roadside until help arrives. But this was not a normal situation. We were instructed to file out of the bus, head straight down the road on foot and above all to keep our eyes straight forward down the road. Do not turn around, do not look at these people.
After all, the rule of survival is "you were never here, you did not see anything".
I want to thank the leaders of our group who guided us through this difficult situation.
Unfortunately the people of Colombia have no way out.