¿Cómo explicar el asesinato de un hijo en medio de tanto dolor y miedo, pero también en tiempos que se tejen nidos para albergar hijos de la paz?
How does one explain the murder of a child in the middle of such pain and fear? Also at a time when nests are being woven to shelter the children of peace?
By Marino Córdoba
Translation from the original Spanish by Gimena Sanchez
I would like to begin by thanking all the people who send messages of condolences, solidarity and support. I express my most sincere thanks for all the many voices that offer help. I ask that all of you help me by urging the correspondent authorities that they investigate and identify those responsible for this crime. My silence these days corresponds to the deep pain I feel as a Father. Also a feeling of impotence when I think of the persons that continue in that area without any guarantees of protection.
Wilmar was buried in Turbo, Antioquia on Saturday, October 22. At dawn on that day I traveled from Bogota with the purpose of getting to his funeral. The first leg of the flight stopped in Medellin and the second leg went to Carepa airport. From there I took a taxi to get to Turbo by road. On that road I passed Apartado, a city that I had not visited since 1994. How could I not remember this region where I lived and worked during the most difficult time for Uraba. I was a trade unionist and here my first two children were born. This is where I was miraculously saved from assassination due to the simple fact that I was a trade unionist. For this reason my relatives could not believe that I was back in Uraba. My parents warned me that for security reasons I should not travel. I decided to go to his funeral despite the security situation. I told my parents only once I was in Turbo.
Prior to the funeral I met with some relatives who became displaced due to the war that live in that city. With them we remembered the cruelty of war and the family members that we’ve lost. Wilmar had told one of them a few days prior that he knew that men had reached Bajira from Riosucio looking for him. For this reason he felt fear. He remained locked inside his mother in law’s house. But on the 19th he left to cover the basic necessities his small daughter needed due to health problems. At the moment his mother in law left is when the four men came to the store and wounded hi with a machete. Some neighbors informed his mother in law but by the time she got there Wilmar was unconscious on the floor. She and the neighbors immediately lifted him into a car with the purpose of taking him to Apartado hospital. He died on the way to the hospital due to the severity of his wounds.
Wilmar was born in Riosucio in 1995. A year later due to military and paramilitary operation, Operation Genesis, that took place in that municipality I had to flee the area to save my life. Operation Genesis marked my life forever. It distanced me from Wilmar, mi parents, brothers and other relatives. It led me to live in the United States for the past 14 years. Despite this I am back in my country with constant death threats and risks due to my job. The lives of riosuceños also changed. According to reports more than 20,000 were forced to flee that municipality to different parts of the country in 1996 and 1997 in order to save their lives. They remain dispersed and under their own destiny while they dream of returning someday. Those that live in Turbo say that there are no security conditions and guarantees from the State to guarantee their returns. As displaced they do not receive any economic assistance and live off of whatever they can find.
The pain of the riosuceño is deep because of the historic poverty, abandonment of the state and for the armed actors’ control of the civilian population. War was utilized to impose an extractive economic model that was not consulted with them. This model has altered the traditional economy and culture of the ethnic groups adn rural farmers. It has destroyed its comunal leadership and created a dynamic of subjegation, fear, death and terror. Riosucio is the cradel of Maderas del Atrato, Pizano S.A, Maderas del Darién and other companies. The later remains in the region dedicated to extracting forest species like the Cativa, which is at risk of extinction. They benefit from forestry concessions and are protected by armed groups. Paramilitaries arrived in Riosucio in 1996 pushed by the 17th Brigade of the Army under the command of General Rito Alejo del Rio and under the approval of Alvaro Uribe Velez, the then Governor of Antioquia. Their purpose was to protect that company from threats that according to them were present after the ajudication of collective titles to the black and indigenous communities. These rights are recognized under the Political Constitution of Colombia, law 70 and 1993 and indigenous legislation.
What do I ask for? Justice is clarifying the truth about the crime committed against Wilmar. Security measures are needed to guarantee that his mother and relatives, my relatives do not remain at risk. For this it is necessary that the authorities including police and army cut their criminal relationships with the paramilitaries and that justice authorities guarantee that justice for victims is guaranteed. This would facilitate victims of human rights violations from coming forward and facilitate their clarification of the facts.
Last week with a prominent group of afro, indigenous and rural farmers’ leaders, I met with President Juan Manuel Santos. There he stated: “victims should always be assured that I am not going to fail tem with the peace accord.” Those words remain in my heart and mind. I add that we the victims are not going to defraud the President and the guerillas in their commitment for peace in Colombia. Wilmar will give me strength to continue to dream in this path.
Bogotá, Octubre 27 de 2016
Asociación Nacional de Afrocolombianos Desplazados-AFRODES firstname.lastname@example.org