Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Coca in the news

I just read this article in the Guardian about the Colombian Vice President urging Brits to kick their cocaine habit, citing rainforest destruction caused by coca cultivation's and the profits going to FARC. He might also have mentioned the right-wing paramilitary and political collusion (the 'parapolitics scandal') or the cooperation between FARC and paramilitary groups in some areas.

On a slightly related note here is a translation of a press release by the Joel Sierra human rights group from Saravena, Arauca, dated November 17th:

The village of Campin, Arauquita municipality, continues to be occupied by an armed group in camouflage and wearing a yellow, blue and red armband with FARC-EP insignia, who according to locals invaded violently, mistreating members of the community, and shooting indiscriminately. This resulted in the deaths of Alcides Ropero and Juan de Dios Isidro Mora, and injuries to Marcos Anibal Mosquera, 35 years old, and Willian Granados Tarazona, 24 years old.

This morning, around 10.45am, in Filipinas village of the same municipality. farmer Jorge Nino was killed.

These events have caused a massive displacement of the communities at risk, mainly to the urban centres of Saravena and Arauquita for self-protection.

Some of the injured and displaced supported the arrival of the army which resulted in clashes with the insurgents. There are currently no exact figures of the injured and displaced, and further deaths can't be ruled out.

We repeat our calls for the armed parties in the conflict to respect the civil population and its social organisations together with their leaders, which according to International Humanitarian Law and the revolutionaries' own ethics, shouldn't be brought into the conflict. We also urge them to end the war waged to address its underlying causes.

We ask the international community to continue monitoring the ongoing social and humanitarian crisis in Eastern Colombia and urge the armed parties to respect the basic rules of war (los mínimos de la guerra).

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