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Oct 23rd
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Arrests in San José Massacre Case PDF Print E-mail

15 Colombian soldiers arrested for their role in the 2005 massacre of eight members of the San José de Apartadó Peace Community in Colombia.

“We have always said, and in that we are clear, that until this very day we are resisting. And our work is to continue resisting and defending our rights. We don't know until when, because the truth we've lived in our story is this: today we are here talking; tomorrow we may be dead. Today we are here in San José de Apartadó; tomorrow the majority of people here could be displaced because of a massacre."

   - Luis Eduardo Guerra, in an interview in 2005, 37 days before he was assassinated by the Colombian military. 


Peace Community of San José de ApartadóThree years after the massacre of eight adults and three children in the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, Colombian prosecutors ordered the arrest of 15 Army soldiers for participating in the killing and for terrorism.

Although members of the peace community knew from the start that the killings were perpetrated by the 17th army brigade and by paramilitaries, the rightwing government of Álvaro Uribe had blamed the massacre on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerilla.

The arrests were based on the chilling testimony of former paramilitary Jorge Luis Salgado, who participated in the killing. According to Salgado’s testimony, segments of which were published by the press, “The children were under the bed…We suggested to the officers that they be left in a nearby house, but they said they were a threat, that they would become guerrillas in the future…’Cobra’ grabbed the (six-year-old) girl by the hair and cut her throat with a machete.

Since 1997, at least 170 members of the community have been killed, even though the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered measures for their protection.

Time and again, SOA graduates in all levels of the Colombian military (including Mario Montoya Uribe, the head of the Colombian Army) are being exposed for close collaboration with the paramilitary death squads.  

For more information about the massacre, visit www.soaw.org/sanjose  

 

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The Spring issue contains mobilizing information for the SOA Watch Border Convergence, which is taking place from October 7-10, 2016 at the US/Mexico border in Nogales, and also focuses on recent developments in Latin America and within the SOA Watch movement.

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As this issue of Presente went to print, our hearts were heavy. The assassination of our dear friend and comrade Berta Cáceres, and the increased repression against social movement groups, have left us shocked and saddened. SOA Watch Latin America liaison Brigitte Gynther traveled to Honduras the morning after she learned about the assassination and has been coordinating SOA Watch’s response together with our partner groups on the ground. If you do not already receive Urgent Action emails from us, please click here to sign up now.

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Other articles in this issue cover a protest by SOA Watch in Chile against US bases in Latin America, the FBI surveillance of SOA Watch, updates from Colombia and Mexico, news about the first Border Patrol agent to receive training at WHINSEC, background information about Direct Action, the Youth Encuentro in Guatemala, and more.

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