Colombian paramilitaries assassinate indigenous leader in the name of Canadian multinationals (call out for global solidarity climate justice action)
RADIO INTERVIEW – Canada business involved in killing indigenous colombian farmers (please distribute widely – transcript below)
Colombian paramilitaries assassinate indigenous leader in the name of Canadian multinationals
One of the climate caravan participants, José Goyes, is part of a movement in Colombia called the Resguardo de Honduras Cauca. He lives in a fertile area in the south of the country, which is rich in vegetation, but also in mineral resources such as gold. This area has recently become the sight of a bitter struggle by the indigenous people whose livelihoods depend on this land, and the multinational corporations who are intent on exploiting it, apparently at any cost.
Canadian multinationals, and in particular a corporation called Cosigo Resources (Vancouver), are embarking on a programme of mass displacement of indigenous populations in south east Colombia. The Colombian government is supporting these multinationals; in the name of the Colombian government paramilitaries are persecuting and killing local indigenous people who oppose the forceful seizure of their land.
Many of the indigenous leaders, including José Goyes, have been threatened because they oppose the exploration of Cosigo Resources. On Sunday, we received the news that one of the indigenous leaders in the struggle had been killed. This brings the death toll of indigenous leaders in the region to five. These deaths are happening purely because the local populations are refusing to cooperate with the multinationals and government paramilitaries who are expelling them from their land.
José himself recently received a fax from the paramilitaries, stating that he and his organisation are considered a “military objective”. Jose has already had paramilitaries torture him in his own home. Now he knows his life is even more seriously in danger.
This is a translation of the fax that Jose received in October:
October 22nd 2009
The [Colombian] Government continues to fulfil its agreements and commitments
You are defenders of the guerrillas, you are requesting land to plant coca on in order to strengthen the indigenous people and the guerrillas, who do not understand the efforts of the President Alvaro Uribe.
Together with help from the Families en Acion social welfare programme, forest rangers, and Democratic Security (the national defence programme), a group of men and women who are worried by the turn of events in this country, we have to undertake once again the struggle against those people who are hiding themselves in social organisations such as the CUT, Valle, NOMADESC, Human Rights Defenders and NGOs, and who are enemies of our democracy.
These bureaucrats are not letting [the region of] CAUCA progress, as they are blocking the entrance of multinationals, which bring benefit to the communities in SUAREZ, MORALES and BUENOS AIRES.
Some of these organisations have made agreements in exchange for money with the owners of mining concessions demanding the eviction from mining zones, as has occurred in the village (corregimiento) of Toma, and for which we have proof. Today we have decided to declare these son of a bitch bureaucrats as military targets; human rights advocats, NOMADESC, CUT VALLE, PCN, CONSEJO COMUNITARIO DE LA TOMA, CERRO TUERAS Licifredy, Eduar Villegas, Jose Goyes, Diego Escobar, Recherche, Plutarco, Meraidino Consejal.
AGUILAS NEGRAS NUEVA GENERACION (Black Eagles New Generation paramilitary group)
The Canadian government is passing a free trade agreement with Colombia, which is opening up the economy to large multinationals such as Cosigo Resources. As José described in his interview, “I think that this free trade agreement has brought all the problems we’re facing, such as the paramilitaries’ actions to expel us from our territory.”
Of course, as well as facing forced expulsion from their lands, many indigenous communities are now experiencing rapid and devastating changes to their communities because of climate change. José spoke about how these environmental impacts are also threatening communities in his country, even though these communities are least responsible for climate change:
“We want northern governments to pay the ecological debt that they have to the south and to take action to reduce the emissions that are producing global warming. I think that we need unity in the struggle in order to avoid climate change. Our struggle is also a collective one, to protect the environment that the multinationals are destroying. These multinationals not only affect local people, but those of the whole world.
“Indigenous people are conservationists of our environment. It’s the government and multinationals who are intent on destroying this social model. Our hopes for our community are that we all unite to defend the global environment and to stop the multinationals from entering our environment and communities.”
A press release and interview with Jose has been uploaded to the climate caravan blog
Dave Bleakney: This is Dave Bleakney of the Canadian union of postal workers reporting from the trade climate caravan from the WTO in Geneva to the Copenhagen climate summit and I have with me Jose Goyas of CRIC in Colombia, Jose could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your association and why we are talking today.
Jose Goyas: My name is Jose Goyas from the indigenous territory of Hondurs morales in the cau cau in colombia and i am from the political commision of the CRIC.
Dave Bleakney: Can you tell us a little bit about the role of Canadian corporations in your lands today and how thats affecting the people there.
Jose Goyas: Well, our land is very rich in mineral resources like gold. In the area we have the ASHANTY gold company from south african, the UNION COMPRESSA from Spain, and CARTON COLOMBIA from Ireland and to answer your question the COSEGA company, which is a gold enterprise from Canada. In this case these multi national companies are causing great displacement, threaths and even massacres and death sentances to indigenous communities. In our teerritories the paramilitary groups are supprorting the state policy and the multinational policy with total violence. COSEGO resource from Canada have big interest in the area and the paramilitary groups have supported this political wish by threathening most of the indigenous leaders that are resisting the exploitation. The threathed entities are the various human rights organisations, NGO’s, trade unions and the other groups supporting resistance by the indigenous, afro descendants and peasent communities to this exploitation of their areas by mining. Yesterday they reiterated their threats against most of the leaders of the community. So this is a very urgent call. The community is very worried about this situation.
Dave Bleakney: So let me be clear, you are saying that just within the last few days there has been written and serious threats against the lives of indigenous leaders in Colombia over this issue?
Jose Goyas: Yes, we are in this position becuase we deny the rights of these multinational companies and government policy to allow their permits that are threathening our life and environment. We responsibilise the government of colombia of what could happen to these leaders of different organisations, as the paramilitary have said that they will carry out acts of excecution to ensure the entry of these multinational businesss.
Dave Bleakney: The canadian government has before it now the canadian parliament or free trade agreement and one of its arguments is that free trade agreements will bring improved human rights situation in Colombia. Is this true?
Jose Goyas: I believe that this FTA has brought all these problems that we are facing like the paramilitary threat to expel us from our lands. We invite both the colombian and the canadian government to not sign this agreement and to preserve the environment and the life on this planet. We also invite the governments of the north to pay their ecological debt that they owe to the global south and to take a more responsible attitude to their emmissions that are causing global warming.
Dave Bleakney: So, as I said, the colombian canadian free trade agreement is in front of parliament, so it has not yet been passed. Do you feel that there is something the canadian people should do as a result of this corporate activity in colombia and the proposal of free trade with the colombian state?
Jose Goyas: I believe that it is not the just solidarity to avoid global climate change, because our local struggle is about keeping th. Because these multinationals with their destruction of forests, communities and life, are not only negatively affecting local peoples lives, but the lives of people from all over the world.
Dave Bleakney: In the very northern region of canada we see that indigenous people are being affected greatly by the loss of fish and the change in environmental patterns in that region. Could you tell us a little bit about changes you have seen in colombia that you feel you can directly attribute to climate change.
Jose Goyas: I think that our role is to solidify the structure of our own communities in order to elevate??? o that the multinationals cant enter our terretories and so we will help the environment. There is already consequences, more mostly in the north and south africa which show the impact of global warming on local people, like how they have to leave their home area becuase of climate change. It also affects south america.
Dave Bleakney: I am hearing that this is a worldwide phenomenon. Peeople are being affected all around the world, it seems to us in canada that colombia, in many ways, is on the front line of this struggle because of the repression, the violent repression, of the military and paramilitary forces. Can you just tell us a bit more about that, what the record is with the paramilitary in regard to your people?
Jose Goyas: we indigenous people are conservationists of our environment and also in the social way. but it is the government want to destroy the links with the nature and which insists on this destructive model that kills forests and carries out massacres of the leaders.
Dave Bleakney: What calls to action and solidarity do you suggest to those of us around the world in support of this struggle?
Jose Goyas: Well there are many ways and we have to take into account that it is in these days that death threaths that we are talking about have led to the deaths of 5 leaders of the communities. It is due to the support of you that our international support has to be to make people aware of the situation of what is happening, becuase this ñññ is government and asking for pressure on the colombian government and to inform on this specific case.
Dave Bleakney: Jose, we only have a few minutes left, i was just wondering if you could say in a few words, your hopes, your vision for you and your people?
Jose Goyas: The hopes are for our people and you unite together in the same struggle to defend the global climate and impeach the mulinationals who enter our territories with so destructively.
Dave Bleakney: Well certainly Canadas international reputation as a compassionate nation is certainly in question given to what we have heard here today. For those in Canada who want to know more, or maybe check in with KESEGO RESOURCES and their track record, you can find them at 885 west georgia street, suite 1500, vancouver. Or maye you wish to give them a call, at area code 6046329574. This is Dave Bleakney for the Canadian union of postal workers reporting from somewhere in Europe. And thank you very much Jose Goyas from Cric, it has been a pleasure.
Jose Goyas: Thank you very much to all of you and we invite you to come with us in 2010 when we organise in Colombia the global MINGA, that is uniting all this struggle that goes from climate to territory to social actors all over the world
Dave Bleakney: Thank you very much.
article – canada business involved in killing indigenous colombian farmers
CALL OUT*** This is a matter of life or death. People in Colombia have been shot by paramilitaries and more are at risk of assisination. A radio interview made with one such person who recieved a death threat 4 days ago is now present on the incternet. An SOS initial call out for assistance and solidarity has been put out in lead up to COP15. We are asking for people to listen to the radio interview and to then ask their local radio stations (community and mainstream) to play it to raise further global awareness as we build resistance to these threats.
– the climate caravan cross into denmark today (hopefully no border problems..). we will re-edit this article as we get opportunitys… please bare with us, we have to work out appearance problem… when time
– a call out for pressure to be put on canadian embassies, to assist in seeking climate justice has been put out
– we have requested for people to send the radio file to their local radio stations to assist in diffusion
– transcript of radio interview below
greets from hamburg)
Entry filed under: colombia, english, español, indigenous, solidarity. Tags: audio, belgium, canada, colombia, corporate crime, cosega, dave bleakney, direct action, embassy, indigenous, jose goyas, radio, solidarity, transcript.