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The Peace Village San José must live
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The Peace Village San José must live

IGF Press release 
August, 18th 05

In spite of the threats of death and civil war peasants in Colombia take a stand for a seed of hope. Hermann Scheer (Eurosolar) takes over a patronage for “San José Solar”.

 

The peace village San Jose de Apartado with 1350 inhabitants is fighting without violence for its survival in the midst of a civil war, taking place in Uraba, a northern region of Colombia. Since its foundation on March 23, 1997, 164 small-time farmers, women and children were murdered, sometimes in a very brutal way. The inhabitants have not given up. On the contrary, fought by military, paramilitary, guerilla and police forces, they continue to build up a model for a selfsufficent and peaceful life, a seed of hope for Colombia. They urgently need international protection.

 

The people of San José deny all kinds of violent action (www.cdpsanjose.org) They do not cooperate with any of the conflicting parties of the region, which have been mired in the civil war for more than 40 years. Instead, they are working for the construction of an ecological solar village as a positive example for the future of the region. The village is under the protection of Gloria Cuartas, called "Mayor for Peace" by the UNCESO in 1996, and Padre Javier Giraldo, jesuit and human rights activist.

On February 21st, 2005 eight persons, one of them, founder and leader of the village, Luis Eduardo Guerra, three of them children, were murdered in an extremely cruel manner. Amnesty International, Peace Brigades, "Ärzte ohne Grenzen" (DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS) and other international observers denounced this awful act. The murderers are, up to now, exempt from punishment.

The massacre is one in a series of permanent attacks, which the village has faced. Observers are warning: The attacks are part of a strategy to displace the population of the strategic area, that is rich in natural resources. Instead of protecting San José, the Colombian president Alvaro Uribe Vélez publically accuses the inhabitants cooperating with the guerrilla, thus turning them into outlaws. Organisations of many countries received faked documents, stating the inhabitants themselves have committed the murders. All kinds of trade, exchange and cooperation with the village were prohibited.

Gloria Cuartas said, San José is one of 20 peace villages in Colombia. In the middle of a civil war, they have created a small island of peace and neutrality and live strictly without violence. San José is our hope for a peaceful Colombia. It must not be, that people, who have never carried weapons, are chased and brutally murdered.

Gloria Cuartas and others ask for international publicity throughout the world. The planned solar village, entitled "San José Solar", has requested European scientists, institutions, and industrial firms to create positions for a resident expert and/or source of media coverage. Hermann Scheer, winner of the Right Livelihood Award and founder of Eurosolar, will take over the patronage for this project.

Sabine Lichtenfels, nominated as one of the "1000 women for the Nobel peace prize 2005" (www.1000peacewomen.org), said, Gloria Cuartas and two inhabitants of the peace village have just been here in our peace research project Tamera. (We still don´t know if mentioning their names would bring them in even greater danger.) I admire deeply the people of San José, who try with all their might to give an example for a peaceful life. We cannot stand aside and watch those people, with whom we have cried, laughed and sung, becoming martyrs. We have to act fast and give them protection by informing the public. I call on all international peace workers: Help that San José will be wellknown and is protected.

 

The peace village San José invites the international public to a meeting from September 21st - 26th 2005, a “Celebration of Life”. Three co-workers of the IGF will be there to speak about the next steps.

On September 21st, solidarity groups have announced actions in front of many Colombian embassies: hunger strikes, vigils, performance of theater and music.

Please support this action by publishing this message!

 

Thank you and warm regards

 

 

 

Katja Long and Andrea Regelmann

Institute for Global Peace Work

 

Further background information, statements, flier, interviews, pictures directly from us or on: www.sos-san-jose.org.

A film (DVD) is under way in will be orderable within the next weeks.

 

 

 

 


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