In July 2005 Gloria Cuartas, former mayor of Apartado in Colombia, awarded “Mayor for Peace” by UNESCO and today general secretary of the left-wing party “Frente Social y Politico”, was a guest at the Summer University in Tamera. With her came two inhabitants of San José, a peace village in a region in which a civil war has been fought for 40 years. (We do not print their names as we do not know yet whether we bring them into danger by doing so)
The reason to invite representatives from San José to Tamera was the extremely cruel murder of Luis Eduardo Guerra, one of the leaders of the peace village, together with seven further village inhabitants, amongst them women and children on February 21 of this year. Denunciations and threats of murder against our friend Gloria Cuartas followed.
One of the basic principles of this peaceful community is not to allow weapon on to their land. In a country in which military, police, guerrillas and paramilitary fight against each other because of its mineral resources and its strategically valuable position the village inhabitants try with all their power to set an example that also another life is possible.
We respect and admire the courage and the power of hope of these farmers, these women and children. But we also know that these people live in great danger.
As if they had not been caused enough harm they are blamed for the murders that were committed on their brothers, mothers, children. Instead of protecting them president Alvarez Uribe blamed them of cooperating with the guerrillas. The next logical step after this criminal selection will be to force them with pressure to leave the region, which is the actual stated goal of the government. In case of their refusal they will be eliminated – which will be declared as a successful hit against terrorism from the government. With great éclat of most of the states which tremble with the amorphous “terrorism”.
Gloria Cuartas, her combatants and the peace village San José are in the greatest danger. We can not inactively perceive that the persons who told their story here at our Summer University, with whom we cried, laughed and sang go down as martyrs for their peace village like so many others.
I ask you to publish the new about San José. Protest at the Colombian government. Only an international Public can give the group now the protection it needs.
I thank for your assistance!
Founder of Peace Research Center Tamera / Portugal
One of the "1000 women for the Nobel Peace Price 2005"