Target: President Juan Manuel Santos
Goal: End streak of violence against farmers in Northern Colombia
A leader of the farmers of El Tamarindo in Northern Colombia, Juan Martinez, has received numerous death threats in the past month. This follows an attack by several armed men on the farmers of El Tamarindo, who had been forcibly evicted from their land. Mr. Martinez was in his home in El Tamarindo when a woman involved with a paramilitary group threatened him by saying that the group already had people ready to kill him. The government must do all that it can to protect these innocents from the wrath of rogue paramilitary groups roaming the country.
Since 2001 the El Tamarindo farm has been occupied by 130 families, who had been displaced from their farms by armed conflict elsewhere. Armed groups have attempted multiple times to force the farmers off the land and have succeeded in gaining the forced eviction of some of the farmers. Late last year, a paramilitary group declared the families still on the farm ‘military targets’. This is in violation of national and international laws that protect citizens from campaigns of terror.
By doing nothing to prevent the violence, the government is partly to blame for the unchecked violence and forced evictions. The Columbian government must change their policies in order to prevent further actions by these groups. Doing so will show the international community Colombia’s commitment to protecting the human rights of all its citizens.
Dear President Juan Manuel Santos,
Recent violence against the farmers in the El Tamarindo in the northern part of your country is unacceptable. Your government must do all it can to prevent further evictions and violence against farmers and their representatives. By doing nothing to prevent the violence, the government is partly to blame for the unchecked violence and forced evictions.
Your government must change its policies in order to prevent further actions by these groups. Doing so will show the international community your commitment to protecting the human rights of all your citizens. These farmers deserve the right to live the life they choose and these paramilitary groups, and by extension your government, are inhibiting them from doing so. I ask that you take immediate action against the aggressors.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Dan La Botz via Upsidedownworld.com