Last week marked the second anniversary of David Revelo’s arrest and subsequent incarceration. He is an economist, human rights defender and founding member of the Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS). The case awaits the judge’s ruling. PBI has interviewed David Ravelo:
PBI: How has it been living among the other prisoners?
David Ravelo: Living among the other prisoners in Yard 2 at the Picota has been very good and even enriching. I have learned and grown facing this adversity. In fact, on two occasions I was elected by popular vote among the prisoners to be their representative on the Human Rights Committee in the Picota jail. Being locked up hasn’t kept me from continuing my work as a human rights defender. I continue defending the rights of the prisoners and their families because that is what I know how to do and that is what I’ve always done. In other words, it is my vocation to serve people, so here that is what I continue to do.
PBI: Do you fear for your safety? How has the security situation been for your family?
DR: I don’t fear for my safety within the jail. My family’s safety has been a more difficult issue. My wife and children and my siblings are in Barrancabermeja, and they have suffered different incidents that we denounced when they occurred—they also work in the social sector there—but we have been able to overcome it.
PBI: What is your view about how your trial was carried out?
DR: There was never any physical evidence to present and the evidence that was presented by the Prosecutor’s Office was refuted. On the other hand, there was ample evidence supporting my innocence. It’s important to keep in mind that the witnesses were found guilty of the 16 May 1998 Massacre, in which CREDHOS and I denounced the atrocities that were committed and because of that they were found guilty.
PBI: What ruling do you expect from the judge?
DR: What is clear is my absolute innocence. I hope that a ruling in my case is made soon and that I will be absolved of the false charges. And then I will return to the place that I never should have had to leave—to the heart of the population in Barrancabermeja—where I have always defended our rights.
PBI: What support have you received?
DR: I have received so much support while I have been in jail. It’s reassuring and helps boost my morale. Unionists, human rights defenders, politicians and international organisations have been a great support. PBI has done important work in exposing this case and the consistent visits have been a comfort to me. Visits lift my spirit and are a relief and satisfaction. I have been given unconditional support from the beginning.