ACVC: 2015 – 2016

Among the most severe attacks against the Peasant Farmer Association of the Cimitarra River Valley (ACVC) between 2014 and 2016, the following are worthy of note:

Threats and acts of aggression

  • 11 January 2015: Death threats from the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia – AUC) via telephone against Lilia Peña, the president of the Magdalena Medio Victim’s Association (Asociación Regional de Víctimas del Magdalena Medio – ASORVIMM). The threats mentioned, among other things, her daughter and the Family Farmer Association of the Cimitarra River Valley (Asociación Campesina del Valle del Río Cimitarra – ACVC), another organization accompanied by PBI.[1]
  • 29 March 2015: Death threats against Mario Martínez Mahecha, coordinator of the North-eastern Antioquia chapter and ex-president of the ACVC, in front of WilsonVega, spokesperson of the Board of Directors and member of the ACVC work team on North-eastern Antioquia. An individual, that the rural communities identified as a demobilized guerrilla member, named Juan Morales Ladino, said to them:“I am not going to persecute any small scale farmers but the first thing I will do is order the murder of Mario Martínez.”[2]
  • 22 October 2015: a threatening pamphlet against Milton Mahecha, spokesperson of The Peasant Farmers’ Association of the Cimitarra River Valley (Asociación Campesina del Valle del Río Cimitarra – ACVC), that stated:“Milton Mahecha of the ACVC political wing of the FARC. We know that you are a member of the guerrillas. This little story of the communal council is a cover you use to protect yourself from the law, but you won’t save yourself from us.You go or you die.” Before leaving the pamphlet, the individuals knocked on his door, but Milton did not open it.[3]
  • 23 September 2016: Threat, by a leaflet published by the AGC and circulated in Cantagallo (Bolivar), against campaigners for the ‘Yes’ vote in the plebiscite, explicitly referring to the Family Farmer Association of the Cimitarra River Valley (ACVC).[4]

Monitoring and surveillance

  • 11 March 2015: Surveillance of Melkin Hernán Castrillón Peña’s house in Barrancabermeja by two men on a motorcycle. Melkin is a member of the ACVC and CREDHOS Boards of Directors.[5]
  • 27 April to 1 May 2015: surveillance of Andres Gil, member of the Board of Directors of the Family Farmer Association of the Cimitarra River Valley (ACVC). During five days, four people remained at the entrance of Gil’s home in Bogota. He had warned members of the National Protection Unit several times already, and had previously had a security escort because of his extraordinary risk, and he also warned the National Police, but not one of the entities came to investigate.[6]
  • 24 August 2015: interrogation, by armed men who traveled by motorcycle, of Melkin Castrillón, spokesperson for the Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS, in Spanish) and treasurer of the Campesino Association of the Cimitarra River Valley (ACVC, in Spanish), while he walked into his neighborhood in Barrancabermeja. Later, two men continued surveillance of his house for two more hours until Melkin called the police. The men left when the police arrived.[7]

Detentions and prosecutions

  • 30 May 2015: detention of Cesar Jerez, founding member of the ACVC, and a member of the National Association of Family Farmer Reservation Zones (ANZORC), at an Army post in Guayabal, in the road between Neiva and San Vicente del Caguan. The 9th High Mountain Battalion justified his detention, which lasted one and a half hours, as a “routine vehicle check.” Mr Jerez, due to the extraordinary risk he faces, was travelling with a security escort provided by the National Protection Unit, and should not be detained at a control post.[8]

[1] File number (Office of the Barrancabermeja Attorney General): 680816000136201500148
[2] Prensa Rural: Se incrementan seguimientos y persecución contra ACVC, 6 April 2015
[3] The team in Barrancabermeja has a copy of the link
[4] Credhos, Denuncia Publica a la Fiscalía General de la Nación, Barrancabermeja, Numero Radicado: 20167420033392 recibido 9 September
[5] Prensa Rural: Persecución a defensores de derechos humanos de Credhos, 26 March 2015. Denunciation filed with the Attorny General on the 26th of March. This case still does not have a file number
[6] Prensa Rural: Seguimientos ilegales y hostigamientos contra Andrés Gil Marcha Patriótica, 5 May 2015
[7] Prensa Rural: Paramilitares abordan a líder campesino en Barrancabermeja, 25 August 2015. Denunciation filed by Credhos at the Barrancabermeja Attorney General’s Office, with internal number 250815 – 0592, received on the 26th of August, 2015
[8] Prensa Rural: Retenido ilegalmente por el ejército César Jerez, en base militar de Balsillas, 2 June 2015

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