M A M A    C O C A
Mama Coca Home

Denunciation of the Assassination of Indigenous Cofán Leader of  Putumayo and of the Fumigation of Traditional Crops in Indigenous  Territories and of the Acts of Violence that Worsen the Grave Situation of Human Rights in Putumayo, Colombia

Saturday, 20 Jan 2001

The Cofán People and the Indígenas Councils of the Valle del Guamuéz and San Miguel and the Latin American Association for Human Rights (ALDHU) DENOUNCE, before the international  community the assassination of PABLO EMILIO DIAZ QUETA, Vice- President of the Foundation of Traditional Authorities ZIO-A'I "Union  de Sabiduria," on January 3, 2001 in the municipality of San Miguel. He was killed by armed groups, presumably paramilitaries, who  shot him various times in the head and then threw his body into the  San Miguel river.  After this cruel assassination, his family was threatened and  forced to flee the region, adding to the list of women, elderly,  children, and men displaced from their territory by the increasing  belligerent actions against leaders of the communities. Pablo was a Cofán Indian, born 27 years ago in the heart of Santa  Rosa of Sucumbios, ancestral territory of the Cofán people of the  Department of Putumayo. Brother of Taita Diomedez Díaz and grandson of Ofelia Queta, both elders and traditional experts of the  millenial science of yagé. Since his infancy, the elders, particularly  his father and his uncle Taita Querubín Queta Alvarado, maximum Traditional Authority of the Cofán People of Colombia, saw in him a special  vocation that directed him to follow spiritual learning. This path of learning led him to be named Vice-President of the   Foundation of Traditional Authorities, created by the initiative of   the elders and directed to search for alternatives for peace, for   solutions to the conflict that lives in the region and, to guarantee   the physical and cultural survival of the 18 communities situated in   the region of el Valle del Guamuéz and San Miguel.

Adding to this, on December 26, 2000, the ex-governor of the Cabildo, HENRY PASCAL, member of the Permanent Working  Assembly of the Cofán People and his spouse, LIDIA QUETA, who was four months pregnant, were also assassinated by  paramilitaries in the community of Yarinal. As part of the activities developing in the region, since December   22, 2000, the government has been fumigating the territories of  indigenous peoples and campesino communities, located in the Municipalities of the Valle del Guamuéz, and San Miguel, Putumayo Department. This has caused the displacement of approximately 80 families of the communities of Yarinal, San Marcelino and Santa Rosa de Sucumbíos - El Diviso, towards the jungle and territories of the neighboring country of Ecuador. The fumigation has come as a surprise since for the last two years, communities have been engaged in a peaceful process of developing the "Plan de Vida" in collaboration with the government which includes an agreement   for 100% manual eradication of illicit crops.

Four indigenous communities were fumigated between December   22, 2000 and January 5, 2001, devastating our traditional crops of medicinal plants, including the sacred plant yagé, and contaminating our fish hatcheries causing serious health problems, especially among the children. These acts endanger the peace process and coordination with the State to develop the Plan de Vida of the Cofán People, a proposal we presented so that the State could respond before the impacts which have resulted from the activities proceeding in our territory.  The affected communities are:

NUEVA ISLA. Cofán Community of the Municipality of el Valle del Guamuéz, fumigated on December 22, 2000 at seven in the   morning. The fumigation covered the traditional crops entirely. These crops provided sustenance for 32 families and included yuca, plantain, corn, and fruits. Also fumigated were the   chicken shed, the fish hatcheries, and the medicinal botanic garden utilized by Taita Emiliano Queta for healing. Finally, the plane flew   over and fumigated the houses, destroying the last possibilities for   food for the families by destroying their family gardens alongside our houses.

SANTA ROSA DEL GUAMUÉZ. Cofán Community of the   Municipality of Valle del Guamuéz, was fumigated on January 6,   2001. The 755 hectares of our reserve were fumigated in their totality, destroying not only the coca crops but also our traditional  food crops, the sustenance for 50 families, the botanical gardens,   the fish hatcheries, and the animal breeding places.

NUEVO HORIZONTE. Pasto Community of the Municipality of Valle del Guamuéz, was fumigated between January 1 and 4th, 2001. They fumigated our traditional crops, the sustenance for 24   families.

TIERRA LINDA. Paéz Community of the Municipality of the Valle   del Guamuéz   was fumigated from December 22, 2000 to January 5, 2001. They fumigated all of the traditional crops, sustenance for  32 families, the medicinal gardens and fields. We have testimonies and photos of the disaster that the fumigation has left in our community.

  Given the increasing intensity of the conflict in our territories and   the violation of human rights in past days, we REQUEST that   human rights defenders, government institutions, and national and   international NGOs, advance actions in RESPECT OF OUR   INDIGENOUS TERRITORIES AND PROTECTION OF OUR LIVES.      Our peoples do not take part in the war. We are a culture of peace,   of wise people, of traditional ancestral knowledge, doctors,   guardians of nature and of life. We have a proposal for peace,   dialogue and coexistance that we have called the Plan de Vida of   the Cofán People and the Indigenous Councils of the Valle del   Guamuéz   and San Miguel. We require urgently humanitarian,   technical, and economic assistance to resolve the emergency   humanitarian emergency in which we find ourselves. We hope that   this message will be circulated throughout the world, and that you   will take measures to support the solution to the conflict in which   we find ourselves.

We ask that governments give us the opportunity to protect the life of our brothers and sisters who are in danger.   ---------

Favor compartir esta información y ayudarnos a divulgarla citando a Mama Coca

Mama Coca Home Contra la Guerra Biológica .Enlaces Contáctenos