Thursday, November 20, 2008

Explosion targets our home

Dear friends,

Last night at 8:35 P.M., an explosive was set-off in the entrance of the social organizations building where I live in Saravena. No one was hurt but windows were shattered on the first and second floors of the building. I was in Arauquita at the time and I returned here early this morning.

The explosive didn’t contain any shrapnel and it appears that the intention was to scare and intimidate us, rather than hurt anyone. Leaders of the social organizations that operate in the building believe that the explosive was set-off either by a FARC guerrilla or a government agent.

The guerrillas of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the ELN (National Army of Liberation) have been fighting against each other for the past three years here in the state of Arauca. Both groups profess to be fighting against the Colombian government to achieve social justice, but their conflict in Arauca is solely about the control of territory and economic resources.

In addition to killing each other, the FARC and ELN have also been operating like death squads in Arauca – displacing and killing civilians that they view as supporting the other side. They’ve also created a situation in which anyone could take action (set-off an explosive or kill someone) and make it look like it was part of the fight between the two groups.

The social organizations building is located in the center of Saravena – one-and-a-half blocks from a police guard post, two-and-a-half blocks from another guard post, and just four blocks from the police station.

The various social organizations have written public denunciations about the explosion and are determined to continue forward with their non-violent struggle for social justice.

I’ll be moving to a room on the third floor later today – further away from the street and with bulletproof glass.

In love and solidarity,


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