October 1, 2014
On Saturday, Sept. 27, Colombia’s lead government negotiator Humberto de la Calle announced that he had been the target of a hacking operation that he classified as “sabotage of the peace process.” (Read his statement here.) He charged that unknown parties on at least 17 occasions sought to hack into his computer and emails, and that emails and communications to social media may have been sent out under his signature. De la Calle also charged that his cell phone might be intervened.
Minister of the Interior Juan Fernando Cristo called the interceptions a demonstration of what the “enemies of peace” might do to end the Havana peace process. Minister of Defense Juan Carlos Pinzón called the actions “unacceptable”. From Havana, on Sept. 28, members of the FARC-EP peace delegation issued a statement that rejected the action and expressed their solidarity with De la Calle. “We interpret the fact that the head of the Government delegation himself chose the peace table in Havana as the place to reveal the illicit [operation] as his desire to make it known that the enemies of peace continue to torpedo the process of talks without considering methods or persons.” (Read the full statement here.) FARC leaders underscored that “various months after learning about the scandalous Andromeda episode, the Attorney General of the Nation still hasn’t produced the results expected by the public, and new events of the same sort continue to occur.”
On Tuesday, Sept. 30, an investigation was opened by the Cuerpo Técnico de Investigación, the investigative arm of the Attorney General’s office, and on Oct. 1, the head of the National Police confirmed the interceptions and noted that they had not yet ascertained who was responsible.
3rd Victims’ Delegation to Havana
On Oct. 1, members of the third delegation of victims set off for Havana, and the UN Resident Coordinator Fabrizio Hochschild denounced that three of the victims who have traveled to Cuba and two of the coordinators of the delgation had received death threats; others have been attacked in social media. (Read more here.) This third delegation, to be received tomorrow at the peace table, includes 8 women and four men. Once again, it is a highly mixed group. Four of its members are victims of FARC violence, one is a victim of State violence, five were victimized by paramilitary groups, one by a joint operation of the state and paramilitaries, and another suffered violence at the hands of both the FARC and the paramilitary. (See General Mendieta, Aida Avella y Alan Jara integran la nueva comisión de víctimas.) This group also includes a number of conflict zones that have not been previously represented by the first two groups of victims, namely the departments of Vaupés, Bolívar, Cesar, Putumayo and Norte de Santander, and a number of new sectors, including ranchers, and military officials who were held for years by the FARC, and Colombians who were forced into exile by the war. Included in the group are also victims of the violence against the Patriotic Union, the bombing of the Club Nogal in Bogota, and the massacre of La Gabarra in Norte de Santander. (For a list of the victims and their profiles, click here.)
The climate for victims, human rights defenders, and journalists seems to be quickly worsening as the peace process advances. A series of death threats in recent weeks have been sent to email accounts of dozens of human rights and peace activists, some signed by the Rastrojos, others signed by the Aguilas Negras. (See Colombia Reports and earlier post.) On Monday, Sept. 29, death threats by the Urabeños against 8 journalists in Cali and Buenaventura were announced. (Read more here.) Just yesterday, Colombia was pronounced the second most dangerous place (after Mexico) in Latin America to be a journalist. (See article here.) The targets of the recent death threats have expressed concern that these threats are somewhat different from the usual threats they receive in their specificity and in that they name the individuals as “military targets.” The lists include respected organizations such as CODHES (Consultancy for Displacement and Human Rights), the New Rainbow Foundation, and the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation.
Campaign for 100 Days of Peace
In the meantime, civil society efforts for peace continue with boundless energy and creativity. A new campaign with a strong social media element has been launched that seeks to register all of the peace initiatives in Colombia that occur between September 2 and December 10 (international human rights day). Among other things, the campaign seeks to strengthen the cohesion of the peace movement and give visibility to peace efforts during that time. Likewise, the campaign is calling for a bilateral ceasefire for the subsequent 100 days, between Dec. 10-April 17, 2015. For more information about the campaign or to add your initiatives, tweet @100diasporlapaz or check out the Face Book at ciendiasporlapaz.