La abogada Pilar Castillo y la madre Hilda Hernández recibiendo un abrazo de una de las asistentes a la charla. Foto Javier Castaño

«En Colombia el sistema fiscal colapsó y fue ineficaz”, dijo la abogada Pilar Castillo en la conferencia sobre los ‘falsos positivos’: el asesinato de jóvenes colombianos por parte de miembros del Ejército para hacerlos pasar como guerrilleros y cobrar recompensa. “En Colombia existe mucha impunidad”.

La reunión se realizó en la escuela Charter Renaissance de Jackson Heights, Queens, y fue organizada por El Movimiento por la Paz en Colombia.

Al lado de la abogada Castillos se hallaba Hilda Hernández, la madre de Elkin Gustavo Verano, uno de los jóvenes asesinados como falso positivo. Hernández habló del dolor que sintió como madre y de los difícil que ha sido vivir sin su hijo y luchar porque el estado colombiano acepte responsabilidad y recompense a víctimas.

Hernández vestía una camiseta blanca con una fotos de su hijo Elkin grabada al frente. Al final de la charla recibió abrazos del público y comentarios de solidaridad.

“Que recompensen a las familias de las víctimas es un paso importante porque al menos están reconociendo que se cometió el error”, dijo la abogada Castillo. Sin embargo criticó que el estado colombiano no quiere pagar mucho dinero por cada víctima, alrededor de 40 millones de pesos, y que es muy difícil enjuiciar a los militares. “Se asume que las Fuerzas Armadas no violan las leyes en Colombia como lo hacen los grupos subversivos”.

Elkin Gustavo Verano.

Hilda Hernández, mamá de uno de los "falsos positivos" que visita NY.

La abogada Castillo habló de la situación legal de estos asesinatos que no son otra cosa que «crímenes de lesa humanidad» o «ejecuciones extrajudiciales» cometidos durante la presidencia de Alvaro Uribe Vélez, quien le acaba de entregar el poder al presidente electo Juan Manuel Santos, que perteneció a su administración.

Publicamos aquí la carta que explica en inglés el motivo de la visita de estos colombianos a varias ciudades estadounidenses como Boston y Washington.

This fall the Colombia Human Rights Committee (Washington, DC), the Movement for Peace in Colombia (New York), Colombia Vive (Boston), and the Colombian human rights organization Asociación Minga are organizing a tour to call attention to the plight of victims in Colombia’s armed conflict, and to support victims’ rights in Colombia.

Our speakers are Flor Hilda Hernández and Pilar Castillo.  Flor Hilda Hernández is the mother of Elkin Gustavo Verano Hernández, who was disappeared from his neighborhood in Soacha, next to Bogotá, on January 13 or 14, 2008, and who turned up dead, assassinated, it turned out, by government forces, two days later. Elkin Verano Hernández, 26 years old at the time of his death, had been working for two years in a factory job, and had held another factory job In 2005 and 2006.  He was Flor Hilda’s oldest child. As she is a single mother, she lost not only a child, but the person who helped her most with his younger brothers and sisters. Elkin Gustavo is one of 17 young men from Soacha who were kidnapped and targeted for assassination by government forces motivated by promises of bonus pay for each guerrilla killed in combat in Colombia’s long-running war between insurgent and government forces. But he was no guerrilla fighter; he was a hard-working son and brother helping his family eke out a living.  As a result of these false claims, he and the others killed in similar circumstances have been described in Colombia as falsos positivos or “false positives.” In the terminology of international human rights law, killings such as these are known as “extrajudicial executions.”

Since May 2008, Pilar Castillo has been working in the legal area of the human rights organization Asociación Minga, where she has represented victims in several cases of extrajudicial executions that have occurred in the Colombian regions of Cundinamarca and Putumayo. She has also represented the direct victims and next-of-kin in cases of forced disappearance, torture, personal injuries, homicides, and massacres. The extrajudicial execution of the 17 youths from Soacha (in Cundinamarca), is emblematic of these cases.  Their bodies were found in the municipality of Ocaña, 275 miles north of Bogotá, in the department of Norte de Santander.

Flor Hilda and Pilar will be making presentations on the case of Elkin Gustavo in Washington, DC, from September 27 to October 1; in New York from October 2 to 8; and in Boston from October 9 to 16.

Please email us at colhrc@igc.org or call (202) 232-8148 if your faith community, university or student group, or community organization would like to participate.

Sincerely,

Chloe Schwabe                                 Cristina Espinel

Co-Chair                                               Co-Chair

chloe.schwabe@gmail.com colhrc@igc.org