The scar is indelible. With every day, every year, and every commemoration of the war crime that struck Bellavista (in Bojayá, Chocó department, Colombia) on May 2, 2002, as what happened is forgotten, the scar gets deeper.
On this day, each year, some newspaper or other publishes a report that says things aren’t going well; the victims and others who live in the Medio Atrato region demand truth, justice and reparation; organisations lament the empty speeches and faded promises of local, departmental and national politicians…
In 2012, to mark the 10 years since the war crime that left 79 people dead and thousands homeless, suffering life-long consequences, the communities demanded respect and attention from the Colombian Government. Once again, they were ignored, fobbed off with speeches and empty gestures.
Today, those of us who work in the HREV collective once again express our solidarity with our friends from the Medio Atrato region, ONCE AGAIN we denounce the racist, violent, extractivist and undemocratic policies of the Colombian State and its agents and we call upon international organisations to stop being complicit in this systematic violation of individual and collective human rights, of the land rights of indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants in Bojayá, the Atrato and Colombia in general. Each time international agencies accept what the State of Colombia is doing, this adds to the already heavy burden of neglect and exclusion for communities. As we said last year: “May 2 has gone by and everything has become clearer: the commitment of the communities to collective memory and the construction of alternatives; the official neglect and contempt; the lack of state commitment to Justice and Restitution for Afro-descendant communities and indigenous peoples in the municipality of Bojayá and the Medio Atrato region…”
Bojayá lives, its memory lingers.
HREV, May 2, 2013