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Free the Colombian peasant leader Luz Perly!

22. February 2004

In the night of February 18, 2004, Luz Perly Cà³rdoba, chairwoman of the peasant organisation of Arauca (1) and person in charge for human rights for the National Colombian Federation of Peasants FENSUAGRO-CUT (2) was arrested by agents of the Colombian intelligence DAS (3). The apprehension occurred during her participation at lecture at the INNCA university of Bogotá.

Because of countless death threats by paramilitary forces Luz Perly has been admitted to the protection programme for activists of social organisations performed by the interior ministry and the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights. Because of the imminent danger to her live she had to leave Arauca and search for refuge in the capital Bogotá.

Luz Perly originates from poor peasants and indigenous background. Today mother of two children, she has been political militants since her earliest youth and as such she was persecuted and tortured repeatedly by the army. Since the inception of the presidency of Alvaro Uribe Và©lez the situation of the agrarian social movement keeps deteriorating. The areas of the peasant communities have been declared special zones (4) and saw their civil rights suspended. The constitutional rights to free expression of peasants and their organisations therefore are thus withdrawn and the right to due judicial procedure in case of arrest denied.

Currently 75 leading activists of FENSUAGRO-CUT are in detention among them the former secretary general Nicolás Hernandez Cabrera. Most of them are being accused of “subversion and terrorism”.

Luz Perly is known also in Europe for her commitment for the Colombian peasants. In last July she campaigned in several European countries on the invitation of the Anti-imperialist Camp.

Her arrest comes right after the Colombian president promised in front of the European parliament and several governments what he called “democratic security” asking for financial support.

We call upon all democratic forces to express their protest in front of the European and Colombian representatives and to ask for the immediate release of one of the senior leaders of the Colombian peasant movement.

Dipl. Ing. Gernot Bodner

member of the Political Committee of the Anti-imperialist Camp and representative of the campaign “Another Colombia is possible – with peace and social justice”

(1) Asociacià³n Campesina de Arauca. Arauca is a Colombian province adjoining Venezuela. In the last period it has been one of the hotspots of the social and armed conflict in Colombia.

(2) Federacià³n Nacional Sindical Unitaria Agropecuaria – Central Unitaria de Trabajadores

(3) Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad

(4) Zonas de Rehabilitacà³n