Rodrigo Medina, Second Secretary of Land and Territory, Madre de Dios Peasant Federation
“I want to announce to the press that the persecution and death threats continue today in Pando., This is happening in the municipalities of Santos Mercado, Villanueva, Puerto Gonzalo Moreno, Filadelfia, Puerto Rico, and other communities, such as Ingavi de Pando.
“They are intimidating our people. Yesterday an event occurred – they shot the driver of Mayor Edwin Cuellar of the municipality of Santos Mercado, and he is wounded. A girl was raped by these same groups. Last night in the community of Piedras, they tied up and offended the honor of this girl, until the members of the community came to her rescue. She is currently in the house of a schoolteacher. Because of these incidents, women can not go to where they wash and bring water. People come down from the mountain, in what seem to be planned attacks. In the municipality of Gonzalo Moreno, the brother of the head of the city’s human resources department was run down with a motorcycle. Currently he is at the Hospital in Riberalta, this has also been done by the same group of men who were hoods over their heads. These are only the cases that we know about; but surely there are many which we haven’t heard about yet.
“For these reasons, we ask that the Martial Law authorities also maintain a presence in our communities where our peasant brothers find themselves unprotected.”
Abigail Adagua, Vice-President, Villanueva Vigilance Committee
“We came to the city of La Paz because we want to express that some of the mass media have converted themselves into the accomplices of the murderers of Pando. The [former] police chief comes across as a victim via the media, but she was complicit in the abuse against us.
“On that day, September 11th, if they had told us that we were going to Cobija to a battle, we would not have brought our children, our wives and our elders. We never thought we were going to confront a massacre, and now humble people are left traumatized.
“To the racist media we say that we too are human beings. We ask the media to help us to demand justice for all peasants, for the widows, widowers and orphans.”
Gerson Racua, President, Town of San Pedro Vigilance Committee
“I am one of the survivors. Surely some of the media know me because I said that Chiquitin Becerra gave me weapons and paid me. I said that because they tied me up and tortured me, they fired their guns to make me say those things. I am here today to refute things that some are being published in the media.
“The police chief who is making herself out to be the victim was one of the promoters of this shooting and killing of peasants – she went to verify the car we were in, checked for weapons and found nothing.
“To Pando authorities, political advisors and others, we want to say that we too are citizens of Pando and we want justice for the peasant sector. Another thing I want to denounce are the montages that have been made recently.”
Isabel Chicunawi, Councilwoman, Town of Puerto Rico
“I say today, in the presence of the media, that we are victims. What they did to us on September 11th is very sad. We ask the media to help us to investigate the deaths of the women and children. In the list of the dead the are only men, but where are the women and children that they killed?
“I ask the media not to be like the media of Pando, which has been bought out by the cacique [political boss] of Pando.”
Jorge Boroboro, Organizational Secretary, Bolivia Confederation of Peasant Workers
“I am also one of the survivors of the massacre of Pando. On September 11th, there was an ambush in which there was a clear intention to kill us; they shot me three times with a .22 caliber. Many of our comrades have died or have disappeared, but currently they continue with this subjugation in different communities in Pando.
“Many are lying, like for example the police chief [at the time] who is appearing in the media. She was an accomplice in the ambush and but is now saying that she is the victim.”
(ht2 Otto @ Inca Kola News)