The following statement was published by the Jhonatan Sabogal” Collective Process of Political Prisoners of the Uprising on June 22, 2023.
Communiqué #04. June 22, 2023. Palmira prison
We are the voices of the “Jhonatan Sabogal” Collective Process of Political Prisoners of the Uprising (Estallido Social). We struggle in the broad horizons of social justice for humane conditions of incarceration and the immediate release of hundreds who were unjustly detained by the Colombian state during the Uribe governments and subsequently during the Duque administration (2018-22), within the context of widespread Social Protests.
We also write to express and emphasize our appreciation for all of the solidarity that has been mobilized by friends, compañeras and compañeros, and all of our sisters and brothers in struggle, and especially for those who have continued to stand with us.
As we previously indicated, we have set a deadline for resuming our hunger strike, which is our Zero Hour: July 1, 2023 at 12 noon
This decision is based on the following:
- Colombia’s Attorney General, Francisco Barbosa, has continued to wage a judicial war against us. This includes the manipulation of mechanisms intended to trap us through false testimonies, inflation of punitive charges, procedural delays, and an intricate web of processes which criminalize us, among other tactics, which are part of an overall strategy of judicial harassment intended to perpetuate our imprisonment.
- This strategy results in a victimization that above all affects the emotional and psychological stability, health, life and economic well-being of our families and communities of origin. It is they who bear the greatest weight of the carceral life that has been imposed on us.
- Furthermore all of this also feeds a process of revictimization of our fellow citizens who have been identified and targeted as protagonists of the uprising (estallido social), and especially against those of us who have been detained and imprisoned during the Duque administration between 2018 and 2022.This systematic stigmatization expresses itself throughout the processes of political persecution instigated by the political sectors that have staked out a position of extremist opposition to the Petro administration (2022-2026). This is also reflected in their efforts to impede the adoption of critical progressive social policies which are essential for the fulfillment of the current government’s commitment to the path of peace with social justice. It is these same sectors who seem to revel in our continued imprisonment behind the bars of injustice, and who generate threats and murderous violence against our family members, defenders, those who stand in solidarity with us, and directly against those of us who have been detained.
- As a Process we have justified the need and urgency to create a MECHANISM OF DIALOGUE (Mesa de Diálogo) directly between the national government and prisoners from our Social Protest movements that recognize our role as non-armed political actors in the Social and Political Conflict that we, as Colombians, have lived through for decades. As a Process, we have made this demand since August 2022, and we have made advances in our attempts to create this MECHANISM through in-person dialogues with the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice, members of congress, human rights organizations, and others. But – ten months later – the Mechanism has not been created…
Therefore, we as a Process, have decided that our hunger strike must be resumed on July 1st at 12 noon. We undertake this as part of positioning a strategy of insistence and urgency before the Petro administration, the national Congress, human rights organizations, and key national leaders such as Father Javier Giraldo, and before all of Colombia’s people and society, pursuant to the following demands.
- Guarantees of the defense and protection of our rights, in general and specifically in terms of the life and peace of our families, both within the context of our incarceration as prisoners who participated in the uprising, but also upon our release from these bars of injustice.
- Establishment, as the effective realization of these overall guarantees, of the protocols and pathways necessary for the full protection of our lives and of those of our families.
- That we be recognized as Political Prisoners of the uprising (Estallido Social), as a reflection of the realities we confront and based on the dignity conferred through our participation in the struggles, protests, and conflicts of our people, as unarmed political actors.
- Guarantees to us as prisoners of the necessary conditions of well-being and human dignity to which we are entitled, including tranquility and health standards. This must be extended to all of those deprived of their freedom within the context of Social Protest, as the unconstitutional conditions of mistreatment in the Penitentiary and Jailing System are resolved.
- Immediate installation of a MECHANISM OF DIALOGUE between the national government and those detained, imprisoned and/or charged within the context of Social Protest, including the participation of third-party mediators, guarantors, facilitators, and observers, taking into account the following dimensions:
5.1. Recognition of our social protest movements as an expression of Colombia’s underlying overall Social and Political Conflict.
5.2. Effective measures of protection and security for us as Political Prisoners and for our families
5.3. Guarantees of physical and emotional well-being for political prisoners of the uprising
5.4. Clarification, prosecution, and struggle against impunity regarding Social Protest with respect to the demands of the victims and their families
5.5. Design, planning and development of proposals to resolve the root causes of the issues in popular territories as a contribution to the construction of Total Peace.
5.6. Complete freedom for all of us imprisoned for our participation in social protests, which has resulted from a dirty war of asymmetrical violence waged by the Colombian state that has resulted in our criminalization.
We also issue an affectionate call to all the national and international organizations, processes and initiatives in defense of human rights, to effectively mobilize all of their solidarity, statements, and initiatives in support of, and with emphasis on, our demands for dialogue and humane conditions, in defense of our struggle for freedom, life, and well-being.
Finally, we want to emphasize that what is about to begin is our third hunger strike as a Process. We have learned a great deal along the way, particularly through the experience of being imprisoned for more than two years. The various dimensions of the cases of the members of our Process have nourished our capacities of resistance (“aguante”) through our RESISTANCE which is just. This is why, now, we are radicalizing our actions through the resumption of our hunger strike. We will maintain this position until our demands are effectively addressed, and the commitments made by the authorities as the result of our previous initiatives have been completely and seriously fulfilled by those who have the power to do so, through the MECHANISM OF DIALOGUE that we are demanding. It is for and because of this that both they and we are political actors.
It is upon this basis that we hope to have the opportunity to see you again, as our friends and companions in the social struggle and for social justice. We also hope to see this week, at Palmira prison, prior to our Zero Hour deadline, our friends in the current Government of Change from the special congressional commission that has been established to address issues related to our demands.
PROCESO COLECTIVO “Jhonatan Sabogal” Prisioneros Políticos del Estallido Social.