“…Colombian journalism remains mute at the face of insolences, deceits,  and the jesters of power and this is saddening. But they shake up the Botafumeiro in order to envelope the Prince with an incense of flattery. Given that journalists are part of the presidential retinue, they inevitable play the role of nobleman, the usher, and asskissers, and if they have to they will also be tirabeques. A journalist should never be part of the presidential retinue. A journalist has to be defined against power not next to it…and the Great media’s mute silence is even more saddening. The act of complacency corresponds with the state of wretchedness”.
Alberto Aguirre – Colombia Journalist
(Prensa Tartamuda, Cromos Magazine, August 18, 2003, p.12)

On the way to the  6th of March
EL RETORNO Productions / Communications Area-  Asociación Campesina de Antioquia
 (Peasant Association of Antioquia)

When the students organized and marched they were called vandals… When the coca leaf growers marched in the south part of the country they were called guerrillas… When the displaced marched on July 18th of last year demanding Life, Land and Dignity they did not even appear on mainstream media… When the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartadó marched in memory of their dead as they celebrated their 10th year anniversary journalists failed to arrive and document the event. The rest of the country remained unaware that hundreds of campesinos that honor nonviolent resistance organized to honor their family members, friends and partners that have been assassinated. Further, this happens as war strategies used against civil society are being formulated and implemented from the army battalions with the end goal of exterminating communities.

We will never be able to fully comprehend how much we are actually impacted by the kind of media that informs us. The media is a propaganda that uses the right of expression, nonetheless, it has its hands and feet tied to the first and most important liberties of our current times: the market.  Information is sold like water—bottled and sealed—with an apparent transparent surface, without calories, light, smooth, and timely.  It hypnotizes us, repeating itself in different places using the same sources. Thus, we are not informed. We live saturated with images and stories that confuse us, words that relate information about our security, and that  leaves us with the difficult task of  deciphering the complex panorama of our social conflicts. In essence, the information we obtain is sold like Coca-Cola: dark and manipulated, harmful but addicting.

What takes place around us is not informed by real time and space—it  leaves out a context—and  we live our days hurried and robotic under a mechanical universe. Politricks are a result of how mainstream media glorifies its masters and silences its subordinates who are put to sleep and awoken whenever deemed necessary.  A month before the 4th of February, when the masses marched against the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC), mainstream media complacently informed the audience that this march was ¨spontaneously¨ organized via the Internet by some individuals. The media discussed and over and over showed the letters written by those held captive by the FARC. In the end it succeeded in mobilizing the entire country as it took part and debated the act of kidnapping and the inhumane conditions that guerrillas force politicians, soldiers, and civilians to tolerate. Mainstream media and its owners manipulated what is essentially an unfortunate reality in order to cover up a more inconspicuous reality: the terror caused by paramilitaries in Colombia. This terror is one that directly compromises them and has the potential of leading to conclusions that can be much more dramatic than the aforementioned march. 

Reports of the Paramilitary scandal in last year’s mass media were very publicized.  The Supreme Court began to prove the validity of affirmations made for many years by social, human rights and non-governmental organizations.  These claims have stated that politicians, members of the police and armed forces, judges, state prosecutors, notaries, businessmen, multinationals and lawyers had united with the feudal power of narcotraffickers in various regions in the country.  With the purpose of “defending themselves from communist attack,” they have massacred entire communities in order take control of the nation’s best lands and to establish their development programs, as the State remained completely silent. The horror of paramilitarism in Colombia has left hundreds of thousands of victims that have been persecuted, ignored and silenced.  However, this pain has not been given a permanent face in the newscasts of the two principal Colombian television networks, whose news emphasis simply corresponds to “marketability”.  Being two of the country’s most powerful economic interests, their priority remains enriching their own pockets. The desperate calls for justice and truth do not fit within their information agenda. Behind the tactic of spreading news of and focusing solely on atrocities committed by the Guerrilla, lies their intent to forget and hide their own atrocities.  The victims themselves can only tell the true story.
The Victims of State Crimes Movement in Colombia has convened/organized a tribute for abuses committed by paramilitary groups, for March 6th.  The Movement wrote a letter to the News Director of the National News Network (RCN, Radio Cadena Nacional) to inform them of and invite them to this mobilization, so that the event arouses the same level of interest as the February 4th march against the FARC.  The RCN has mentioned the event but only minimally, while the government claims that the march is organized by the Guerrilla.  Some columnists deem it to failure, and wonder if the populace will disdain Paramilitary leaders as much as the FARC leaders “Tirofijo” and “MonoJojoy.”
We have always marched alongside the multiple victims of human rights violations that take place in Colombia. We can’t ignore the forced disappearances, the massacres and forced displacement that together create a one of the world’s most complex scenes and one that defines our reality.
On the 6th of March, we will once again be by your side to collectively witness a history that is currently inconclusive manipulated and biased. We will be there to echo the shouts against impunity and demand that justice be practiced and truth be told by those who hold power in the highest places who seem to either be blind or completely oblivious to the pain imposed on us. 
Let’s join the walk of the 6th of March to respect the many who have been forced to leave their lands, let us join for those who resist in their own territories, for those whose voices have never been heard, for all the disappeared, for the original townspeople, for the land that is also a victim of power’s veracity. Let us join the march to respect truth: for the access to independent media, for all the assassinated journalists and those who are in living in exile because of their commitment to work in an ethical and dignified manner, and for the memory during this current era of collective hysteria.

Medellín, February 12, 2008.
EL RETORNO Productions
Communications Area-  Asociación Campesina de Antioquia
 (Peasant Association of Antioquia)


Detrás de los Medios / El primer capítulo de esta serie analiza la manera cómo fue reportada en los medios masivos de comunicación la noticia de la masacre ocurrida el 21 de febrero de 2005 en la Comunidad de Paz de San José de Apartadó.

Memorias contra el Silencio y la Impunidad / El 27 de febrero se cumplieron 9 años del asesinato del defensor de derechos humanos Jesús María Valle Jaramillo, fecha en la cual diversas organizaciones sociales y de derechos humanos lanzaron la Campaña "Memorias contra el Silencio y la Impunidad - Nunca Más Crímenes de Estado".

Tribunal Permanente de los Pueblos / El 10 y 11 de noviembre de 2006 sesionó en Medellín la Audiencia sobre Minería del Tribunal Permanente de los Pueblos - Capítulo Colombia - Multinacionales, Recursos Naturales y Guerra Sucia en Colombia.

Refugiados en la Red / Puedes ver en internet los dos primeros capítulos de la Serie Documental Refugiados en su propio suelo, pronto podrás descargar y difundir las producciones del Observatorio.

Asentamiento La Honda, Comuna Nororiental, Medellín, 2005.