Living on a miracle: humanitarian outcry in Chocó

Living on a miracle: humanitarian outcry in Chocó
Living on a miracle: humanitarian outcry in Chocó

Julio César Uribe Hermocillo

By Julio César Uribe Hermocillo. Taken from El Guarengue.

“The miracle of the survival of blacks and Indians in this jungle has been brought about by the jungle itself. One can be sure that, if instincts had led the blacks astray, leading them to lands that offered less abundance of livelihoods, the institutional genocide programmed against this nation would have led to the extermination of their race.

Carlos Arturo Caicedo Licona. El Chocó inside, 1980.[1]

41,297 people from 106 rural communities (41% Afro-Chocó, 59% indigenous) in the Baudó, San Juan and Pacific subregions, in the department of Chocó, have been victims of 82 acts of armed violence in the period of the first three months of the year 2024, including 47 homicides, 34 of which occurred in Quibdó; according to data compiled and published by the Chocó Interethnic Solidarity Forum (FISCH), a social and ethnic platform that brings together most of the organizations of black people and indigenous communities in the region.

The FISCH quarterly report, “Chocó Alert. “Balance report of the humanitarian crisis in the department of Chocó in the first quarter of 2024”[2], published on April 28, reports that 35,752 people have been victims of confinement during the period; due to the presence of armed actors, anti-personnel mines, restrictions on mobility and clashes between groups, in 30.9% of cases; and 69.1% due to the so-called “armed strikes”.

Secluded, banished, confined to their own homes and towns, in their own collectively owned territories, during a good part of the months of January, February and March, to the black and indigenous communities of Chocó, in the subregions of San Juan (79 .2% of confinement cases), Pacífico (14.8%) and Baudó (5.6%), have been prevented from normally developing the multiple activities of their productive systems, which require going to the farms in the mountains every day, to cultivate and cultivate, harvest timber and fruit trees, and collect medicinal, food and seasoning plants. Likewise, the warlords have made it impossible to periodically resort to hunting reserves and fishing grounds, to procure food and other natural goods that the jungle lavishes in its natural cycles on its customary inhabitants, who for hundreds of years, Wisely, they have structured systems that provide them with sustenance throughout the year, in the forests and shores, in the rivers and in the seas, in the deltas and mangroves, which are part of their life and are the foundation of it.

So, when an armed group prevents the normal development of these productive activities, what it is impeding is the course of life, its reproduction, its development, its maintenance, the well-being of the people… Forcibly confined, these 35,752 Men and women, indigenous and black, of all ages, on more than one occasion, have only been able to leave to move, also forcedly, furtively, with fear on their backs, to municipal capitals and larger population centers. In 16 communities in the Chocó subregions of San Juan, Baudó and the Pacific, 4,889 people have been victims of forced displacement between January and March 2024, due to clashes, threats and armed incursions by irregular groups.

Two days after the FISCH report on such a painful humanitarian situation in Chocó, the DANE (National Administrative Department of Statistics) informed the country that “in March 2024, the unemployment rate in the national total was 11.3% and in the total 13 cities and metropolitan areas was 10.8%”[3]; while the unemployment rate in Quibdó was 29.7%; with a proportion of informality of 57% in the city’s employed population.[4]

This is a flagrant violation of each and every one of the human rights, the economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, and the rights of the people, of the people of Chocó. A violation that in a social State of Law should not occur, should not be allowed.


[2] All the data included is sourced from this FISCH infographic, published in its X account.


[4] Pp. 29 and 39.

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