Voices of the victims: Achiles Alfaro Castillo

With the Stop Blood Coal campaign, PAX is committed to the tens of thousands of victims of paramilitary violence in the Colombian mining region of Cesar. We support these victims in their search for truth and reconciliation and push mining companies to take their responsibility and contribute to actual remedy for the victims.

The story of Achilis Alfaro Castillo

Achilis Alfaro Castillo Photo © Ronald de Hommel / PAX

I had 25 hectares in Mechoacán. We took occupation in 1990 and started to build a house and farm the land. It was 1996 before all the ownership papers were complete.

The threats from the paramilitaries started soon afterwards. They always came at night to tell us we had to leave because Drummond wanted to buy the land. My son protested and was threatened. I drove him to Riohacha (in the north) where he would be safe.

On a later visit they offered us 10 million pesos. We would have to get out within 12 hours. That’s what we did. We fled to Riohacha. My son was murdered there later, after which we went to Bosconia. We are now suing for the return of our land. We want a fair price.

Two months ago Oswaldo Vega, the man who bought our land for so little money and who still works for Drummond, came to threaten me. He said that we should stop the case or they would come and murder me. I have nothing left. I live in a hut and sell coffee on the market.

Get involved with our peace work.
Subscribe to the PAX Action Alert.