Case of U.S. Citizens Killed in Colombia

STATEMENT FROM JULIE FREITAS

For more information, contact:

Rania Batrice at +1.510.394.2041 or rania@amazonwatch.org


To the Colombian and international media, to governments worldwide, to non-governmental representatives of the international community, and to youth everywhere:

I have received the latest news accounts reporting that leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas have attributed the killings of my son Terence Freitas, 24, Ingrid Washinawatok, 41, and Lahe’ena’e Gay, 39, to a local rebel commander.

I stress emphatically that the family members and friends of Terence are not interested in any more bloodshed in Colombia. I understand the FARC frequently administer internal justice in cases like these by executing those allegedly responsible. I beg the FARC leaders not to destroy any more young lives. I do not want any mother to have to experience what I have experienced with the tragic loss of my son. If members of the FARC are indeed responsible, I would like to talk with them about the roots of their anger, about the source of this rage that prompted them to commit such a senseless act - the killings of people they obviously knew not enough about. I would like them to know that my son worked passionately in his short and tragically interrupted life to bring peace and tolerance and life to Colombia, following the example of the U’wa, the "thinking people."

I have learned from the U’wa elders that my son Terence sent his spirit to them in a dream this week. In this dream, Terence gave the elders a snail shell, which to the U’wa symbolizes peace and problem solving. Let this urgent plea from my son spread from the sacred land of the U’wa, from Kajka Ika, the heart of the world, throughout Colombia, throughout the international community. Let people everywhere respond to this tragedy by working to bring peace to Colombia so that communities like the U’wa may continue to preserve human life and the dignity of the land.

Before his death, Terence helped write a report about the U’wa people called, "Blood of Our Mother." The report prophetically states: "Colombian President-elect Andres Pastrana has a tremendous opportunity in this crisis. A promising peace process between the guerrillas and the government may allow the space for cooler heads to prevail. Human rights may yet triumph over multinational corporate interests." Following my son’s example, I request:

that all Colombian guerrilla groups paramilitary groups and government security forces declare a multilateral cease-fire to "allow the space for cooler heads to prevail."
that the U.S. Congress immediately suspend military aid to Colombia to foster a climate which promotes peace.
that a thorough and independent criminal investigation of these murders be conducted.
that the FARC refrain from any more executions.
that the international community, both government and non-governmental entities, organize a multilateral effort for peace in Colombia, similar to the effort which brought about the Dayton Peace Accords for Bosnia.
that young people everywhere continue to follow the example of my son by living by their convictions and by walking, not in fear but with dignity.
Yours in peace,

Julie Freitas,

Mother of Terence Freitas

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