A Yukpa Woman Demands Justice

June 27, 2016

Sabino Romero, chief of the Indigenous Yupka community in the Sierra of Perijá, Venezuela, was murdered in March of 2013. The Yupka community claims that the suspected murderers were hired by cattle ranchers attempting to take the ancestral lands of the Yupka people. Romero was a lands activist who defended his community’s ancestral lands from cattle ranchers and mining companies. He was a prominent force in the struggle the take back Yupka lands and worked tirelessly to voice the concerns of his community, urging the government to stop the destruction of their homes.

In a letter to the Venezuelan Attorney General below, issued in June 2016, his wife, Lucía Martínez, demands that the government take action against her husband’s murderers and bring justice for the Yupka community. Lucía Martínez argues that in the fight for their lands, the homes and families of the Yupka community are continuously threatened everyday by the violence that continues to ensue in the Sierra of Perijá, and by a government that does not bring those responsible to justice.

 

Letter from Lucía Martínez, wife of the Chief Sabino Romero Izarra to the Attorney General of the Republic, Luisa Ortega Díaz.

Luisa Ortega Díaz

Public Prosecutor of the Bolivian Republic of Venezuela

I, Lucia Martínez Romero carrier of the identity card Number 13.707.493, indigenous Yukpa woman, resident of the Chaktapa community of the “Sierra de Perijá,” parish of Liberty of the municipality Machiques of Perijá of the state of Zulia of the Bolivian Republic of Venezuela, widow of the Chief Sabino Romero Izarra murdered in my presence and in that of my youngest son in the community Yukpa Tukuko on March 3rd 2013; during this incident I was also was injured.

 

In my dual capacity as a victim, I would like a written response explaining the reasons why the Attorney General’s office refuses to bring to trial the intellectual actors who paid the hired killer El Manguera to assassinate my husband Sabino Romero Izarra. We know as the Yukpa communities of Yaza who were the cattle ranchers that were payed to kill us.

 

In November of 2015 the deputy Attorney General, Joel Gerardo Espinoza Dávila informed me personally in his office, that day I went accompanied by the President of the Presidential Commission of Family Members of Victims of Assassin Maite García, that the trial against the intellectual actors of the assassination of the Chief Sabino Romero Izarra would be realized by the end of the year. The two (2) previous trials of those who participated in the assassination: the five (5) policemen of Machiques and the cattle rancher hitman El Manguera, were led by Judge Vanessa Yajaira Lista Lares of the Tribunal Number 17 of the moving trial of the Metropolitan Area of Caracas and of the Fiscal Number Number 38 of the District Attorney’s office, lawyer Edgar Angulo Bentancourt.

 

Before these said trials began, the District Attorneys Espinoza Dávila and Angulo Bentancourt had informed us the same thing: separate the trial into three (3) parts: first the five (5) policemen, then to the hit-man Angel Romero Bracho alias El Manguera, and lastly to the two intellectual actors, the cattle ranchers of Gadema.

 

The District Attorney General Laura Alvarez assigned to the General Direction of Processing Action informed on Monday the 14th of the present month by telephone that the case was closed. However, this is strange now that the Attorney General’s Office seems to have changed its mind.

 

Neither the Assistant District Attorney, Joel Gerardo Espinoza Davila, nor the District Attorney 38 of the District Attorney’s Office, lawyer Edgar Angulo Bentancourt, currently work in this department. We do not have witnesses to what these two (2) District Attorneys had said. To this date nobody in the Attorney General’s Office has informed me of this arbitrary and illegal decision.

 

All of my rights as a dual victim have been violated, there is no consideration to the indigenous population or to the defenders of human rights of Indigenous communities, for I am a member of the Association of Indigenous Yukpa Women of the Sierra of Perijá, “Oripanto Oayapo Tüonde”

 

We demand to the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic, lawyer Luisa Ortega Diaz, justice like we demanded before the death of Sabino and again we demand it now that he is dead, and those who ordered his assasination continue to trample us without any mercy. They continue to be free among the streets of Machiques and the trails of the Mountains “Sierra de Perijá,” they still have in their power many of our original and ancestral lands among where my husband, my father in law, my son in law, and six more of us have died from Chaktapa. We fight for our territories that we have occupied for thousands of years. For this they murder us.

 

We want justice.

Chaktapa, Sierra de Perijá, June  2016.

Lucía Martínez Romero

Victim

 

En Espanol

Carta de Lucía Martínez, esposa del Cacique Sabino Romero Izarra  a la Fiscal General de la República abogada Dra. Luisa Ortega Díaz.

Ciudadana:

Luisa Ortega Díaz

Fiscal General de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela

Presente.-

 

Yo, Lucía Martínez Romero portadora de la cédula de identidad Nº 13.707.493 indígena Yukpa, habitante de la comunidad Chaktapa de la Sierra de Perijá parroquia Libertad del municipio Machiques de Perijá del estado Zulia de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, viuda del Cacique Sabino Romero Izarra asesinado en mi presencia y de mi hijo menor de edad en la comunidad Yukpa Tukuko el día 3 de marzo de 2013, hecho en el cual salí herida.

En mi doble calidad de victima quisiera que me respondiera por escrito cuales son las razones por las cuales el Ministerio Público se niega a realizar el juicio a los actores intelectuales que pagaron al sicario El Manguera para asesinar a mi marido Sabino Romero Izarra. Las comunidades Yukpa del Yaza  sabemos cuáles son los ganaderos que pagaron para asesinarnos. 

En noviembre de 2015 el Vicefiscal, Joel Gerardo Espinoza Dávila me informa personalmente en su oficina, fui ese día acompañada de la Presidenta de la Comisión Presidencial de Familiares Victimas del Sicariato Maite García, que el juicio contra los actores intelectuales del asesinato del Cacique Sabino Romero Izarra se realizaría a finales de año. Los dos (2) juicios anteriores de los actores materiales: los cinco (5) policías de Machiques y el sicario ganadero El Manguera estuvo a cargo de la Jueza Vanessa Yajaira Lista Lares del Tribunal 17º de Juicio Itinerante del Área Metropolitana de Caracas y del Fiscal 38 del Ministerio Público, abogado Edgar Angulo Bentancourt.

Desde antes de comenzar dichos juicios tanto el Fiscal Espinoza Dávila como Angulo Bentancourt nos había informado lo mismo: separar el juicio en tres (3) partes: primero los cinco (5) policía, luego al sicario Ángel Romero Bracho alias El Manguera, y por último a los actores intelectuales, es decir los ganaderos de Gadema.

La Fiscalía Laura Álvarez adscrita a la Dirección General de Acción Procesal informó el lunes 14 del presente mes vía telefónica que el caso estaba cerrado. Pero resulta extraño todo esto, porque el Ministerio Público cambio ahora de parecer.

Ni el Vicefiscal, Joel Gerardo Espinoza Dávila ni Fiscal 38 del Ministerio Público, abogado Edgar Angulo Bentancourt hoy trabajan en este ministerio. No tenemos testigos de las palabras de estos dos (2) fiscales. Hasta la fecha nadie del Ministerio Público me ha informado de esta arbitraria e ilegal decisión.

Todos mis derechos como doblemente víctima han sido violados, no hay consideración a los indígenas ni a los defensores de los derechos humanos de los pueblos indígenas, pues yo soy miembro de la ASOCIACIÓN DE MUJERES INDÍGENAS YUKPA DE LA SIERRA DE PERIJÁ “ORIPANTO OAYAPO TÜONDE”   

Exigimos una vez más justicia a la Fiscal General de la República abogada Luisa Ortega Díaz como lo hicimos antes de la muerte de Sabino y de nuevo ahora que está muerto, y sus asesinos intelectuales como antes continúan atropellándonos sin piedad alguna. Continúan libres por las calles de Machiques y los camellones y senderos de la Sierra de Perijá, todavía tienen en su poder muchas de nuestras tierras originales y ancestrales por las cuales murió mi marido, mi suegro, mi yerno y seis más de nosotros, de Chaktapa. Peleamos por nuestros territorios que ocupamos desde hace miles de años. Por esto nos asesinan.

Queremos justicia.  

Chaktapa, Sierra de Perijá, Junio de 2016.  

Lucía Martínez Romero

Victima