[Note: This letter was published in December of 2003 and received some publicity in the Colombian media. Several of the indigenous communities that signed this letter were then besieged by the military and paramilitaries in what can only be interpreted as collective punishment for their insistence on autonomy.]
Popayán, December 15, 2003
Mr. Alvaro Uribe Vélez
President of Colombia
In 1985 our traditional authorities in Tierradentro issued the Resolution of Vitoncó, a document which showed the public, for the first time in Colombia, a social position demanding from the armed actors respect for our legitimate ancestral authorities and our territorial autonomy. Equally important has been our organization's contribution through peace initiatives in the 1980s that led to the Constitution of 1991, the first national accord which recognized the ethnic diversity of the Colombian nation, setting up clear guidelines for the conduct of the state with respect to our communities.