Free Jota Ramos!

An Colombian activist and social leader from the organisation Haga Que Pase faces a racist judicial set-up in the Colombian court.

Bulletin, Cali, 20 June 2023.

This Tuesday, June 20, the accusation hearing against the social leader Jota Ramos will be held in Cali, the artist has been detained for 87 days, where the Prosecutor's Office, relying exclusively on the police officers' account, will continue with the judicial assembly, accusing him of trafficking, manufacturing or carrying drugs by transporting them.

Social, community and human rights organisations have strongly denounced the circumstances surrounding Jota’s arrest as inflicting serious and repeated violations of his right to due process. Once again, the security forces are shown up as stigmatising and persecuting social leaders and artists.

We repeat our serious claim that Jota Ramos has been, since his arrest on 24 March this year, the victim of a racist judicial set-up. On that day, Jota and his two cousins had stopped off in the municipality of Dagua (Valle del Cauca) and had parked their vehicle outside a commercial establishment to take a break on the way to their final destination. During the time in which they were away from the vehicle, a polystyrene cool box in which they were transporting meat in the trunk of their truck was opened, and several packages containing marijuana were planted inside.

When Jota and his relatives returned to the vehicle, they were approached by four police officers. Immediately - and strangely - one of the officers went directly to the cool box, which he opened in a few seconds, without any effort, extracted a package from the upper part of the box and said, "Positive boss, there's lots of it!”. When Jota approached he saw that the fridge had been uncovered. Inside, other than the three vacuum-packed bags of chicken, there were other, new packages, which he did not recognise as his own.

The undersigned social organisations completely reject this racist judicial set-up, as we know Jota Ramos' trajectory as an artist and social leader. We are also familiar with the details of the case, and hence we are convinced of his innocence. Therefore we can share with the public a little of his story below:
Jota Ramos is an Afro-Colombian social leader, originally from the municipality of Villa Rica in the Department of Cauca. He belongs to Haga Que Pase, the musical group promoting activism through art. HQP works in programmes for the defence of human rights and the promotion of peace, particularly among young people from Afro-descendant and other vulnerable communities in Cauca.

As part of his activism, Jota has also developed advocacy work associated with land and territory, and has collaborated with Ñanga Producciones in order to promote a network of young peace builders in his community. In 2016, he promoted activities related to the right to drinking water in the face of the alleged illegal appropriation of a source by a sugar company. In October 2016, together with the JAS Collective and UNESCO, he organised the International Camp for Young Leaders in Villa Rica. In December 2016, together with activist Gilmar Pissou, he presented to the municipal administration a series of proposals to prevent young people from joining armed groups in the region. In May 2018, at an event to mark AfroColombian Day, the Colombian Ministry of the Interior awarded Haga Que Pase recognition for its work on behalf of young people, an award which Jota Ramos publicly rejected as a form of protest against the ongoing murders of numerous young people in Villa Rica.

All of the above have, over so very many years, generated a constant situation of death threats against Jota Ramos' life. This is why Amnesty International placed him and his family in a protection programme from February 2019 to February 2020.

From 2020 to the present time, Jota Ramos, on behalf of his organisation Haga Que Pase, and together with the Colectivo Memoria Viva de los Pueblos, a Spanish non-governmental organisation, have been working in solidarity (in the village of Los Alpes municipality of Dagua, Valle del Cauca) on a project called ‘Orgánica’, which seeks to protect the territory and the environment through organic food production and reforestation.

This bulletin has been signed by:

  • Colectivo Haga Que Pase
  • Colectivo Memoria Viva de los Pueblos (España)
  • Colectivo Justicia Racial
  • Colectivo Sur Cacarica (España)
  • Asociación Movimiento por la Cultura Libre (España)
  • Asociación Burgos con Colombia (españa)
  • Asmuvif
  • Amnistía Internacional (España)
  • Resguardo Indigena Sat Kiwe
  • Redcondor (inglaterra)
  • Vecinos de la Vereda los Alpes
  • Sos (Sudafrica)
  • La Comisión Colombiana de Juristas (CCJ)
  • El Comité Noruego de Solidaridad con América Latina