“Stop f****** about with your photos and be quiet, because we will find you,” read a threatening email sent to a Colombian photographer working to capture the struggle of the vulnerable Nukak indigenous tribe in Colombia’s Amazon.
Juan Pablo Gutierrez told the indigenous rights organization Survival that he opened up an email last week from a sender identified only as “Callon001” demanding that he “stop f****** around with your photos and your undesirable position as a human rights defender.”
“You’re a left-wing guerrilla dressed up as a photographer. We want you to know.. that we are following your footsteps, we know where you live and where you’re going, and if you continue to f*** around, next time it won’t be a letter. We will come and find you in person.”
The email concluded with a warning for Gutierrez to stay away, because “neither the Indians nor the country needs you.”
Gutierrez’s photos of Nukak tribe members have helped draw attention to their endangerment. The “undiscovered” tribe only made initial contact with western civilization in 1988, and its numbers have since dwindled to near extinction.
An estimated half of the Nukak tribe perished from western diseases, and the survivors were forced off their land in the armed conflict between right-wing paramilitaries, left-wing guerrillas and the Colombian armed forces and the race to grow coca.
Gutierrez insisted that he would not let the threatening emails prevent him from his mission to document the Nukak tribe’s plight.
Colombia is among the world’s leaders in threats against human rights defenders.