Accusations against Colonia Ecologica and Charity Bolivia
Over the course of the last two weeks there have been a series of spurious and appalling accusations made by the Bolivian press about Colonia, about our charity, Charity Bolivia, and about Francisco Villanueva (Kiko) the founder of the project. These include allegations of sexual abuse and procurement of children for foreign adoption. This follows on from the closure of another Cochabamba children’s home last month.
We take these allegations very seriously and they should be properly investigated. At the same time, our website has been mistranslated and misquoted to invent these lies and we categorically deny any wrongdoing. We have been advised to state for the record that we operate as a fundraising charity for the project, and have no management role at Colonia Ecologica. The project was set up long before we became involved, and is managed independently.
As Charity Bolivia, we have always operated in good faith, in a transparent manner and accordance with our mission statement. We are therefore devastated to have to tell you that the residential part of children’s home was closed on Wednesday 13th October to the distress of all the children. Kiko was then arrested on Thursday afternoon for the alleged abuse of 3 children.
Following a subsequent ruling by the judge, we have since heard that the
non-residential part which helps children in the afternoons with school work has been allowed to remain open. As a result the trustees have decided to continue support payments to the project until we know more. Our prime concern is and always has been for the welfare of the children at the project who we do not believe to be at risk. For all of those who donate monthly payments to the charity, it is your choice as to whether or not these continue, and we fully understand any decision you make.
We know Kiko and Carmen personally, we trust them completely and correspond with them regularly. We therefore find it impossible to believe that there is any truth in any of the accusations and we still retain our faith in Kiko. As well as legal representation, Kiko and Carmen are also receiving local support - many of the families whose children they helped have been demonstrating and protesting Kiko’s innocence.
We would like to thank all donors sincerely for all your support. We will keep you informed of events as we get more concrete news and will do our best to answer individual queries.
Claire and Gertjan