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Colombia: News & Updates

Colombia has the world's second largest population of internally displaced persons (five million) due to the half-century internal armed conflict—the longest-running war in the Western Hemisphere (since 1964). Control for territory and popular support among the three main groups (left-wing rebel forces FARC & ELN, right-wing paramilitaries, Colombian police/military) has left 220,000 killed, 75% of them non-combatants. Since 2000, the US has exacerbated the violence by sending more than $9 billion in mostly military assistance. Colombia, which has both Pacific and Atlantic coastlines, holds strategic interest for the US for global trade and military posturing.


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For years Colombian social leaders and human rights activists have been living in fear. Every year more than a hundred lose their lives due to violent attacks and assassinations. But 2022 marks a sickening new record in this bloodshed with 225 recorded killings of these important members of society. Over the cause of the year illegal armed groups have been intensifying the violence, especially in major drug trafficking areas. In a statement, the government's ombudsman Carlos Camargo said, "It's a serious impact on the basis of democracy, because these are leaders who take up the concerns of the people, who are spokespersons and who work for a country where human rights are respected."

Despite the newly elected President Gustavo Petro's pushes for peace, the violence is still ongoing. Striving for peace, Petro has started talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN), plans on implementing a peace agreement with remaining dissident FARC fighters and bring gang violence to a halt and members to justice, by offering a reduced sentence to those who surrender.

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At the World Economy Forum in Davos, the Colombian government has unexpectedly announced its break with fossil fuels. The minister of mines, Irene Vélez, has stated that the Colombian state will put a halt on any further exploration of oil and gas. The transition from fossil fuels to more green energy generation was a central part of president Gustavo Petro's election campaign. Asked about this decision, Vélez has declared that it "has been very controversial" but that "This decision is absolutely urgent and needs immediate action." But the veracity of this plan is questionable when looking at the fractured congress, bleak economic outlook, and a history of u-turns in policies. 

Criticism of the plan comes from a number of individuals and institutions. Colombia's finance minister always ensured to the international community that the country will remain open for new oil and gas projects. He has stated that the country, which relies on fossil fuels for half of its export revenue, needs the profit generated by the fossil industry. Economic analysts note that this decision will not affect the international demand and will only hurt the country in the long run. Criticism also comes from environmental experts who see the real trouble in cattle-ranching and unsustainable agriculture, the main cause of deforestation. Furthermore, they criticize that the key issues are not addressed and the new project will have no significant impact on the global climate.

President Petro has backed the plan, stating that alternative economies like tourism and green energy will make up for the loss in fossil fuel revenue.        

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In this monthly newsletter, please read about (1) Immigration Court in Cleveland, OH, (2)  The Biden Administration’s Plans to Overhaul Border Policies after the End of Title 42, (3) Title 42: Expelling Migrants in the Name of Health Measures. Update on Removal Flight Trends, (4) Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Renewed for Haitians, and (5) At The Border: Recent Incidents at and around the US-Mexico Border. TAKE ACTION ITEMS: After reading the articles, please take a few moments to advocate for migrant justice with our TAKE ACTION items: (1) Urge Congress to Reject Racist, Anti-Asylum Policies, and (2) Permanent Pathway to Citizenship for DACA and TPS Recipients.

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In this montly newsletter, please read about : (1) Immigration Court in Cleveland, OH: Nicaraguans rank #1 in deportation proceedings filed; (2) - Recent Border Trends: Why We See so Many Nicaraguans and Venezuelans Arriving at the U.S. Southern Border; (3) Title 42: Expelling Migrants in the Name of Health Measures: Biden Urges Mexico to Take Migrants under COVID Expulsion Order He Promised to End; (4) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): Increase in ICE’s use of Ankle Monitors and Smartphones to Monitor Immigrants and Detention Numbers; (5) At The Border: Recent Incidents at and around the US-Mexico Border. TAKE ACTION ITEMS: After reading the articles, please take a few moments to advocate for migrant justice with our TAKE ACTION items: (1) Support Ohio Immigrant and Refugee Businesses this Holiday Season; (2) ​​​​​Urge Congress to Support and Pass Permanent Pathways to Citizenship (3) Stop the illegal and immoral transportation of migrants by certain governors to other states and Washington, DC.