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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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Michael Joseph is the UCC Global Ministries Mission Co-Worker in Colombia.The violence related to Colombia’s war was on the rise in the early 2000s when church and human rights partners in Colombia became concerned about a huge increase in U.S. military aid that they feared would add more fuel to the fire. They decided to document, as best they could, the impact of this war on the Protestant church in Colombia. Michael joined this documentation program after going to Colombia with Global Ministries in 2007. Today, twelve years later, this human rights documentation program has recorded over 10,000 human rights violations. In 2020 he will transition to working at the Nojolo'on Peace Center in Mexico as a Global Ministries Global Associate.
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President Duque, a right-wing leader known for his strong ties to scandal-hit former President Alvaro Uribe who has been in power for 15 months, has promised national dialogue with "all social sectors" until March 15 to address economic inequality, corruption, education, the environment, and many other issues. He met strike organisers on Tuesday (Nov 26), but there was no breakthrough and they called on people to take part in Wednesday's (Nov 27) continued strike.
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Border closures, curfews and bans on sale of alcohol announced as tens of thousands are expected to march amid wave of turmoil Tens of thousands are expected to join protests on Thursday against the rightwing government of Iván Duque, whose popularity has dwindled steadily since he took office in August last year. “The government is worried because the people and organizations who have come out in support of the protest are more heterogeneous than they are used to,” said Sergio Guzmán, the director of Colombia Risk Analysis. “It’s not only the labour unions, or the students, or indigenous people; it’s all of them.”
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Building a more just society takes more than political and social activism; it also involves encouraging businesses to see the economic potential of the LGBT community. That was one of the key takeaways from the fifth annual WeTrade Fair hosted by the Colombian LGBT Chamber of Commerce (CCLGBTCO). CCLGBTCO,a private non-profit organization, aims to support businesses in strengthening their internal and external LGBT diversity and inclusion programs. The WeTrade Fair, which billed itself as “the LGBT+ Fair in Latin America,” hosted over 20 large businesses that either specifically cater to an LGBT+ population or that are looking to expand their customer base to a more diverse audience.

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