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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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December 22, 2020
We are deeply concerned for the safety of environmental defenders. We are aware of two assassinations (November 30) and ongoing death threats to another. Assassinations: Meta Department: Javier Francisco Parra Cubillos was a 47-year-old environmentalist who worked as coordinator of CORMACARENA (Corporation for the Sustainable Development of the Special Management Area of La Macarena). Chocó Department: Harlin David Rivas Ospina was a student of environmental engineering at the Technological University of Chocó and environmental activist in the National Youth Environment Network. Death threats: Santander Department: Nini Johana Cárdenas Rueda is an environmental defender in Carmen de Chucurí in Santander Department who is active in the Alianza Colombia Libre de Fracking and Movimiento Nacional Ambiental. Because of her work denouncing illegal extractive projects, she has been the victim of death threats, surveillance, and physical attacks for the past few years.
November 25, 2020
Death threats continue against community leader Adriel Ruiz Galván in Buenaventura in Valle del Cauca Department. He is coordinator of the Foundation Spaces for Coexistence and Social Development Development (FUNDESCODES), a member of the Buenaventura Civic Strike Committee, and advisor to the Inter-Ethnic Truth Commission of the Pacific. He has been the victim of verbal threats and acts of intimidation for several months. On November 2, an unknown caller told him: “…you are already compromising your family…it's time to send people for your family.” We are urging that officials in Colombia: 1) carry out a thorough and impartial investigation into all threats and acts of intimidation against Adriel Ruiz Galván, publish the results, and bring those responsable to justice; 2) provide the requested protection measures for Adriel Ruiz Galván
November 23, 2020
A national strike by a teachers' union leads to death threats and assassinations of two of its members. Both of the assassination victims belonged to unions affiliated with FECODE, the Colombia Federation of Educators. Byron Revelo Insuasty, member of the SIMANA teachers union in Nariño Department, was disappeared on November 13. His body was found in a morgue in Tumaco on November 22. Douglas Cortés Mosquera, member of the SER teachers union in Risaraldo Department, was also killed on November 22. These killings follow death threats (in the form of funeral wreaths) against all fifteen members of the FECODE Executive Committee that were sent to the home of the FECODE secretary of legal affairs on October 26. The threats came just days after FECODE was involved in the National Strike protests against government reforms that would weaken collective bargaining and the right to strike. We are urging that officials in Colombia: 1) investigate the assassinations of Byron Revel Insuasty and Dougals Cortés Mosquera, publish the results, and bring those responsible to justice; 2) investigate the threats against all 15 members of the FECODE Executive Committee
November 21, 2020 to November 22, 2020
Join us on Saturday, November 21 and Sunday, November 22 for the third event of our SOA Watch 30th Anniversary Rooted in Resistance series! On Saturday, November 21 we will facilitate three virtual panels about the historic and current impacts of US Empire throughout the Americas and the powerful movements organizing to defend autonomy and dignity of our communities. On Sunday, November 22 we will be hosting our annual vigil, including ¡presentes! and litany and featuring the SOA Watch Musicians Collective. The weekend's virtual events and spaces are free, bilingual (Spanish and English, interpretation will be provided) and all are welcome! You will receive an email confirmation with all the links for Saturday's panels and Sunday's litany and ¡presentes! immediately after registering .
November 20, 2020
God said: “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food" (Genesis 1:29) . And with that, God also gave us a beautiful bouquet of farmers' hands.....Today in Colombia, several agricultural sectors are being affected by the Free Trade Agreements, where national production is facing a crisis. Our prayer is an invitation to consume national products, products of the Colombian countryside. An invitation to dignify the hard and tireless work of those farmers hands.... Christian Peacemaker Teams: Transforming structures of domination and oppression. Embodying creative nonviolence and liberating love.
November 15, 2020
See the program book from our special online gathering on November 15; recording and other links coming soon....On December 2, 1980, four women from the US working with the poor and displaced in El Salvador were kidnapped, raped and murdered by the US-backed military of El Salvador. Two of those women—Jean Donovan and Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel—were from Cleveland. In the end, they, along with Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clarke and Ita Ford, met the same fate as thousands of unnamed poor of El Salvador who were killed or disappeared. Join us on Sunday, November 15 as we commemorate their sacrifice, honor their legacy, and recommit ourselves to act in solidarity with poor and marginalized communities in Central America and Colombia.
October 25, 2020
Within 24 hours, four indigenous community leaders were assassinated in two departments. In Cauca: Avelino Ipia, Héctor David Marín, and Gustavo Herrera (a regional coordinator for Colombia Humana). In Huila: Eduardo Alarcón (in Huila). Two other leaders survived assassination attempts in two other departments. In Córdoba: Aurelio Jumí Domicó (vice-president of the indigenous reservation Quebrada Cañaveral Embera Katio del San Jorge). In Sucre: Hernando Benítez (a regional representative for the Movement for Victims of State Crimes, MOVICE). We are urging that authorities in Colombia conduct an immediate and thorough investigation into the assassinations and attempted assassinations of the victims named above, publish the results and bring those responsible to justice
October 24, 2020
Two agricultural union members were assassinated within ten days of each other in Cauca Department. FENSUAGRO (Federación Nacional Sindical Unitaria Agropecuaria) members: 18-year-old Jayder Quintana (October 3) and Nelson Ramos Barrera (October 13). In addition to his membership in the agricultural union federation FENSUAGRO, Jayder Quintana also belonged to the peasant farmers association ANZORC (Asociación Nacional de Zonas de Reserva Campesina). Nelson Ramos Barrera, who was killed in front of his family, belonged to the Municipal Peasant Workers Association of Piamonte (ASIMTRACAMPIC), an affiliate of FENSUAGRO. Because of its work coordinating crop substitution programs and defending protected biodiversity zones, ASIMTRACAMPIC members have been deemed military targets by armed groups operating in the area. We are urging that authorities in Colombia: 1) carry out transparent and thorough investigations into the assassinations of Jayder Quintana and Nelson Ramos Barrera, publish the results, and bring the perpetrators to justice; 2) provide protection measures to members of ASIMTRACAMPIC and FENSUAGRO in Cauca, in strict accordance with the wishes of their local leaders; 3) demilitarize the rural areas of Cauca because of the military’s complicity in the armed violence, forced displacement, and targeting of rural social leaders
October 3, 2020
Lately, there has been an increase in insecurity across Colombia. And to add to the wound, the already wide gap of inequality continues to widen, primarily in sectors that have historically been discriminated against through policies that promote racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, and war. As part of our new campaign, #ModusOperandi, we want to explain why violence against human rights defenders is not a coincidence. More than 100 human rights defenders have been killed this year alone. These killings cannot even be counted as State negligence since the mechanisms to protect these leaders’ lives are non-existent. Instead, it is a structural dynamic aimed at privileging the interests of the most powerful at the cost of the lives of the impoverished. Join us in a liturgy for social leaders as we pray for those who are seeds* of hope and those who continue to resist the State’s violence. (*seeds: people who have been assassinated and buried as seeds and their struggle lives on)
September 28, 2020
Monday, September 28 - 10am in Colombia, 11am (ET) in Washington D.C. Conversation CONVIDA20: "Colombia cries out for Life, Peace and Justice" Panelists: Diego Pérez and Omar Fernández Testimonies of Resistance Río Naya and Afavit Registrations at: bit.ly/pazcolombia20