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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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September 26, 2019
The US spends almost $5B a year attempting to intercept shipments of illegal drugs from Central America, but despite the enormous outlay, the quantities of cocaine delivered to the country have continued to rise. A new study comes to drastic results...
September 25, 2019
We are shocked and devastated that 142 former members of the demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been killed since the signing of the peace agreement between the FARC and the Colombian Government in 2016. The latest victims: Milton Urrutia Mora, José Milton Peña Pineda, and Jackson Mena. On September 6, the three FARC former guerrillas were murdered and another badly injured in two separate attacks. All three were active in the reincorporation process, having willingly disarmed under the terms of the 2016 peace agreement. But, despite soaring levels of violence against FARC former combatants, your government had not granted them any security measures.
September 25, 2019
The Border Patrol (tens of thousands of federal police agents who constitute the law enforcement force arm of US Border and Customs Protection) want to have free access to Greyhound vehicles. Greyhound says they are legally bound to let these federal police onto their buses. The ACLU and other civil rights groups disagree. They point out that Greyhound DOES have the right to refuse entry to Border Patrol agents under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure.
September 24, 2019
We are deeply concerned about threats issued by the Black Eagles (Águilas Negras) paramilitary organization against Colombia’s largest trade union, the Colombian Federation of Education Workers (FECODE). Named in the threats are: Nelson Alarcón, the president of FECODE; Martha Alfonso, second vice president of FECODE; Domingo Ayala, prosecutor for FECODE; and Carlos Rivas, former president and current secretary of Legal Affairs of FECODE.
September 23, 2019
The Colombian military and FARC rebels stopped fighting three years ago. But there has been no peace for former FARC combatants and social leaders. Murders have continued--even skyrocketed--since the 2016 peace agreement. The worst hit have been those who sought to put the peace treaty into practice and implement the announced reforms -- many of which greatly displeased large landowners, ranchers and entrepreneurs. Hundreds of activists, local leaders and small farmer representatives have been shot and killed-- precisely those people that FARC had spent decades standing up for. Danilo Alvizú-- wearing camo pants, a Che Guevara T-shirt and rubber boots--says he's disillusioned. He also feels betrayed by a government that promised to treat the former guerrillas well and integrate them into society. Alvizú is now the commander of a newly mobilized combat unit of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). DER SPIEGEL visited a FARC training camp deep in the jungle.
September 20, 2019 to September 23, 2019
A place of diverse peoples, cultures and ecology, Colombia is tragically also home to the longest running internal armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere.
Colombia’s faith communities stand firmly for peace amidst grueling violence. Now they ask faith communities across the U.S. to join them in this year's Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia (DOPA). Hundreds of faith communities will dedicate part of their worship service that weekend to praying and working for peace in Colombia.
September 22, 2019
Nidiria Ruiz Medina defends collective territorial rights and identity through a gender approach. Despite the risks that this victimized population confronts—resisting a complex reality of conflict, exclusion, marginalization and historical state abandonment—Nidiria believes the Colombian Peace Agreement has helped reaffirm the rootedness of the land and spurred dreams of hope.
September 18, 2019
Colombia is a country which is greatly affected by U.S. engagement and foreign policy in Latin America. This is frighteningly visible in these statistics.
September 1, 2019
There has been an intensification of threats and attacks against Isabel Zuleta, spokesperson for Movimiento Ríos Vivos (MRV), Milena María Flórez, Vice-President of MRV, and William de Jesus Gutierrez, President of the Association of Fishermen and Miners in the municipality of Valdivia in the Cauca River region of Antioquia Department.
RRN Case Update
August 22, 2019
RRN case summaries at a glance
On behalf of our 190 Rapid Response Network members, IRTF volunteers write and send six letters each month to government officials in southern Mexico, Colombia, and Central America (with copies to officials in the US). Who is being targeted? indigenous and Afro-descendant leaders, labor organizers, LGBTI rights defenders, women’s rights defenders, journalists, environmental defenders, and others. By signing our names to these crucial letters, human rights crimes are brought to light, perpetrators are brought to justice and lives are spared. Our solidarity is more important than ever. Together, our voices do make a difference.