Spring is coming and major grassroots action for peace in Colombia is near! Soon communities all across the country will start preparing for Days of Prayer and Action, when we will join in solidarity with our Colombian sisters and brothers and show policymakers the real size of the movement for change in U.S.-Colombia policy.
We want to make sure we can count on you to get involved because right now the stakes are higher than ever before.
In Colombia, the humanitarian crisis has grown to over 4.9 million internally displaced people, threats and assassinations against Afro-Colombians, indigenous Colombians, and human rights defenders continue, and justice remains out of reach.
Indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities resisting in displacement in regions like Cauca and Chocó are facing threats and assassinations by remobilized paramilitary groups. Not two weeks ago, Andrés Fernando Muelas, a young indigenous leader from the Association of Indigenous Communities of Northern Cauca (ACIN), was gunned down in an effort to scare his community off of their rightful land.
Meanwhile, millions of our taxpayer dollars are still going to a military that has murdered over two thousand civilians with almost no accountability for these crimes. LAWG and our partners were outraged in January to see the alleged-perpetrators of the high-profile Soacha killings not only let go but also given parties and spa treatments by the military!
Now, we have seen a couple of openings that we could use in our work to advocate for better policies, but we’ll have to keep pushing to make sure they translate into real change. First, President Obama revealed that he might have started listening to us when he proposed a $44 million cut in next year’s counternarcotics aid to Colombia—we hope from the inhumane and ineffective aerial spraying program. Then recently, our partners in Colombia celebrated a more independent judiciary when the Constitutional Court ruled against the referendum that would allow President Uribe to change the constitution and run for a third term.
But a lot is still uncertain. How much funding is going to those seven new military bases through the defense bill? Will the Obama Administration take a tougher and more principled stance on human rights in Colombia? When will the Colombian courts rule to hold some of the worst perpetrators of violence accountable?
We’re going to need your help in pushing for answers. So, clear your calendar and get your contact lists together. We’ll be back to you next week with a call to action and you better be ready to jump in!