This month, the Colombian government is launching a campaign in DC and NY to whitewash their image and push through a free trade agreement. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper telling the whole story about Colombia and help us push for policies that support the victims of violence! We'll show you how below.
Letters to the editor are short letters from readers printed on the editorial page, most often discussing a recent event or issue covered by a publication, radio station, or TV program. They are your chance to “sound-off” to your community about issues in the news. They are widely read, and in this case will allow us to accompany any press coverage that the "Colombia Is Passion" campaign receives with our message–if you can do your part, watch out for any articles, and respond to them quickly.
How To Do It
2. Click here to read our tips on writing a successful letter to the editor.
3. Gather more information on websites like:
- The protest campaign website nomorebrokenhearts.net and its satirical brother colombiavisit.org, a fake tourism site that we created to comically critique the flaws of the "Colombia Is Passion" campaign.
- The Stand By Colombia's Victims of Violence campaign page on LAWG's website, which has information on all the issues we are concerned about in Colombia.
4. Read our sample letter below, then draft your own and send it in! Just remember to:
- Put your full name, address and phone number at the top of the page and sign the letter at the bottom. You must include a phone number for verification purposes.
- Copy your member of Congress' foreign policy aide. Even if the letter doesn’t get printed, they’ll see that you’re writing to local papers, and they’ll pay attention!
In case you need a better idea of what your letter might look like and/or what points it could include, we've provided an example below that you can feel free to redraft and use:
In Nikki Schwab’s article “Colombia Wants Love From Washington,” she asserts that the “Colombia Is Passion” campaign is “an effort to get the American people to have a little more love for Colombia.” I have a great amount of love for Colombia’s people and culture, but this PR campaign concealing the sad realities of Colombia’s conflict breaks my heart.
In order to truly get to know Colombia, we need to hear about the country’s 4 million internally displaced people, which disproportionately include Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities. U.S. taxpayers should know that their dollars have funded Colombia’s army as they kill innocent civilians in rural areas and dress them up in guerrilla fatigues in order to appear to be “winning the war.” Meanwhile, Colombia is the most dangerous place in the world to be a trade unionist, with 49 unionists murdered in 2008. Although, it’s not a lot safer to be a journalist, human rights defender, or Supreme Court judge, as Colombia’s government has been illegally wiretapping these people, their families, and anyone else pegged as opposition in order to use the information obtained to threaten them into silence.
It’s no coincidence that this campaign was launched in Washington the week that Congress comes back into session. The “Colombia Is Passion” campaign was created to gloss over these issues because if Congress and the White House take them seriously, they will not be able to move forward with the stalled U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement until they see real progress. We should help Colombia by calling for human rights advances and standing with the victims of violence.