Tuesday, October 15th
Call your member of Congress – Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121
- Say No to US Aid to Colombia Now!
- We Won’t Pay for Human Rights Abuses in Colombia!
The Anti-War Committee is asking its supporters to call their members of Congress on Tuesday, October 15th as a part of an international day of solidarity with the Colombian People’s Peace Process.
On October 15th, organizations from around the U.S., the world and in Colombia will hold actions in solidarity with the people and movement in Colombia! While the U.S. government continues its shutdown and the attacks on poor, working people and people of color here, it continues aiding the Colombian military in its war against the people there.
Between 2000 – 2012, the United States has spent more $8 billion on “Plan Colombia,” as part of the alleged “drug war” and “war on terrorism”. Colombia has received more U.S. military aid during this period than any country outside the Middle East. Support of US military aid to Colombia has been bipartisan, and President Obama has continued support despite glaring human rights abuses by the government.
Human rights groups have documented that US military aid is given to right wing paramilitary death squads that terrorize and murder human rights advocates, community organizers, student activists and trade unionists. Colombia has repeatedly been labeled the most dangerous place to be a trade unionist in the world!
The Alliance for Global Justice explains, “Even while peace negotiations are underway, repression in Colombia is on the rise, including:
- -Brutal repression of unarmed protesters and strikers in Bogotá, the Catatumbo region and elsewhere.
- -The highest number of assaults against human rights workers in ten years.
- -An 83% rise in forced displacement, with half of Colombia’s land in the hands of just 1% of its people.
- -Increased threats, violence and political arrests of unionists.
This repression is paid for through the US-funded Plan Colombia—over $8 billion so far. The US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement makes sure stolen land is turned into big profits for companies like Monsanto, Drummond Coal, Chiquita, Occidental oil, Coca-Cola and many more.
The August 26, 2013 arrest of labor leader Hubert Ballesteros is of special concern. He is Vice President of the Fensuagro agricultural workers union, one of ten main organizers of the recent National Agrarian and Popular Strike—and a proponent for popular participation in peace negotiations. Hubert is now one of more than 10,000 Colombian political prisoners. His detention is an attack against all Colombians dreams of a just peace and real democracy.”
Solidarity with Hubert de Jesús Ballesteros:
The Anti-War Committee has been organizing against military aid to Colombia since 1990 and has a longstanding relationship with many unions and people’s movements in Colombia. A friend of the AWC, Hubert de Jesús Ballesteros, was recently arrested for his activism and his case is being used internationally this year in the call for peace.
Hubert was one of the union leaders who coordinated a delegation of AWC activists in 2006. He is the Vice President of FENSUAGRO (a peasant/campesino union), member of the Executive Council of the CUT (Unified Workers Center—Colombia’s largest labor federation), one of the principal organizers and spokespersons for the dialogue with the government on behalf of the National Agrarian and Popular Strike, and member of the National Directorate of the social and political movement, the Marcha Patriótica.
The Anti-War Committee joins with the day of international solidarity to highlight Hubert’s case and to demand his freedom and to say the US should not give any more money to Colombia!
For further information go to the Alliance for Global Justice website.