Jorge Molano, who serves as the lawyer representing victims of massacres such as the 2005 Peace Community massacre, works tirelessly to end the impunity of human rights abuses by the Colombian army. He has had to take his children out of the country due to fears for their safety, and in recent days he and his partner have been the subject of vigilance by suspicious characters. FOR is concerned for the safety of Molano and his family, as well as for the implications that such threats have for the important work Molano does to end impunity in Colombia. Please take action by writing to Colombian officials urging them to protect Jorge and his family! Letter writing instructions here
ATTEMPT ON THE LIFE AND PERSONAL INTEGRITY OF YENIFER RUEDA CARDENAS IN COMUNA 13 OF MEDELLÍN
We wish to express our concern and indignation at the acts against the integrity and the life of our friend YENIFER RUEDA CARDENAS, which took place on May 3, 2009 in the district of El Salado in Comuna 13 in Medellín.
Tens of thousands of Colombians marched on March 6 in Bogota and many other cities to stand with the victims of right-wing paramilitary violence and to protest violence by all armed groups. Solidarity events occurred in New York, Washington, and San Francisco.
Now, in the wake of accusations by a presidential advisor that the activists in Colombia who helped organize these peaceful marches are guerrillas, they are being targeted with paramilitary threats, kidnappings, and even killings.
Lethal attacks on Colombian labor activists also continue. On March 4 in Washington, President Bush called on Congress to approve the Free Trade Agreement with Colombia, although Colombia is the most dangerous nation in the world to be a trade unionist. As if in response, in the four days following his statement, four labor leaders in Colombia were murdered.
February 11, 2008
Dear Colombia Advocates:
Three young adults named Hortensia, Manuel and William were out one night celebrating Three King's day in the department of Cauca, in southwestern Colombia. After hanging out in a neighboring town, they were on their way home at 3am in the morning, traveling by motorcycle. For unknown reasons (whether on purpose or by accident) the military shot at them and killed Hortensia and Manuel, making the motorcycle crash and break William's leg. William managed to crawl back down to the community and let them know what had happened.
On January 29th, 2008 the Berkeley City Council passed a resolution calling for an end to military funding of the Colombian Army as part of the â€œdrug war,â€ and re-direction of money to domestic drug treatment efforts.
The city government urged Congresswoman Barbara Lee to â€œstep up her leadership to terminate all military assistance to the Colombian Army, and to re-direct these fundsâ€ to â€œsubstance abuse prevention, harm reduction, and treatment programs.â€
The cityâ€™s Peace & Justice Commission submitted the resolution, and supporters include the local treatment center Options Recovery, the peace group Fellowship of Reconciliation, and local Colombian activists.
Your Calls Needed
Call your representative today! Ask them to support House Resolution 618, which brings attention to the situation of Afro-Colombians and calls on the U.S. to actively consult with these communities.
Three out of every four Afro-Colombians live in extreme poverty. Only two percent are able to attend college. Their life expectancy is two decades shorter than non-blacks in Colombia. An estimated 1.5 million Afro-Colombians have been internally displaced by political violence. Meanwhile, aerial spraying is destroying many of the food crops traditionally grown by Afro-Colombians, leading to further displacement and insecurity.
Paramilitary gunmen killed Dairo Torres, a leader of the San José de Apartadó Peace Community, on Friday, July 13, shortly after 12 noon, according to the community. Torres was a passenger on one of the jeeps that serve as the only public transport between the city of Apartadó and San José, when it was intercepted by two paramilitaries - the same men who detained the jeep the previous day and made threats against the Peace Community. The community said that gunmen told Torres to get off the jeep, which he did; they told the driver to continue, and then they killed Torres on the spot.
The killing occurred only two minutes from a police checkpoint, where earlier in the day witnesses saw the gunmen sitting and conversing with police.