Today is the National Day of Action for Colombia. Join people of faith across the country in calling on Congress to pursue policies that promote justice and peace.
The displacement crisis in Colombia continues at an alarming rate, with another 280,000 people forced to flee their homes last year alone. The brave communities that are working to peacefully return to their lands are facing a rising number of threats and assassinations.
During the National Days of Action for Colombia congregations and communities are calling on our government to pursue policies that protect communities at risk for displacement, small-scale farmers, and Colombian human rights advocates. For sustainable peace in Colombia, the U.S. must stop funding the Colombian military and pushing the unfair U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement.
Step 1 – Click here to send an email to your representative and your senators.
Step 2 – Call your member of Congress and advocate for just policy in Colombia. Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be put through to your member of Congress. Ask the receptionist if you can speak with the Foreign Policy aide. If he/she is not available, ask to leave a message. Below, we’ve provided a script that you can use in your phone call, but feel free to add any personal stories or thoughts that you’d like to share.
I am calling because I am concerned about U.S. foreign policy and trade policy with Colombia.
I believe that U.S. policy should:
- Support negotiations for a peaceful end to the armed conflict. After 50 years of war, with a new Colombian Administration there is now a window of opportunity to reach a peace agreement that the U.S. can support. I do not believe that the U.S. should continue military solutions to the conflict. Our military strategy in Colombia has only fueled violence and displacement. Demilitarization of U.S. policy should begin by cancelling U.S. contracts for construction on Colombian military bases and suspending assistance to the Colombian military.
- Forge economic ties that spur people-centered development and help create opportunities for the rural poor and endangered workers. The protection of human rights defenders, community and religious leaders and people working for land return must be a priority. I do not believe the U.S. government should move forward with a free trade agreement (FTA) with Colombia. Experience indicates that the FTA will exacerbate Colombia’s human rights and humanitarian crisis. Already union leaders are being assassinated, the land rights of farmers and indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities are being undermined and millions of people have been violently robbed of their homes.
- Prioritize social and humanitarian funding to protect and assist internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees. The U.S. should promote lasting solutions for the Colombian refugees and IDPs.
- Invest in drug prevention and rehabilitation programs to reduce demand for drugs here at home. Congress should also increase funding and accountability for programs that promote sustainable economic development in Colombia. The United States should ensure that such programs are designed in consultation with Colombian small-scale farmers, indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities and not be carried out in partnership with the military. I do not believe in the continuation of inhumane and ineffective forced eradication programs, including aerial fumigation. A decade has proven that these programs displace farmers, threaten food crops, and jeopardize human health and the environment even as they fail to reduce coca production.