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Photo by Anton Darius on Unsplash

 

International Civil Society Organizations Call for the Colombian Government to Investigate Killing of Marco Rivadeneira and to Protect Human Rights Defenders March 25, 2020

 

We are grieved to learn of the death of Marco Rivadeneira, a community leader in Putumayo, Colombia. Rivadeneira was killed on March 19, 2020 by three armed men who entered a meeting where Rivadeneira and other community members were discussing voluntary eradication agreements between farmers and the Colombian government.

Rivadeneira was a human rights defender, a promoter of the peace accords, and a proponent of voluntary coca eradication efforts in his rural community. He was a leader of the Puerto Asis Campesino Association and a representative to the Guarantees Roundtable (a process intended to protect human rights defenders). Rivadeneira was also the representative of his region for the national network of 275 Colombian human rights groups known as the Coordinación Colombia Europa Estados Unidos. Coordinación and its members are close partners of many of our organizations.

This killing “underscores once again the lack of security guarantees for the work of human rights defenders and the lack of political will on the part of the Colombian government to dismantle the criminal structures and paramilitary organizations that continue to attack social leaders and those who defend peace in the countryside,” as Coordinación asserts. The Coordinación urges the government to act decisively to ensure that “enemies of peace” do not use the emergency situation created by the COVID-19 virus to continue to exterminate social leaders.

107 social leaders were assassinated in 2019, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights office in Colombia. One out of three human rights defenders killed in 2019 (documented by Frontline Defenders) was from Colombia. 2020 has started off with a wave of violence against them.

We urge the Colombian government to ensure this crime is effectively investigated and prosecuted and to communicate what steps are being taken to bring the perpetrators to justice. We also urge the Colombian government to provide effective guarantees for human rights defenders, social leaders, and those working to build peace in Colombia. This starts with the vigorous implementation of the 2016 peace accords in Colombia, including convoking the National Commission of Security Guarantees to create and implement a plan to protect communities and social leaders at risk.

We urge the U.S. government to vigorously support peace accord implementation in Colombia. This includes adhering to the drug policy chapter of the accord which mandates working closely with farming communities to voluntarily eradicate and replace coca with government assistance, rather than returning to ineffective and inhumane aerial spraying programs.

Colombia must not lose more leaders like Marco Rivadeneira who have worked so valiantly to bring human rights protections and peace to their communities.

Signed by:

AFL-CIO                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Amazon Watch                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Amnesty International U.S.A.
Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)                                                                                                                                                                                                  Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL)                                                                                                                                                                                                                Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America                                                                                                                                                                                      Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW)                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Church World Service                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Colombia Grassroots Support                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        New Jersey Colombia Human Rights Committee                                                                                                                                                                                                              Institute for Policy Studies                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Drug Policy Project International                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Institute on Race, Equality, and Human Rights                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Latin America Working Group (LAWG)                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office                                                                                                                                                                                                Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Movement for Peace in Colombia, New York                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oxfam                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Presbyterian Peace Fellowship                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights                                                                                                                                                                                                                              United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries                                                                                                                                                                                              Washington Office on Latin America                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective

Read More














Call your representative and


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.


Click

here

to read the resolution.

Afro-Colombians are harshly affected daily by extreme poverty, racial discrimination, and ongoing violence in regions with large Afro-descendant populations. Whether they are “caught in the crossfire” or specifically targeted, Afro-Colombians are often forced to leave their communities and ancestral lands behind. As a result, Afro-Colombians now constitute 40 percent of Colombia ‘s 3.8 million internally displaced. Meanwhile, aerial spraying is destroying many of the food crops traditionally grown by Afro-Colombians, leading to further displacement and insecurity.



The resolution, which was introduced by Rep. Donald Payne during the August recess, calls on the Colombian government to combat racial discrimination and protect Afro-Colombians from human rights violations. H. Res. 618 also rightly urges the U.S. and Colombian governments to consult with Afro-Colombians while developing policies that will affect their communities.



Take Action!


See below for a list of Illinois Representatives, Foreign Policy staffers, and their contact information. Also, if you don’t know who your Representative is go to

Home



and type in your zip code to find out.

The Congressional Switchboard Number is 202-224-3121.


When you call, ask to speak with the foreign policy aide

. If he or she is unavailable, please leave the following message on his or her



voicemail:




“My name is _____. I live in ( city neighorhood or town ). I am calling to ask Rep. _________ to support House Resolution 618 to





bring attention to the situation of Afro-Colombians and call on the U.S. to actively consult with these communities.




It urges the Colombian government to do their part to combat all forms of racial discrimination and attacks against Afro-Colombians, and to work with Afro-Colombian communities to develop viable social and development programs. It sends the message the United States is concerned about the human, cultural and territorial rights of Afro-Colombians gravely affected by the armed conflict.




Will Rep. ­­________ cosponsor H. Res 618 to combat





racial discrimination in Colombia and protect Afro-Colombians from human rights violations



?”

Only three Illinois Representatives

(

Democrats


Bobby Rush, Danny Davis and Phil Hare

)

have co-sponsored H. Res. 618 to support Afro-Colombians as they strive for dignity and security, while

Democratic Reps. Dan Lipinski, Jan Schakowsky

and

Melissa Bean,

and

Republican Congressmen Donald Manzullo

and

Peter Roskam

have all committed to looking at the Resolution. Please urge your Representative – along with others who have yet to respond – to support this important Resolution protecting Afro-Colombians from the vicious cycle of discrimination and violence.




Calls to Rep. Donald Manzullo in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs are especially important!


Please let us know if you hear back, or for more information, contact:

Danielle E. Wegman, CRLN Public Policy Coordinator,

dwegman@crln.org

, 773-293-2964




Illinois






Representatives




Bobby Rush (D-



1

st


)



-Speak with John Marshall,

202-225-4372



Jesse Jackson (D-



2

nd


) ­



-Speak with Charles Dujon

, 202-225-0773



Dan Lipinski (D-



3

rd


)



-Speak with Keith Devereaux,

202-225-5701



Luis Gutierrez (D-4

th

)




Speak with Greg Staff

, 202-225-8203



Rahm Emanuel (D –



5

th


)



-Speak with Luis Jimenez,

202-225-4061



Peter Roskam (R



-6

th


)




Speak with Vicky Sanville,

202-225-4561



Danny Davis (D



-7

th


)



-Speak with Charles Brown,

202-225-5006



Melissa Bean (D-8

th

)



-Speak with JD Grom,

202-225-3711



Jan Schakowsky (D-9

th

)



-Speak with Megan Garcia

, 202-225-2111



Mark Kirk (R-10

th

)



-Speak with Richard Goldberg,

202-225-4835



Jerry Weller (R-11

th

)



-Speak with Alan Tennille,

202-225-3635



Jerry Costello (D-12

th

)



-Speak with Dan McCarthy,

202-225-5661



Judy Biggert (R-13

th

)



-Speak with Paul Doucette

, 202-225-3515



Dennis Hastert (R-14

th

)



-Speak with Paul Sorenson,

202-225-2976



Timothy Johnson (R-15

th

)



-Speak with Jen Mascho,

202-225-2371



Donald Manzullo (R-16

th

)



-Speak with Nien Su,

202-225-5676



Phil Hare (D-17

th

)



-Speak with Kemi Jemilohun,





202-225-5905



Ray LaHood (R-18

th

)



-Speak with Erin Reif,

202-225-6201



John Shimkus (R-19

th

)



-Speak with Greta Hanson,

202-225-5271

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The grueling, decades long conflict in Colombia between the government, right-wing paramilitary groups, and leftist rebels may be coming to an end in the coming months. Over the last several years, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (also known as FARC) reached an agreement


with the Colombian government


on a peace accord that could end the aging war. The talks have included the topics of the political participation of the FARC, drug-trafficking, the fundamental issue of the distribution and ownership of land in Colombia, the rights of victims and the conditions for insurgents to turn in their weapons.

The FARC, just one of many rebel groups, has been in conflict with both government military forces as well as with paramilitary groups, such as the United Self-Defense Force of Colombia (called AUC, the umbrella name for a collection of paramilitary groups). The AUC, formed in 1997, has garnished a reputation for drug-trafficking, kidnapping, and extortion in their many human rights violations. Although 30,000 members of AUC were supposedly demobilized by the government between 2003 and 2006, many AUC members formed successor paramilitary groups under different titles. Two of the groups most prevalent are the Aguilas Negras and the Rastrojos. Their power has largely stemmed from their misty relationships with Colombian military and political circles. While their paramilitary status is not so prevalent anymore, they still remain active in the drug-trafficking community. As


Thomas Shannon


, Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of State puts it, “I wouldn’t call them paramilitary groups. I would call them drug-trafficking organizations or weapons-trafficking organizations or criminal organizations.”

In addition to FARC and the AUC, groups involved include the National Liberation Army (ELN),


a marxist group spurred in 1965


by the ideologies of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. When peace talks between FARC and the government began in 2012,


the ELN showed interest in some forms of negotiations


, though they were swiftly turned down. Since the progression of the talks with FARC, however, President Juan Manual Santos has reached out, saying that the government is “ready to talk” with the ELN, and hopes to begin peace talks with them as soon as possible.

For the time being though, the peace talks between the FARC and the Colombian government are going swimmingly. Many critics of both sides, however, are doubtful, even as the accord comes to some form of conclusion, as the three previous negotiations between FARC and the state have


resulted in failure.


“We’ve never been so close to an agreement before,” said Santos on Twitter. The agreement, formulated after three years of working with the government, the rebels, and some of their victims, creates a truth commission to clarify what happened in the war and promises to search for thousands of missing people, identify their remains and return them.

The agreement sets in place special courts that will try former combatants for their crimes. This includes FARC rebels

and

government soldiers, demonstrating both sides’ willingness to find peace.


The courts would reduce the sentencing of those who admit guilt and aide the peace-seeking process


, but will deny amnesty for anyone found guilty of crimes against humanity. It also attempts to ensure those hurt by the war will not be victimized again. Alan Jara, who was held hostage by FARC for over seven years was shocked, but delighted to see his former captors working peacefully with the state for once. “It is the people who haven’t suffered directly [that are] the ones who are least willing to accept a peace deal,” says Jara. “We who lived it are more accepting.” The victims, although cautiously open to the agreement, have long demanded truth and reparations, rightfully so, and it seems that they may get it


with the involvement of the United Nations Security Council, who was voluntarily brought in by the negotiating parties.


The


tripartite system


will have UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon make recommendations as to the operational details of the mission, which is hoped to reach a final agreement by March 23rd.

With UNSC involvement, FARC cooperation, and government compliance, it seems that the world’s longest-running war may be coming to an end. Until the issue of illegally armed groups is resolved, however, peace will not be possible within the local communities and the violence they face from these  groups. Also, as with many political issues that traverse a number of political, social, and economic demographics, it is critical to involve as many third-party actors not actively siding with either the government or the FARC in the implementation of the peace accords as possible: actors such as Colombian and international NGO’s, and the UN, and religious organizations. A more stabilized peace will not be possible in Colombia without a combined effort from those previously left out of the peace talks.

Written by Luke Burrows (CRLN Intern)
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Guns and Fumigation

U.S. policy toward Colombia relies on massive military aid and harmful chemical fumigation.  Colombian religious and human rights leaders have urged an end to U.S. military aid, saying it only fuels violence and increases human rights violations. They also say U.S.-funded fumigation of coca poisons people, food crops, land, and water.  Both military aid and fumigation displace entire communities – harming indigenous, Afro-Colombian, and rural campesino communities the most severely.  Despite this call, Congress continues to fund new military aid to Colombia with little or no debate.

Delegations

In response to all of this, CRLN has invited a dozen religious and human rights leaders to Chicago from Colombia over the last six years to meet with CRLN members, the media, and Congressional staffers.  In 2001, CRLN organized 12 of its members to participate in the historic Witness for Peace delegation of 100 U.S. citizens to Colombia to investigate the impact of the U.S. $1.3 billion “Plan Colombia”.  In 2003, CRLN also organized 8 African American leaders from Chicago to participate in a special Witness for Peace delegation to visit Afro-Colombian communities under siege.   In 2006, CRLN organized a 10-members delegation from the Chicago Presbytery for the 150th Anniversary of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia, a vital leader of ecumenical peace and human rights advocacy. To learn more about CRLN Delegations,
click here.

Advocating for Human Rights and Developmental Aid



Each year prior to key votes, CRLN members appeal to Congress for the protection of human rights, the removal of military and fumigation funds in the Foreign Aid Appropriation bill, and a reduction of U.S. troops & contractors deployed in Colombia.  Each week, CRLN interns and volunteers draft and fax letters on CRLN letterhead to government and military officials in Colombia responding to human rights urgent action alerts.

Read More


NOTICIA:

Después de unos días cuando comunidades Afro-Colombianas ocuparon la Panamericana en el Norte de Cauca, y después de sostener ataques de gas lacrimógeno y balas de goma por parte de las fuerzas de seguridad, oficiales locales y federales comenzaron a negociar con las comunidades. Afro-Colombianxs organizadxs insisten que sus territorios sean reconocidos y respetados ahora y durante la implementación de los Acuerdos de Paz. Mientras negocian, muchos de los líderes Afro-Colombianos están recibiendo amenazas por actores paramilitares. CRLN y muchos otros demandan que estos paramilitares sean desmobilizados si el Proceso de Paz en realidad llevará paz al país.


Haga click aquí para apoyar la expansión del Proceso de Paz

entre el estado Colombiano y los guerilleros ELN. Estaremos en comunicación continua con más oportunidades de acción y mientras tanto,

haga click aquí para una oportunidad de ir a una delegación

enfocada en lo que está pasando en Colombia en este momento clave de la historia del país.

—————————

De 4/27/2016: La semana pasada, CRLN estuvo en Washington DC, hablando con miembros del Congreso de Illinois pidiendo que apoyen una Comisión Étnica en las negociaciones de paz de Colombia en Havana, Cuba. Ahora,

2,000 Afrocolombianxs están bloqueando la Panamericana en Cauca

exigiendo respeto para sus territorios ancestrales según Ley 70 & que sus comunidades y pueblos Indígenas tengan un lugar en la mesa de negociación para terminar con una guerra que les ha afectado desproporcionadamente mas:

Lxs manifestantes piden diálogos con el estado Colombianx para hacer posible esta Comisión Étnica representando gente Afrocolombiana y pueblos Indígenas.


En vez de diálogos, están atacados con gas lacrimógeno y balas de goma.



¿Qué puedo hacer?




  1. Llame



    su miembro del Congreso


    y pida que: “contacte el Departamento del Estado para urgir un fin inmediato a las agresiones contra las manifestaciones pacíficas de Afrocolombianxs en Cauca. En vez de atacar, el estado Colombiano debe de dialogar con estas comunidades porque diálogo, no violencia, crea paz. Por favor exprese su apoyo para voces Afrocolomianas e Indígenas en la mesa de negociación de paz por una Comisión Étnica.”
  2. Mandar mensajes de Twitter a Presidente Santos: “.

    @JuanManSantos, @carmeninesVicen Nos preocupa mucho: reportes q niños Afrocolombianos están afecatdox por acciones de ESMAD en Cauca!”


  3. Done para apoyar a los esfuerzos de las comunidades Afrocolombianas organizadas


    para exigir respeto a sus territorios y un lugar en la mesa de necociación.




¿Cómo puedo ver noticias de la situación?




Sigue la página de Facebook de CRLN


y vea el


sitio de la Red de Solidaridad con Afrocolombianxs


, de cual CRLN es una organización miembo.



¿Por qué es tan importante esta situación?


Comunidades Afros e Indígenas han sido afectados desproporcionadamente por cinco décadas de guerra civil, desplazadas de sus territorios ancestrales reconocidos legalmente, e invadidos por industrias extractivas y otros intereses privados. Si la gente más afectada por la violencia no tienen voz en decidir como termina la violencia, no somos optimistas de los resultados de las Negociaciones de Paz.



¿Qué ha sido la respuesta del estado Colombiano?


Hasta ahora, la respuesta es gas lacrimógeno (que mandó a tres niños al hospital), bombas de humo, y balas de goma. La gente exigen diálogo, no violencia.

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From the Fellowship of Reconciliation Website:

In July 2007, FOR and the American Friends Service Committee released a report documenting the first-person experiences of women peace activists in Colombia. “I Will Never Be Silenced: Testimonies of Hope from Colombian Woman” highlights the words and work of 13 women from throughout Colombia – rural and urban, old and young, Afro-Colombian, indigenous and mestizo, artists, religious, political, feminists. These women have tirelessly and fearlessly worked to create peace and justice.

Order your copy today!

Elizabeth Lozano explains in the report’s introduction:

“The violence faced by women is not only inflicted by the machetes, guns, and landmines of the ‘enemy.’ It is also carried out by ‘friendly’ fire, so to speak, in the woman’s daily life. This is the normalized violence exercised without the weapons of war, and manifested in abusive marital relations, implicit or explicit threats of rape, absence of education opportunities, lack of sexual education, and in the general expectation that her right place is the kitchen and the bedroom.”

“I Will Never Be Silenced” brings to readers women who endure these various forms of violence to speak about their experiences and their work to end the violence and impunity in their country.

The 40-page report is available for $6 postpaid for individual copies, or $30 for 10 copies, postpaid.


To order your copy

, please send a check to the FOR office at:

2017 Mission St, 2nd Floor

San Francisco, CA 94110

Read More
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Español aquí


Photo: Government and FARC negotiators finalize details of the Peace Accords where the Ethnic Chapter will be included

After four and a half years of preliminary and formal negotiations and 52 years of war, the Colombian state and FARC guerillas have concluded their peace negotiations and finalized the Peace Accords.

This moment is certainly historic and will mark the first experience of official peace ever experienced by many Colombians. And while we celebrate an end to the fighting between the Colombian state and FARC guerrillas, we also know that the months and years to come will be deeply challenging as real peace is hopefully established for the many sides of Colombian society, not just these two sides of the armed conflict.

CRLN first heard about the finality of the Accords on Tuesday, August 23rd, when our partners at Black Communities’ Process (PCN, their acronym in Spanish) alerted us that the agreements would be signed without the inclusion of an ‘Ethnic Chapter’. For years, African descendant and Indigenous communities have been fighting for a place at the negotiating tables and have organized themselves into an Ethnic Commission constituted by the National Afro-Colombian Peace Council (CONPA), the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), and the High Government of Indigenous Authorities.

The Ethnic Commission is crucial to a successful and sustainable peace, because much of the peace process concerns rural land that is ancestral territory to the disproportionately African descendant and Indigenous survivors of displacement and violence.

The Ethnic Commission drafted an in-depth ‘Ethnic Chapter’ for the negotiating parties to include in their final accords that would help guarantee successful implementation of the accords in many rural, Indigenous and African-descendant territories. This Ethnic Chapter represents the concerns of organized communities most affected by the violence of the conflict and will help ensure that this final agreement complies with international and Colombian law and anti-racism agreements.

When the Ethnic Commission called for action on Tuesday morning, CRLN and coalition partners across the country responded with as much pressure as possible on Colombian and U.S. officials to include the Ethnic Chapter in the final accord language. Black and Indigenous leaders flew to Havana late Tuesday night and Wednesday morning to negotiate the final version of the Ethnic Chapter. Late on Wednesday night, August 24th, we heard from Colombian partners that the ethnic chapter was included, albeit reduced from nine pages to four, in the official Colombian Peace Accords.

Due to consistent pressure, solidarity work and on the ground mobilizations by African descendant and Indigenous peoples, the Ethnic Commission has helped shape what peace will look like in their territories for the mostly Black and Indigenous survivors of violence, most of whom are women.

At CRLN, we will continue working in coalition with national and international allies until true peace is achieved in Colombia. We will continue monitoring the situation as the accords move through a plebiscite vote by the Colombian people. We’ll continue following the lead of our partners in Colombia’s Ethnic Commission, who will be monitoring the implementation of the Accords, ensuring that the Colombian state integrate the Ethnic Commission’s recommendations for peace in their communities.

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Honorable Members of the United States Congress, Washington D.C.

Dear Members of Congress:

We, the undersigned, are U.S. and Colombian people of faith, convinced that God calls us to be on the side of the weak, the victims and the poor.  For this reason, as representatives of numerous faith communities and churches, we come to you because we understand that soon you will consider two pieces of legislation that would have a significant impact on Colombia and the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.  We write in the hope that your decisions may build the foundation for dignified life for all and promote the justice and peace that we so desire.

For more than 50 years Colombia has suffered through armed conflict, violence, inequalities and injustices.  The civilian population is most affected by the armed conflict.  More than four million people have been displaced from their lands.  This conflict kills more than 3,000 people annually and tens of thousands of paramilitary and guerrilla victims today call for truth, justice and reparations.  Meanwhile, the United Nations indicates that more than 45 percent of the Colombian population lives in poverty.

We have closely followed the congressional debates regarding human rights in Colombia and the balance between U.S. military and social aid for Colombia.  We applauded Congress’ achievement last year when you cut $142 million in military aid and added $97 million in social aid to the aid package.  We know that this year President George Bush has once again called on Congress to pass an aid package with approximately 75 percent in military aid.  We, who work with the victims of the conflict or accompany them from the United States, hope that congress prioritizes work for peace and socio-economic assistance rather than military aid.

At the same time, we know that Congress may soon consider the ratification of the Free Trade Agreement negotiated between Colombia and the United States.  Being faithful to our principles, we must view any public policy from the point of view of the poor and the victims.

Therefore, in Colombia we must consider how the trade agreement would affect what the United Nations estimates are the close to nine million Colombians living in rural areas – the family farmer, the indigenous and the Afro-Colombians – 80 percent of whom live in poverty, according to USAID.

According to the United Nations, 21 percent of employed Colombians work in Agriculture, the vast majority in rural areas.  Research on the impact of free trade agreements between underdeveloped countries, such as Colombia, and countries with large economies, such as he United States, show that underdeveloped countries lose a significant number of agricultural jobs.  For example, independent studies indicate that in Mexico at least 1.3 million family farmers have been displaced from their agricultural production due to subsidized imports from the United States.

While in Mexico many of these family farmers have attempted to survive by migrating into the United States, in Colombia there would be a risk of increasing the number of internally displaced persons, a population that is already the second largest in the world.  We are deeply concerned that the livelihood of the rural population – individuals who have already suffered greatly from the consequences of the armed conflict – would be further put at risk by this trade agreement.  This population would then face decisions that have historically reproduced violence and poverty in Colombia; migration to urban settings, forced internal displacement, illicit crop production, recruitment by illegal armed groups, among other ill-fated consequences.

We are also concerned that the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement would put Colombians’ food security at risk, as the country would, in large part, be dependent on U.S. imports for basic grains and other key foods for daily consumption.  Furthermore, this trade agreement does not have sufficient protection for workers nor the environment.  Such labor protections are particularly important in Colombia, the country with the highest number of murdered trade unionists.  And without necessary environmental protections in the agreement, we would be jeopardizing Colombia’s environment, considered the second most bio-diverse in the world.

For that reason, we ask you, honorable members of Congress, to take into account the following requests before considering the proposed aid to Colombia or the ratification of the free trade agreement.

  • Further cut U.S. military aid and aerial fumigation, which does not bring us closer to peace in Colombia, while significantly increasing aid for the poor, the displaced, refugees and the victims of the armed conflict.
  • Insist that the State Department strongly enforce the human rights conditions in law, which is especially important as we are seeing a concerning increase in killings of civilians as well as other human rights violations attributed to the Colombian Armed Forces.
  • Do not ratify a U.S. – Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which would increase the already concerning poverty rate among rural Colombians, would put Colombia’s food security at risk and lacks sufficient protections for workers and Colombia’s bio-diverse environment.
Esteemed members of Congress, we ask that you consider our concerns in order to find the authentic paths for justice and peace in Colombia, the United States and the world.
Sincerely,

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A fines de 2016 y 2017, se aprobaron los Acuerdos de Paz entre el gobierno colombiano y el grupo rebelde más grande la FARC y una nueva ronda de conversaciones de paz fue iniciada entre el gobierno y el grupo rebelde más pequeño, ELN. En este punto, la FARC se ha desmovilizado y sus miembro se están trasladando a “campamentos” designados, donde vivirán por un tiempo asignado antes de ser libres para trasladarse. Se les ha dado el derecho de formar un partido político y dirigir candidatos para cargos públicos.

Sin embargo, otros grupos armados que no formaron parte de los Acuerdos de Paz todavía recorren el campo y se mueven con sus armas entre los espacios que la FARC controlaba. Estos son los sucesores de los grupos paramilitares de derecha supuestamente desmantelados hace diez años. La gente local, a la cual aterrorizan, dicen que estos nuevos grupos son formados por muchas de las mismas personas que pertenecían a los grupos paramilitares anteriores. También dicen que las fuerzas de seguridad nacionales no hacen nada para detener la violencia paramilitar, incluso cuando están estacionadas cerca y se les pide que lo hagan.

Estos grupos armados a menudo han sido desplegados para promover intereses privados en tierras valiosas -por ejemplo, desplazar violentamente a comunidades de pequeños terratenientes para proporcionar tierras a individuos o corporaciones ricas y que asi planten plantaciones de aceite de palma. En el 2017, ya más de 6 millones de personas han sido desplazadas violentamente de sus tierras en Colombia durante la guerra de más de 50 años.

Desde diciembre de 2016, estos grupos paramilitares reorganizados han comenzado a agitarse, particularmente en zonas con poblaciones indígenas africanas y han matado a cientos de personas. No hay paz, a pesar de los Acuerdos de Paz, en las muchas áreas donde estos grupos están activos. Sin un cierto compromiso por parte del gobierno colombiano de desarmar y desmantelar a estos grupos paramilitares reorganizados, no habrá paz en Colombia. Tampoco habrá paz si los miembros de los grupos paramilitares que han cometido violaciones a los derechos humanos están sujetos a las mismas normas de justicia que los miembros de la FARC durante el período de justicia transicional en el camino hacia la paz.

Antes de que dejara el cargo, el presidente Obama había prometido 450 millones de dólares a Colombia, la mayor parte de la cual se debe dar a las ONGs en lugar del gobierno, para apoyar la implementación de los Acuerdos de Paz. Aunque CRLN apreció el desvío de fondos militares a fondos para la paz, pensamos que estos fondos serían mejor utilizados si se distribuye directamente a los grupos de base colombianos activos en los lugares locales donde acuerdos de paz deben realizarse entre los ex combatientes en lados opuestos de la guerra o entre los combatientes de ambos lados y a civiles sobrevivientes de la violencia. Este puede ser un punto discutible, ya que el Presidente Trump y su Secretario de Estado, Rex Tillerson, han señalado que Estados Unidos puede retirar totalmente el apoyo del proceso de paz de Colombia. Debemos defender el apoyo continuo al proceso de paz, dada su fragilidad y los desafíos que enfrenta.


CRLN va a estar presente en Washington DC del 21 al 24 de abril, visitando la delegación de Illinois en el Congreso. ¡Envíe su firma a Washington DC con CRLN!​ Nuestra demanda sera financiamiento para implementar los Acuerdos de Paz en Colombia y para que funcionarios colombianos desmantelen paramilitares aún activos en el país.

¡Únase a nuestras cartas aqui!

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Thanks to all those who participated in Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia. This year, nearly 500 faith leaders representing approximately 20 denominations from the U.S. and Colombia sent a letter to members of Congress, urging them to end military aid and aerial spraying and to oppose the U.S.-Colombia FTA.  If you’re active in your faith community, feel free to share it there.

You can also send it to your Senators and Representative with a short cover note, asking them to reduce military aid to Colombia in the upcoming foreign aid bill.  To keep your members of Congress informed, click here

https://www.crln.org/Foreign_Aid_Bill08

 

In the letter below, over four hundred church representatives-representing over 4.3 million Protestant, Catholic and Evangelical churchgoers and 20,000 congregations in the United States and Colombia-write to Congress to express their views on U.S. military and socio-economic assistance to Colombia as well as the pending U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement.

Signatories to the letter include the heads of the U.S. and Colombian Presbyterian Churches, the United Church of Christ, the Colombian Methodist Church, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, the U.S. and Colombian Mennonite Churches, the Colombian Conference of Men and Women Religious, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men and a Catholic Bishop. Additionally, hundreds of regional and local church leaders from across the United States and Colombia, representing nearly twenty denominations, signed this letter.

The letter’s signatories call on Congress to:

• Further cut U.S. military aid to Colombia and aerial fumigation, which does not bring Colombia closer to peace, while significantly increasing aid for the poor, the displaced, refugees and the victims of Colombia’s armed conflict.

• Insist that the State Department strongly enforce the human rights conditions in law, key today due to an increase in killings of civilians as well as other human rights violations attributed directly to the Colombian Armed Forces.

• Do not ratify the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which would increase the already concerning poverty rate among rural Colombians, would put Colombia’s food security at risk and lacks sufficient protections for workers and Colombia’s bio-diverse environment.

U.S. and Colombian Church Leaders Call on Congress to Substantially Reduce Military Aid, to Strengthen Human Rights Protections and to Vote No on the U.S.-Colombia FTA.

 

And the work of righteousness shall be peace;

and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.

Isaiah 32.17

 

Honorable Members of the United States Congress Washington, D. C.

 

Dear Members of Congress:

We, the undersigned, are U.S. and Colombian people of faith, convinced that God calls us to be on the side of the weak, the victims and the poor. For this reason, as representatives of numerous faith communities and churches, we come to you because we understand that soon you will consider two pieces of legislation that would have a significant impact on Colombia-U.S. military and social assistance through Plan Colombia and the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. We write in the hope that your decisions may build the foundation for dignified life for all and promote the justice and peace that we so desire.

For more than 50 years Colombia has suffered through armed conflict, violence, inequalities and injustices. The civilian population is most affected by the armed conflict. More than four million people have been displaced from their lands. This conflict kills more than 3,000 people annually and tens of thousands of paramilitary and guerrilla victims today call for truth, justice and reparations. Meanwhile, the United Nations indicates that more than 45 percent of the Colombian population lives in poverty.

We have closely followed the congressional debates regarding human rights in Colombia and the balance between U.S. military and social aid for Colombia. We applauded Congress’ achievement last year when you cut $142 million in military aid and added $97 million in social aid to the aid package. We know that this year President George Bush has once again called on Congress to pass an aid package with approximately 75 percent in military aid. We, who work with the victims of the conflict or accompany them from the United States, hope that Congress prioritizes work for peace and socio-economic assistance rather than military aid.

At the same time, we know that Congress may soon consider the ratification of the Free Trade Agreement negotiated between Colombia and the United States. Being faithful to our principles, we must view any public policy from the point of view of the poor and the victims. Therefore, in Colombia we must consider how the trade agreement would affect what the United Nations estimates are the close to nine million Colombians living in rural areas-the family farmer, the indigenous and the Afro-Colombians-80 percent of whom live in poverty, according to USAID.

According to the United Nations, 21 percent of employed Colombians work in agriculture, the vast majority in rural areas. Research on the impact of free trade agreements between underdeveloped countries, such as Colombia, and countries with large economies, such as the United States, show that underdeveloped countries lose a significant number of agricultural jobs. For example, independent studies indicate that in Mexico at least 1.3 million family farmers have been displaced from their agricultural production due to subsidized imports from the United States.

While in Mexico many of these family farmers have attempted to survive by migrating into the United States, in Colombia there would be a risk of increasing the number of internally displaced persons, a population that is already the second largest in the world. We are deeply concerned that the livelihood of the rural population-individuals who have already suffered greatly from the consequences of the armed conflict-would be further put at risk by this trade agreement. This population could then face decisions that have historically reproduced violence and poverty in Colombia: migration to urban settings, forced internal displacement, illicit crop production, recruitment by illegal armed groups, among other ill-fated consequences.

We are also concerned that the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement would put Colombians’ food security at risk, as the country would, in large part, be dependent on U.S. imports for basic grains and other key foods for daily consumption. Furthermore, this trade agreement does not have sufficient protection for workers nor the environment. Such labor protections are particularly important in Colombia, the country with the highest number of murdered trade unionists. And without necessary environmental protections in the agreement, we would be jeopardizing Colombia’s environment, considered the second most bio-diverse in the world.

For that reason, we ask you, honorable members of Congress, to take into account the following requests before considering the proposed aid to Colombia or the ratification of the free trade agreement.



Further cut U.S. military aid and aerial fumigation, which does not bring us closer to peace in Colombia, while significantly increasing aid for the poor, the displaced, refugees and the victims of the armed conflict.



Insist that the State Department strongly enforce the human rights conditions in law, which is especially important as we are seeing a concerning increase in killings of civilians as well as other human rights violations attributed to the Colombian Armed Forces.



Do not ratify a U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which would increase the already concerning poverty rate among rural Colombians, would put Colombia’s food security at risk and lacks sufficient protections for workers and Colombia’s bio-diverse environment.

Esteemed members of Congress, we ask that you consider our concerns in order to find the authentic paths for justice and peace for Colombia, the United States and the world.

Sincerely,

Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick Stated Clerk Presbyterian Church USA Rev. Juan Alberto Cardona Gomez Bishop Methodist Church of Colombia
Rev. John H. Thomas General Minister and President United Church of Christ Helis Barraza Diaz Moderator and President Presbyterian Church of Colombia
Rev. William G. Sinkford President Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations Alix Lozano President Colombian Mennonite Church
Jim Schrag Executive Director Mennonite Church USA Sister Luz Marina Valencia President Conference of Men and Women Religious of Colombia
Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton Archdiocese of Detroit Ricardo Esquivia Peace Commission Coordinator Colombian Council of Protestant and Evangelical Churches
Marie Lucey, OSF Associate Director Leadership Conference of Women Religious Jairo Barriga Jaraba Regional Secretary for Colombia, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Venezuela Latin American Council of Churches
James E. Winkler General Secretary General Board of Church and Society United Methodist Church Rev. Jairo Suárez Director Justice and Life Office Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia
Wayne Miller Bishop Metropolitan Chicago Synod Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Sister Norma Inés Bernal Justice, Solidarity and Peace Coordinator Conference of Men and Women Religious of Colombia
The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal Conference Minister and President Massachusetts Conference United Church of Christ Rev. Dr. Davida Foy Crabtree Conference Minister Connecticut Conference United Church of Christ Father Javier Giraldo Moreno, S. J. Bogotá, Colombia
Rev. Dr. John R. Deckenback Conference Minister Central Atlantic Conference United Church of Christ Rev. John M Gantt Interim Conference Minister Central Pacific Conference United Church of Christ Father Emigdio Cuesta Pino SVD Provincial Counselor Missionaries of the Divine Word Colombia
Rev. Kent J. Siladi Conference Minister Florida Conference United Church of Christ Randy Hyvonen Conference Minister Montana-Northern Wyoming Conference United Church of Christ Sister Ester Giraldo S. Provincial Superior Consolata Missionaries Colombia
Duncan Smith Conference Minister Pacific Northwest Mennonite Conference Mennonite Church USA Wayne Hochstetler Executive Conference Minister Illinois Conference of Mennonite Church USA Jaime A. León President Claretiana Norman Pérez Corporation Colombia
Rev. J. George Reed Executive Director North Carolina Council of Churches Rev. Jose Luis Casal General Missioner The Presbytery of Tres Rios Presbyterian Church USA Sister Gloria Cecilia Lodoño Provincial Compañía de María Order Colombia
Tom Milligan Moderator Presbytery of the Miami Valley Presbyterian Church USA The Rev. Shannan R. Vance-Ocampo Monmouth Presbytery Presbyterian Church USA María Irma Sánchez President Daughters of Jesus of Kermaría Colombia
Sister Jan E. Renz, ASC Regional Leader, U.S. Region Adorers of the Blood of Christ Rev. John McCullough Executive Director and CEO Church World Service María Tardecilla Campo Sisters of Our Lady of Peace Colombia
Dave Robinson Executive Director Pax Christi USA: National Catholic Peace Movement Melinda St. Louis Executive Director Witness for Peace Sister Pilar Alonso Fernández Colombian Delegate Carmelitas of Charity Colombia
Mary Ellen McNish General Secretary American Friends Service Committee Arli Klassen Executive Director Mennonite Central Committee Sister Martha Lucia Mejía Local Coordinator Teresiana Colombia
Mark C. Johnson, Ph.D. Executive Director The Fellowship of Reconciliation Rick Ufford-Chase Executive Director Presbyterian Peace Fellowship Jorge A. Tobón Jaramillo Colombian Coordinator Brothers of Jesus Colombia
Joe Volk Executive Secretary Friends Committee on National Legislation Marie Dennis Director Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns Diana Milena Alzate Franco Community Director Sisters of the Sacred Family Colombia
Rev. Carol Rose Co-Director Christian Peacemaker Teams Cally Rogers-Witte Executive Minister of Wider Church Ministries, United Church of Christ and Co-executive, Global Ministries Sister Luz Marina Provincial Coordinator Santa Teresa de Jesus Community Colombia
David A. Vargas President, Division of Overseas Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Co-Executive, Global Ministries Anne H. Griffis Chair National Action/Global Concerns Committee Church Women United Sister Silvia Conde Latin American Provincial Auxiliadoras del Purgatorio Congregation Colombia
T. Michael McNulty, SJ Justice and Peace Director Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) The Reverend Chris Pierson Director, Connectional Ministries Illinois Conference United Methodist Church Sister Yolanda Bocanegra Provincial Siervas de San José Colombia
Rev. Dr. Jerrold L. Foltz Associate Conference Minister Central Atlantic Conference United Church of Christ Rev. Patricia Barth Interim Associate Conference Minister Chesapeake Association Central Atlantic Conference United Church of Christ Claretianos Missionaries Western Province Colombia
The Rev. Dr. Lois K. Happe Regional Minister Connecticut Conference United Church of Christ Art Smoker Overseer, Tennessee-Carolina-Kentucky District Virginia Mennonite Conference Gloria Ulloa Executive Secretary Caribbean Coast Presbytery Presbyterian Church of Colombia
Rev Dr Michael S Penn-Strah South Central Regional Minister Connecticut Conference United Church of Christ Virgil Vogt Associate Conference Minister Illinois Mennonite Conference Rev. Diego Higuita Executive Secretary Caribbean Coast Synod Presbyterian Church of Colombia
Richard A.White Administration Ministry Team Central Pacific Conference United Church of Christ Sherry Mason Taylor Associate Conference Minister New Jersey Association Central Atlantic Conference United Church of Christ Rev. David Illidge Executive Secretary of the Central Presbytery Presbyterian Church of Colombia
David J Dutschke Parish Social Ministry Department Catholic Charities of Louisville Inc. Louisville, KY Gary Hougen Chair, Board of Church and Society Northern Illinois Conference United Methodist Church Osvaldo Ardila Frías Executive Secretary Colombian Ecumenical Network
Edgar Hiestand Ecumenical/Interreligious Office Northern Illinois Conference United Methodist Church Alka Lyall Chair, Outreach Ministry Area Northern Illinois Conference United Methodist Church Christians for Justice and Peace Colombia
Larry Greenfield Executive Minister American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago Joetta Venneman Office of Global Ministries on behalf of Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Congregational Leadership Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Nazareth, KY Sister Cecilia Naranjo B Member of the Sacred Heart Order Representative Interreligious Justice and Peace Commission Colombia
Sr. Marian Durkin, CSA For the Congregational Leaders Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine Richfield, OH Sister Agnes Johnson, OP Vice President Racine Dominicans Racine, WI Jenny Neme Director Christian Center for Justice, Peace and Nonviolent Action-Justapaz Colombia
Sister Margaret Bulmer, CCVI Office of Social Concerns Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word Houston, TX Sister Marge Wissman, OSF Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Director Sisters of St. Francis Oldenburg, IN Carol Byler Director The Colombian Mennonite Foundation for Development (MENCOLDES) Colombia
Sister Kristine Vorenkamp Director of Religious Education Sisters of the Living Word Sister Jean Verber Coordinator Justice Outreach Office Racine Dominicans Jairo Muñoz Muñoz Director Fundación SERCOLDES Colombia
Provincial Council Clerics of St. Viator (Viatorians) Rev. Deborah Blood Chair of the Board of Directors United Church of Christ Wider Church Ministries and Common Global Ministries Amparo Beltrán Co-Director Grassroots Communication Center for Latin America (CEPALC) Colombia
Rev. Felix Ortiz-Cotto Executive Latin America and the Caribbean Global Ministries Rob Keithan Director, Washington Office for Advocacy Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations Luz Dary Guerrero Coordinator Theological Studies Ministerial Program -PROMESA Colombia
Jean Stokan Policy Director Pax Christi USA: National Catholic Peace Movement Sara Pottschmidt Lisherness Director, Compassion, Peace and Justice Ministry General Assembly Council Presbyterian Church USA Rev. John Hernandez Director Lutheran Theological Seminary Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia
Rev. Dr. Mari E. Castellanos Justice and Witness Ministries United Church of Christ Barbara Gerlach Colombia Liaison Justice and Witness Ministries United Church of Christ Fabio Alonso Meza Ramírez Coordinator Ecumenical Peace School Colombia
Adonna R. Bowman Executive Director, Office of Disciples Women Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Rev. Dr. Hunter Farrell Director, World Mission Presbyterian Church USA Albeiro Santana Pinzón Secretary General Apostolic Christian Evangelical Church of Colombia
N. Sharon Leatherman President Church Women United in Maryland Joan S. Brown President Ohio State Board of Church Women United Alba Luz Arrieta Cabrales National Coordinator Violence Alternatives Program Colombia
Judy Reimer President Nebraska Church Women United Marla McGarry-Lawrence Convener, Oregon Chapter Episcopal Peace Fellowship Jhon Fredy Cardona H. Western Regional Peace Commission Coordinator Colombian Council of Protestant and Evangelical Churches
Jim Vondracek Managing Director Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America Brian Stefan-Szittai InterReligious Task Force on Central America Cleveland, OH Daniel Vargas R. Tolima Peace Commission Coordinator Colombian Council of Protestant and Evangelical Churches
David Horvath and Pat Geier Co-Chairs Kentucky Interfaith Taskforce on Latin America and the Caribbean Louisville, KY Paul Horst Colombia Sanctuary Project Coordinator Chicago Metropolitan Sanctuary Alliance Luz Amanda Valencia G. Women’s Network for Life and Peace Coordinator Colombian Council of Protestant and Evangelical Churches
Anne Barstow Co-Coordinator Presbyterian Accompaniment Program in Colombia Rev. Michael Joseph Global Ministries Missionary Peace Commission of the Evangelical Council of Colombia* Karina Torres Meriño Documentation for Advocacy Program Coordinator Peace Commission of the Colombian Council of Protestant and Evangelical Churches
Cynthia Lapp Pastor Hyattsville Mennonite Church Hyattsville, MD The Rev. John A. Nelson Pastor and Teacher Niantic Community Church (UCC/UMC) Niantic, CT Lucia Teresa Cardona Herrera Western Region Coordinator of Advocacy and Conflict Resolution Peace Commission of the Colombian Council of Protestant and Evangelical Churches
The Reverend Cheryl Pyrch Associate Pastor Rutgers Presbyterian Church New York, NY Patsy Taylor Griffith Lay Leadership Hope Presbyterian Church Austin, TX Martín Peinado Documentation for Advocacy Program Central Regional Coordinator Peace Commission of the Colombian Council of Protestant and Evangelical Churches
Dr. Jim Henkelman-Bahn Christ Congregational United Church of Christ Silver Spring, MD Rev. Daniel Dale Pastor Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ Chicago, IL Gladys Cecilia Cedeño Uribe Western Coordinator of the Women’s Network Peace Commission of the Colombian Council of Protestant and Evangelical Churches
Ryan Lambert Associate Minister First Congregational United Church of Christ Corvallis, OR Rev. Susan Leo Bridgeport United Church of Christ Portland, Oregon Wuillian Soto Rodriguez Pastor and Secretary Tolima Association of Evangelical Ministers Tolima, Colombia
Rob Hanson Sister Church Committee Chair Hyde Park Mennonite Church Boise, ID James F. Bundy Pastor Sojourners United Church of Christ Charlottesville, Virginia Henrry Martin Gonzalez Vice-President Tolima Association of Evangelical Ministers Tolima, Colombia
The Reverend Nancy Goede Pastor Mount Zion Lutheran Church Oak Lawn, IL Rev. Dr. Susan Newman Adjunct Minister Peoples Congregational UCC Washington, DC Rev. Milton Mejia Former Secretary General Presbyterian Church of Colombia
Rev. Joni Stoneking Forest Grove United Church of Christ Forest Grove, OR Rev. Dr. Donna J Martin Chaplain Heartland Hospice Baltimore, MD Miguel Ceballos Urbano President Nariño Association of Pastors Nariño, Colombia
Corliss Marsh The Dalles United Church of Christ The Dalles, OR Paul H. Saddler, D Min Pastor 12th Street Christian Church Washington, DC Jhon Jairo Londoño Valle Regional Coordinator Christian Crusade Church Valle, Colombia
Rev. Bee Neufeld Lake Oswego United Church of Christ (Congregational) Lake Oswego, OR Rev. Art Waidmann Bethesda United Church of Christ Bethesda, MD Marcial Marmolejo Zea Regional Coordinator for the Eje Cafetero, Northern Valle and Antioquia Evangelical Missionary Union Church Colombia
Rev. Pamela Shepherd Minister First Congregational United Church of Christ Ashland, OR Rev. John Clark Pegg United Church of Christ Pastor, retired Chair, Witness for Peace Board of Directors Duluth, MN Peter Stucky Pastor Teusaquillo Mennonite Church Bogotá, Colombia
Brenda Kame’enui First Congregational United Church of Christ Eugene, OR Rev. James E. Flynn Associate Pastor (ret) St. Mary’s Church Park City, UT Patricia Gallo Pastor Calarca Evangelical Missionary Union Church Quindío, Colombia
Rev. Caroline Zaworski First Congregational United Church of Christ Corvallis, OR Rev. Mansfield M. Kaseman Executive Director Community Ministries of Rockville Rockville, MD Rev. Eduardo Barajas Carrillo Pastor Emmanuel Evangelical Presbyterian Church Santander, Colombia
Ann Legg Mission Outreach Committee Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church Crystal Lake, IL Rick Johnson Deacon Mission Outreach Ministry Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church Crystal Lake, IL María Elena Racines C. Pastor San Juan Evangelical Lutheran Church Santander, Colombia
Lois M. Congdon Ecumenical Concerns Chair Manatee County Church Women United Bradenton, FL Carmelita Dunn Sister of Charity of Nazareth Louisville, KY Mary Luz Merchán Cáceres Pastor Emmanuel Presbyterian Church Santander, Colombia
Carol Wilson Missions and Social Concerns Team Leader Cheshire United Methodist Church Cheshire, CT The Rev. Dr. Sharon H. Ringe Professor of New Testament Wesley Theological Seminary* Washington, DC Rev. Omar Alberto Girón Jiménez Pastor Baptist Christian Church Santander, Colombia
J. Gregory Johnson Board Member Bethel Congregational United Church of Christ Beaverton, OR Rev. Beth A. O’Malley Pastor Columbia United Christian Church Columbia, MD Luis Alberto Rubiano Evangelist Christ the King and Lord Mission Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia Bogotá, Colombia
Rev. Paul B. Robinson (retired) United Church of Christ Medford, OR Rev. James A. Todhunter Christ Congregational Church, United Church of Christ Silver Spring, MD César García Pastor Torre Fuerte Church Mennonite Brethren Bogota, Colombia
Scot McGavin First Congregational United Church of Christ Boise, Idaho Rev. A. Rebecca West Associate Pastor Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ Washington, DC David Ricardo Garcia Gomez Pastor Missionary and Alliance Church of Colombia Bogotá, Colombia
David Hiebert Scottdale Mennonite Church Scottdale, PA Rev. John Cooper-Martin Rockville United Church Rockville, MD Pedro Miguel Garcia Torres Professor Emeritus Universidad del Atlantico, Colombia
Mary Smith Coordinator Church Women United of Chemung County (NY) Elmira, NY Rev. Allison C. G. Smith Pastor Bethesda United Church of Christ Bethesda, MD Esther González Calvo Pastor Peniel Foursquare Church Bolívar, Colombia
Bea Haledjian Church Women United Trinity United Methodist Church Bradenton, FL Rev. James Colvin Pastor United Church of Christ Congregational Plainfield, NJ José William Valencia Pastor Girardot Mennonite Church Cundinamarca, Colombia
Rev. Lynne Smouse López Pastor Ainsworth United Church of Christ Portland, OR Rev. Paul Bryant-Smith Pastor First Congregational Church River Edge, NJ Cecilia Obrepon Pastor Madrid Mennonite Church Cundinamarca, Colombia
Bryce Miller Pastor Shalom Mennonite Fellowship Tucson, AZ Parrish Jones Minister Presbyterian Church USA Lucila Pabon Treasurer Teusaquillo Mennonite Church Bogotá, Colombia
Sally Schreiner Youngquist Pastor Living Water Community Church (Mennonite Church USA) Chicago, IL Donna Mast Co-Pastor Scottdale Mennonite Church Scottdale, PA Edith Arenas Pastor Jehová Sama Mennonite Church Bogotá, Colombia
Rev. Mamie Broadhurst Associate Pastor First United Church of Oak Park Oak Park, IL Rev. Charles L. Wildman Senior Pastor (Ret.) Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ Arlington, VA Edgar Pérez Secretary Afro-Colombian Ministries Team Bogotá, Colombia
Michael B. Bogard Associate Pastor Eden Mennonite Church Moundridge, KS Alice H. Foltz Council Secretary Wellspring United Church of Christ Centreville, VA Sister Ayda Orobio Local Superior Mother Laura Missionary Valle, Colombia
Teresa Aeschliman Peace Advocate Asheville Mennonite Church Asheville, NC Rev. Dr. Debra L. Duke Pastor Paramus Congregational United Church of Christ Paramus, NJ Ana Débora Garcés Health Ministries Coordinator Juan Bonal Colombia
J. Roy Hunsberger Elder Asheville Mennonite Church Asheville, NC Just Peace Committee Peace United Church of Christ Duluth, MN Michele Tordi Missionary Combonianos Colombia
Steve Goering Pastor Columbus Mennonite Church Columbus, OH Rev. Verne Arens Pastor Little River United Church of Christ Annandale, VA Francisco Fabres Belen Mission Colombia
Rod Stafford Pastor Portland Mennonite Church Portland, OR Rev. Holly MillerShank Minister Grace United Church of Christ Lebanon, PA Sister Lilia Suarez Compañía de María Colombia
Dr. Brenda Martin Hurst Pastor Frazer Mennonite Church Frazer, PA Rev Catherine Oatman Pastor United Evangelical, United Church of Christ Baltimore, MD Sister Amparo Tarazona Teresiana Colombia
Dan Malloy-Good Minister of Peace, Justice, and Evangelism Frazer Mennonite Church Frazer, PA Robert Hardies Senior Minister All Souls Church, Unitarian Washington, DC Dominican Sisters of the Presentation Bucaramanga Province Colombia
J. Mark Frederick Pastor Perkasie Mennonite Church Perkasie, PA Reverend W.J. Mark Knutson Pastor Augustana Lutheran Church Portland, OR Gina Zabala Secretary of the Caribbean Coast Presbytery Presbyterian Church of Colombia
Anna Margaret Engle Associate Pastor of Pastoral Care Lindale Mennonite Church Harrisonburg, VA Rev. Spencer Bradford Pastor Durham Mennonite Church Durham, NC Jesús Vargas Treasurer of the Caribbean Coast Presbytery Presbyterian Church of Colombia
Margaret Foth Congregational Peace Advocate Park View Mennonite Church Harrisonburg, VA Rev. Susan G. Latourette Associate Pastor First Church of Christ, Congregational UCC Middletown, CT Procura Claretiana De Misiones Chocó, Colombia
Shirley Yoder Brubaker Pastor Community Mennonite Church Harrisonburg, VA Martha Deputy Treasurer Victory Harvest Mission Church Bowling Green, KY Our Lady of Carmen de Riosucio Parish Chocó, Colombia
Barbara B. Flinn President Church Women United of Saint Lucie County Port Saint Lucie, FL Catiana McKay Pastor United Church of Rogers Park Chicago, IL Mama-U Cultural Center Chocó, Colombia
Naury Sanchez-Citron Pentecostal Church of Puerto Rico McCormick Theological Seminary Student Chicago, IL Randall Spaulding Pastor The Covenant Mennonite Fellowship Sarasota, FL Seglares Claretianas Chocó, Colombia
Kendra Grams Presbyterian Church USA McCormick Theological Seminary Student Chicago, IL Barbara Krehbiel Gehring Co-pastor Manhattan Mennonite Church Manhattan, KS Tagachi Y Bete Missonary Teams Chocó, Colombia
Laetitia S. Wells Presbyterian Church USA McCormick Theological Seminary Student Chicago, IL Robert Yates Pastor Pleasant Valley Mennonite Church Harper, KS Josué Gutiérrez P. Governing Elder San Bernabé Presbyterian Church Bogotá, Colombia
Ketharine Miller Presbyterian Church USA McCormick Theological Seminary Student Chicago, IL Louise Ranck Chairperson of Justice and Spirituality Committee Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster Lancaster, PA Julio Alberto Suarez Pastor Elim Christian Community Church Tolima, Colombia
Kristin Black Presbyterian Church USA McCormick Theological Seminary Student Chicago, IL Peter Degree Pastor Northford Congregational Church, UCC Northford, CT Nelson Larrota Pastor Vision to the Nations Church Tolima, Colombia
Danna E. Gobal University Church Chicago, IL Rev Paige Besse-Rankin Pastor Woodmont United Church of Christ Milford, CT Elias Cañon Pastor Antioquia Christian Church Tolima, Colombia
Robert Saler Professor Lutheran School of Theology Chicago, IL Rev. Wendy Mathewson Campus Minister DePaul University Chicago, IL Alvaro Ardila Pastor Family of God Arch Church Tolima, Colombia
Allison Halles McCormick Theological Seminary Staff Chicago, IL Andrea Leonard Former Young Adult Volunteer in Mission Presbyterian Church USA Atlanta, GA Aureliano Sanchez Pastor Evangelical Crusade Church Tolima, Colombia
Christopher R. Bentlin McCormick Theological Seminary Student Chicago, IL Edward R. DeLair, Jr. Miami Valley Presbytery Staff Presbyterian Church USA Zanesfield, OH Carlos Alberto Fierro Pastor Doors of Zion Church Tolima, Colombia
Laura Ilardo Justice and Witness Ministry, Board Member United Church of Christ Phoenix, AZ Rev. Jean M. McCusker Pastor United Church of Christ East Windsor, CT Cesar Augusto Giraldo Pastor Doors of Zion Church Tolima, Colombia
The Rev. Dr. Don Beisswenger Professor Emeritus Vanderbilt Divinity School Nashville, TN John Stoltzfus Associate Pastor Lombard Mennonite Church Lombard, IL Alfonso Chacon Pastor Rebirth Church Tolima, Colombia
Rev. Sally Houck Pastor Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church Stillwater, OK Rev. Jonathan Scanlon Resident Pastor Central Presbyterian Church Atlanta, GA Idali Rivera Pastor Christian Alliance Church Tolima, Colombia
Bill Coop Co-chair, Bi-National Service Presbyterian Church USA Brunswick, ME Rev. Toni Smith Retired Clergy United Church of Chester Chester, CT Luis H. Garcia Pastor Living Evangelism Church Tolima, Colombia
Rev. Jan Orr-Harter National Committee Presbyterian Peace Fellowship Aledo, TX Rev. Mr.Fred D. Milligan, Jr. Stewardship Specialist Lutheran Southern Seminary Columbia, SC Fernando Castillo Pastor Pan-American Prado Church of Tolima Tolima, Colombia
Rev. Cathryn Surgenor Accompanier in Colombia Presbyterian Peace Fellowship Joan A. Crook Publicity Chair Church Women United Asheville, NC Wuillian Ramirez Pastor Prado Christian Brotherhood Church Tolima, Colombia
Rev. Dr. Robert R. LaRochelle Pastor Congregational Church of Union Union, CT The Rev. Dr. Richard H. Craft Interim Pastor Family of Christ Presbyterian Church Greeley, CO Fredy Meza Pastor Christ Center Church Tolima, Colombia
Rev. Leah Hrachovec Associate Pastor First Presbyterian Church Stillwater, OK Fernando Gomez Presbyterian Church USA McCormick Theological Seminary Student Chicago, IL Nibardo Galindo Pastor Presbyterian Church of Natagaima Tolima, Colombia
Dr. B. Gordon Edwards Pastor First Presbyterian Church Stillwater, OK Danielle E. Wegman Public Policy Coordinator Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN) Ana B Herrera Presbyterian Church of Natagaima Tolima, Colombia
The Rev. Charles Booker-Hirsch Pastor Northside Presbyterian Church Ann Arbor, MI Pintor Sitanggang Student Lutheran School of Theology Chicago, IL Eison Angulo Pastor Purification Presbyterian Church Tolima, Colombia
Rev. Karen Jodice Pastor Broadview Community Church, UCC Hartford, CT Yu Young Kum Presbyterian Church McCormick Theological Seminary Student Chicago, IL Lucero Gonzalez Pastor New Life in Christ Church Tolima, Colombia
Rev. Edward Rawls Senior Pastor First Congregational Church Stratford, CT Seo Yang Lee McCormick Theological Seminary Student Chicago, IL Viviana Machuca Pastor Veraguas Brethren in Christ Church Bogotá, Colombia
Rev. Alison J. Buttrick Patton Associate Minister of Parish Life and Outreach First Church of Christ, UCC Simsbury, CT Barbara Clawson Lay Leader New Creation Community Presbyterian Church Greensboro, NC Father Tarcisio Gaitán Santa Gema Parrish Medellín, Colombia
Rev. Mary E. Breden Pastor Andrews Presbyterian Church Andrew, TX Betty Kersting Lay Leader First Presbyterian Church Santa Fe, NM Marleny Calle Muñoz Lay Leader Ibague Mennonite Church Tolima, Colombia
The Rev. Dr. Phineas Washer Madison Square Presbyterian Church San Antonio, TX Arch B. Taylor, Jr. Member of Mid-Kentucky Presbytery (honorably retired) Presbyterian Church USA Clarksville, IN Rev. Luis Fernando Sanmiguel Cardona Pastor Community of Hope Presbyterian Church Bogotá, Colombia
Tiffany Triplett Henkel Associate Pastor & Executive Director Metro Baptist Church & Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries New York, NY Dr. Leonard B. Bjorkman Moderator Emeritus Presbyterian Peace Fellowship Owego, NY Evelio Garcia Pedraza Pastor Love and Life of the Nations Missionary Union Church Quindio, Colombia
Rev. Edward P. Wegele Pastor First Presbyterian Church Seminole, TX Rev. Robert C. Lane Retired Clergy First Church in Windsor, CT, U.C.C. Windsor, CT Walter Ceballos Pastor Armenia Mennonite Church Quindio, Colombia
Orlando Redekopp Pastor Chicago First Church of the Brethren Chicago, IL Barbara Medina Accompanier in Colombia Presbyterian Peace Fellowship Vidal Jimenez Pastoral Coordinator Cachipay Mennonite Church Cundinamarca, Colombia
Rev. Matthew C. Miles Pastor First Presbyterian Church Fort Davis, TX Kenneth Trauger Retired Clergy United Church of Christ/Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness Lancaster, PA Martha L. Gómez Pastoral Coordinator Pereira Mennonite Church Risaralda, Colombia
Kate De Braose Elder Westminster Presbyterian Church Roswell, NM Dr. Loise George Lay Leader United Methodist Church Asheville, NC José Antonio Vaca Pastoral Coordinator Ibagué – Calle 39 Mennonite Church Tolima, Colombia
Rev. John F. Moriarty Pastor First Presbyterian Church USA East Brady, PA Don Hamsher Pastor Kaufman Mennonite Church Davidsville, PA Amanda Valencia Pastoral Coordinator Ibagué – Modelia Mennonite Church Tolima, Colombia
Gail McDougle Pastor First Congregational Church, UCC Salem, OR Ron Adams Pastor East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church Lancaster, PA Jaime Guevara Pastor La Mesa Mennonite Church Cundinamarca, Colombia
Le Anne Clausen Director Center for Faith and Peacemaking Chicago, IL Emma Frederick Pastor Perkasie Mennonite Church Perkasie, PA Roberto Caicedo Pastor Ciudad Berna Mennonite Church Bogotá, Colombia
Reverend Gary Martin Lead Pastor College Mennonite Church Goshen, IN Lorie Hershey Pastor West Philadelphia Mennonite Fellowship Philadelphia, PA Henry Córdoba Pastoral Agent La Victoria Mennonite Church Bogotá, Colombia
Richard Gehring Co-pastor Manhattan Mennonite Church Manhattan, KS Barbara Moyer Lehman Associate Pastor Park View Mennonite Church Harrisonburg, VA Patricia Rosero Pastoral Coordinator Santa Marta Mennonite Church Bogotá, Colombia
Pam Dintaman Pastor Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster Lancaster, PA Ross Erb Associate Pastor for Children, Youth and Families Park View Mennonite Church Harrisonburg, VA Caleb Aranguren Pastoral Coordinator Villas de Granada Mennonite Church Bogotá, Colombia
Kori Phillips Lay Leadership Westminster Presbyterian Church Dayton, OH Aldine Musser Co-pastor Stephens City Mennonite Church Stephens City, VA Manuel García Pastor El Campito Mennonite Church Atlantico, Colombia
Ruth Stoltzfus Colombia Task Force, co-chairperson First Mennonite Church Urbana, IL Rev. Dr. Daniel Rodríguez Professor Emeritus McCormick Theological Seminary Chicago, IL Javier García Pastor North Mennonite Church Atlantico, Colombia
Ron Zook Pastor New Holland Mennonite Church New Holland, PA Mary Natger Episcopalian Church Chicago, IL Manuel Caicedo Pastor Sahagún Mennonite Church Córdoba, Colombia
Edith Beach Belleville Unit Church Women United Belleville, IL Sarah Henken Accompaniment Program Coordinator Presbyterian Church USA Chicago, IL Guillermo Vargas Director La Mesa Mennonite School Cundinamarca, Colombia
Rev. Charles Ross Pastor Emeritus Parkrose Community United Church of Christ Portland, OR Jane Tume Presbyterian Church USA McCormick Theological Seminary Student Chicago, IL Elizabeth Manco Pastor Guacarí Evangelical Missionary Union Church Valle, Colombia
Rev. Alan Claassen Pastor First Congregational Church of Murphys, United Church of Christ Murphys, CA Robert Worley Professor McCormick Theological Seminary Chicago, IL Geffer Mallorga Pastor Guacarí Evangelical Missionary Union Church Valle, Colombia
The Rev. Cecil Charles Prescod, OCC Jillian Scott Lesvi Vargas
Director of Christian Education and Youth Ministries Ainsworth United Church of Christ Portland, OR El Salvador Mission Project Co-Director First Congregational Church Eugene, OR Deacon Atria of the Great King Church Bogotá, Colombia
Rev. Forster Freeman, D.Min. Honorably Retired Presbyterian Church USA and United Church of Christ Portland, OR Liz Paulson Director, Christian Nurture Riverside Community Church Hood River, OR Jhon Byron Ramirez Worship Director Renovation and Life Church Risaralda, Colombia
Rev. C. Bunny Oliver Pastor Beavercreek United Church of Christ Beavercreek, OR Rev. Vicky Stifter Pastor Riverside Community Church, United Church of Christ Hood River, OR Beatriz Gómez H Pastor and Women’s Coordinator for District C Evangelical Missionary Union Church Colombia
James B. Ruyle Volunteer Minister Hillsdale United Church of Christ Portland, OR Rev. Tom Latimer Pastor Biltmore United Methodist Church Asheville, NC Roger Sieber Missionary Brethren in Christ Bogotá, Colombia
Rev. Roberta Williams Pastor Vernon United Methodist Church Vernon, CT Fr. Jeff Nicolas Pastor Epiphany Catholic Church Louisville, KY Santiago Espitia Pastor Brethren in Christ Church Bogotá, Colombia
Rev. Melanie A. Oommen Associate Minister First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ Eugene, OR Erin Flory Organizer for the Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia Shalom Mennonite Fellowship Tucson, AZ Carlos Alvarez Minister Brethren in Christ Church Bogotá, Colombia
Donna Edlin First Congregational Church Eugene, OR Rev. John Vest Associate Pastor Fourth Presbyterian Church Chicago, IL Rev. Vilma Yánez Presbyterian Church of Colombia
Rev. Andrew Schwiebert Pastor First Congregational Church of Oakland Oakland, CA Anita Yoder Kehr Pastor Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship Goshen, IN Rev. Gustavo Gulfo

Presbyterian Church of Colombia

Rev. Dr. Jennifer Phillips Rector St. Augustine’s Church Kingston, RI Sylvia Shirk Charles Pastor Manhattan Mennonite Fellowship New York, NY Rev. Milciades Púa

Presbyterian Church of Colombia

Chester Topple Minister Westminster Presbyterian Church Santa Fe, NM Roger Miller Elder Asheville Mennonite Church Asheville, NC Marian Seagren Hall American Association of University Women–Wisconsin President-Elect Wausau, WI
Marty Gool Reverend Chatham-Bethlehem United Presbyterian Church Chicago, IL Justin Kurtz Elder Asheville Mennonite Church Asheville, NC Pat Conover Steward Seekers Church Washington, DC
Dr. Frederick Struckmeyer Peace Advocate Grove United Methodist Church West Chester, PA Rev. Susan Ortman Goering Pastor Columbus Mennonite Church Columbus, OH Michelle Tooley Eli Lilly Professor of Religion Berea College Berea, KY
Catherine M. Stanford Lay Leader, Coordinator of Public Theology Christ United Methodist Church Piscataway, NJ Tom F. Driver The Paul J. Tillich Professor of Theology and Culture Emeritus Union Theological Seminary New York, NY Sister Chris Dobrowolski IHM Pax Christi Louisville Louisville, KY
Rev. Jane H. Peifer Rev. Rebecca Messman Rev. Stephen Smith-Cobbs
Pastor Blossom Hill Mennonite Church Lancaster, PA Associate Pastor Trinity Presbyterian Church Herndon, VA Pastor Trinity Presbyterian Herndon, VA
John E. Harris Designated Pastor North Presbyterian Church of Flushing Flushing, NY The Rev. Rob Eller-Isaacs Minister Unity Church-Unitarian Saint Paul, MN Rev. Carolyn Roberts Pastor United Church of Christ of Seneca Valley Germantown, MD
The Rev. Walter L. Owensby Clergy – retired Presbyterian Church USA Rev. Steven Ostendorf-Snell Pastor Grace United Church of Christ Taneytown, MD The Rev. Janne Eller-Isaacs Minister Unity Church-Unitarian Saint Paul, MN
Rev. Dr. Fred M. Buker Board of Directors Central Atlantic Conference, United Church of Christ Williamtown, NJ Rev. Mark Greiner Pastor Takoma Park Presbyterian Church Takoma Park, MD Louise Green Minister of Social Justice All Souls Church, Unitarian Washington, DC
Malissa Haslam

Colombia Accompanier First Presbyterian Church Santa Fe, NM

The Rev. Denise Giacomozzi May Minister Director United College Ministries in Northern Virginia* Jane Hanna Chair of the Mission & Social Concerns Committee First Presbyterian Church Santa Fe, NM
Rev. Juliet Sanson Bongfeldt Pastor Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd Kingston, RI Dr. Rick Axtell Professor of Religion and College Chaplain Centre College* Danville, KY Rev. Megan M. Ramer Pastor Chicago Community Mennonite Church Chicago, IL
Rev. Ginna Minasian Dalton Pastor for Christian Education, Youth, and Evangelism Little River United Church of Christ Annandale, VA Elizabeth N. Oettinger Senior Minister First Congregational United Church of Christ Corvallis, OR Mary Ann Lambert Peace & Justice Committee St. William Church Louisville, KY

* For identification purposes only.

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