by Jhonathan F. Gómez / July 5, 2022

I trust that you, like me and many around the world, are still celebrating and feeling the hope of the people’s victory in the recent presidential elections of Colombia. Just as we saw the hope of new beginnings in Chile and Honduras, this victory was only made possible by the unstoppable and ongoing work of social movements, particularly the resistance of Indigenous communities. In this moment of hope and celebration, we must also acknowledge that much has been sacrificed to get here. My optimism for this new chapter in Colombia’s history comes from people like Francia Marquez, the new vice-president. She is the first Afro-Colombian woman to hold that title and is a remarkable environmentalist and human rights defender. As she stated, “My task is to guarantee the rights of these excluded and marginalized territories, to guarantee rights for Afro-descendant and Indigenous populations.” Those words, backed by decades of work in defense of human rights, give me hope, and joy and fill me with energy.

On June 19, we reaffirmed our solidarity with the people of Colombia by leading a rally outside the Colombian Consulate. We gathered hours before the polls closed for the run-off to the presidential elections. This was an emergency action that we coordinated with Colombian election observers. We were happy that our sister organizations were present and signed a statement which we delivered to the staff at the Consulate. The statement was signed by eight Chicago organizations and demanded transparency, justice, and peaceful elections. The document was also a way to remind all of us that the United States has committed $453 million in defense aid to Colombia for 2022. A figure that we take seriously because this is the direct opposite of how aid should be spent. Defense aid is military aid, and the military does not support peace, democracy, or justice.

I’ll end with a poem by Colombian poet Gonzalo Arango.

Gonzalo Arango

Una mano
más una mano
no son dos manos

Son manos unidas
Une tu mano
a nuestras manos
para que el mundo
no esté en pocas manos
sino en todas las manos

Gonzalo Arango                                                                   
One hand
plus one hand
does not make two hands

They are hands together
join your hand
to our hands
so the world
is not in a few hands
but in all our hands

In permanent solidarity and resistance,

Jhonathan F. Gómez

Marilyn McKenna

Marilyn McKenna has blogged 150 posts