During the 50+ year Colombian civil war, over 7 million people were internally displaced from their lands, most by the Colombian military or right-wing paramilitary forces and mostly to turn their land into palm oil plantations. African descended people and members of Indigenous groups have been displaced disproportionately to their percentage of the population. Starting in 2001 and over 15 years, the U.S. government sent $10 billion to Colombia under “Plan Colombia, supposedly to shut down cocaine shipments to the U.S. Instead, much of this money trained and armed the Colombian military and police, which committed human rights abuses and were complicit with paramilitary forces that committed many more. Some also went to aerial fumigation of coca crops, but the herbicide used was a health hazard to people and animals and also destroyed people’s food crops. In the end, Plan Colombia did nothing to stop the flow of drugs. During this time, CRLN worked to challenge U.S. militarized drug eradication policy, to focus attention on the need for humanitarian aid for the displaced, and to stop aerial fumigations.
In November 2016, the Colombian government and the FARC rebel group signed Peace Accords ending the 50+ year civil conflict that were later signed into law by the Colombian Congress. While the FARC demobilized, moved into designated areas, and formed a political party according to the plan, many other parts of the plan have not been implemented. The social conditions that precipitated the war have not been addressed, other armed groups moved into the territory vacated by the FARC, and nearly 300 community organizers and activists were murdered between November 2016 and April 2018. CRLN continues to advocate for the rights of displaced persons to return safely to their lands, for the rights of people to peacefully protest without fear of death, for an end to a militarized U.S. drug policy, and for the Colombian government to dismantle the paramilitary groups.