Join thousands of people of faith from Colombia and North America to pray for an end to violence and suffering in Colombia, and act to end unjust U.S. policies that contribute to the humanitarian crisis! More than 100 congregations in the U.S., Canada and Colombia have already confirmed their participation - will you join the list? Send Jennifer an email to let us know if you're participating at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Latin America Working Group is actively working with coalition partners to organize this event. We will ask Congress to:
* Shift the balance of aid to Colombia, in order to prioritize aid for sustainable solutions to Colombia's humanitarian crisis, rather than more military training and assistance.
* Not support the Colombian Free Trade Agreement (FTA). More labor union leaders are killed in Colombia each year than the rest of the world combined.
To participate in the Days of Prayer and Action, visit www.peaceincolombia.org
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe visited Washington recently to lobby policy makers for a Free Trade Agreement and more military aid for Colombia. These requests are particularly concerning right now for a number of reasons:
* The war rages on in Colombia. Plan Colombia was initially intended to support the rule of law in Colombia, improve the human rights record of the Colombian military, and reduce coca production. But after 7 years and more than $5.4 billion of U.S. taxpayer dollars spent, we see just the opposite! At the end of May, the foreign operations appropriations subcommittee in the House of Representatives will consider Bush and Uribe's proposal for "Plan Colombia 2," and it's time that we call for a major shift in U.S. priorities in Colombia. Keep an eye out for emails from LAWG in coming weeks to take further action.
* The U.S.-Colombia FTA will increase drug production and violence against labor union leaders. Colombia is the most dangerous country in the world to organize labor unions. Furthermore, the flooding of the market caused by an FTA will put many small farmers out of business, likely causing many to turn to more lucrative drug production. Presidents Bush and Uribe have already signed the FTA, and the ball in now in Congress' court. This will heat up in the summer, so again, keep an eye out from LAWG!
* Numerous members of Pres. Uribe's party have been implicated in an unfolding scandal in Colombia in recent months. The "para-politics" scandal has revealed that some government officials - and military officials as well - have had close ties to the right-wing paramilitary group the AUC, which is on the U.S. State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
In protest of the human rights crisis in Colombia, including the murders of labor unionists, LAWG supported a demonstration in downtown Washington - organized by Public Citizen - before one of Pres. Uribe's events.
You can read more about Pres. Uribe's visit and Colombia's para-politics scandal on Adam Isacson's blog, of the Center for International Policy: http://cipcol.org/
Sun, 05/20/2007 (All day) - Mon, 05/21/2007 (All day)