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Human Rights, the US Drug War, and Grassroots Nonviolent Resistance in Colombia
Just back from a month-long research trip in Colombia, John Lindsay-Poland of the Fellowship of Reconciliation will share eyewitness experiences with communities using active nonviolence to refuse participation in the armed conflict, civil groups maintaining collective memory of the conflict, as well as with soldiers who have been part of this long war. Learn about peace communities, the current process seeking an end to war, and efforts to hold the United States accountable for its role in Colombia’s trauma.
Thursday July 18, 6:00 – 8:00pm
Salem Lutheran Church
1428 W. Broadway Ave., Spokane, WA 99201
Since 2000, the United States has spent more than $8 billion on “Plan Colombia,” most of it military aid, as part of the “drug war” and “war on terrorism.” Nearly five decades of armed conflict in Colombia have subjected Indigenous people, women, union activists, youth, journalists, and human rights workers to violence by guerrillas, paramilitaries and the U.S.-backed Colombian military. Yet, despite this adversity, Colombians refuse to give up in their courageous quest for peace and social justice.
Genocide in Guatemala: Another Consequence of U.S. Policy?
by Mike Nuess
The May 10, 2013 conviction of former Guatemalan dictator and School of the Americas attendee, Efraín Ríos Montt, for genocide and crimes against humanity sets a major milestone along the long path toward justice on this earth, marking the first time a head of state has been convicted of genocide by his or her own country, and clearly testifying to the extraordinary and courageous perseverance of thousands of persecuted Guatemalans who toiled to bring the truth to light.
But the path toward justice leads further, continuing both within Guatemala and beyond it, too—perhaps especially to the U.S. Read more »
Learn, Share, Accompany
by Liz Moore
I’m delighted that we were so lucky as to host human rights workers Pablo Obando, Communications Director of the Fray Bartolomé Human Rights Center in Chiapas, Mexico, and Tony Nelson, of the Mexico Solidarity Network and the Autonomous University of Social Movements and the Albany Park Centro Autónomo, last month. It was a powerful and bilingual presentation. A great detail was the word “compañero” or “compañera” which was not translated because there’s not an exactly right English word–the best way to explain it is brother or sister, with a political and community meaning; a companion in the struggle for justice.
Pablo spoke on the human rights situation in Chiapas, Mexico, the Fray Bartolomé Center’s work, and the role of international solidarity. The Center has been widely recognized for accompanying indigenous communities under attack, documenting abuses, and defending cases in court. It has recently been increasingly threatened by paramilitary organizations for this work.
Both Tony and Pablo spoke about how they do their work: they do not give, teach, or help–they are committed, instead, to learn, to share, and to accompany, so that the people experiencing oppression are the authors of change. If you missed their great presentation, or if you just want a refresher, check out this video of their presentation!
November is for SOAW
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War
Remember School of the Americas? School of Assassins? Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation? Some of us will never forget our experiences at Ft. Benning or the U.S.-sponsored atrocities that made us passionate about being there, but we might forget our country still maintains a facility to perpetuate terror against impoverished Latin Americans who dare to act, or even speak, against their own oppression.
Perhaps you get emails from SOA Watch and know that thousands of opponents of our anachronistic U.S. policy on Latin America gather each November to observe the grim anniversary of the massacre at the University of Central America and try to shame our military into eliminating our own haven for state terrorism.You may know our tax dollars pay for this institution of human misery which has few enemies in Congress and a ‘wall of honor’ for many of our hemisphere’s worst abusers of human rights. Read more »