By Coalition for Peace in Colombia (Press Release)
People’s Travel Advisory on Colombia
North American Coalition for Peace in Colombia
Observatorio de los Derechos Humanos del Pueblo
On Friday, September 27th, international activists from the Coalition for Peace in Colombia and the Observatorio de los Derechos Humanos del Pueblo (People’s Human Rights Observatory), will demonstrate at embassies and consulates throughout North America and Latin America to issue a People’s Travel Advisory on Colombia. Some will go inside to deliver the statement. Others will hold pickets at local Federal buildings or other related locally selected businesses.
The increase in political repression in Colombia has left more than 700 human rights defenders and 150 former guerrillas dead. The people of Colombia live in fear of the right-wing paramilitary and the Colombian Armed Forces who kill with impunity.
Activist James Jordan stated “Colombia is not safe for the political opposition nor for anyone, Colombian or international, who stands with them in solidarity, who dares to deviate from the “official” tourist path.”
The activists have three basic demands:
- An end to the genocide against the social movements and the rural, indigenous, and Afro-Colombian communities;
- Fulfillment of the government’s obligations with respect to the Peace Accord.
- Withdrawal of U.S. government support of the Colombian government and their right-wing paramilitaries.
The People’s Travel Advisory has been signed by leading activists and organizations including Argentinian Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, U.S. academic Noam Chomsky, former Colombian Senator Piedad Córdoba and grassroots organizations from around the world.
The activists do not call for a boycott of Colombia; instead, they warn that the coalition will continue to widely publish the violence Colombians are enduring until their demands are met. They continue to denounce the U.S. and President Trump for encouraging further political violence and repression in Colombia.
They pointed to the need for rural development and land reform, as opposed to the government’s fumigation and eradication campaigns directed against so-called “illicit crops”. The fumigation campaigns, which the Colombian & U.S. government bolster, breed violence in Colombia.
Colombia’s geographical position, militarization, and role in training and reinforcing militarist regimes and projects internationally in partnership with U.S. imperialism, as well as its rich resources so coveted by transnational corporations, give it strategic importance to the entire planet.
The Observatorio de los Derechos Humanos includes Colombian partners who have endorsed the September 27 actions and the People’s Advisory on Latin America. However, the emphasis for this campaign is on organizing international opinion from outside Colombia. Colombia has mounted efforts to convince foreign visitors that Colombia is safe, and a tourist paradise. From the “Colombia Is Passion’ campaign of the last decade, to the more recent “Magical Realism”, “Land of Sabrosura”, and “Colombia: Feel the Rhythm” campaigns, the government has had significant success, winning a coveted World Tourism Organization Award in 2019 as the top tourist destination in South America. Last year Colombia set records for the number of international tourists, with some 4.4 million foreign visitors.
Yet, even Colombia’s patron, the U.S. government, has released travel advisories to stay away from the Departments of Cauca, Chocó, Nariño, Norte de Santander, and Arauca. These are areas where rates of paramilitary and military violence and forced displacement against social movements are at the highest. The daily reality lived by Colombian social movement leaders around the country is that one of them is murdered every 30 hours.
Cities participating in the September 27, 2019 day of actions include:
Mexico City, Mexico
Oaxaca City, Mexico
Toronto, ON, Canada
Washington, DC USA DMV Sez “Don’t Travel to Colombia”
New York, NY USA
MIami, FL USA Protest: People’s Travel Advisory for Colombia
San Francisco, CA USA People’s Travel Advisory on Colombia
Boston, MA USA We Want Peace! Stop the Killings in Colombia
Chicago, IL USA
Tucson, USA International Day of Solidarity with Colombia
Portland, OR, USA
Sacramento, CA USA