Susana Pimiento's blog
By Susana Pimiento
Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos surprised many on November 12 when he told the British newspaper The Observer that he favors rethinking the war on drugs and that he would consider legalizing marihuana and cocaine. He warned that he was not ready to take the lead in promoting the change: “What I won’t do is to become the vanguard of that movement because then I will be crucified. But I would gladly participate in those discussions because we are the country that’s still suffering most and have suffered most historically with the high consumption of the UK, the US, and Europe in general.”
On October 7, as the Occupy Wall Street movement was starting to get media attention in the United States, Colombian students held a big mobilization, inaugurating a series of massive nationwide protests and events.
By Susana Pimiento
Over twelve inches of rain poured on Miami over the Columbus Day weekend - not unusual for this time of year. Yet the rain didn’t stop the farm workers rallying for better wages, the antiwar activists raising awareness of militarization and waste taking place in their doorsteps nor workers, immigrants, students who articulated their discontent and joined with the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The U.S. Southern Command, located outside of Miami, is the brains behind the U.S. military domination of Latin America and the Caribbean. We need to close it, to reclaim the sacred land for the peoples of the Americas.
Join me this weekend in Miami for a forum and rally to close U.S. Southern Command and de-activate the Fourth Fleet and the School of the Americas.
No reservation is necessary — simply join me this weekend in Miami at either or both of these events:
- Forum on U.S. militarization and resistance in the Americas
Saturday, Oct. 8, 2:00 to 7:00 PM
St. Thomas University, Library Building, Convocation Hall
16401 NW 37th Avenue, Opa-Locka (view map and get directions)
- Rally and march to the gates of U.S. Southern Command
Sunday, Oct. 9, 12 noon
APWU Union Office Parking lot
2500 N.W. 97 Ave.
(On the northwest corner of 25th Street and 97th Ave. There is a exit off the 826 highway for N.W. 25th Street)
Doral. Florida 33172
It was no coincidence that Columbus Day weekend was chosen for an action in front of the U.S. Southern Command headquarters, outside Miami in Doral, Florida. Co-sponsored by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the weekend-long mobilization will protest US military intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean, which activists see as a continuation of the colonialist era that started with the arrival of Columbus to the Americas, in 1492. As in colonial times, US militarization in Latin America and access to natural resources and markets in the region are tightly linked.
April 9th marked the seventeenth anniversary of the killing of Manuel Cepeda Vargas, a Colombian Senator with the left-wing political party Union Patriotica (UP). For the first time, this year there was formal recognition of the wrong that occurred nearly two decades ago. This is a result of a 2010 ruling by the Inter American Human Rights Court that found the Colombian state responsible for the killing of Cepeda Vargas, and which ordered it to “organize a public act of acknowledgment of international responsibility for the facts”.
Delegates from El Salvador, Colombia, Cuba, Costa Rica, Brazil, United States, Italy, Spain and Canada are in Honduras this week in response to an urgent call for solidarity issued by the Continental Campaign Against Military Bases, of which the Fellowship of Reconciliation plays a very active role. A three-day mobilization against military bases and in resistance to the criminalization of social protest was organized by Honduran activists to commemorate the second anniversary of the June 28, 2009 military coup.
Ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya was able to return to his country, welcomed by a static crowd, yet the human rights crisis in this Central American country continues. Just a few days ago, on June 10th, a military and police contingent raided the cooperatives of San Sebastian, Octal and other communities in the Aguán region, instilling terror among women and children. On June 5th, three member of the MARCA small farmers’ movement were massacred by armed forces and two remain missing.
As repression continues amidst rampant impunity, the courageous Honduran resistance is far from giving up and is preparing for a massive mobilization that will mark the second anniversary of the military coup. On June 26th, 27th and 28th, they will be demanding that those responsible for the human rights abuses be brought to justice, the closure of foreign military bases and the dismantling of a culture of militarization. They are calling for an Hemispheric Day of Solidarity with action in front of Honduran embassies and consulates, that would serve as a reminder of the role US military bases played in the coup and the increased militarization that followed.
Click here to learn more about the June 28th movilization.
The Awa indigenous peoples are mobilizing against the planned construction of a Colombian military base in their Ñambí Piedra Verde reservation, in the Southwestern municipality of Barbacoas, reported the daily paper Diario del Sur in its May 17, 2011 edition.
Colombian community leader Jesús Emilio Tuberquia has far too much first hand knowledge of just how dangerous it is to work for peace in the middle of a war zone. He is one of the founding members and legal representative of the San José Peace Community located in northwest Colombia. In 1997, Jesús Emilio and 800 other small farmers claimed their territory as a neutral civilian community and refused to cooperate with any armed group of any form (including military or police). The community has since survived threats, killings, massacres, disappearances, and food blockades perpetrated by various armed actors, including the U.S.-funded Colombian military. Despite this violent pressure, Jesus Emilio and the people of the Peace Community have succeeded in building a nonviolent community in resistance and as an alternative to the violence that surrounds them.