Susana Pimiento's blog
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.
The plight of Egyptian people against a militaristic and corrupt regime gives us an opportunity to communities here at home to demand that U.S. foreign relations are based on principles of respect of human rights, sovereignty, and democracy. And, as we see vital social services programs threaten by the ongoing economic crisis, it also gives us an opportunity to reflect on the waste of taxpayer dollars resulting from U.S. foreign military assistance and to demand that those resources be allocated to fund needs at home. The Fellowship of Reconciliation, along with other U.S.-based groups at the Continental Campaign Against Foreign Military Bases, issued the following statement on the ongoing protests in Egypt:
STATEMENT FROM CONTINENTAL CAMPAIGN AGAINST MILITARY BASES US WORKING GROUP
DECEMBER 10, 2010 DAY OF ACTION AGAINST FOREIGN MILITARY BASES IN LATIN AMERICA
1- The US Working Group joins with Latin American organizations today, December 10, 2010, the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in a day of action against foreign military bases in the hemisphere. As US organizations that support the Continental Campaign against Foreign Military Presence, launched earlier this year in Latin America, we declare that respect for human rights and freedom from foreign military presence are intimately linked.
Starting Thursday, November 18th, the Fellowship of Reconciliation will again be at Fort Benning, Georgia, at the annual vigil in front of the School of the Americas. We invite participants to explore ways that international solidarity can make the difference countering the expansion of U.S. militarism in Latin America and spread the word about the FOR’s Peace Presence in Colombia, which offers a unique opportunity to share the lives of courageous peasant farmers striving for a life in peace and dignity.