News of a Massacre in Cauca, Colombia

Call Your Representatives and the State Department Immediately to Help Protect Afro-descendants, Indigenous Communities and Peasant Farmers in Colombia!

 

NASGACC, CRLN's partner on Colombian policy, has received reports that on April 8, 2010 eight miners were assassinated by armed men who were transported in two vehicles and one motorcycle, in the municipality of Suárez, in the department of the Cauca, in the south of Colombia.

 

We are outraged and deeply saddened by the news of this new and senseless violation of the fundamental human rights of the victims. Wanton acts of violence of this type have become all too familiar in this and other parts of Colombia and have been occurring at precisely the moment that the government of the country is trumpeting their success in providing security throughout the country. This incident in Cauca underscores the clear complaints of Afro-Colombian, indigenous and peasant communities that President Alvaro Uribe's pronouncements of calm and security have been, and remain, elaborate facades intended to obscure significant failures in protecting the most vulnerable in the population. Call your Representatives and the State Department today! Click "Read More" for more details.

Communities that continue to live under further threats of violence include municipalities of the North of Cauca, in particular in the municipalities of Suarez, Morales and Buenos Aires. Community residents in these areas, along with non-governmental organizations (NGO's) including the Process of Black Communities (PCN), the Association of Indigenous Town Halls of the North of Cauca, and the Association for Investigation and Social Action, have previously issued urgent requests to the government to address the continuous threats and the intimidations that have been a consistent element of the lives of the residents of the area. The government has not responded to the requests issued by the communities and these supporting organizations. It is clear that, in spite of the extraordinary efforts and continuous appeals from local Afro-descendant organizations, farmers, indigenous groups, and human rights organizations, the atrocities continue today.

 

As a result of government indifference, the residents of these zones report that attacks against them are carried out with full impunity and in full view of the, ostensibly, responsible state authorities, including numerous military and police contingents.

 

This situation must end immediately!!!

 

What you should do IMMEDIATELY - contact:

Your Representative and express your deeply held concerns that this has taken place and that you want them to contact either the State Department, or the U.S. Embassy in Bogota to express their outrage and dissatisfaction with the manner in which the Colombian government has responded to this incident. Urge them to contact the Colombian authorities and demand that they take quick and decisive action to protect the remaining inhabitants, as well as investigate the massacre and bring those responsible to justice. The phone numbers of your Representative's Office and the name of their Foreign Policy staffer are below.

Please let us know of the responses you receive.

 

Also, once you have reached your representatives in their district offices, please also contact:

Steve Moody, Foreign Affairs Officer - Human Rights and Labor, Asia and Western Hemisphere Affairs, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Tel: 202.647.8301)

Susan Sanford, Colombia Desk Officer, Andean Affairs, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (Tel: 202-647-3142)

 

Ask that they take immediate action and contact their Colombian government counterparts to express their deep concern for the safety of the Afro-Colombian population, and utter dissatisfaction with the inaction and failure to protect these communities despite warnings of imminent risk. Ask that they call on Colombian government to take immediate action to remedy these situations and to protect the remaining inhabitants, as well as investigate the massacre and bring those responsible to justice. Ask that they inform you on the progress of their communications.

 

Finally:

Write/email/call your local media (print and broadcast) and ask that they do more to cover human rights abuses in Colombia. Do the same with the more prominent (national) media outlets especially the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and others. Ask that they give more space to cover the gross human rights abuses that are occurring in Colombia in Afro-Colombian, indigenous and peasant communities.

 

Please distribute this advisory to your friends and colleagues and ask that they also join the fight and take the recommended action.

Be sure to let us know about any responses you receive, positive or negative

 

For more information on this issue go to: http://www.semana.com/noticias-problemas-sociales/oro-violencia-muerte-suarez-cauca/137346.aspx

 

If you don't know who your Members of Congress are, go to http://www.congress.org/ and type in your zip code to find out or give us a call at 773-293-2964. Below is a list of IL Members of Congress, their foreign policy staffers and their phone numbers. When you call, ask to speak to the foreign policy aide. If he or she is not available, leave a voicemail message.

Bobby Rush (D-1st) - Speak with Angelle Kwemo, 202-225-4372

Jesse Jackson (D-2nd) - Speak with Charles Dujon, 202-225-0773

Dan Lipinski (D-3rd) - Speak with Eric Lausten, 202-225-5701

Luis Gutierrez (D-4th) - Speak with Evelyn Rodriguez, 202-225-8303

Mike Quigley (D-5th) - Speak with Robyn Russell, 202-225-4061

Peter Roskam (R-6th) - Speak with Brigitta Johnson, 202-225-4561

Danny Davis (D-7th) - Speak with Caleb Gilchrist, 202-225-5006

Melissa Bean (D-8th) - Speak with Liz Jurinka, 202-225-3711

Jan Schakowsky (D-9th­) - Speak with Nina Besser, 202-225-2111

Mark Kirk (R-10th) - Speak with Jeffrey Phillips, 202-225-4835

Debbie Halvorson (D-11th) - Speak with Justin Cajindos, 202-225-3635

Jerry Costello (D-12th) - Speak with Katie Stonewater, 202-225-5661

Judy Biggert (R-13th) - Speak with Griffin Foster, 202-225-3515

Bill Foster (D-14th) - Speak with Kyle Simpson, 202-225-2976

Timothy Johnson (R-15th) - Speak with Jen Mascho, 202-225-2371

Donald Manzullo (R-16th) - Speak with Nien Su, 202-225-5676

Phil Hare (D-17th) ­- Speak with Kemi Jemilohun, 202-225-5905

Aaron Schock (R-18th) - Speak with Steve Shearer, 202-225-6201

John Shimkus (R-19th) - Speak with Greta Joynes, 202-225-5271