FOR Peace Presence and the Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective invite you to attend a virtual conversation to hear directly from grassroots leaders and organizations from the territories about the humanitarian crisis situation experienced by Black and Indigenous communities in the Bajo Calima Basin, Buenaventura, department of Valle del Cauca. Join us via zoom on May 12, 2022 at 6pm (Colombia) / 7pm (Eastern). Register in advance for this event here!
The municipality of Buenaventura, in the department of Valle del Cauca, is made up of 31 Community Councils and 19 Indigenous Reservations. Due to its geographic location and the presence of the most important port in the Pacific, Buenaventura is a strategic corridor for the commercial chain of drug trafficking and the export of cocaine to the United States, the main destination of cocaine from Colombia, as confirmed by the latest UNODC World Drug Report.
The Calima River and area is part of a strategic area in the Pacific for cocaine trafficking and its direct access to the sea. As a result of confrontations between the armed actors present in the territory, the Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia (AGC) and the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), since November 2021, at least three Black communities and one Indigenous community of the Lower Calima River Basin have been completely displaced from their territory. In addition, part of two other communities have been displaced. In the Bajo San Juan region, 14 Indigenous and 5 Afro-Colombian communities remain in confinement and 1 indigenous community has been displaced in its entirety.
The relationship between the growing violence in the Pacific and cocaine trafficking that PARES noted in its 2020 report has been getting worse, as reflected in the forced displacement of rural communities in Bajo Calima.
- Mario Angulo: Coordinator in Buenaventura of Processes of Black Communities – PCN. A dynamic of more than 140 grassroots organizations, community councils and individuals, who work constantly in the transformation of the political, social, economic and territorial reality of black, Afro-descendant, Raizal and Palenquero communities, through the defense and vindication of their individual, collective and ancestral rights, which was consolidated in 1993.
- Lorenzo González Romero: Black leader and Legal Representative of the Black Community Council of Bajo Calima. Lorenzo belongs to the community of Trojita and has been forcibly displaced from his community since November 2021. This is not the first time he has had to move for reasons of humanitarian crisis, he had to do so also in 2014.
- Diego Portocarrero Madrid: social leader, human rights defender and spokesperson for the Juntanza Interétnica Social y Popular.
- Elmer Choco Ismare: Governor of the Cabildo Indígena de Valledupar de la Cuenca del Río San Juan, forcibly displaced at the moment in Buenaventura, spokesperson for the Juntanza Interétnica Social y Popular.
This space is an opportunity to learn about the current situation of humanitarian crisis and violation of human rights and international humanitarian law in Colombia, especially towards Indigenous and Black communities in the region of Bajo Calima, Buenaventura, department of Valle del Cauca.
We are looking forward to seeing you!
Register here to receive the link to connect on Zoom on May 12th and further details!
In 2022, we celebrate 20 years of protective, unarmed accompaniment in Colombia. We started a crowdfunding campaign to raise 20’000 USD for the 20 years of peace presence. Check it out here and support non-violent protective accompaniment in Colombia!
Every donation makes a difference and will go towards our collaboration with communities, including support on activating emergency responses, workshops on human rights mechanisms, self-protection strategies and online safety, and physical accompaniment when it is requested by our partners and safe to do so.
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