The land you love

Sep 6, 2011 | Displacement and Land Issues, News

By Liza Smith

The land you love
 This is a picture of the land I love. It is a piece of land in Colorado where I’ve gone every summer for the last quarter-century — most of my life — and I would be devastated if it were taken away from me.

In Colombia, many people also have a deep relationship to their land. It is where they grow their food, it is a place of memories, family, community, and spiritual traditions.

But more than five million people in Colombia have been forced to leave the land that is most dear to them. In this year alone, 15 leaders who were struggling to have their lands returned to them have been assassinated.

From September 30 to October 4, the city of Cali, Colombia, will celebrate the National Congress on Land, Territory and Sovereignty, in which indigenous, Afro-Colombian, popular, social, and human rights organizations will work to liberate, decide, and legislate on the issues that Colombian society faces.

As international accompaniers of various social movements in Colombia — many of which are taking part in the National Congress on Land, Territory and Sovereignty — the Fellowship of Reconciliation believes that the Colombian government is not doing enough to protect the people who are reclaiming their lands.

We are asking you to show your support and solidarity by demanding that the state provide the necessary guarantees for these communities to exercise their legitimate right to return to or stay on their lands without putting their lives at risk.

During the month of September, help us flood the Colombian government and U.S. embassy with photos of the land you love and this message of hope: Every Colombian deserves to live without fear and with dignity on the land she or he loves.

How to participate

  1. Copy and paste the Spanish version of the message below into an email of your own.
  2. In the “To:” field, include both of the following email addresses:
    Vice President:
    Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development:
  3. In the “Cc:” field, include:
    U.S. Ambassador to Colombia:
    A copy to FOR:
  4. Attach a photo of the land you love.
  5. Hit send!
  6. Spread the word! Forward this email to your friends and family, “like” our Facebook page, write about it on your blog, and talk about it with your friends. Write to us at if you have any questions.

Liza Smith
Latin America & the Caribbean Accompaniment Director
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Bogotá, Colombia

Our message, in English (for reading)

Subject line: For the protection of land

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is ____(your name)____ and I am from the United States. In the context of the National Congress on Land, Territory and Sovereignty and considering the current situation in Colombia, I am writing to express my deep concern about the safety of people in Colombia who are working to reclaim the land they have been displaced from.  In the past year, 15 people who attempted to take back their lands were assassinated. I urge the Colombian government to guarantee the rights of these leaders and communities through truth, justice and comprehensive reparations as defined by the communities themselves and without an increase in militarization. I also hope that the Colombian government not only guarantees the physical security of these communities, but also the economic security by supporting the local economy that small farmers depend on.

I am attaching a photo of the land I love, representing my hope that every Colombian lives without fear and with dignity on the land he or she loves.


____(your name)____

Our message, in Spanish (for copying and pasting)

Subject line: Por la protección de la tierra

Estimados Señores:

Yo soy ____(your name)____ de los Estados Unidos. En el marco del Congreso Nacional de Tierras, Territorios y Soberanías y por la situación actual del país, quiero manijfestar mi profunda preocupación por la situación de riesgo de la gente Colombiana quien está trabajando para reclamar sus tierras de las cuales ha sido desplazada. En lo que va de año han sido asesinados 15 líderes de procesos de restitución de tierras. Urgo a las autoridades colombianas garantizar condiciones de seguridad a líderes y comunidades atraves de un proceso de verdad, justicia y reparaciones integrales definidas por las comunidades mismas sin incrementar la militarización. Además para facilitar el retorno sugiero que contemplen proyectos productivos orientados al fortalecimiento de las pequeñas economías campesinas y garantías en materia de derechos en el campo colombiano.

En adjunto mando una foto de la tierra que camino yo para representar mi esperanza que cada Colombiano/a pueda vivir sin miedo y con dignidad en la tierra que el/ella camina.


____(your name)____