Urgent action for safety of a Colombia Peace Community

Aug 10, 2012 | News, Our Partners, Peace and Nonviolence


1096Threatening phone calls. Illegal detentions. And a family’s home burned down.

That’s what members of the San José de Apartadó Peace Community in Colombia have had to face just in the past month.

Join us in calling on the U.S. Ambassador to Colombia to demand a halt to this violence.

Germán GracianoOn July 30 and July 31, Germán Graciano (right), a peace community leader, received phone calls from men who identified themselves as the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, a paramilitary group. The paramilitaries demanded he start collaborating with them or “purchase coffins for himself and his family.”

Write a letter on behalf of Germán.

On July 24, Gildardo Tuberquia, also a peace community leader, was illegally detained in Las Nieves by members of the Colombian army. The soldiers insulted him, did not wear identification on their uniforms, and refused to identify themselves to Gildardo.

Ask the U.S. embassy to demand Colombia end illegal detentions.

1097Renato AreizaOn July 4, the home of Reinaldo (Renato) Areiza (left) was burned to the ground in La Esperanza, a settlement of the peace community. Renato was a community council member and spokesperson for several years, and recently had been threatened by officers of the 17th Brigade of the Colombian army and by paramilitaries.

We’re greatly concerned about Renato, who visited the United States in 2005 and 2006 as part of an FOR speaking tour.

Help us pressure Colombia to prevent continuing violence against Renato.

These three military and paramilitary threats to the peace community of San José de Apartadó are only the most shocking — threats of “extermination” have been a weekly and sometimes daily occurrence in the past month.

In December many of you responded to our urgent action regarding the situation in La Esperanza, one of the 11 settlements that make up the peace community. Together with the emails you sent and the political advocacy we did in Bogota, we were able to create a bit of space and protection for the residents of that area. We need to keep the pressure on!

Please write to U.S. Ambassador to Colombia Michael McKinley. It’s critical we make the U.S. and Colombia aware that we’re paying attention.

Thank you for standing in solidarity with the peace community.