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Minnesota joins International Day for Peace in Colombia

By Meredith Aby-Keirstead |
August 8, 2018
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Jennie Eisert speaking on the role of the U.S. in Colombia.
Jennie Eisert, of the MN Anti-War Committee, speaking on the role of the U.S. in Colombia. (Fight Back! News / Staff)

Minneapolis, MN - On August 7, international solidarity and immigrant rights activists protested during rush hour in front of the Federal Building in downtown Minneapolis as a part of an international day of protest to draw attention to the escalating violations of the Colombian peace accords. The peace accords, signed in 2016, are an attempt to end a 52-year civil war in Colombia. The MN protest was one of 83 solidarity protests in 17 countries.

August 7 was chosen as the international day of action because it marks the first day of Ivan Duque’s term as the new president of Colombia. Duque’s election was marked with systemic violence against leftist candidates and many voter irregularities. One of Duque’s main champions is former President Uribe, who has known paramilitary ties, and together they actively spoke out against the Colombian peace accords.

Since Duque’s election on June 17, the assassinations of social movement leaders, including trade unions, environmentalists, human rights defenders, ex-insurgents, former political prisoners and their

families have escalated to a rate of more than one person killed per day.

Jennie Eisert, a member of the MN Anti-War Committee, explained the significance of the tenuous peace process to the rally, “Back in the 1980s the FARC - the largest rebel group in Colombia - laid down their weapons after peace negotiations to open up the political arena, founding the Union Patriotica (UP). As they become very popular the government-sponsored repression from assassinations to forced

displacement and exile, via paramilitaries and military forces. It was political genocide. In total 102 political representatives and 5000 supporters were killed. Today, the same is happening with the

Marcha Patriotica (MAPA) including assassinations and disappearances from the same actors. MAPA formed in 2012 during the peace talks made up of roughly 2000 organizations from social justice movements.”

Eisert continued, “Two years ago I went on a political delegation, organized by the Alliance for Global Justice, to meet with people and organizations a part of MAPA. Whenever they were asked if they were

scared that what happened in the 80s and 90s would happen again if the FARC laid down their weapons they would reply ‘We desire peace. The war will not stop suddenly and the world is watching…’ Despite

signing the peace accords, Colombian paramilitaries and U.S. backed armed forces have killed over 445 social movement leaders and ex-insurgents - including members of MAPA and left wing candidates.”

Eisert concluded with a call for action, “We must call on our government to halt its complicity in terror of Colombia’s social movements and stop undermining a hard-won peace agreement.”

Signs and chants focused on the role of U.S. aid in fueling the civil war and undermining the Colombian peace process.

The protest was co-sponsored by the MN Anti-War Committee and the MN Immigrant Rights Action Committee. For more information on the international call for action go to https://afgj.org/days-for-peace-in-colombia.

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