National Days of Action for Colombia

With nearly 5 million displaced people, Colombia now stands just behind Sudan as the world's second worst internal displacement crisis.  Meanwhile, our government continues to send hundreds of millions more in military aid than in humanitarian aid to Colombia, assisting the victimizers more than the victims.  To bring change, help us inundate Congress with calls and emails for policies that would alleviate, not exacerbate, Colombia's crisis.  

Such concentrated advocacy works.  Last year, over 25,000 people participated in the National Days of Action for Colombia, spurring tens of thousands of postcards, calls, and emails asking President Obama to hold true to his policy change pledges.  The unprecedented surge of Colombia-focused advocacy bore fruit in February when the Obama Administration proposed replacing millions of dollars of displacement-exacerbating military aid with much-needed humanitarian assistance.  To lock in those changes and gain an even greater cut in military aid, we now need to make sure that Congress hears our call for change just as loudly as the President did.  Please call or email your representative today. 
Call Your Representative
Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your House representative (if you don't know who your rep is, just give your address).  Once connected, ask for the foreign policy aide and state your case for policy change.  Here's a sample call script (feel free to pick from among these points, or from our longer list of requests below):
"I am a constituent of Representative ________ calling to urge her/him to change U.S. policies toward Colombia so as to alleviate, not exacerbate, that country's massive internal displacement crisis, which is now second in the world only to Sudan.  Specifically, I ask the representative to:

  • Co-sponsor House Resolution 1224, which supports the rights of displaced Afro-Colombians, indigenous people, and women.
  • End aid to the Colombian military, which has proven complicit in much of the displacement.  Use the funds instead to address the vast needs of Colombia's nearly 5 million displaced people.  
  • Cancel fumigation and forced eradication programs that have pushed thousands of farmers from their lands without reducing coca production. Replace these programs with greater investment in drug prevention and rehabilitation programs that reduce demand for drugs here at home.
  • Create opportunities for small-scale farmers, and abandon plans for the Colombia free trade agreement that would likely force them out of farming and into the ranks of the displaced.
  • Promote a negotiated end to the conflict, not an ill-fated military solution.  Please withhold funds for the U.S. Southern Command until the agreement that established a U.S. military presence on at least seven Colombian military bases is annulled." 

Email Your Representative

Calls are generally more effective than emails in persuading Congress, but if you'd prefer to send a quick email to your representative just enter your zip code below, fill in your info, and click send.  If you'd like to add to the letter, please see below for our full list of policy change requests. 

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Full List of Requests to Congress

  • Co-sponsoring H Res. 1224, a resolution introduced by Rep. Hank Johnson to honor the work of Colombia’s Constitutional Court on behalf of internally displaced Colombians. 
  • Ending all military aid to Colombia. The U.S. must stop funneling billions of taxpayer dollars to the Colombian military, given its ongoing ties to illegal paramilitary groups, its widespread practice of killing innocent civilians, and a system of impunity that fails to prosecute and even rewards those responsible for human rights abuses.
  • Using U.S. influence to promote a negotiated end to the conflict. In a conflict that threatens to go on indefinitely, Colombians are daily taking risks to relieve the immense suffering of the civilian population and achieve peace. The United States should lend its weight in support of these efforts.
  • Prioritizing social and humanitarian funding for internally displaced persons and refugees. Given the gravity of the crisis, the U.S. must make prevention of displacement, protection of IDPs, and assistance to IDPs a top priority.
  • Supporting victims’ efforts to find truth and obtain justice and integral reparations. Armed actors from all sides have terrorized civilians with heinous acts. The U.S. must stand by the truly courageous individuals, especially victims, who are searching for truth, justice, and integral reparations in these cases.
  • Increasing funds and accountability for programs that promote sustainable alternative development. The U.S. should ensure that such programs are designed in consultation with Colombian small-scale farmers, indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities and that threatened land rights be protected.  So as to not encumber development goals, such programs should not be carried out in partnership with the military.
  • Forging economic ties that spur people-centered development, and abandoning failed FTA policies. The U.S. should help create opportunities for small-scale farmers, the rural poor, and endangered workers, rather than passing a free trade agreement capable of displacing Colombia’s poor by pushing them further into poverty.
  • Ending fumigation and forced eradication programs that have pushed thousands of farmers from their lands without reducing coca production. Instead, the United States should be investing in drug prevention and rehabilitation programs to reduce demand for drugs here at home.
  • Protecting the rights of Afro-Colombian, indigenous, faith, and small-scale agricultural communities that have been disproportionately targeted by armed actors and constitute a majority of the displaced. The United States should guarantee that U.S.-funded aid projects are not carried out on land obtained by violence.
  • Withholding funds for the U.S. Southern Command until the agreement that established a U.S. military presence on at least seven Colombian military bases is annulled.  This presence has inflamed regional tensions, reversed the “nationalization” of Plan Colombia, made Colombia a U.S. proxy for regional military training, and institutionalized U.S. support for an unaccountable and abusive military.