9 August 2010
COLOMBIA/U.S.: Action opportunity for U.S. citizens or residents
When we talk about the situation in Colombia one of the most frequent questions asked is, What can we do? Well here is something you can do, if you’re from the United States. Representative Henry Johnson (D, GA-4) submitted on March 25, 2010 to the U.S. Congress resolution H.R. 1224 “Recognizing and honoring the important work that Colombia’s Constitutional Court has done on behalf of Colombia’s internally displaced persons, especially indigenous peoples, Afro-Colombians, and women” (see full text).
This resolution needs your support. We urge you to contact your representative and ask him/her to co-sponsor this resolution. If your Representative is already a co-sponsor then call him/her to thank her/him for his/her support. Or even better, raise the issue at a public meeting when your representative is home for summer break. Also see the list of 37 members of Congress who are already co-sponsors.
During Alvaro Uribe’s 8 years as president, Colombia’s Constitutional Court has played a very important role in overturning abusive policies he has tried to implement. Once again it is pushing the Colombian government to respect Colombia’s constitution and provide the necessary protection and services to the most vulnerable. This simple yet important task will only require a few minutes of your time.
Below is a guide of how to make a call taken from the Latin American Working Groups website (www.lawg.org):
How to Make an Effective Call
Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be put through to your member of Congress. If you don’t know who your representative is, click here to look it up. Ask the receptionist if you can speak with the Foreign Policy aide. If he/she is not available, leave a message. And to really make your voice heard, click here to follow up with an email.
“I am a constituent of Representative ________ calling to urge her/him to increase aid for internally displaced people and refugees in Colombia, and to co-sponsor House Resolution 1224, which supports displaced Afro-Colombian and indigenous people’s rights. With over 4.9 million people internally displaced in Colombia, the U.S. needs to help solve rather than contribute to this massive humanitarian crisis. We need to promote a negotiated end to the conflict, not fund the military and sign base agreements that will only result in more violence. We need to create opportunities for small-scale farmers and workers, rather than passing a harmful free trade agreement. We need to face the fact that the aerial spraying program from Plan Colombia has not reduced coca production, has been a cause of displacement for many Colombian families, and needs to be fully ended. Colombians are calling for peace. Please join me in supporting their call by making these changes to U.S. policy today.”