Colombia Support Network

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Colombia Support Network is a national grassroots organization based in Madison, Wisconsin, with 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt status, created to provide support to Colombian communities and organizations in areas of conflict which seek to construct a just social and economic order using non-violence means.CSN also seeks to influence U.S. Government policy towards Colombia so that the U.S. Government will adopt policies which support local initiatives to achieve peace with justice. CSN has established as its specific objectives the following:

Peace with social justice in Colombia

  • A negotiated solution to the Colombian conflict
  • The strengthening of civil society
  • A policy of non-alignment with any armed groups
  • The strengthening of U.S. democracy

The armed conflict is very real to people living in remote rural areas of the country. We support the sister communities concept because we believe that it reflects the idea that civilian societies have a duty to be an integral part of the reconstruction of a social fabric that has been destroyed by war. Diplomacy and international relations should not be left only in the hands of governments, because governments reflect interests that are not necessarily the interests of the majorities and consequently diminish democracy. Sister communities reflect a “people to people” diplomacy that expresses the most beautiful qualities of a nation, generosity and respect for justice and democracy. The activity as a sister community, including participation of common US citizens in the daily life and struggles of the Colombian people, is a powerful mechanism to pressure for the respect of their cultural, political, human and economic rights.

CSN publishes the newsletter Action on Colombia and also has an urgent action service to respond to emergency situations in Colombia. CSN also organizes delegations to sister communities and fact – finding delegations. CSN chapters organize events to make their representatives in Congress aware of what is happening in Colombia and how US government policy has an effect on events in their Colombian sister communities. The sister community relationship provides a concrete example of the effects of US policies, such as support for the military and police in Colombia or chemical spraying of drug crops there. And Senators and Representatives who hear of the negative effects of US policies upon Colombian peasants and townspeople from their own constituents in the US sister communities are much more likely to react to change those policies than they would be without such direct constituent pressure.[1]

Colombia Support Network is affiliated with the United for Peace and Justice.[2]

The organization's address is Colombia Support Network PO Box 1505 Madison WI.

Advisory Council

As of 2009;[3]

Accessed July 2008: [5].

Open Letter to the Colombian People, Press and Government, Aug. 1996

"Stop the Bloodshed in Uraba, Due Process for Jose Antonio Lopez, Nelson Campo and others, and an End to Faceless Justice and Political Repression".

We, the undersigned, are North Americans and others who are deeply disturbed by the human rights situation in Colombia.
Massacres, disappearances and torture happen continually in the anguished region of Uraba. We can not understand how paramilitary groups operate so freely in this militarized region where the Colombian army is present in massive numbers, and which does not perform its constitutional function of defending the civilian population. And we can not understand why the regional paramilitary leader is not apprehended and brought to justice for his crimes against humanity.
We call upon all armed parties -- paramilitary units, guerrillas, army, police, urban militias and commandos -- to immediately cease all attacks upon both the civilian population and upon each other. Justice, peace and a fruitful life is never found through murder, torture, kidnapping and intimidation.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the U.S. government gave the Colombian government millions of dollars to help establish Faceless Justice, which was supposed to protect judges and others from narcoterrorism. Today, however, many of the detained are NOT narcoterrrorists -- but include community leaders, trade-unionists and ordinary people. We feel ashamed that the U.S. government, under the guise of the War on Drugs, helped the Colombia have juridical system that would never be accepted within the United States -- a system where it is virtually impossible to prove your innocence.
We call attention to the use of Faceless Justice in the case of the detained former Mayors of Apartadó Jose Antonio Lopez Bula and Nelson Campo Nuñez, accused of being the masterminds of La Chinita massacre of 1994 (case #20397-2635 of the Regional Judge of Medellin). According to sworn affadavits, their political enemies manufactured evidence which is being manipulated for political reasons. A major Catholic Church official has stated that he believes Jose Antonio Lopez innocent. We urge the Colombian authorities to provide LEGAL DUE PROCESS to those accused in this case.
We ask the Colombian mass media for objectivity in its reports and that it stop condemning, without presenting all the facts, Apartadó's former mayors Jose Antonio Lopez Bula and Nelson Campo Nuñez. We shall continue to denounce human rights violations until there is peace and justice and respect for all in Colombia.''

Signed:

Ed Asner (Los Angeles,CA), Tammy Baldwin - Representative, State Assembly (Madison, WI), Medea Benjamin (San Francisco, CA), Philip Berrigan (Baltimore, MD), Blase Bonpane, Ph.D. (Los Angeles, CA), Roy Bourgeois (Lucher, LA), Noam Chomsky (Lexington, MA), John Dear (Richmond, VA),. Obispo Auxiliar Thomas Gumbleton (Detroit, MI), Doug La Follette - Wisconsin Secretary of State (Madison, WI), Robert Meeropol* (Springfield, MA), *Hijo menor de Julio y Ethel Rosenberg, Michael Parenti (Berkeley, CA), Martin Sheen (Los Angeles, CA), William Thiesenhusen, Ph.D. (Univ of Wisconsin-Madison), Mike Verveer - Councilman, City Council (Madison, WI), Haskell Wexler (Los Angeles, CA), Colombia Support Network (Madison, WI) Dane County-Apartad— Sister Communities Project (Madison, WI), Chicago Colombia Human Rights Committee (Chicago, IL), Colombia Multimedia Project (New York, NY), Common Courage Press (Monroe, ME), Community Action on Latin America (Madison, WI), Genesee Valley Citizens for Peace (Geneseo, NY), Office of the Americas (Los Angeles, CA), Veterans for Peace (Port Matilda, PA), U.S.-Guatemala Labor Education Project (Chicago, IL), Wisconsin Coordinating Council on Nicaragua (Madison, WI), Wisconsin Interfaith Committee on Latin America (Madison, WI), Women Speak Out for Peace and Justice (Cleveland, OH), Christa Acker (Solon, OH), Julaine Allen (Spring Green, WI), Lynn Alten (Madison, WI), Gloria-Jeanne Anderson (Milwaukee, WI), Teeter Anderson (Milwaukee, WI), Frances Anderson (Windsor, OH), Renee Leilani Arakawa (Madison, WI), Clark Arrington (Boston, MA), Jackie Austin (Oregon, WI), Jo-Anne Baccielo (Wethersfield, CT), Susan Bailey (Geneseo, NY), Thomas Baker (Chicago, IL), Vivian Balester (Cleveland Heights, OH), Rev Ann Barner (Cleveland, OH), Len Barron (Boulder, CO), Sophie Bartell (Cleveland Heights, OH), Greg Bates (Monroe, ME), Mary Kay Baum (Dodgeville, WI), Laura Beldiman (Northampton, MA), Rev. Charles H. Berthoud (Lewisburg, PA), Ione M. Biggs (East Cleveland, OH), Ethel Biro (Madison, WI), Lajos Biro (Madison, WI), Regina Birchem (Irwin, PA), Bea Blank (Milwaukee, WI), Phillip Blank (Milwaukee, WI), Charlotte Bleistein (Greendale, WI), Bonnie Block (Madison, WI), Gabe Blood (Madison, WI), Joan Bloom (Boulder, CO), Elizabeth Boardman (Madison, WI), Dan Bolef (Irwin, PA), Tom Boswell (Madison, WI), Judith Botwin (Cleveland Heights, OH), Dean Bowles (Monona, WI), Dr. Jeffrey Boy (Champaign, IL), Robert Braby (West Lake, OH), Brad (Denver, CO), Chris Brady (Corvallis, OR), Peter Brandon (Madison, WI), Erik Breilid (Madison, WI), Sandra Brown (Milwaukee, WI), Peggy Brozeiceoil (Burlington, VT), Eric Buchanan (Madison, WI), Betty Burkes (Wellfleet, MA), Lee Burkholder (Madison, WI), Mary Burns (Madison, WI), Jeremiah Cahill (Madison, WI), Thomas Campbell (Madison, WI), Miriam Campos (Boulder, CO), Betty Cernan (Cleveland, OH), K. Laurence Chang (Lyndhurst, OH), Dorothy Ciarlo (Boulder, CO), Stephen Coats (Chicago, IL), Kenneth Coffeen (Lake Mills, WI), Mark Cohen (Madison, WI), Mark Cohen (Denver, CO), Aspeth M. Colwell (Dodgeville, WI), Edgar Concha (Zephyr Cove, NV), Lisa Concha-Foley (Zephyr Cove, NV), Bryan Conde (Shaker Heights, OH), Bob Cormier (Middleton, WI), Mirna Corrigan (Cleveland Heights, OH), Judy Corrigan (Cleveland Heights, OH), Ted Crowell (Providence, RI), Lisa Curich (Madison, WI), Rose Daitsman (Milwaukee, WI), Jane Dalrymple (Mount Morris, NY), Jack Dash (Mount Morris, NY), Rose Marie Dereks (Madison, WI), Verdell DeYarman (Milwaukee, WI), Mary Dial (Poynette, WI), Joel Diegelman (Madison, WI), Todd Dinkelman (Madison, WI), Bernadine Dohrn (Chicago, IL), Tricia Doughty (Madison, WI), Evan Douthit (Chicago, IL), Nathan Dudley (New York, NY), Stuart Dymzarov (Madison, WI), Jean Eden (Madison, WI), Lois Edgerton (Cleveland, OH), Kathryn Elwers (Madison, WI), Fr. Jogues Epple (Cleveland, OH), Allison Epstein (Madison, WI), Linda Farley and Eugene Farley (Verona, WI), Katherine Feely, SND (Lakewood, OH), Jeff Feinblatt (Madison, WI), Dorothy Fiedelman (Denver, CO), Ann Fleischli (Madison, WI), Kate Fleming (Madison, WI), Rona Foldy (Cleveland Heights, OH), John Fournelle, Ph.D. (Univ of Wisconsin-Madison), Elizabeth Gaines (Madison, WI), Judy Gallo (Cleveland, OH), Marcelo Garcia (Madison, WI), Michael Gay (Wisconsin Dells, WI), Carl Geiser (Corvallis, OR), Betty Gifford (Brecksville, OH), Alex Glendinning (Lakewood, OH), Sarah Goldstein (Madison, WI), Janet Gollin (Boulder, CO), Juan Bernardo Gomez (Stone Mountain, GA), Michael Goodman (Madison, WI), Linda Gore (Longmont, CO), Jean Gore (Boulder, CO), Dorothy Gosting (Madison, WI), Nancy Graham (Madison, WI), Gary Grass (Milwaukee, WI), Audley Green (Boston, MA), Meredith Green (Madison, WI), Cort Greene (Madison, WI), Dolores Grenzz (Madison, WI), Margaret Grevatt (Cleveland Heights, OH), Richard C. Groeppe, Ph.D. (Atlanta, GA), Babette Grunow (Milwaukee, WI), Erik Gustafson (Madison, WI), Vera Hall (Cleveland, OH), Allison Halpern (Madison, Wi), Jane Hammatt Kavaloski (Dodgeville, WI), Thomas Hanlon-Wilde (Allston, MA), Jennifer Hanlon-Wilde (Allston, MA), Jerry Anne Harrold (Boulder, CO), Anna Hawkins (Madison, WI), Michael Heller (Iowa City, IA), Patrick Herriges (Glenwood City, WI), John Hickman (Madison, WI), Helen Hift (Monona, WI), Steven C. Hill (Plainsboro, NJ), Dorothy Hill (Omaha, NE), John Hill (Omaha, NE), Phyllis Hodgson (Avoca, WI), Rev. Bill Hogan (Chicago, IL), Dick Hogan (Portage, WI), Suzanne Hogle (South Euclid, OH), Michael Holcomb (Madison, WI), Sr. Catherine Holtkamp (Melbourne, KY), Tom Hoopes (Madison, WI), Elizabeth Hoopes Castiglion (Madison, WI), Maria Hope (Iowa City, IA), Allen J. Hubbard (Madison, WI), T. Phillip Hufford (Longmont, CO), John Hugh (Lakewood, OH), Kelly Hume (Lexington, KY), Morris Hybloom (Mayfield Heights, OH), Yoshiko Ikcita (Lakewood, OH), Al Isaza (New York, NY), J.E. Johnson (Rockfort, IL), Helen Johnson (Greendale, WI), Paul Judziwiecz (Madison, WI), Clarence Kailin (Madison, WI), Gayle Kanary (Cleveland, OH), Vince Kavaloski (Dodgeville, WI), Jonathan Kelley (Denver, CO), Kathleen Kerlin (Minneapolis, MN), Robert Kimbrough (Madison, WI), Judith Klehr (Madison, WI), Moses Klein (Madison, WI), Kathleen Knipfer (Madison, WI), Mark Koenig (Cleveland, OH), Thomas Kozlovsky (Madison, WI), Virginia Krowilden (West Hartford, CT), Dana Kuehn (Madison, WI), Rosi Kuerti (Cleveland Heights, OH), Dr. Martin Kulldorff (Universidad de Uppsala, Suecia), Paul Kusuda (Madison, WI), Rosa Lapiz (Madison, WI), Mary Lauby (Madison, WI), Jack Laun (Elkhart LaKe, WI), Elizabeth Lavelle (Lakewood, OH), Louise Lawler (Cleveland, OH), Ron Leder (Madison, WI), Michael R. Lehman (Urbana, IL), Donna Leist (Bethany, OH), Dorothy Lemmey (Painesville, OH), Joan Lewis (Chicago, IL), Kathleen Lipscomb (San Francisco, CA), Beverly LoGrasso (Lyndhurst, OH), Lorene Ludy (Madison, WI), Paul Mack (Mineral Point, WI), Katherine K. Marshall (Shaker Heights, OH), Ken Martinson (LaCrosse, WI), Jonathan Mason (Madison, WI), Ellen Mass (Cambridge, MA), Joseph Mathers (Fitchburg, WI), Margaret Matlin, Ph.D. (Linwood, NY), Arnold Matlin, Ph.D. (Linwood, NY), Jodine Mayberry (Rutledge, PA), Mary Mayer (Windsor, CT), William McBride (Portage, WI), Cliff McCarthy (Athens, OH), Sr.Maureen McDonnell (Madison, WI), Robert McFarland (Boulder, CO), Kathleen McGowan (Mount Morris, NY), Sandra McPherson (Cleveland Heights, OH), Donald McPherson (Cleveland Heights, OH), Emma A. Melton (Shaker Heights, OH), Susan Michetti (Kenosha, WI), Betsey Mikelethun (Cleveland, OH), Bruce Miller (Madison, WI), Paula Miller (Cleveland, OH), James Mincey (Madison, WI), Pamela Minden (Madison, WI), Ellen Moore (Madison, WI), Paul Mugth (Urbana, IL), Valerie Mullen (Vershire, VT), Judith Munaker (Madison, WI), Irene Naeseth (Middleton, WI), Ray Nashold (Madison, WI), Lyle R. Neptun (Hemet, CA), Laurie Ellen Neustadt (Dodgeville, WI), Ben Nickels (Madison, WI), Ida Norr (Cleveland Heights, OH), Rodney North (Cambridge, MA), Peggy Noton (Berkeley, CA), Charlotte O'Brien (Viroqua, WI), Donna O'Donovan (E Falmouth, MA), Genevieve O'Hara (St. Louis, MO), Laura Olah (Merrimac, WI), Margaret Orner (Media, PA), Ted Page and Mary Page (Madison, WI), Catherine Palzkill (Dodgeville, WI), Michael Parenti (Berkeley, CA), Shirley Pasholk (Cleveland, OH), Joan Patchen (Wellfleet, MA), Judy Patenaude (Mount Horeb, WI), June Paul (Madison, WI), Ruth Pauly (Madison, WI), Prof. William Pelz (Elgin College, Elgin, IL), Diane Thum Pinchot (Cleveland, OH), Amy Pitt (Rochester, NY), Sidney Podell (Madison, WI), M. Helene Pollock (Philadelphia, PA), Daniel Postel (Chicago, IL), Maria Powell and Jim Powell (Milwaukee, WI), Edward Powell (Madison, WI), Sheldon Rampton (Madison, WI), Josephine Rentz (Madison, WI), Jeffrey Reynolds (Milwaukee, WI), Robin Rice (Madison, WI), Celeste Robins (Madison, WI), Laura Roby (Milwaukee, WI), George Roby (Milwaukee, WI), Allyne Romo (Chicago, IL), Phyllis Rose (Madison, WI), Joan Rosen (Madison, WI), Manuel Sanchez (Sheboygan, WI), Praxedis Sanchez (Madison, WI), Mary Sanderson (DeForest, WI), Jeremy Scahill (Baltimore, MD), Joanne Schalch (Middleton, WI), Elinor Schambach (Cleveland, OH), JoAnne Schmitz (Madison, WI), Ruth Schwartz (Mayfield Heights, OH), Pat Scott (Middleton, WI), Peter Shaw (Port Matilda, PA), Genevieve Simha (Cleveland Heights, OH), Pearl K. Simon (East Cleveland, OH), Ida Slutsker (Cleveland Heights, OH), Barbara Smith (Madison, WI), Mary Smith (Boulder, CO), Diane Soles (Madison, WI), Melanie Stafford (Westminster, CO), Liselotte Stern (West Hartford, CT), Jow Stern (Fort Collins, CO), Prof. Daniel Stern (Northeastern University, Chicago, IL), Jean Stewart (Cleveland Heights, OH), Saskia Strauss (Madison, WI), Janis Strout (Cranbury, NJ), Steve Stuckert (Belleville, WI), Carol Sundberg (Madison, WI), Mary Sutphin (Cleveland, OH), Mary Swenson-Resource Center of the Americas (Minneapolis, MN), Laura Tate (Madison, WI), Tammy Teschner (Madison, WI), Kathleen Todar (Madison, WI), Mary Ann Toth (Cleveland, OH), Alison Turner (Madison, WI), Kristen Ude (Madison, WI), Paul Uelbeher (Madison, WI), Sr. Carlotta Ullmer (Green Bay, WI), Ellen Unruh (Madison, WI), Jeffrey Valtes (Cambridge, WI), Judith Vankleef (Cleveland Heights, OH), Tony Vento (Cleveland, OH), Carolyn Vrtunski (Shaker Heights, OH), Tracy Wahl (Madison, WI), Kathy Warpinski (Dodgeville, WI), Steve Watrous (Milwaukee, WI), Mark Weatherley (Poulder, ID), Carol Weidel (Madison, WI), Liz Wessel (Madison, WI), Angela West Blank (Chicago, IL), Richard Wherley (Cleveland Heights, OH), Chris Whipple (Newington, CT), Ananda Wiegand (Minneapolis, MN), Rich Wildau (Boulder, CO), Chris Wilkinson-Levie (Milwaukee, WI), Roosevelt Williams (Westville, IN), Rita Wlodarczyk (Monona, WI), Wencil Wlodarczyk (Monona, WI), Sandra Wolosenko (Northampton, MA), Cecilia Zarate-Laun (Madison, WI), Joshua Zell (Madison, WI), Fran Zell (Madison, WI), Mary Zepernick (South Yarmouth, MA), Lisa Zimmerman (Washington, DC)[6]

Letter to defund Colombian military

Sam Farr had been a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia, and was contacted by the communist dominated Colombia Support Network in 1997. Efforts by Colombia Support Network were instrumental in getting a letter sent to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, with the 19 other members signing on. The January 30, 1998 letter called for the continued suspension of funding to the Colombian military then engaged in a bloody civil war against communist guerillas.

Dear Secretary Albright :
We are writing to express our concern with the worsening human rights situation in Colombia and urge you to take steps to address this matter.
News reports and first-hand accounts indicate that violence in Colombia is escalating, particularly in the country's northern most regions and the southern coca growing regions. Many different groups and individuals have been implicated in the violence, but an increasing number of human rights abuses are being instigated by paramilitary groups --armed civilians who torture, evict, kidnap and murder Colombian civilians.
There is also evidence of links between paramilitaries and local drug lords, who rely on paramilitary groups to undertake violent activities on their behalf. The Peasant Self-Defense Group of Cordoba and Uraba, a paramilitary group lead by Carlos Castano, is considered one of the most powerful paramilitary groups in Colombia. Reports indicate that last yeqar Castano's group killed hundreds, if not more than a thousand, peasants it accused of helping rebels.

As concerned Members of Congress, we urge you to place the issue of human rights and the problem of paramilitary groups in the forefront of your priority list in your dealings with Colombia. We understand that aid to the Colombian army is currently on hold because of human rights concerns and urge you to continue to withhold funding.

Signatories were;Sam Farr, John Porter, Ron Dellums, David Bonior, Marty Meehan, Marcy Kaptur, Scott Klug, James McGovern, Elizabeth Furse, Jim Oberstar, Peter DeFazio, Maurice Hinchey, Gerald Kleczka,John Conyers, Pete Stark, Robert Wexler, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Lane Evans, David Price, Sherrod Brown, [7]

External links

References