Last chance to apply!
July 24 to August 2, 2010
Last fall, the governments of Colombia and the United States signed an agreement to grant the Pentagon use of seven military bases on Colombian soil. The agreement bolstered the United States' military presence in the Andean region at a time when progressive movements in Ecuador, Venezuela and Bolivia struggle to reorganize their societies more equally, and victims of Colombia's dirty war demand accountability. It also intensified the contentious mix of militarism and free trade that has characterized U.S. Latin American policy.
There are no delegations to Colombia scheduled at this time. Please check back to this site for future delegations.
March 27-April 6, 2009
Youth Arts and Action Delegation
Building on last year’s dynamic Youth delegation and the fall 2008 Drop Beats Not Bombs Tour, this spring 2009 delegation and organizers exchange to Colombia will continue to expand the network of youth in the US and Colombia who are seeking creative ways to resist militarism.
August 15-29, 2009
Delegation to San José Peace Community, Medellín and Eastern Antioquia
Witness the incredible commitment and experience of the Peace Community of San José and other Colombian grassroots initiatives. To download an application, please click here.
2009 FOR Delegation to Colombia Program Highlights:
Youth and Arts Action Delegation, March 2008
By Liza Maytok Smith
Hurricane Katrina was what did it for Escenthio. At his school in Oakland, he was enrolled in a JROTC program (an army prep course given in high schools) and would have been on his way to joining the military. But one of his teachers invited him to a benefit event about the victims of the hurricane and it made Escenthio question his involvement in the class and our country’s priorities in general. As he said, “why are we over there killing people in Iraq when there are people in need right here?” Soon afterwards, he decided to organize a debate in his school around these issues and invited the JROTC army officers to the table alongside Pablo Paredes, a well-known conscientious objector. The debates created quite a stir -- and Escenthio became one of the central youth activists of BayPeace, an Oakland-based organization doing counter-recruitment work in high schools.
The Buddhist Peace Fellowship has posted dispatches written by participants in FOR's April 2007 delegation to Colombia.
We went to a displaced settlement with community leaders and ate a delicious lunch in a cinder block house with a partial roof. Leaders described many of the challenges of their new city life here and the lack of implementation and enforcement of laws guaranteeing displaced people's rights. Hunger and unemployment is much worse in the city for them - one leader described how their rural life had always sustained them, even large families, but in the jungle of concrete that is their new city life, they can barely eat, much less buy the notebooks needed to attend the "free" schools. We were amazed to learn that the poverty we saw there was a "2" on the Colombian stratus system, which ranges from 1 (or 0) to 6. One delegate commented that our perspective on the situation here (because of our working environment, something we've discussed at length) was evident in how livable we felt this dirt-poor settlement was, compared to others we had seen. You know your point of reference is unusual when a cinder block house project with no sources of income and a few tin roofs seems not so bad.
by AnnMarie Cornejo
San Luis Obispo Tribune
June 18, 2007
Among cacao trees and tear-filled soliloquies, Shell Beach resident Judi Martindale searched for peace in a volatile land where civil war has raged for decades.
She joined a 12-member peace delegation that traveled to Colombia in May. Her goal: to witness the struggles and to pledge support for the ongoing human rights effort.
Martindale plans to share her story with local residents by speaking to service clubs throughout San Luis Obispo County.
Otanga Daily Times, 9/24/2006
by Elizabeth Duke
Children and adults carry smooth stones up from the river. They paint them in bright colours, and write a name on each. The Peace Community of San JosÃ© de ApartadÃ³, in northern Colombia, commemorates its murdered dead - over 150 from a rural community of around 1500.
For half a century Colombia has suffered internal violence, much of it directed at control of its natural and mineral wealth. Today a right-wing government is fighting left-wing guerrillas, with the aid of paramilitaries, who are nominally independent "self-defence forces", but with close ties to the army. The stakes are heightened by the huge profits from the trade in coca, the raw material of cocaine, and by United States intervention to cut off cocaine at its source, and to control this strategically vital region.