Solidarity with Colombian Farmers
To the President and Congress of the United States (Copies also to be delivered to Colombian Pres. Alvaro Uribe and Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Santos) Over 1,500 members of the FENSUAGRO farmers union have been murdered in 32 years of existence, more than 450 in the last six years, and millions of people have been driven off family farms to make way for transnational companies and agribusinesses, and for narco-paramilitaries. During the last months of 2008 and the beginning of 2009, there has been a significant increase in these murders and displacements. Most of these abuses have been committed by the Colombian military and paramilitaries operating with virtual impunity. The US government provides Colombia with well over $600 million a year in military aid and is closely allied with the administration of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. During the six years Pres. Uribe has been in office, anti-union murders have gone up 70% and displacement of rural, indigenous, and Afro-Colombian families has gone up 40%. As elected officials of the United States, you have a strong and obvious influence in this matter. We therefore call on Pres. Obama and members of the US Congress to urge the Colombian government to: 1. Stop the violence and displacement of farming families in Colombia; 2. Investigate the murders of FENSUAGRO union leaders; 3. Stop the targeted violence against FENSUAGRO members and their families.