The Human Costs of the Colombian Conflict Latin America Working Group, September 2014

A short primer on the national strike Beginning on Monday, 19 August, broad sectors of Colombian society rose up in a national strike.  The strike, which is now taking place in cities and rural areas across the country, includes coffee growers’ unions, truck drivers, small-scale miners, students, teachers, health workers, farmers, and fishermen. Christian Peacemaker Teams, August 26, 2013

Fifteen human rights organizations in the United States called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week to comply with the law and “act decisively” to suspend aid to all units implicated in killings that remain in impunity. The letter gave detailed information on Colombian Army units aided by the U.S. and reportedly responsible for hundreds of extrajudicial killings. U.S. legislation known as the Leahy Law prohibits U.S. aid to foreign military units credibly reported to have committed gross abuses unless those responsible have been brought to justice.

Citing official investigations and non-government human rights reports, the letter notes that aid to commanders and intelligence groups within a unit that has a pattern of abuses constitutes aid to the whole unit, and that assistance to those commanders and intelligence groups should be suspended.

The letter said the units described “represent only some egregious examples” and cited United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston as stating that “There have been too many killings of a similar nature to characterize them as isolated incidents carried out by individual rogue soldiers or units.” The groups also urged Clinton to publish required reports on foreign military training, as the State Department is nearly three years behind on that reporting.

The letter was signed by Fellowship of Reconciliation, U.S. Office on Colombia, Washington Office on Latin America, United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, Alliance for Global Justice, Open Society Foundations, and nine other groups. For more information, contact John Lindsay-Poland, Fellowship of Reconciliation, johnlp[ at] Read the letter December 16, 2010

Official US Air Force Document Reveals the True Intentions Behind the US-Colombia Military Agreement An official document from the Department of the US Air Force reveals that the military base in Palanquero, Colombia will provide the Pentagon with “…an opportunity for conducting full spectrum operations throughout South America…” By Eva Golinger, November 5, 2009