Caravan for Peace, Life and Justice

Global Exchange is partnering with six national Colombian organizations to launch a Caravan for Peace, Life, and Justice that will travel for twelve days over a 2,400-kilometer route through some of Colombia’s most historically conflictive regions, joining dozens of local organizations who are working for peace.

The coalition behind the caravan seeks to deepen people-to-people ties and communication locally, nationally, and internationally; strengthening networks, generating positive media coverage, and generating a gentle wave of public support for peace and a culture of peace that can keep alive the reconciliatory spirit of Colombia’s Peace Accords.

Last month, Peace Accords aimed at ending fifty years of civil war in Colombia were defeated by a razor thing margin, in a national referendum.  The NO vote was an bitter setback, but not a calamity and, most certainly, not a vote for more war. 

Now, as Colombians face uncertainty about how to move ahead, international support for Colombia’s peacemakers and its long-suffering communities in war zones is more critical than ever.

Show the Colombian people that the world is with them in their courageous quest for peace by making a contribution to our Peace Caravan today.

If you or your organization are interested in being part of this peace mission, speak Spanish, have relevant experience as well as the time, stamina, and resources to participate please contact me. (415) 575.5533 or ted@globalexchange.org

Peace Can Prevail in Colombia

On Sunday, 2 October 2016, Colombians voted in a national referendum to ratify a peace accord signed by the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the rebel FARC, an agreement that had been hammered out during four years of negotiations in Havana, Cuba. In an unexpected loss, the peace accord was voted down by a narrow margin of 50.21% of the vote.

Despite the disheartening defeat, rejection of the peace accords cannot, by any means, be read as an endorsement of continuing a war that has left 300,000 Colombians dead or missing and driven 7 million more out of their homes and off their lands during the last half century.

Peace is not simple and setbacks are inevitable, but most Colombians are ready for taking concrete steps and making the hard decisions necessary to turn away from a violent past and towards a more peaceful future.

It is in this context of rapid change, high expectations, and great opportunity for positive movement that a group of Colombian civil society actors are proposing a high profile Caravan action for peace in Colombia.  They have asked Global Exchange to support the organization and undertaking of a Colombia Caravan for Peace, Life, and Justice in November 2016. 

Colombia Peace Caravan – November 10 - 22, 2016

It is designed to bring national and international support to promote dialogue and push ahead reconciliation in Colombian communities that have paid a steep price during decades of war.

In most of the places deeply affected by the conflict, the YES vote was overwhelming, showing that those who most personally understand the price of war are those most likely to support peace.

The Caravan will hold events with local communities and schedule press events at strategically selected stops along the route. Local groups and organizers, including community leaders, students, policymakers (and elected officials), as well as  drug war victims will host and participate in the local events that will exemplify the impact of war and the need for a renewed path to peace across Colombia.

Key participants will include leaders of Colombian civil society, journalists, academics, elected officials, prominent artists, clergy, student leaders, and members of organizations representing the disappeared, the displaced, farmers and workers.

International supporters of the Caravan - representing human rights, student, peace, migrant, faith, drug policy reform, and numerous other organizations – will come from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States as well as South American and European countries. Journalists from Mexico’s online alternative television channel, Rompeviento.TV and the prestigious Red de Periodistas de a Pie will accompany and report on the Caravan.

Our Role

Global Exchange is playing a pivotal convening role in this Caravan just as it has in other recent international mobilizations of this kind.  Our deep and consistent commitment to peace and justice in Latin America during recent decades has given us the credibility to organize complex and logistically challenging international mobilizations of this type.

In this Caravan we are calling on the talents of some of the best organizers in our hemisphere. They include talented independent journalist from Mexico, prominent student organizers from Guatemala, highly effective immigrant rights activists from El Salvador, drug policy experts from Argentina, spokespeople of the Mexican victims networks, and brilliant professors from respected North American universities.

This Caravan is made possible by networks we have build during similar peace, like, and justice mobilizations with the Mexican Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity in 2012 and 2013 as well as the five nation Caravan for Peace, Life, and Justice from Honduras to the United Nations in NYC last spring.