Authored by: David Huey, Colombia May 30, 2022

On 29th of May, Colombians went to the polls for the second time in three months. The first round has already created a unique new paradigm for Colombia’s party system and the second round which promises to be a photo finish is coming up on the 19th of June. This is why it’s important.

Fifty-five percent of those eligible to vote participated in the first round – 10 % more proportionately than during the first round four years ago – and roundly rejected the traditional parties that have governed Colombia to date. Between them, the first and second placed candidates, Gustavo Petro of the center-left Historical Pact and Rodolfo Hernandez of the populist Anti-Corruption League, polled 68.5%. Combined with the votes registered by fourth placed candidate, Sergio Fajardo, who represents the centrist Coalition for Hope, candidates offering Colombians a clean break from traditional politics won just under 73% of the total votes cast. This represents a seismic shift in political allegiance and promises to bring about a complete reconfiguration of Colombia’s traditional political parties going forward.

Much less clear is what kind of change Colombians will choose during the second round, scheduled in three weeks’ time on the 19th of June. Although Gustavo Petro doubled his vote with respect to 2018 and was last night’s clear winner with a 12% lead, political analysts agree that he has come perilously close to reaching his electoral ceiling. Rodolfo Hernández, on the other hand, has achieved enormous political momentum over the last fortnight. Billing himself as a successful businessman and political outsider committed to tackling corruption, Hernández is likely to take the lions’ share of the remaining votes as traditional parties rally behind him in order to block Colombia’s first center-left presidency.

Last night’s biggest loser was ex-president Alvaro Uribe’s favorite, Federico Gutierrez. The center-right candidate for the Team for Colombia coalition polled only 24%, well behind Rodolfo Hernández. He was projected to run off against Gustavo Petro in the second round as the candidate best placed to continue Alvaro Uribe’s right-wing politics that have dominated Colombia so much over the last 20 years. Federico Gutierrez has already pledged his political support to Rodolfo Hernández. Fourth placed Sergio Fajardo is predicted to do the same.

This leaves the outcome of the second round wide-open with a probable photo-finish for the winning candidate. The winner has less than three weeks to persuade the greatest number of undecided voters that their brand of change is the one that Colombians most need, although this will require reaching out to traditional parties in order to cross the 50% finish line. Rodolfo Hernández, the self-proclaimed “King of Tik Tok”, would appear to be the best placed to do so, given that his self-financed campaign strategy has been almost exclusively based on social media. This gives him the greatest leverage with undecided voters given that he can continue to appeal to them directly in the knowledge that he can take the support from the anti-Petro traditional parties for granted. Petro’s only hope is to reach out to middle-of-the-road absentee voters, Sergio Fajardo supporters and the leadership of the traditional centrist Liberal Party, but in the process could risk losing some of his credibility as the bastion of Colombia’s anti-establishment.

Something that has not changed and is unlikely to do so in the near future is Colombia’s deep geographical divide. The two-way split that so profoundly polarized the country during the 2016 peace agreement referendum has reappeared during these elections. Last night’s electoral map has an uncanny resemblance to the one produced six years ago when Colombia’s poorest periphery – composed of the regions most affected by over 50 years of armed conflict – voted overwhelmingly to approve the agreement. Colombia’s more peaceful and prosperous interior (with the notable exception of Bogotá) rejected the outcome of the Havana negotiations. This time Petro, who has pledged to fully implement the peace agreement, won throughout Colombia’s most conflict sensitive regions, whilst Rodolfo Hernandez, who has been completely silent on the issue during his campaign, dominated the country’s central core. The only exception to Hernandez’s dominance of the interior was in the department of Antioquia, the homeland and political epicenter of former president Alvaro Uribe, ferocious opponent of Gustavo Petro and the peace agreement.

Given Gustavo Petro’s decades-long presence in Colombian politics, Rodolfo Hernández can seek to seize the mantle of the outsider going into the second round, and in this way best reflect the current anti-establishment mood of the majority of Colombians. In the final three weeks, much will depend on the ability of both sides to reach out to the floating voters and convince them that their version of change is that which best reflects the future.

#CheckBIGTech Instagram Live Series

Join us all this week at @fbusersunited for a series of Instagram Live conversations to hold the Meta accountable for their failure to stop hate, violence and disinformation on their platform. Meet users and organizers around the world who are working to change Facebook. 

We are calling on Facebook users to unite for a week of action to place user voices at the forefront of Meta’s 2022 Shareholders Meeting! There is no Facebook, Instagram or Whatsapp without us, the users. Users want Meta (and Mark Zuckerberg) to do better. We will no longer allow Facebook to harm its users, our communities, and our planet by spreading hate, violence, disinformation and misinformation for profit.

Why We’re Organizing:

The tragedy in Buffalo, reveals how Facebook & other Big Tech platforms have allowed Neo-nazi’s & white supremacists to organize and spread their message on the platform. Facebook’s failure to address fascist violence – that they profit from – proves it is up to us to protect each other. We cannot allow Meta shareholders meeting to happen without holding them accountable for their role in the tragedy that happened in Buffalo, and the harm they have done across the globe.

When the government of Australia tried to regulate Facebook, the company shut off online access to hospitals, emergency services, and charities as a negotiating tactic.

In Kenya, content moderators who sort through horrible images to safeguard users were fired after trying to start a union and are suing Facebook for unsafe working conditions.

Mexico has become ground zero for the war on journalism where half of the journalists killed in 2021 posted on Facebook hours before they were killed, and journalists now live in fear of anonymous Facebook pages.

These more recent examples follow the company’s role in the genocide in Myanmar, in racial violence in India, and election interference, along with the platform’s documented harms to teenage users.

All the while we’re fed endless promises that this time it will be better, yet the global giant spins on, fueling hatred, spreading disinformation, doing nothing to stop vulnerable communities from harm, and making profits.

Facebook has been put on notice.  They CAN do better. They’ve just never been forced to do so.  We’re uniting users to demand a stop to the abuse.


FUU People Power Follow us on twitter | Click here to donate |Follow us on IG | 

Facebook Users Union/FUU People Power is a project of Media Alliance and Global Exchange

Today we write with some good news. Earlier this week, the Biden administration announced changes to U.S. policy towards Cuba – lifting several Trump-era restrictions.

We welcome this long-awaited decision to restore some areas of engagement with Cuba: restarting the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program, allowing the reunification of many Cuban families; allowing flights to Cuban cities other than Havana, increasing flights to the island; reinstating the people-to-people group travel, opening more ways to travel to Cuba; expanding support for entrepreneurs; and lifting the cap on family remittances.

These changes begin to fulfill Biden’s campaign promise of improving diplomatic relations with Cuba. But they do not go nearly far enough.

As Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs stated via Twitter,

“This decision in no way modifies the blockade, Cuba’s fraudulent inclusion in the list of countries sponsors of terrorism or most of Trump’s maximum pressure coercive measures that still affect the Cuban people….But it is a limited step in the right direction.”

The Cuban people are suffering one of the most severe food and medicine shortages, since the collapse of the Soviet Union. This is a consequence of the ongoing U.S. blockade, continued impacts of sanctions on freedom to travel, and downturn in tourism from the coronavirus pandemic.

The time to stand with Cuba is now. Sign our letter to Biden urging him to End the Blockade.

We are calling on the Biden administration to fully normalize relations with Cuba, end the blockade, take Cuba off the Sponsors of Terrorism List, and remove the over 200 cruel sanctions left by the Trump administration.

Support Cuba through travel. Join an upcoming Reality Tour! Travel to the island not only supports the local economy but also builds important people-to-people connections, building solidarity and understanding between our two nations.

Our next trip (Cuba Arts, Culture and Architecture) is coming up Nov. 2022, followed by our most popular trip: Cuba New Year’s. These will be unforgettable trips filled with in-depth discussions, vibrant culture, music, and natural beauty. Click here to learn more about our upcoming delegations to the island, or e-mail us at

Thousands of people have traveled with us under the People-to-People license, and now with the reinstatement of this category of travel, we can offer more educational, cultural and professional programs to strengthen solidarity and exchange. Join us on one of our open trips or contact us to build a program for your private group of 4 or more.

Now is the time for U.S. citizens to ensure that the next many years of Cuba/U.S. relations will benefit the people of both countries and be free from the Cold War ideology which clouded our mutual self interests.

Cuba and the Cuban people have suffered too long. It is time to end the embargo and fully normalize relations with our neighbor!

P.S. Global Exchange and our partners at the People’s Summit for Democracy are outraged by the decision of the United States government to deny visas to a 23 person delegation from Cuban civil society. We call on the U.S. government and its Embassy in Havana, to reverse the decision to deny their visas. Sign our petition calling on the U.S. to reverse their decision.


This Mother’s day for many mothers in Mexico is not a day of celebration. Today they will continue searching for their loved ones who have disappeared in the midst of the violence that affects the country. They have walked the miles, traveled through morgues, deserts, wastelands, entire cities trying to find a trace of their sons and daughters. Global Exchange has been walking by their side and today we express our solidarity with them.

Mexico experienced one of its bloodiest chapters in the so-called “War on Drug Trafficking” during the six-year term of Felipe Calderon, as part of the security cooperation agreement between Mexico and the United States known as the “Merida Initiative.” The U.S. government financed armament to the Mexican army, without thinking that this would unleash one of the worst humanitarian crises in the country’s history. This bloodbath left more than 120,000 dead and more than 26,500 people missing, including the disappearance of the 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos de Ayotzinapa teacher’s college  in Guerrero.

This violence left behind mothers who may never be able to hug their children again; daughters and sons who will never see their mothers or fathers again.

Today, mothers from across Mexico will march to the Angel of Independence in Mexico City. In unison they will demand the return of their daughters and sons. The question still remains: where are they?

To support these mothers and families, we must demand the U.S. government stop the sale of arms to Mexico. Bad policies on paper are paid for with lives. We  must put human rights (not weapons deals) at the center of binational cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico.

The United States has the opportunity to support the struggle and search of mothers  who today will march together down Mexico City’s main avenues, carrying the photos of their disappeared sons and daughters on their backs.

In Solidarity,

The explosion at the Hotel Saratoga in Havana Cuba is a tragedy of immense proportions.

The members of Global Exchange and RESPECT Cuba extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of those who were killed and injured and to the people of Cuba.

Family is precious and Cuba has always placed the highest priority on family and community. We have learned the meaning of authentic solidarity from your examples in Cuba and throughout the world. We are mourning with you as you walk through the tragedy of May 6th and provide comfort for your citizens.

We ask all people of goodwill throughout the world to redouble their efforts to build a world where respect of sovereignty and humanity are at the top of the list.

Please know that you are in our prayers and meditations.

“The true revolutionary is motivated by great feelings of love.”-Che

Global Exchange


March 23, 2022

Meta disables Facebook Users Union Instagram Account

For more information contact :

Brittany Williams, Facebook Users Union Campaign Lead Email: Tel: (305) 992-8168 or

Tracy Rosenberg, Executive Director, Media Alliance Email: Tel: (510) 684-6853

MENLO PARK  —  Meta, the Facebook platform’s parent company, has officially disabled the Instagram account of the Facebook Users Union (@fbusersunion).

The Facebook Users Union is an advocacy organization committed to developing the collective voice of the platform’s nearly 3 billion users. Last Thursday, Facebook disabled FUU’s account and then  labeled it as “a mistake” and on March 22nd, Facebook fully deleted FUU’s account.

This ban comes just as Meta, Facebook’s parent company, prepares for their annual shareholder meeting that will address leadership changes with the board exit of Trump donor Peter Thiel,  and the incoming leadership of Nick Clegg, former Deputy Prime Minister of the U.K.  Facebook faces a slew of reputational risks and public concern over Facebook censorship, profit from harm to marginalized communities and democratic government and accusations of  election meddling. Facebook has recently admitted to being used to instigate violence against Rohingya muslims. Facebook has also faced allegations of mass censoring climate activists while making money from fossil-fuel adshosting Ukrainian Neo-Nazis, and abusing the labor rights of Kenyan content moderators seeking to unionize and raise their wages.

Media Alliance Executive Director Tracy Rosenberg (MA is one of the FBUU anchor groups) commented:

This is typical Meta. Instead of focusing on protecting the vulnerable being harmed by their platform, they are focused on protecting themselves from criticism from their own users.

FUU demands the immediate reinstatement of our Instagram account and encourages advocates, allies, and community members to raise awareness of Facebook censorship and participate in a week of action during the upcoming Facebook shareholder meetings.





Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a violation of International law. We condemn it.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a deadly escalation of a long-simmering conflict. Russia is not solely responsible for the tensions, but they are the ones who have initiated a large-scale military action. Russian forces should immediately withdraw to the positions established in the  Minsk II agreement of 12 February 2015.

But even as we condemn Russia’s initiation of the largest ground war in Europe since WWII we should remember that the United States and its allies have done much to fan the flames.

In 1998 when the Clinton Administration was expanding NATO, George Kennan, former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union and the architect of the Cold War “containment” policies told a journalist that growing NATO in the wake of the collapse of the USSR, “shows so little understanding of Russian history and Soviet history. Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expanders] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are — but this is just wrong.”

Our mistreatment of Russia is not an excuse for this invasion, but as we search for peace and a negotiated way out of this deadly mess, it is important that we acknowledge that NATO expansion and the threat of Ukraine similarly joining the alliance is also wrong. But just as we have condemned many egregious U.S. violations of international law (Iraq invasion, murderous drone strikes, etc) we must similarly condemn Russia’s flagrant violation.

Urgent Action: U.S. Embassy Must Attend Guapinol Trial for Concluding Remarks on February 4, 2022

The eight water defenders from Guapinol, sector San Pedro and broader Tocoa region, have spent over 2 years in prison. They are accused of trumped up charges for defending the Guapinol and San Pedro rivers from a mining operation led by Honduran mining company Inversiones Los Pinares with investment ties to the largest U.S. steel companies, Nucor Corporation.

It is without a doubt that the water defenders are in prison because they are seen as messing up both an investment for one of JOH’s cronies, Lenir Perez, who owns Inversiones Los Pinares, but also because the water defenders are blocking an important investment opportunity for a U.S. company seeking raw materials for their operations.


The trial against the water defenders started in December, was suspended, and then began again a few weeks ago in mid-January. Honduras Now has been posting daily trial summaries hereThis week on Friday, February 4th at 9 am, the concluding remarks will be delivered in the courthouse in Tocoa, Colon (about a 6 to 8 hour drive from Tegucigalpa). The concluding remarks lay out a summary of the case from the perspectives of the prosecutors, the ‘private accusers’ representing mining company Inversiones Los Pinares, and each of the defense attorneys. The water defenders are present as well. The presence of Embassies officials and international human rights observers is important to tell the judges and the corrupt judicial system that people are watching.

The Ask

We have been asked to request that the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa attend the concluding remarks on Feb 4th starting at 9 am. So far, the U.S. Embassy has not attended the trial citing Covid concerns. But this is not a fair reason. The courtroom in Tocoa is strict about Covid measures, respects social distancing and restricts the number of people allowed in the courtroom.

The Action

We are asking organizations and individuals to do two things: 

1) Write their Congress representatives and ask them to call or email the State Department and/or the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa and ask them to attend the trial this Friday. 

Tell your representatives that a U.S. company has an investment relationship with the Honduran mining company that is an actor in the trial. Tell them that Congressional representatives should be concerned about human rights related to private sector investment, especially since the U.S.’s strategy to resolve the migration crisis is to promote private sector investment in Honduras.
Another strategic event happening this week on Thursday, February 3rd that may help this action, is that there is a Foreign Affairs House Congressional hearing about the Biden Administration’s policy in the Western Hemisphere. The State Department will be on the hot seat. Congress representatives on the Foreign Affairs Committee could ask about the Guapinol case and/or ask the state department to attend the hearing in Honduras the following day. Mention this to your or a Congressional representative. Ask them to ask a question about Guapinol.

2) As an organization or individual, write to Ariel Jahner, the human rights representative at the U.S. Embassy ( and insist that she or a representative of the Embassy attend the hearing.

Tell the Embassy that:

  • Strict covid measures are being implemented in the courthouse. Only 10 observers are able to enter and the guard checks body temperatures upon entrance. Masks are mandatory.
  • If the U.S. Embassy seeks to increase private sector investment in Honduras to curtail migration to the United States, they must insist on respect for human rights. The presence of the U.S. Embassy may help demonstrate this.
  • Several Congressional representatives have tweeted and shown concern about the Guapinol case. These include Senator LeahyJan SchakowskySenator Merkley, and others. The State departments’ Under Secretary for Civil Security, Democracy and Human Rights Urza Zeya also tweeted about the Guapinol case.
Photo by: Guapinol Despierta