Apr 14 2014
A free trade pact signed by the US with Colombia is being criticized for not including human rights protections. Over the past 3 years more than 70 labor union activists have been killed in the country known as the US’s strongest ally in Latin America.
US ties with Colombia also extend to direct military assistance in the “War on Drugs” under the guise of which thousands were killed, farmlands fumigated, and paramilitary groups flourished. Today Colombia has one of the highest rates of violence in Latin America.
Within Colombia, class, race, and gender divisions exacerbate existing problems, just as in any country. Colombians of African descent, face the brunt of physical and economic violence.
Afro-Colombians are the third largest group of African-descended people outside the continent of Africa, behind Brazil and the US. One point five million Afro-Colombians have reportedly been internally displaced, and women in that community have faced the brunt of sexual and physical violence.
GUEST: Charo-Mina Rojas is a Colombian human rights defender with more than 15 years of activism working with non-governmental and grassroots organizations in Colombia and internationally. Mina-Rojas has served as National Coordinator of Advocacy and Outreach in the U.S, for the Black Communities’ Process (Proceso de Comunidades Negras en Colombia- PCN) and was a founding member of the Afro-Colombia Solidarity Network, based in the United States. Mina-Rojas is currently the director of PCN’s Afro-Colombian Women’s Human Rights Project (ACWHR) based in Colombia.