archivos de los protestos globales



Civil Society organizations from Canada and the United States meet in Ottawa, Rejecting U.S.-sponsored Plan Colombia and Supporting Colombia's Peace Process

"During this year alone, over 77 trade unionists have been assassinated. In terms of violence, Colombia represents the country where most trade unionists have been killed anywhere on the face of this earth, representing 80% of the total number of trade unionists killed." - Hassan Yussuff, Vice President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), from his presentation at the Ottawa forum on 'Peace, Conflict and Intervention in Colombia'.

North American multinational corporate interests gain from an ongoing war that is intensifying in Colombia under 'Plan Colombia', a comprehensive military, economic and political intervention developed by the United States in alliance with the Colombian government. The majority of Colombia's population suffers from social and economic exclusion, forced displacement, cultural and environmental degradation, and grave human rights violations. Under the U.S. Plan Colombia, the so-called 'war on drugs' is providing 1.3 billion dollars in mostly military aid and fumigations to Colombia, in oil-rich zones, at a time when armed actors and civil society are struggling to build a viable peace process, more representative of the country's diverse sectors and communities. The world is responding:

November 28, 2000 - The Nunca Mas (Never Again) Project was presented to the European Parliament, documenting the crimes against humanity committed by the Colombian state and rejecting impunity so that justice may be acheived, a necessary precondition to the attainment of peace. The report contains more than 38, 000 crimes against humanity since 1966.

November 30, 2000 - Plan Colombia is officially rejected and denounced by the Belgian government and the European Union.

December 2-3, 2000 - Canadian civil society groups meet in Ottawa at the forum "Peace, Conflict and Intervention in Colombia: A Public forum for Canadian Solidarity", to exchange information on the Colombian situation and to promote Canadian solidarity strategies.

The Ottawa forum on "Peace, Conflict and Intervention in Colombia:
A Public Forum for Canadian Solidarity"

Apporximately 100 individuals representing organizations from Colombia, Canada and the United States, participated at the Ottawa forum which took place at Carleton University, Southam Hall, on Dec 2 and 3, 2000. Over twenty-five endorsing organizations included the Caribbean and Latin American Solidarity Group, the Canadian Coalition "Pueblos Hermanos: Lazos Visibles", the International Woodworkers Association, the InterChurch Committee on Human Rights in Latin America (ICCHRLA), the Canadian Labour Congress, Canadian Auto Workers, Mining Watch Canada, The Canadian Colombian Association, Research and International Support for Colombia, The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, and the Institute of Intersdisciplinary Studies of Carleton University.

During the first day of the forum, 10 speakers from Colombia and Canada addressed the historical determinants of the conflict, a diagnosis of the present situation, and the role of international solidarity. During the second day participants worked on and endorsed strategies for action and solidarity.

Based on the evidence and testimonies heard, the participants of the Ottawa forum recognized that:

  1. The war in Colombia is the outcome of structural inequities which mainly benefit national elites and international capital interests. Plan Colombia is the current strategy to maintain and further capital interests, justified as a 'war on drugs'.
  2. The major beneficiaries of drug trafficking are multinational criminal networks based in developed nations. Plan Colombia, as a 'war on drugs' is doomed to fail as it does not affect these beneficiaries or their powerful Colombian counterparts, but rather focusses (through violence and fumigations) on insignificant and vulnerable small farmers in the south of the country who produce coca for economic surivival.
  3. The Colombian government has strong links to paramilitary forces, who are responsible for the majority of crimes against humanity, including massacres, forced dissapearances, and displacements. Paramilitaries are funded mainly by national elites and the drug trade, yet Plan Colombia does not addresss this issue.
  4. Multinational corporations, particularly the oil and energy sector, are actively involved in areas of high violence, conflict, and displacement, while benefitting under Plan Colombia. Consequently, the rights and territories of Indigenous, Peasant and Afro Colombian communities, are increasingly threatened.
  5. The peace process is fundamental to resolving Colombia's conflict, and is at risk largely because of Plan Colombia, which contributes to the escalation of war between insurgent groups, government and paramilitary forces, and an increase in human rights violations and criminal activities by all armed actors.
  6. There is an invisible popular struggle of organizations and social movements, including women, church and union initiatives, commited to social transformation towards a viable social contract. These have become targets of systematic terror, disappearances and extermination.

The Canadian civil society groups present at the Ottawa forum, "Peace and Intervention in Colombia" recognized the complexity of the Colombian crisis and the need for urgent and coordinated action. The participants committed to:

  • Reject and denounce Plan Colombia as a comprehensive military, economic and political U.S. foreign intervention with grave national and international consequences.
  • Support and promote a negotiated solution between the Colombian government and the insurgency, through a legitimate, open, inclusive and democratic peace process which recognizes the voices and demands of those representing Colombia's invisible popular struggle.

To articulate solidarity efforts, Canadian civil society groups will focus on two lines of action:

  1. Expose and address the role and impacts of the energy sector, particularly transnational oil companies and their relationship to violence and human rights violations in Colombia.
  2. Support the voices and demands of those representing Colombia's invisible popular struggle for peace and social transformation.

"Es urgente que ponerle fin a las atrocidades cometidas por todos los actores armados. Se debe llegar de inmediato a un acuerdo humanitario de manera que todas las partes en conflicto respeten el derecho internacional humanitario"
"It is urgente to put an end to the atrocities commited by all armed actors. A humanitarian agreement must be reached immediately so that all parts involved in the conflict respect international humanitarian law" - Piedad Cordoba, Colombian Senator, at the Ottawa forum, Dec 2, 2000.

For further information please write to: or
or see website on the Colombia Forum:


Please forward this communique.

invisible popular struggles - A Canadian Tour
Plan Colombia | FTAA Québec