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Corn Not Coca: US Trade Policy in Colombia and Communities of Resistance. Click here to listen, watch, and read coverage of our Fall Speaker's Tour!

Rafael Coicue, coordinator for the human rights department of ACIN (Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca), will visit communities across the Pacific Northwest throughout the month of October 2009.  Mr. Colcue will speak about Plan Colombia and Free Trade Agreements through the lens of the non-violent indigenous social movements organizing against them. The US has given over 6
billion, in mostly military aid, to Colombia since 2000.  Colombia has the highest number of internally displaced people in the world.

In October 2008, Coicue was interviewed on CNN regarding a massacre in his region of La Maria, Cauca. The international coverage his testimony received forced the Colombian government to participate in a public hearing and debate held by the indigenous councils. Despite the violence that accompanies his work, Coicue continues to educate audiences on the negative effects of neo-liberal trade models on
indigenous communities.  His tour coincides with an international week of action to raise awareness about the connection between globalization and the destruction of indigenous lands.

"The way out of the conflict in Colombia should be within the framework of a peaceful social process, one that affects change through civil resistance and not with arms,” Coicue said recently. “North American governments and businesses are actively involved in the Latin American region exploiting our natural resources, and violating human rights, while threatening our democracy and our sovereignty.  The
United States as a world power plays an important role in Latin America and therefore should accept the responsibility of recognizing its affects in the region. The American people should be made aware of their governments actions." - Rafael Coicue

Mr. Coiceue will be accompained by Witness for Peace International team member, Diego Benitez. Born and raised in New York City, Benitez's parents are originally from Colombia and migrated to New York in the early seventies. He has a BFA in fine arts with a minor in Comparative Literature. Most recently Diego spent over two years in Burkina Faso serving as a Peace Corps volunteer.  

Tour Coverage

Listen to a radio interview (In Spanish) of Rafael with the NY-based organization Movement for Peace in Colombia

Listen to the whole presentation on Radio Free Moscow

Watch Rafael's presentation at Hofstra University

Read an article about Rafael in the DailyMe, a Pullman-Moscow based publication

For more information please contact regional organizer Colette Cosner or call 206 250 2680. 

 Witness for Peace Northwest needs your help to make tours like this possible, please donate today and support peace and justice in the Americas!