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August 1 - August 8

Colombia is the largest recipient of U.S. military aid in the hemisphere, and also the country with the highest levels of state and paramilitary violence, including forced displacement, killings of journalists, trade unionists, and human rights activists.

Foreign corporations, many of which are engaged in the large-scale extraction of natural resources, benefit from this situation.  They control Colombia’s coal mines, which supply power plants in the United States while generating immense profits for mining companies.  These corporations have been accused of serious human rights violations, displaced entire communities, exploited workers, and destroyed natural environments.

“The multinational mining companies that own El Cerrejon profit at the expense of the people of the Guajira region whose plight has remained hidden behind the Colombian coal that many of us in North America and Europe rely on to generate our electricity.” (The People Behind Colombian Coal: Mining, Multinationals and Human Rights)

This delegation meets with human rights activists, trade unionists, members of Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities, and others affected by coal production in Colombia.  We will explore how we as consumers can work in solidarity with communities and organizations in Colombia to hold corporations accountable for human rights.

Click here to apply for this delegation.

Deadline: Applications and a $150 non-refundable deposit are due by June 1, 2018.

The remaining balance is due by July 1, 2018.

Cost: $1,500.  Fundraising tips and scholarships may be available.

*Price includes: all meals, lodging, facilitation, interpretation, & transportation within Colombia.

*Price doesn’t include: passport costs, international airfare, and personal incidentals.

Download Delegation Flyer.

Click here to apply for this delegation.

For more information, contact Avi Chomsky, 978-542-6389, achomsky@salemstate.edu or Steve Striffler, 479-283-4795, striffler@hotmail.com.


Excerpt from an Upside Down World interview with Avi Chomsky, professor of history and Latin American Studies at Salem State College in Massachusetts, after a Witness for Peace coal delegation.

One of our delegates works with the Move America Beyond Coal campaign, and she asked Jairo Quiroz, the president of the Sintracarbón union that represents workers in the Cerrejón coal mine, more or less the same question: don’t we just have to stop mining and burning coal altogether, given its environmental impact? Jairo’s response really challenged all of us, I think. “There is no clean source of energy,” he said. “You in the United States are the ones who use most of the world’s energy resources. What do you propose to use, if we stop mining coal? Petroleum and natural gas are no better for the environment than coal is, and both contribute to global climate change. Nuclear energy also requires mining, and creates waste products even more dangerous than coal’s. Solar energy and wind energy are only viable where those resources are sufficiently available, and they also require production, transmission and storage techniques and equipment that depend on mining (for turbines, batteries, solar panels, etc.) and the use of toxins. So-called biofuels are the worst of all, because they expand the agro-industrial model which has profound environmental effects — from deforestation to desertification to overuse of pesticides and fertilizers — and it also disrupts the whole food chain by channeling agricultural land to the production of fuel instead of food.” Basically, his point was that rather than pointing the finger at coal, we needed to think about the underlying causes of environmental destruction — like our overuse of energy. “As long as you want to keep using that much energy,” he said, “we’re going to keep mining coal.”



August 1
August 8
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Avi Chomsky
Steve Striffler