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  • Edición impresa de Octubre 19, 2010

No two countries are the same, just as no two people are the same; nevertheless, one can find similarities that may help prevent problems or to take a different course of action.

I lived in Colombia for many years; during those years I saw the social fabric of the country deteriorate due to the violence and death that has taken over the country for more than 60 years. The peasants, workers and students were affected more and more until people began to massively move to other places seeking some sort of peace to start a new life.

Under the so called “ drug war”, not only was there more influx of arms and military training from the US, but also the fields were fumigated, thus killing the possibilities of growing natural crops in those fields.

When Plan Colombia was about to start several NGOs argued against it. The main reason was that the moneys were allocated, not to social programs for change of crops and aid to the peasants, but instead close to 90% of the ‘aid’ was for military purposes.

It should be noted that after the killings by any of the many armed groups, (guerrilla, military, paramilitary, private armies, so on); the arms collected and shown in pictures were from US factories.  Exporting arms is one of the big businesses in the world.  Ten years have elapsed since the ‘Plan Colombia” began, and the drugs do not cease to arrive in US.  As the demand increases for drugs to evade the realities in this country, so also increases the danger and violence to other countries.

I have seen in these past twenty years a change in the immigrants coming from Mexico.  Before there was a sense of coming here temporarily, making money and going back to their families; even for those who had chosen to remain here, there were always strong ties to their country that would make them go back, especially at Christmas time.

Nowadays many families do not want to go back, having to face not only the lack of jobs, but also violence never before experienced in Mexico.

Are there similarities in the two situations?  Is the Merida plan another ‘Plan Colombia’?  Are the arms going into Mexico going to stop?  Is the new war on drugs going to be more effective inMexico that it has been in Colombia?

How many more kidnappings, bombings & deaths do Mexicans have to endure before they realize that they are not in control of their country?

How is this affecting the immigrant population, especially those who are now raising money to pay ransom for their loved ones?

Have they found non-violent answers in Colombia to respond to the armed violence?

What questions do you have about this topic and who can help you work through some of them?

Locally I have been extending an invitation to hear Rev. Alberto Franco and have a conversation with him and others who know about the real situation of 5 million of internally displaced people in Colombia.  You can ask about the answers they have found and how they think people in other nations can organize to respond in ways that do not escalate into more violence.






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