Colombians Tell Their Story:

The Real Impact of U.S. Foreign Policy

Upper Mid-West Speaking Tour, September 10 – 24, 2003

Sponsored by the U.S. Office on Colombia with the support of Lutheran World Relief


Luz Marina Becerra, a 29-year-old Afro-Colombian woman from the province of Chocó, was forced from her home by the war five years ago, and is now the Secretary General of one of the main organizations for displaced Afro-Colombians, AFRODES.

Father Rafael Castillo, a 45-year-old Afro-Colombian priest based in Cartagena, has close to twenty years of experience working with communities affected by violence and poverty.

Join us:

Sep. 10 in Rochester, MN (Contact Joe and Elaine Mayer, 507-289-4154,

Sep. 11 in Moorhead, MN (Contact Erin Campbell, 218-329-6217,

Sep. 12 in Morris, MN (Contact Rev. Hilda Parks, 320-589-1308,

Sep. 13 in Minneapolis, MN (Contact Rosita Balch, 612-276-0788 x10,

Sep. 14 in St. Cloud, MN (Contact Samantha Henningson, 612-396-8483,

Sep. 15 in Rockford, IL (Contact Stan Campbell, 815-964-7111,

Sep. 16 in Dixon, IL (Contact Dr. Randal Norris, 815-622-0969 x259,

Sep. 19 in Chicago, IL (Contact Gary Cozette, 773-293-2964,

Sep. 20 and 22 in Cedar Falls, IA (Contact John Grinstead, 319-504-2447,

Sep. 21 in Waterloo, IA (Contact John Grinstead, 319-504-2447,

Sep. 23 in Kalamazoo, MI (Contact John Dugas, 269-349-0688,

Sep. 24 in Adrian, MI (Contact Dusty Farnan, 517-266-3534,

Luz Marina and Father Rafael will draw on their experiences to talk about the armed conflict in Colombia and the impact of U.S. policy.

Their presentations will be in Spanish with English translation provided.

For decades left-wing guerrillas and pro-government paramilitaries have assassinated, kidnapped, tortured and displaced civilians in Colombia. According to the State Department, the Colombian Armed Forces actively collaborate with these paramilitary groups. Yet the U.S. government has provided Colombia with over $2.5 billion in mostly military and police aid since 2000. During that time the violence has increased – with nearly one million more people displaced from their homes – and drug production in the region has remained steady. In July, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 226-195 against an amendment to cut $75 million dollars in military aid to Colombia.

For more information about Colombia, the speaking tour or scheduling an interview with our speakers, please contact Peter Clark of the U.S. Office on Colombia (USOC) at 202-232-8090 (in Washington), 202-302-1536 (during the tour) or, or visit

USOC is a Washington-based non-governmental organization dedicated to educating the public, Congress and the media about the impact of U.S. policy in Colombia.

Peter Clark, Senior Associate

US Office on Colombia

1630 Connecticut Avenue NW Suite 201

Washington DC 20009

Tel: 202-232-8090 Fax: 202-232-8092