Stop U.S. Military Aid for Colombia Now!

Support Peace and Human Rights in Colombia

Join Letter Sign-On

January 2000

The Clinton Administration has just proposed a $1.3 billion aid package to Colombia. This new aid combined with funds already directed toward Colombia will amount to $1.6 billion over the next two years. The majority of aid will go to the most abusive military in the Western Hemisphere and pull the United States into an un-winnable counterinsurgency war. Act now to oppose military assistance and support funds that strengthen democracy and encourage peace.


Major components of Clinton's aid package include:

Every day, at least 250 to 300 U.S. military personnel and advisors counsel, train, and share intelligence with Colombia's security forces in ways that support counterinsurgency efforts. Our government has already funded the creation of a 950-troop counternarcotics battalion that is being trained to operate in Southern Colombia in a territory under dispute between Colombia's leftwing guerrillas and rightwing paramilitaries. Two more battalions are in the works. After many years during which the United States focused on police aid due to concerns over the Colombian army's human rights record, this marks a growing collaboration with the Colombian army.

Clinton's proposed aid increase will make the United States a major actor in Colombia's three-decade old internal conflict. The Clinton Administration claims that this aid package is directed at counter-narcotics operations and won't mean further involvement in Colombia's dirty counter-insurgency war. They claim increased assistance will only support positive investment in Colombia's economic development and future. However, if Congress and the Administration don't hear from you, the vast majority of the aid package will go to support the Colombian military and police, not economic development or peace.

Only a small portion of Clinton's aid package provides for non-military aid in an attempt to support peace, human rights, and economic assistance. The White House says it will propose $145 million over the next two years to provide economic alternatives for Colombian farmers who now grow coca and poppy plants and $93 million for new programs that will help the judicial system, crack down on money laundering and drug kingpins, increase protection of human rights, expand the rule of law, and promote the peace process. Your call to encourage policy makers to increase these positive alternatives and oppose military assistance may tip the balance between war and peace in Colombia.


Contact your representative and senators and oppose military aid to Colombia. The United States can and should help Colombians in their hour of need, with long-term, peaceful solutions to civil conflict and drug violence.


  1. In all countries: join us by signing on to this letter Clinton below. Numerous individuals and organizations from several countries have already signed. A Spanish translation also follows.

    Please send an e-mail with the following information at the TOP of your message to:
    Signing as an INDIVIDUAL:
    e-mail address:
    Signing as an ORGANIZATION:
    NAME of Organization:
    e-mail address:

  2. Find out who your representative and senators are and how to contact them on the web: Locate your congressional representative at Locate your Senator at:

  3. Call your Congressional representative and senators in three easy steps: A. Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected with your member B. once you are connected ask to speak with the foreign policy aide C. tell them to oppose military aid (see talking points below). If the aide is not there, leave a voice-mail message expressing your opinion and try back later.

  4. Write to your members of Congress:

    Name of Representative, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515

    Name of Senator, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510







Latin America Working Group
110 Maryland Avenue NE Box 15
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 546-7010


Letter to President Clinton

The letter below has already been endorsed by U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, and by the economist John Kenneth Galbraith, as well as human rights organizations and individuals from around the world. Please consider signing on, and distributing to friends and organizations. A Spanish translation follows.

January 24, 2000

William J. Clinton
President of the United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

Our concern for the tragic situation facing the people of Colombia causes us to write to you. As citizens of many countries with a variety of political opinions, we are united in urging you to change your Colombian policy from a predominantly military strategy to an approach that supports the needs and hopes of the Colombian people.

While it is impossible to summarize in one letter all the dramatic circumstances affecting Colombia, we want to highlight the points that seem most alarming to us:

  1. Reports from a number of sources, including the U.S. State Department, have documented the continuing collaboration between members and units of the Colombian armed forces and paramilitary groups. This collaboration has included several cases of open alliances. The paramilitaries, according to these reports, are responsible for 75% to 80% of the cases of assassination, kidnapping, torture, and massacre of civilian non-combatants, while the guerrilla groups and the armed forces commit the rest of these abuses. Only a few implicated officials and soldiers have been investigated and punished, while collaboration between the armed forces and the paramilitaries continues to this day. The U.S. contributes to the deterioration of this disturbing human rights situation by continuing to provide military aid, training, and sales, despite these well-documented reports of collaboration.

  2. The armed conflict has forced as many as 1.6 million internal refugees to seek protection for their lives and well-being, according to the United Nations. The number of families who have fled their homes in Colombia exceeds the forced expulsions that the world witnessed with horror in both Kosovo and East Timor. The U.S. is doing little to help care for the refugees that U.S. military aid is helping to create.

  3. Further military aid will undermine the fragile peace process that has been initiated by President Pastrana. Civilians in Colombia have overwhelmingly voted for peace and marched in favor of peace. Massive infusions of military aid will not only increase the number of deaths and massacres carried out by all the armed groups, but will also strengthen hard-liners in Colombia who oppose the peace process. Recent murders of academics, human rights defenders, trade unionists and even entertainers who worked to support the peace process illustrate the difficulty of working for peace in Colombia.

  4. The U.S. Drug War strategy has been an expensive failure and more of this same strategy will not combat drugs. This strategy has not reduced coca cultivation in Colombia, the flow of cocaine or heroin to the U.S from Colombia, or the profits of the drug traffickers. Instead it has caused untold environmental and human destruction. It has also strengthened the guerrillas as more landless peasants join their ranks. Military aid will not address the reasons why Colombians choose to cultivate drugs in the first place. The problems that have led to increased drug cultivation include state neglect of rural areas, a nonexistent rule of law, and the lack of economic infrastructure and opportunity. These problems can only be resolved through support for efforts to strengthen the peace process and to enhance the lives of the poor.

We respectfully make the following requests of your administration:



(Signers follow)


Congressional Endorsers from the United States

Cynthia A. McKinney, Ranking Democrat, Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights


Organizational Endorsers from the United States

Action for Community & Ecology in the Rainforests of Central America (ACERCA), Burlington, VT

Boston Colombia Support Network

Bread and Roses Local of the War Resisters League

California Peace Action

Chicago Colombia Committee

Colombia Human Rights Committee, Washington DC

Colombia Media Project, New York

Colombia Support Network

Colombia Vive (Boston)

Colombian Labor Monitor

New Hampshire Peace Action

Northwest Veterans for Peace

Peace Action of Washington

Philadelphia Colombia Support Network

Seattle CISPES

Seattle Colombia Committee

SOA Watch

Student Activist Union at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY

Tacoma Catholic Worker Community, Guadalupe House of Hospitality

University of Iowa Amnesty International


Individual Endorsers from the United States

Byron Adams, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Gilbert Allen, Travelers Rest, SC

Javier Amaya

Greta Anderson, Iowa City, Iowa

Janis Bandelin, Greenville, SC

Polly Barten, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Veneta Bartlett, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

John Batson, Easley SC

Rubye Baumgardner, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Jeffrey Benner, Journalist, Mother Jones Magazine

Ned Bertz, International Alliance for People's Movements, Iowa City, Iowa

Kevin Bensel, Seattle WA

Duane Bensel, Seattle WA

Trim Bissell, national coordinator, Campaign for Labor Rights, Washington, DC

Jeff Vincent, Bloomington, IN

Hans W. Bodlaender , Convener for the Gray Panthers of Seattle

Peter Bohmer, Faculty in Political Economy, Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA

Patrick Bonner, Colombia Action Project, Los Angeles, CA

Scott Bonner

Charles Boyer, Greenville, SC

Faith Brightbill, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Christina Buckley, Furman U, Greenville, SC

Saundra Morris, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA

Thomas O. Buford, Louis G. Forgione Professor of Philosophy, Furman University, Greenville, SC

Lynette Carpenter, Delaware, OH

Janice Cate, President Washington/Northern Idaho Church Women United

Mrs. Loretta Chapman of Gardiner, MT

Beth A. Christensen, Furman University, Greenville, SC

Michelle Ciarrocca, Research Associate, World Policy Institute, New York

Dr. Elsa M. Chaney, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IOWA

Marjorie Childress, Seattle Colombia Committee

Gordon S. Clark, Executive Director, Peace Action

Carrol B. Cox, Illinois State Univ. (retired), Bloomington, Illinois

Rev. Dr. Davida Foy Crabtree, Conference Minister, Connecticut Conference, United Church of Christ

Sylvia Crook, President, AFSCME Local 1185, Des Moines, Iowa

Laura Crossley, Iowa City, IA

Carolyn Davis, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Gladys Cuellar, Seattle WA

Claricia Cummings, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Ed Cushman, Seattle, WA

Julia Delacour, United Transportation Union, Seattle WA

Justin Delacour, Seattle Colombia Committee

David Diamond, Dover, New Hampshire

Lucille Dickinson, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Amy Dugan, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Floyd Dugan, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Tris M. Dunn

Martin Eder, San Diego, CA

Linda J. Egan, Registered Democrat, North Olmsted, OH

Cristina Espinel, Co-chair, Colombia Human Rights Committee, Washington D.C.

Rene Espinosa

Marci Esquerra, Michigan

Demerie Faitler, Greenville, SC

Evan Fales, Amnesty International, Iowa City

Kevin Fansler, Havre de Grace, MD

Verna M. Fausey, Nashville, TN

Peter Ferenbach, Executive Director, California Peace Action, Berkeley

Roberto Forns-Broggi, Denver , CO

John Fournelle, Madison, WI

James K. Galbraith, Chair, Economists Allied for Arms Reduction

Olga L. Garces, Seattle, WA

Barbara Gerlach, Co-chair, Colombia Human Rights Committee, Washington D.C.

Jessica Gerlach-Mack, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC, USA

Peter Gerlach-Mack, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Alison Giffen, Washington DC

Ross S. Gillespie, Houston, TX

Joyce Glynn, San Francisco, CA

Patricia M. Goodman, CPA, Huntington Beach, CA

Margaret Grannis, Latin America Committee, Arizona Institute for Peace, Education, and Research

Dennis Grammenos, Professor, Northeastern Illinois University

Thomas Guthrie, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Angie Gutierrez , Greenville, SC

Alan Haber, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Yadviga D. Halsey, PhD., Seattle, WA

MaryEllen Hamblin, Washington State

Kim Hanna, November Coalition, Drug Policy Forum of Texas (DPFT)

John R. Hanson, Spartanburg, SC

John Hart, Ph.D, Chair, Department of Theology, Carroll College, Helena, MT

Barbara Hayes, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Spencer Hays, Aptos, CA

Scott Henderson, Greenville, South Carolina

Gloria Herman, Monroe. WA

Mike Herman, Monroe, WA

Cynthia Hobbs, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Maria Hope, Amnesty International, Iowa City, Iowa

Hop Hopkins, Seattle, WA

Geoffrey Radford Hope, Iowa City, Iowa

Kathleen Horner, Greenville, SC

Gwyneth Howden, Aberdeen, WA

Stephen Hudson, Greenville, SC

Odile Hugonot-Haber, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Eric Huff, Dubuque, Iowa

Walter N.Huli Jr., Member of ILWU local 13, San Pedro, California

John M. Jackson, Redondo Beach, CA

Erin Jeziorski, Seattle WA

Linda Julian, Furman University, Greenville, SC

Drew Kearns, Greenville, SC

Sofía Kearns, Greenville, SC

Jerome Kelly

Arthur Keys, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Yasna Keys, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Joan King, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Mary King, Associate Professor of Economics, Portland State University, Portland, OR

Andy Klatt, Tufts University

John Krumm, Saint Paul, MN

Charles M. Kukla, Organized Labor Liaison, Indiana University College Democrats

Brandon Kuykendall, Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea, OH

Livia Yah-Sye Lam, Workers' Voices Coalition, Seattle Young People's Project

Orin Langelle, Executive Director, ACERCA, Burlington, VT

Jack Laun, President of Colombia Support Network

Larry Lauro, SOA-Watch, San Jose

Clifford Lehman, Writer, Portland OR

Aaron G. Lehmer, Graduate Student, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA

Sandy Leon, Bolinas, CA

Jay Lintner, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Richard Lochner, Portland, OR

R. Juanita Loison

Eve Lowery, Seattle, WA

John Mack, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Meg Maguire, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Sandra Mardigian, Palo Alto, CA

Terry Martin, Cleveland, OH

Toty Martin, Cleveland, OH

Rosalinda Martinez, Woodland, CA

W. Duncan McArthur, Jr., Greenville, SC

Tom McCann, Westminster, CO

Nancy McConnell, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Mary Ann McEvoy, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

John Meinken, Cincinnati, OH

Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., Green Earth Foundation, El Verano, CA

Arthur R. Mink, Member Executive Board, Leschi Community Council, Seattle, WA

Lynn Mink, Member Executive Board, Leschi Community Council, Seattle, WA

Stefano Monti, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

James Moore, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Robert Naiman, 50 Years is Enough Network, Steering Committee

Lee T. Neidow, Kentwood, Michigan

Jane Noll, World Education, Amherst, Massachusetts

Amy Ostrander, Iowa City, Iowa

Dale Ostrander, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Guy Ottewell, Author and Publisher, Universal Workshop, Furman University, Greenville, SC

Joan Para, Chicago Colombia Committee

Robert E. Parent, Marlborough, MA

Gustavo Perico, Detroit, MI

Gigi Peterson, PhD., University of Washington, Seattle WA

Sophia Pierroutsakos, Greenville, SC

Maria Posada, Seattle

Aghaghia Rahimzadeh, Arcata, california

Scott Remillard, Seattle WA

Carol Richardson, co-director, SOA Watch

Kimberly D. Root, Westminster, CA

Richard L. Root, Westminster, CA

Katy Rose, Montana Community Labor Alliance/Jobs with Justice, Helena, MT

Robert D. Roughton, Belgrade, MT

Erika Ruber, Portland

Susan Shaer, Executive Director, Women's Action for New Directions (WAND), Washington D.C.

Eddie Salazar, Seattle CISPES

Tim Scherer, San Francisco, California

Katheryn H. Seiders, Pittsburgh, PA

John C. Shelley, Greenville, SC

Ruth Shinn, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington DC

Brian Siegel, Greenville, SC

Marvin Simmons, Secretary, Northwest Veterans for Peace, Portland, OR

Alice Slater, Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE), New York, NY

Audra Slocum, President University of Iowa Amnesty International, Iowa City, IA

Nancy Small, National Coordinator, Pax Christi

Sandra Sorensen, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington DC

R. Olof Sorensen, Greenville, SC

Cecilia Soto, Renton WA

Roberto Soto, Renton WA

Fredda Sparks, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington DC

Diana Spencer, Seattle, Washington

Tyler Steward, Amnesty International, Iowa City, Iowa

Alisa Tanaka, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Richard Tarnas, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA

Fran Teplitz, Policy Director, Peace Action Education Fund

Izumi Tokunaga, Greenville, SC

Bruce Triggs, Tacoma

Margaret Tuthill, Seattle WA

Benjamin Vogel, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Alice Waco, Board member, Sonoma county Peace and Justice Center, California

Kevin A. Sherper Walker, Master's Student in City/Regional Planning, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Kris Weber, Seattle, WA

Mark Weimer, Church of God, Richland, Washington

Jeffrey J. Weiss, Professor, Des Moines Area Community College

Howard Wilbur, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, DC

Billy Woodall, Seattle

Ana Zambrano

Barbara Zilles, Amnesty International

Mike Zmolek, Iowa City, Iowa, Amnesty International


Organizational Endorsers from Canada

Executive Board of American Federation of Musicians Local #553, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


Individual Endorsers from Canada

Julia Nielsen, Edmonton, Alberta

Kathleen DeWitt Newell, Calgary, Alberta


Individual Endorsers from Colombia

Darío González Posso, Director del Instituto de Estudios para el Desarrollo y la Paz - INDEPAZ, Bogotá

Roberto Gutiérrez, Ph.D., Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá

Emilio José Chaves, Pasto


Individual Endorsers from El Salvador

Vilma Alvarenga, San Salvador

Dr. C. Brannon Andersen, Furman University, Greenville, SC

Miguel Castro, San Salvador

Cristy de Cruz, SITRASALUD, San Salvador

Gloria Flores, San Salvador

Julio Flores, SOICSCES, San Salvador

Adalberto Galdamez, SITRASALUD, San Salvador

Andres Garcia, SITINPROVA, San Salvador

Marina Gonzalez, San Salvador

Alex Hernandez

Ismael Hernandez, SOICSCES, San Salvador

Felix Lopez, San Salvador

Carlos Maravilla, SETAG, San Salvador

Bartolome Navarrete, CTD, San Salvador

Fausto Payes, San Salvador

L. Alonso Ramirez, San Salvador

Ricardo Ramirez, San Salvador

Gilberto Rivera, SITINPROVA, San Salvador

Ana Maria Sanchez, SITRASALUD, San Salvador

Evelyn Zelaya, San Salvador


Individual Endorsers from Germany

Wolfgang Fuss

Angelo Lucifer, Erfurt, Gewerkschaft HBV

Mary E. Kelley-Bibra, Sekretaerin, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin fuer Sozialforschung, Berlin

Burkhard Schröder, Journalist und Schriftsteller, Berlin

Manfred Wolter, Augsburg, Germany


Individual Endorsers from Greece

Nikos Raptis, Author, Athens, Greece

Aris Terzis


Individual Endorsers from Norway

Helge Hasselgreen

Ragnar Kleiven, Oslo, Norway

Knut Rognes, Stavenger, Norway, Stavanger University College


Organizational Endorsers from Spain

Acció Social. CGT. Generalitat de Catalunya

Comitè Català de Solidaritat amb Colòmbia. Barcelona

Comite de Solidaridad Internacionalista de Zaragoza, Aragon

Entrepobles. Barcelona

Entrepueblos-Colombia, La Rioja

Gallopinto Revista del Comité de Solidaridad Internacionalista, Zaragoza

Grupo de apoyo a las Comunidades de Paz de Urabá, Zaragoza

Verneda Solidària. Barcelona


Individual Endorsers from Spain

Laura Agirretxea Martinez, Bilbao, Euskal Herria

Juan Carlos Burillo Garcia, Villamayor-Zaragoza

Rafael Lozano G., Sevilla

Pablo Mora Garcia, Sevilla


Organizational Endorsers from the United Kingdom

National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC)


Individual Endorsers from the United Kingdom

Marion Couldrey, Co-Editor of Forced Migration Review

Tim Morris, Co-Editor of Forced Migration Review

Nick Rose, Peace Brigades International (British Section)

Julie Tucker, Peace Brigades International (British Section)



Enero 24 de 2000

William J. Clinton
Presidente de los Estados Unidos de América
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington DC 20500

Señor Presidente:

Nuestra preocupación por la trágica situación que enfrenta el pueblo de Colombia nos motiva a escribirle. Como ciudadanos de varios países del mundo con diversas opiniones políticas nos unimos para urgirle que cambie su política en Colombia de una estrategia predominantemente militar a una vía que apoye las necesidades y esperanzas del pueblo de ese país.

Toda vez que resulta imposible resumir en una carta todos los detalles de la dramática situación de Colombia, queremos destacar los puntos que nos parecen mas alarmantes:

1. Reportes de varias fuentes incluyendo el Departamento de Estado de los Estados Unidos siguen documentando la continua colaboración entre miembros y unidades de las fuerzas militares y los grupos paramilitares. Esta colaboración ha incluido en muchas ocasiones alianzas abiertas. Los paramilitares de acuerdo a estos reportes son responsables por el 75% al 80% de los casos de asesinatos, secuestros, torturas y masacres contra civiles no combatientes, mientras los grupos guerrilleros y las fuerzas armadas cometen los casos restantes de abusos. Solamente algunos oficiales y soldados han sido investigados y castigados mientras la colaboración entre las fuerzas armadas y paramilitares continúa hasta la fecha. Los Estados Unidos contribuyen al deterioro de esta situación aberrante de derechos humanos al seguir la ayuda militar, entrenamiento y ventas, a pesar de estos casos bien documentados de colaboración.

2. El conflicto armado ha forzado a por lo menos 1.6 millones de refugiados internos a buscar protección a las vidas y seguridad, según las Naciones Unidas. La cifra de familias que han abandonado sus hogares es superior a los éxodos que el mundo ha presenciado con horror en Kosovo y las Islas de Timor Oriental. Los Estados Unidos hacen muy poco por ayudar los refugiados que la misma ayuda militar estadounidense ha contribuido a crear.

3. Mas ayuda militar solo debilitará el frágil proceso de paz que fue iniciado por el presidente Andrés Pastrana. Los civiles en Colombia han votado de forma abrumadora por la paz y han marchado en apoyo a la paz. Cuantiosas inversiones de ayuda militar no solo aumentarían el número de muertos y masacres llevadas a cabo por todos los grupos armados, sino que además fortalecerían a los extremistas en Colombia que se oponen a un proceso de paz. Los recientes asesinatos de académicos, defensores de los derechos humanos, sindicalistas e incluso actores que trabajaban en apoyo al proceso de paz, ilustran las dificultades de trabajar en esa vía en Colombia.

4. La estrategia de los Estados Unidos de la guerra contra las drogas ha sido una costoso fracaso y seguir con esta estrategia en realidad no combatirá las drogas. Esta "guerra" no ha disminuido el cultivo de coca en Colombia, el flujo de cocaína o heroína hacia los Estados Unidos desde Colombia o las ganancias de los traficantes de droga. Al contrario ha causado destrucción ambiental y humana e irónicamente ha fortalecido las guerrillas cuando mas campesinos desposeídos de la tierra han engrosado sus filas. La ayuda militar no ha confrontado las razones por las cuales muchas personas han resuelto cultivar las drogas. Los problemas que han conducido al aumento del área de cultivo incluyen el abandono estatal del campo, la inexistencia de la justicia, la falta de oportunidades e infraestructura económica. Estos problemas pueden resolverse únicamente a través del apoyo a los procesos de paz y el mejoramiento de las vidas de los pobres.

Respetuosamente pedimos de su administración lo siguiente:






Líder de la Mayoría del Senado

Líder de la Minoría del Senado

Vocero de la Cámara de Representantes

Líder de la Minoría de la Cámara de Representantes



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