Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Dawn Paley, "Cauca: A Microcosm of Colombia, a Reflection of Our World," Upside Down World, September 3, 2008.

Michèal Ó Tuathail, from Canada-based solidarity group La Chiva, responded to this notion, commenting "This latest campaign of lies tries to ‘link’ Canada-Colombia solidarity to the FARC insurgency... is already underway, and we encourage you to get informed now. We will need your support, as a storm is brewing..."

During the first two weeks of August, more than two dozen youth were assassinated by suspected paramilitary groups in the streets of Santander de Quilichao, and an extensive death threat was directed to Indigenous groups in the area.

In tandem with the rising tide of violence in Cauca, a department in Colombia’s southwest, the Colombian government is using the media to attack solidarity activists in Colombia and Canada through dangerous allegations.


The Nasa people, who number about 110,000, live for the most part in the north of Cauca. It is estimated that over 50 percent of children from Nasa families in northern Cauca suffer from malnutrition, and 24 percent of the population does not have lands with which to sustain their families.

The Nasa have won Colombia's national peace prize twice for their commitment to non-violent social organizing and struggle, no small feat given that there are active paramilitaries, fronts of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and a huge army presence in their territories.


Sugar cane is not the only economic interest in the region. A recent wave of mining speculation has seen a number of junior mining companies, together with South African gold mining giant Anglo Gold Ashanti, commence exploration work for gold throughout Colombia. In Cauca, Canadian junior mining companies Latin American Resources and Cosigo Resources are exploring for gold, even amid the conflict.

The roots of the displacement of rural Colombians from the late 90s until today took place in the context of the US financed Plan Colombia. This has today been succeeded by Plan Colombia II, which aims for the social recuperation of territory by the state through a combination of repression and the creation of dependency.

Dawn Paley is a Vancouver based journalist. She volunteers as a translator with La Chiva. Read the whole article here =>
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