Just Americas: A Blog by LAWG

Respecting Labor Rights Must Be Part of Building a Lasting Peace in Colombia


With unions from the Americas and Europe, the AFL-CIO is participating in the 6th Congress of the Central Union of Workers (CUT) Colombia, the country’s largest labor federation, from Sept. 23–26. The congress takes place as Colombia moves forward with a negotiation and peace-building process to end a 50-year conflict that has killed more than 170,000 civilians. The armed conflict has been used by the government for decades to systematically deny basic labor and human rights. More than 3,000 trade unionists were murdered by paramilitary, government and armed guerilla forces for exercising fundamental labor rights since 1987. In spite of strong recent economic growth, Colombia continues to have the third highest social inequality in Latin America after the much poorer countries of Haiti and Honduras. Any sustainable solution to this long-term crisis must include respect for workers’ rights and shared prosperity. 

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We are Made for Peace, not for War: Peace Proposals from Victims of Colombia's Armed Conflict, Clara Rojas


A delegation of victims of Colombia’s internal armed conflict were brought to the United States in July 2014 by the Latin America Working Group Education Fund (LAWGEF) and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) to discuss the rights of victims and their proposals for achieving a just and lasting peace. Their stirring words come just before the discussion on victims’ rights opened in August 2014 at the negotiating table in Havana, Cuba.  The delegation consisted of Luis Fernando Arias, president of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), José Antequera Guzmán, co-founder of Sons and Daughters of Memory and Against Impunity and son of slain political activist José Antequera, and Clara Rojas, newly-elected representative in Colombia’s National Congress, who had been kidnapped and held captive for years by the FARC guerrillas. At an event sponsored by our organizations and the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the panelists discussed their peace proposals for the ongoing peace talks in Havana.

As part of a three-part series, we bring to you the third installment featuring Clara Rojas. Click here for part I featuring Luis Fernando Arias and here for part II featuring José Antequera Guzmán. This is what Clara had to say: 

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We are Made for Peace, not for War: Peace Proposals from Victims of Colombia's Armed Conflict, José Antequera Guzmán


A delegation of victims of Colombia’s internal armed conflict were brought to the United States in July 2014 by the Latin America Working Group Education Fund (LAWGEF) and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) to discuss the rights of victims and their proposals for achieving a just and lasting peace. Their stirring words come just before the discussion on victims’ rights opened in August 2014 at the negotiating table in Havana, Cuba.  The delegation consisted of Luis Fernando Arias, president of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), José Antequera Guzmán, co-founder of Sons and Daughters of Memory and Against Impunity and son of slain political activist José Antequera, and Clara Rojas, newly-elected representative in Colombia’s National Congress, who had been kidnapped and held captive for years by the FARC guerrillas. At an event sponsored by our organizations and the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the panelists discussed their peace proposals for the ongoing peace talks in Havana.

As part of a three-part series, we bring to you the second installment featuring José Antequera Guzmán. Click here for part I featuring Luis Fernando Arias, and here part III featuring Clara Rojas. This is what José had to say:

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We are Made for Peace, not for War: Peace Proposals from Victims of Colombia's Armed Conflict, Luis Fernando Arias


A delegation of victims of Colombia’s internal armed conflict were brought to the United States in July 2014 by the Latin America Working Group Education Fund (LAWGEF) and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) to discuss the rights of victims and their proposals for achieving a just and lasting peace. Their stirring words come just before the discussion on victims’ rights opened in August 2014 at the negotiating table in Havana, Cuba. The delegation consisted of Luis Fernando Arias, president of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), José Antequera Guzmán, co-founder of Sons and Daughters of Memory and Against Impunity and son of slain political activist José Antequera, and Clara Rojas, newly-elected representative in Colombia’s National Congress, who had been kidnapped and held captive for years by the FARC guerrillas. At an event sponsored by our organizations and the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the panelists discussed their peace proposals for the ongoing peace talks in Havana.

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LAWGEF Promotes US-Cuba Scientific Cooperation through Commemorative Hemingway Delegation


The Latin America Working Group Education Fund (LAWGEF) has been continuing the legacy of the “Old Man in the Sea,” Ernest Hemingway, and his research conducted in Cuba on shared maritime resources with the United States. This week a delegation including the grandsons of Ernest Hemingway, Patrick and John, will be traveling to Cuba to not only commemorate their grandfather but to promote U.S-Cuba scientific cooperation and ocean resource management that their grandfather started about eighty years ago. In 1934, Ernest Hemingway invited representatives from the Philadelphia’s National Academy of Sciences to travel on his beloved boat, the Pilar, to conduct marlin research in the Florida Straits. At that time there was no embargo on Cuba, and this type of scientific exchange could happen frequently. After 50 years of broken diplomatic relations and in a world with natural resources becoming more scarce now is the time to promote scientific exchange with our geographical neighbors rather than isolate them. Below is a piece that was published by the Philadelphia Inquirer written by two of LAWGEF’s delegation participants John Hemingway and Robert McCracken Peck, senior fellow at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, about the importance of being part of this delegation to Cuba and what it may mean for the future of U.S-Cuba relations.

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