Tuesday, March 31, 2009

April Speaking Tour

Dear friends,

In just a few hours, I’ll be flying from Bogota to Los Angeles to arrange the final details for Nidia Castellanos’ Northwest speaking tour: “Women Resisting War in Colombia” (see schedule at end of message).

Nidia is a single mother of three children who is risking her life to defend human rights here in Colombia. She is the secretary general of the Arauca Peasant Association (ACA), which promotes organic agriculture and defends the rights of its members and their families. ACA has been severely repressed by the Colombian government and has also been attacked by the guerrillas.

Luz Perly Cordoba, the founding president of ACA, was imprisoned for “rebellion” in 2004 and now lives in exile. Jose Caicedo, the following president, went into hiding after an arrest order was issued against him for rebellion in 2007. Carlos Cabrera, a previous secretary general, was killed by the guerrillas in November 2008.

“Defending the rights of small farmers and their families in our state of Arauca means facing a lot of risk,” said Nidia. “I’m willing to suffer those consequences because I want a better future for my children – Melisa, Camila and Brandon.”

“We hope that the Obama administration will represent a change in U.S. policy towards our country,” continued Nidia. Colombia doesn’t need any more guns and bombs - there are already enough to kill all of us. We’re also aware of the serious economic problems in the U.S. Instead of spending your tax dollars on more weapons, that money could be used to create jobs and support health care and education – in Arauca, as well as Montana.”

The U.S. government is providing Colombia with more than $1 million per day in military aid. Some of that aid is used to protect Occidental Petroleum’s oilfield and pipeline in Arauca – which produce and transport 100,000 barrels per day. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have repeatedly documented the human rights abuses committed by the Colombian military.

We hope you’re able to join us for one of the presentations. Please also help us spread the word about Nidia’s speaking tour.

In love and solidarity,


Monday, April 6 – Helena, Montana

7 P.M. – Wiegand Amphitheater, Simperman Hall 101-202, Carroll College

Tuesday, April 7 – Billings

7 P.M. – St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 180 24th St. West

Wednesday, April 8 – Red Lodge

7 P.M. – Regis Cafe, 206 16th St.

Thursday, April 9 – Bozeman

7 P.M. - Strand Union Building 235, Montana State University

Monday, April 13 – Hamilton

7 P.M. - Hamilton Library, 306 State Street

Tuesday, April 14 – Arlee

6:30 P.M. – The Hangin’ Art Gallery, 11 Hwy. 93

Wednesday, April 15 – Kalispell

7 P.M. – Blake Hall Board Room 140, Flathead Valley Community College

Thursday, April 16 – Missoula

7 P.M. – North Underground Lecture Hall

Monday, April 20 – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and Spokane, Washington

Noon – Todd Hall, Molstead Library, North Idaho College

7 P.M. – Wolff Auditorium, Jepson Center, Gonzaga University

Tuesday, April 21 – Ellensburg

7 P.M. – Room TBA, Central Washington University

Wednesday, April 22 – Bellingham

Noon – World Issues Forum, Fairhaven College Auditorium

7 P.M. – Whatcom Human Rights Task Force, 13 Prospect St.

Thursday, April 23 – Twisp

7 P.M. – Confluence Gallery

Monday, April 27 – Portland, Oregon

7 P.M. – Portland Mennonite Church, 1312 SE 35th Ave.

Tuesday, April 28 – Corvallis

Time and room TBA, Oregon State University

Wednesday, April 29 – Eugene

Time and location TBA


Anonymous said...

Hi Scott, I recently sent you an oddly humorous forward of a message which caught my attention from another family member...given that people in countries like Colombia and Juba have so little access to features of our technically developed culture like this one, there is a strange diabolical quality for me when I see how we here in the United States often use our technology somewhat frivolously, given that so many are living in more spare and materially less affluent cultures whose very lives depend, it would seem, on our economic whims. We all see through our own kaleidoscopes. Cousin Alexis

Renegade Eye said...

See this.

Anonymous said...

The information posted by Renegade is interesting. I have been following Venezuela's restructuring efforts and have been somewhat disappointed that Hugo Chavez has shown a strong tendency to focus on oil profits rather than enough serious attempts at effective and wider educational efforts to improve his country. Too many Arabic leaders have leaned in a similar direction from my point of view. Short term dependency on a diminishing resource is insufficient planning. I have had a longer standing interest in Northern Ireland and developments there than I have in South America...but I have empathy for Colombians and appreciate my cousin's efforts. Alexis

Anonymous said...

Although I am tempted to blog on the newer site, I will have to refrain- given my penchant for following news from too many countries. The former president of Peru has finally been convicted...the march of human rights continues as Scott's work demonstrates. Yet, I strongly encourage anyone interested in travel to conflictive countries to know well those with whom they travel. As far as I know, Lori Berenson is still incarcerated. Alexis

Anonymous said...

Hi Scott...This is your cousin Alexis...I think it would be great if the entire world would cut off the flow of arms to countries such as Colombia, but given that I have failed to stop nuclear proliferation it seems unrealistic that I will be successful in advocating that the world's arms traders pass up the "opportunities" involved with furnishing Colombia with the material for maintaining their nightmare.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, according to an article that I read on the "net", the former administration used as a cost cutting measure a tactic that involved amalgamating data bases involving records of "anti government groups" like peace groups and those of drug traffickers...rather Colombian like.
So who knows who really did what to whom?

Anonymous said...

Given that I have written letters, marched, and will continue to check this blog spot for news, I probably have done all that I can at this point for this particular site. As Scott's cousin, I want to thank all of his supporters. It has been wonderful checking in with your life, Scott. Alexis

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