·  Media release   ·  

Civic Strike Leaders From Colombia to Visit Canada

OTTAWA – A high-level delegation of three Colombian social leaders will be in Canada from Oct. 25 to Nov. 9, 2018. These leaders represent the Buenaventura Civic Strike Committee in Colombia’s principal Pacific port city.

In 2017, social organizations launched a remarkable three-week civic strike that forced the Colombian government to negotiate solutions to the city’s social and human rights crisis. Residents literally shut down Colombia’s most important trade route.

The strike won important concessions from the three levels government to improve community infrastructure and the collective rights and safety of the inhabitants. Yet threats against the community leaders continue to grow exponentially as plans to expand and modernize the port continue. While the Colombian government signed peace agreements in the autumn of 2017, violence against Indigenous and AfroColombian peoples continues throughout the country.

Canada signed the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement in 2008.

Members of the delegation include:

  • Maria Miyela Riascos: spokesperson for the Buenaventura Civic Strike Committee. In February 2018, she became one of several strike leaders to receive death threats.
  • Victor Hugo Vidal: spokesperson for the Buenaventura Civic Strike Committee, former municipal councillor and an organizer of the Black Communities Process (PCN).
  • Olga Araujo: human rights defender and popular educator for the Association for Social Research and Action (Nomadesc).

The delegation will be in the following cities:

Regina – Oct. 25-26, 2018
Vancouver – Oct. 27-30, 2018
Ottawa – Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2018
Montreal – Nov. 4-6, 2018
Toronto – Nov. 7-9, 2018

The delegation is sponsored by the Americas Policy Group of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC), Amnesty International (Canada), CoDevelopment Canada, Comité des droits humains en Amérique Latine (CDHAL), Canadian Union of Public Employees, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Common Frontiers, InterPares, Kairos, Public Service Alliance of Canada, Steelworkers Humanity Fund.

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For further information:

Vancouver: Steve Stewart, CoDevelopment Canada, sstewart@codev.org 778-874-0539
Ottawa: Louise Casselman, Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), cassell@psac-afpc.com 613-290-3394
Montreal: Marie-Ève Marleau, Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique Latine (CDHAL), coordo@cdhal.org 514-358-2227
Toronto: Raul Burbano, Common Frontiers, burbano@rogers.com 416 522 8615

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