|Colombia Pilgrimage for Peace to the Cacarica River Baisin|
19th Anniversary of Operation Genesis
February 21-29, 2016
In February 2016, SOAW is recruiting a group to accompany the Colombian Ecumenical Commission for Peace and Justice on a Pilgrimage for Peace and Ecology to the Cacarica River Basin, on the border of Colombia with Panama. The Cacarica River Basin is the site of numerous human rights violations and binational Colombian-Panamian Military Base supported by the U.S. The area is only accessible by foot or by helicopter, hence the need for the Pilgrimage through the jungle to reach the area. The Pilgrimage will mark the 19th anniversary of Operation Genesis.
In February 1997, General Rito Alejo Del Rio, an SOA graduate and commander of the 17th Brigade of the Army led the military and paramilitary Operation Genesis, which combined paramilitary and military strategy. Operation Genesis provoked the forced displacement of the Cacarica communities for 4 years and caused the death of Afro-Colombian Marino López Mena. His head was cut off and used to play soccer, an horrific act for which the Colombian government was condemned by the Inter American Human Rights Court. The Court ordered individual reparations and the implementation of collective reparations measures.
After 4 years of displacement, the
community returned to its land. Since then, for 14 years, the community has been militarized which has
resulted in more than 70 crimes, including murders and forced
is in this
context, that within the last two years the U.S.-supported Binational
Military base between
Colombia and Panama has been constructed in the region. The Pilgrimage
for Peace to Cacarica will accompany the communities and document the
human rights violations they face today as a result of the military base
and militarization of the area.
Requirements: Spanish speaking, willing and able to walk 3-4 days in the jungle, comfortable with camping. Interested in more information? Contact Brigitte @ soaw.org.
5525 Illinois Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20011