Colombian women's rights activist to speak on women and war in Colombia

Yaneth Perez, president of the Dawn of Women for Arauca women’s organization, will present “Women and War in Colombia” at noon Tuesday, April 25 in Molstead Library’s Todd Hall on North Idaho College’s main campus.
Perez is a single mother of three living in Arauca, one of the most war-torn regions of the South American nation of Colombia.
Occidental Petroleum has an oilfield and pipeline in Arauca that are protected by the Colombian and U.S. militaries. Dozens of social activists in Arauca have been killed by the right-wing paramilitaries and the Colombian army and more than 100 activists have been rounded up in mass arrests and imprisoned on false charges, according to Perez.
Perez has been a leader of the peasant movement in Arauca for the past 20 years and she says her life is constantly at risk because of her work to seek peace.
“U.S. military aid to Colombia is like throwing gasoline on a fire,” Perez said. “We don’t need any more guns, bombs or rockets in Arauca—there’s already more than enough to kill all of us. If the U.S. government wants to spend your tax dollars in our country, the women of Arauca ask for that money to be invested in building schools, health clinics and decent housing, and in providing the peasants with viable alternatives so they don’t feel forced to grow coca.” (Coca is a plant used to produce cocaine.)
Since 2000, the United States government has given $3.2 billion to the Colombian military and police, which maintain close relations with the right-wing paramilitaries that are responsible for more than 75 percent of human rights abuses committed in the country, according to Perez.
The presentation is cosponsored by the NIC Diversity Events Committee and is free and open to the public.
Information: (208) 769-3397.

For More Information
NIC Diversity Events Committee Chair Sharla Chittick, (208) 769-3397

Posted: Monday, April 17, 2006

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