Resolution on Plan Colombia (Mennonite Church USA, 2001)

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This resolution was approved by the Mennonite Church USA delegate assembly in 2001. It was one of three resolutions against forms of violence. The other two were on the death penalty and on military activity on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. The resolution on Columbia passed without dissent. The Mennonite Church Canada delegate assembly that met a week later, passed a related resolution on Colombia partially addressed to the Canadian government.

Contents

[edit] Resolution on Plan Colombia

Hon. George W. Bush
President of the United States of America

Hon. Colin Powell
Secretary of State of the United States of America

Esteemed Gentlemen,

We, the official delegate body of Mennonite Church USA, along with other members of the church, including over 5,000 youth gathered in Assembly in Nashville, Tenn., July 2-7, send greetings and our prayers that you may have wisdom and courage to lead our country and the global community in ways of peace and justice for all.

We speak from our faith in Jesus Christ and from our history as a Christian people who have believed in and attempted to practice ways of peace and love. We present for your consideration and action the following Resolution regarding Colombia and the involvement of our government in that country.

[edit] Preamble

Our concern for the situation in Colombia is informed by regular reports from the Mennonite Church of Colombia, along with frequent communications from other church and peace groups in that troubled land. The following statements are based largely on these sources, which give us information not always found in the normal news media.

  • We know that for more than 40 years Colombians have been living in serious social, political, and economic realities that have produced a culture of violence, a destroyed economic infrastructure and a fragmented and desperate civil society that leaves millions of common people's life-dreams frustrated.

  • We are informed of some 30,000 deaths yearly and the displacement of 2 million rural people from their land. From February through April of this year 55,000 such persons have been driven from their homes and farms.

  • We are told that the problems of this ongoing conflict have been augmented over the past 15 years by the terrible drug-trafficking business, which has its root in the demand for illegal drugs in our country and elsewhere.

  • We are informed that under the pretext of a war on drugs the United States has become a partner with the Colombian armed forces in a counter-narcotics campaign that is devastating the country, stepping up the levels of violence on all sides through military "aid," and thus sending a message of death and destruction to the Colombian people.

  • We are told that the fumigation efforts of Plan Colombia have destroyed food crops and caused sickness of both humans and animals, only to drive desperate people elsewhere to grow coca and cash crops, as well as intensifying the conflict between guerilla and paramilitary groups.

  • In light of these facts, we believe that Plan Colombia does not adequately address the long standing problems of poverty, injustice and violence, but instead, in its military assistance aspect, exacerbates these problems and increases the frustration and misery of the majority of Colombian people.

  • We recognize that the Colombian situation is very complex and that it is exacerbated by the demand for drugs in our country. We do not have easy answers to the problems that beset Colombia. However, we lament, along with our Colombian brothers and sisters, the decision of the United States government to send funds and support to the Colombian security forces.

[edit] Therefore be it resolved that

We, MENNONITE CHURCH USA, hereby express solidarity and support for the churches and agencies in Colombia who have borne the heavy burden of cultivating peace in a culture of violence. We pledge our support for initiatives that uphold human rights and encourage peaceful dialogue in Colombia.

We call on you as leaders to direct our nation in the reduction of the demand for illegal drugs in our country, thereby also lessening the incentive to produce them.

We request a change in Plan Colombia, a plan that uses violent means, including the destruction of cash crops and the homes of poor people, with the consequent displacement of millions within their own country. We urge an increase in funding and support for alternative cash crops and markets for the farmers of the Andean area.

We promise to pray that God will give you and other leaders of our country wisdom and courage to do what is right and pleasing to God, remembering that we should treat other nations the way we would like them to treat us.

Respectfully submitted this seventh of July 2001 on behalf of the delegates of the Mennonite Church USA Assembly meeting in Nashville,


James Schrag
Executive Director
Mennonite Church USA

Lee Snyder
Moderator
Mennonite Church USA

Adopted by Mennonite Church USA Delegate Assembly July 7, 2001, meeting in Nashville, Tenn.


[edit] Bibliography

Preheim, Rich. "Victims at home, abroad, unborn" The Mennonite 4 (17 July 2001): 8-9.

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