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Delegation to Colombia

April 28, 2014
wfp_banner_07Meet Colombian Communities Resisting Repression
as they struggle to save the rainforest and family farms.
Witness for Peace
Delegation to Colombia
July 9 to 19, 2014
Many of the civilians murdered by Colombia’s armed forces and paramilitaries are family farmers. While claiming to fight narcotics and guerrillas, the Colombian army and its paramilitary allies have driven subsistence farmers off their land to make way for agribusiness. The recently passed “free-trade” agreement (FTA) between Colombia and the United States is the next step. The FTA gives wealthy investors increased power to take over those lands.
In the region near Panama, paramilitary death squads and the Colombian army’s 17th Brigade violently displaced 15,000 people in 1996-1997, killing dozens. (The 17th Brigade was led by General Rito Alejo del Rio, trained at the U.S. Army School of the Americas.) Sustainable farms and forests were replaced by large cattle ranches and monocrop plantations, especially oil palm. Despite death threats, some displaced people have returned in a nonviolent effort to regain their stolen lands. While the government delays restoring the land, the returning communities are establishing a toe-hold by forming humanitarian zones. A humanitarian zone is a living area of a few acres surrounded by a barbed-wire fence. The community puts signs on the fence proclaiming that this is a civilian zone and nobody with a weapon is allowed. Because threats continue, these communities rely on international attention for their survival.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE DELEGATION:
Half the time, we will be in Bogotá, where the climate is cool and comfortable. We will meet political analysts, human rights defenders, and government officials. The rest of the time, we will visit humanitarian zones in Urabá (the region near Panama) in the states of Antioquia and Chocó. This trip can be physically challenging: Participants must be capable of hiking two or three hours with their gear (food, water, sleeping equipment, etc.) on a muddy trail and sometimes sitting in a cramped canoe. The climate is hot and mosquito infested. Lodgings are simple. But it’s worth it in order to meet with community members and learn about their lives and how they have created such courageous communities. (Witness for Peace is careful about security. Therefore the possibility always exists that our exact destination will change.)
Cost: $1450. This delegation fee covers all set-up, preparation, meals, lodging, interpreters, and transportation within Colombia. The fee also covers extensive reading and activist tools both before and after the delegation. Airfare to and from Colombia is not included. Applications are due by May 9, 2014 along with a nonrefundable deposit of $150. The total is due by June 9, 2014.
For more information about this delegation, please contact delegation coordinator: Patrick Bonner: 323-563-7940 pkbonner@earthlink.net
Witness for Peace is a politically independent, grassroots organization. We are people committed to nonviolence and led by faith and conscience. Our mission is to support peace, justice and sustainable economies in the Americas by changing US policies and corporate practices which contribute to poverty and oppression in Latin America and the Caribbean. We stand with people who seek justice. www.witnessforpeace.org
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Happy Birthday, Blase!

April 14, 2014

happy-birthday

Dear Friends,

The Founding Directors of the Office of the Americas, Theresa and Blase Bonpane, have dedicated their lives to the cause of justice and peace.

Since founding OOA in 1983, they have focused their work on the devastations created by foreign policy of the United States. This work continues through their radio and television presentations, speaking engagements,

production of WORLD FOCUS for the Pacifica Radio Network and their linkage with the international movement for world peace.

April 24 is Blase’s 85th birthday.

 

His wish for this birthday is to have the necessary resources for the Office of the Americas to continue its international mission of peacemaking.

If the work of the Office of the Americas is important to you, please click here to donate today in honor of Blase’sresources for the Office of the Americas to continue its international mission of peacemaking.
If you’d prefer to mail your donation, please send it to:
Office of the Americas
2016 Hill Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Your personal greetings and best wishes are also welcome!
Thank you in advance for helping to make Blase’s 85th birthday his best yet, and allowing the OOA to continue to work for a better world!

THE OFFICE OF THE AMERICAS IS A 501-C-3 NON-PROFIT EDUCATIONAL CORPORATION. CONTRIBUTIONS ARE TAX EXEMPT. OUR TAX IDENTIFICATION NUMBER IS: 95-3872615.

Cesar Chavez – Special Screening Fundraiser – March 22

March 19, 2014

Chavez posterThe OOA is excited to tell you about this upcoming screening of the new film “Cesar Chavez.”  This screening is an important fundraiser benefiting the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation, Edison Language Academy, and more.  Theresa and Blase hope that you will come out and support this fundraiser as they lived and worked with Cesar Chavez at the headquarters of the United Farm Workers in La Paz, California.  Click here to order tickets to this very special screening.

World Beyond War

February 3, 2014

Wanted to share this important video message from our friends at worldbeyondwar.org.

Blase’s Letter to Judge Thapar in Support of Transform Now Plowshares Activists

January 24, 2014

January 23, 2014

The Honorable Amul R. Thapar

Dear Judge Thapar;

I am writing to you on behalf of three patriots and prophets.

We are on the verge of a nuclear disaster. Our Air Force Command has just discovered profound misbehavior on the part of service people responsible for our nuclear silos. The General in charge of the missiles was found wandering in Moscow’s Red Square in a drunken stupor.

The expert Eric Schlosser has just written, COMMAND AND CONTROL: NUCLEAR WEAPONS, THE DAMASCUS ACCIDENT, AND THE ILLUSION OF SAFETY making it clear that numerous nuclear bomb accidents which could have destroyed major areas of the United States have taken place. The fact that these accidents did not cause irreparable damage to our country is an accident in itself, or one might say, a miracle.

We can rejoice in the actions of the defendants:  Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed,  who risked their lives to call attention to this clear and present danger of nuclear holocaust. They identified a critical lack of security at Y-12 nuclear facility. We must thank them for that.

Any identification of these defendants with terrorists would be a legal outrage.

Judges throughout the country are beginning  to understand that such protests to biocide represent the highest level of patriotism.Recently in Kansas City the judge sentenced nuclear protesters to writing an essay.

After a spirited protest at the Vandenberg  Intercontinental Missile Station in California the judge simply dropped all charges against the defendants. He knew that these weapons are a threat to every United States citizen.

Nuclear weapons are actually a Damocles Sword over this beautiful planet. Protests  are necessary.

The arrogance and ignorance of power must not be the cause of the destruction of the human race.

Our nation must cease and desist in its daily threats of suicidal nuclear war. “If today you hear his voice, harden not your heart.”

Jesus calls peacemakers, “The Children of God.” Please allow these peacemakers the freedom of God’s children.  And I beseech you in the name of God to sentence these great souls to time served.

Respectfully,

 

Blase Bonpane, Ph.D.

Director

Click here to download a pdf file of Blase’s letter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please Sign!

January 21, 2014

transform-now-threeOn January 28th, 2014, three nonviolent protesters against nuclear weapons, Sr. Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Gregory Boertje-Obed, are scheduled to be sentenced in U.S. District Court in Knoxville, Tennessee, for the supposed crime of sabotage.

They risked their lives, but threatened no one else, when they entered the free-fire zone of a supposedly top-security nuclear weapons facility called Y-2 in Tennessee. They spray painted messages of peace & exposed the lack of security.

Please join the OOA in signing this petition to Judge Thapar asking for leniency for these nonviolent protesters.

Click here for more information on Transform Now Plowshares and their amazing work.

Happy 2014 from the Office of the Americas

January 7, 2014

The Office of the Americas wishes a more just, peaceful, caring and joyful 2014 for one and all.

We continue our work for international peace and justice and would like to remind you that transcripts from World Focus can be downloaded in their entirety under the “Transcript” tabs at the top of the page.  After the brief excerpt of a transcript, simply click the “Read More” button and you’ll find the entire pdf file of the transcript available to you to save and share.

You can also listen to past broadcasts of World Focus on the site.

If you can donate to help us continue our work, please click the “Donate” tab either on the top of the page or to your right.  We appreciate any and all help with our work.

Peace to all.