LETTER TO CANADIAN GOVERNMENT -ADD YOUR NAME- : Canada must Live up to its Stated Values…

Canada must live up to its stated values

in its relation to Colombia!


Our External Affairs minister, Ms. Chrystia Freeland stated in her speech on Canadian values underlying our foreign policy that “Our values include the unshakable commitment to pluralism, human rights and the rule of law” (Global Affairs Canada, June 6, 2017).  However, despite our Free Trade Agreement and good relations with the Colombian government,
  • Canada did nothing about the situation described by JP Daniels in The Guardian, 2018-05-08: “These were cold blooded murders: Research finds over 10,000 were killed to boost numbers for military aid in the “false positives” scandal.” Canada’s voice on human rights violations by Colombian Authorities has yet to be heard.
  • “Colombia is the most dangerous country in the world to defend environmental rights,…..targeting Indigenous African descendants and defenders of the right to land, the environment and the implementation of the peace accords”. (Amnesty International, Colombia 2020).
  • Protesting the torture and murder by police of lawyer Javier Ordonez, videos presented by the mayor of Bogota, showed that police were firing indiscriminately at civilians causing at least 14 deaths (D Pardo in BBC, Mundo, 12/09/2020).
Canada signed a Free Trade Agreement with Colombia on November 21, 2008 and in Chapter 2018 stated the following objective: to improve working conditions and  promote respect of Internationally recognized labour rights (Chapter 1603).
  • The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC, CSI, IGB) Global report of 2020 states that the ten worst countries for workers include Brazil, Colombia and Honduras. The report says “Colombia remains one of the world’s most dangerous countries for trade unionists”
The most recent disturbances, starting on April 28, were triggered by President Duque’s pronouncement that the threshold for taxation of income was being lowered, threatening the income security of millions of Colombians.
  • The police used live ammunition to control the resulting demonstrations. As of May 5 Colombian government sources state that at least 23 civilians have been killed in the demonstrations and 1 policeman but Human rights organizations report 31 dead and 1443 victims of police violence (A Suarez, Los Angeles Times, 5/5/21.)
  • The UN Human Rights office expressed deep concern for the police violence where police in the city of Cali used live ammunition against civilian protesters (BBC Mundo, 12/09/2020). “650 civil society organizations call for exhaustive investigation of repression of protests and call on the IACHR to act” (Amnesty International report on Colombia, 2020/2021).
  • The Quebec National Assembly unanimously passed a resolution on May 6 condemning the violence against the demonstrators. It was also decided that this resolution would be forwarded to the Prime Minister of Canada and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The actions or lack thereof of the Canadian Federal government, done in the name of all Canadians, need to reflect our values, and these do not include looking the other way and business as usual with partner governments while their security forces repress and murder unarmed civilians. Our government needs to be serious about their stated goals of protecting human rights and promoting the respect of the rule of law, so we are demanding it to use its influence with the Colombian government derived from our free trade and diplomatic relationships to put an end to its brutal repression of its civilian population.
Colombia Action Solidarity Alliance (Toronto, Ontario)
Latin American & Caribbean Solidarity Network – LACSN (Toronto, Ontario)
Maria Páez Victor PhD (Louis Riel Bolivarian Circle, Toronto, Ontario)
Beatriz Santiago (Louis Riel Bolivarian Circle, Toronto, Ontario)
Maricarmen Guevara (ALBA social Movement, Ottawa chapter)
Luis Tapia (Victor Jara Cultural Group)
Edmee Franssen (Toronto, Ontario)
Jorge Garcia-Orgales (Toronto, Ontario)
Martha Blandon (CASA, Toronto, Ontario)
Casa Salvador Allende (Toronto, Ontario)
Plataforma Guatemala (Toronto, Ontario)
Miguel Lima (Toronto, Ontario)
Magdalena Diaz (Toronto, Ontario)
Carlos y Alicia Diaz (Toronto, Ontario)
Dario Esguerra (CASA, Toronto, Ontario)



Send us a message to colombiactionsolidarity@gmail.com

Canada – Mercosur FTA – Neoliberalism, human rights, and the environment

Thursday, April 22nd @ 4 – 5 pm (Est.)
To register for the Zoom event click here or see FB event


Mercosur, a trading bloc consisting of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay is one of the largest economic blocs in the world. It has a significant economic presence in South America, representing nearly 70% of the region’s Gross Domestic Product.

In 2018, Canada launched negotiations towards a possible free trade agreement with Mercosur. All three Federal opposition parties have expressed concerns about the deal’s potential impact on the Amazon rainforest. The region plays a critical ecological role and is home to hundreds of Indigenous nations whose human rights and cultural survival are threatened by deforestation and violence from ranchers and loggers. This violence has been heightened during the presidency of Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro.

The Trudeau government has ignored serious concerns that Bolsonaro is responsible for egregious violations of human rights and Indigenous sovereignty, and that the agreement would legitimize his disastrous actions.

While FTA’s provide investment opportunities and protections for Canadian capital they lack any protections for social rights, the environment, and climate protection. 

Join us to hear from the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) of Brazil and experts in Canada who will discuss the impacts of the Canada – Mercosur FTA on communities, the environment, and peasant rights.


Marina dos Santos is a member of the National Directory committee of the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) of Brazil. Marina is a Via Campesina activist and researcher at São Paulo State University on peasant rights at the United Nations.

Reykia Fick – Reykia is a Nature and Food Campaigner with Greenpeace Canada. She leads Greenpeace’s campaign against the Canada-Mercosur deal (among other files!). Prior to joining Greenpeace, Reykia studied international political economy and worked 10 years for the Fairtrade label. She has volunteer experience working with refugees and for various Quaker causes. She lives in Ottawa with her family, including toddler and cats.

Stuart Trew – Senior researcher at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives where he directs the centre’s Trade and Investment Research Project. He is the past editor (2014–2020) of the CCPA’s Monitor magazine and was co-editor (with Scott Sinclair) of the book The Trans-Pacific Partnership and CanadaA Citizen’s Guide (Lorimer, 2016). From 2006 to 2014, Stuart was a trade researcher and campaigner with the Council of Canadians where he helped co-found the Canadian Trade Justice Network

Organized by Friends of the MST Canada and Common Frontiers.

Sponsored by Global Dialogue for systematic change, Le Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine, Canadian Latin American Alliance and Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Simultaneous interpretation to Portuguese and Spanish will be available.