Ricardo Esquivia is a founder of the CEDECOL Peace Commission, and one of the original founders of the UCC/Global Ministries Partnership With Colombia as well.
“Ricardo Esquivia is a Mennonite peace leader from Colombia and a close partner to the United Church of Christ. For 40 years, Ricardo has worked for peace, justice, and community development in Colombia. Ricardo founded and recently retired as director of the CEDECOL Peace Commission. He is still active in advocacy work towards peace.
Recently, Colombia advocates have learned that Ricardo and other community leaders in the Montes de Maria region of Colombia are being threatened and intimidated.
On September 13, a threatening letter signed by paramilitaries falsely claimed that these organizers were members of the FARC guerrillas. Just days later, community leader Jorge Luis Montes Hernández was arrested, accused of being a member of the FARC, and charged with criminal conspiracy, homicide, forced displacement, extortion, and more.
Sources have indicated that Ricardo could be next.
These threats, baseless accusations, and arrests of community leaders in the Montes de Maria region of Colombia are a troubling turn of events for displaced Colombian communities which have been in the process of utilizing legal remedies for land restitution under the Victims and Land Restitution Law of 2011.
In 2004 Ricardo faced similar threats. Intervention by partners in the U.S. and contact with the embassy in Colombia on his behalf helped ensure his safety. Such engagement can do so again. Take action today to support Ricardo and community leaders by sending a message to your member of Congress urging them to pressure the State Department and Embassy in Colombia to protect these peace leaders.”