Wednesday 30 November 2022
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Colombian Activist Marylén Serna Salinas to Speak at Several Syracuse Locations Week of Nov 17

The week of Nov. 17, the CNY-Cajibío Sister Community will bring Marylén Serna Salinas to Central New York, including areas such as Ithaca, Cortland, and Syracuse, for a series of talks and meetings with activists, event organizers stated.

Officials from the organization said they’ve organized the event to bring attention to the fact that small farmers in Colombia have faced massacres, displacement, and poverty due to expropriation of resources in the Cauca region.

“Marylén has been involved in the negotiation processes in Colombia for peace, and she works particularly with families who have been victims of massacres by the Colombian government, and paramilitaries,” said Emily Bishop, member of Syracuse’s CNY-Cajibío Sister Community.

“Syracuse’s CNY-Cajibío Sister Community brings awareness of the issues that are happening in Colombia to people in Central New York, and our efforts have been based here for 10 years,” Bishop said. “We educate Central N.Y. about the U.S. providing military aid to Latin American countries. Ten years ago, it was precisely given to the Colombian government, who used it to remove farm people from their land, and for the exploitation of their natural resources, in Colombia.

In April of 2014, she said campesinas blockaded the Pan-American highway in 80 locations throughout Colombia, and won the right to negotiate their unified demands directly with President Juan Manuel Santos.

In October, Salinas served as a primary negotiator of these demands.

“In Colombia right now, the folks Marylén is working with are going through a process for trying to receive reparations for the massacres in their families,” Bishop stated. “Specifically, she is working with those who have been victims of massacres by the paramilitary. The Colombian government, in the past, has said they’ve already received reparations for their families, from the cost of their funerals, and that they will receive nothing more. And, some of those families haven’t received those funds.”

She said Salinas is also a spokeswoman for Congreso de los Pueblos (People’s Congress), a national coalition of grassroots organizations, and a leader of the Movimiento Campesino de Cajibio (MCC).

On a delegation in July, members of the CNY-Cajibío Sister Community, residents of Ithaca, Cortland, and Syracuse, observed firsthand the conditions of small farmers who are organizing to build sustainable local economies, to maintain rights to their land and territory and to seek reparations for the victims of massacres.

In the face of repression and corporate takeover of lands, Bishop said popular movements in Colombia are calling for respect of political and economic rights of campesinas, Afro-colombians and indigenous peoples.

“We want to call out the imperialistic militarization of Latin American countries through the U.S. aid to those countries,” she stated. “We don’t condone that the U.S. spends our tax dollars on the militarization of Latin American countries. And, often people who are activists are targeted by the governments. And, their militaries, and military weapons, are funded through the U.S. We think it’s important for people to know that. Colombia is one of the top three countries that has received the highest amount of military aid from the U.S.”

Bishop said Salinas is scheduled to talk with Central New Yorkers, including students from Syracuse University, Ithaca College and SUNY Cortland, about the grassroots construction of peace and social justice in Colombia, and the multiple grassroots legislative processes that advocate for campesinas rights on a national level.

And, as the Colombian government carries on historic peace negotiations with armed rebels; she said Colombian activists, and civil society, are creating a historic popular movement for peace, and social justice, which advocates for a voice at the table for civil society and victims of repression.

“We encourage people to contact their representatives in Congress, and the Senate, and the House about this matter,” she stated.

As a national leader of this movement, Bishop said Marylen Serna Salinas will share insights, challenges and current developments at multiple presentations in Central NY.

The tour has been organized by the CNY Cajibío Sister Community.

For updates leading up to the events, visit

The schedule of free end public events is as follows:

November 12 (WED) @ 5:30-7:00pm, downtown Ithaca (GIAC, 301 W. Court St): Popular education workshop on notions of land, territory, identity in Colombia and Central New York. Food/refreshments served; note this event is in preparation for Marylén ‘s visit.

Marylén Serna Salinas’ Itinerary

• November 17, (MON), 10-11:00am, Location TBA; meeting with youth/students from ALS, New Roots.

• November 17, (MON), 12:00-1:30, downtown Ithaca (GIAC, 301 W. Court St): Guest Speaker, Marylén & Luncheon with grassroots/community leaders from Ithaca.

• November 18, (TUE), 4:00pm, talk and Q&A with Marylén: Syracuse University, 204 Maxwell Hall. Co-hosted by SU Labor Studies Working Group.

• November 18, (TUE), 7pm, talk and Q&A with Marylén: ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Ave, Syracuse. Light refreshments served.

• November 19, (WED), 12pm, Sandwich Seminar with Marylén: Jacobis Lounge, Brockway Hall, SUNY Cortland.

• November 19, (WED), 4:30, talk and Q & A with Marylén: Sperry 205, SUNY Cortland.

• November 19, (WED), 7:30-9pm, talk and Q&A with Marylén Serna Salinas, Ithaca College, room Textor 101: Grassroots Constructions of Peace and Social Justice in Colombia (Congreso de los Pueblos/People’s Congress).