On 6-7 March 2018, JFC brought Imelda Daza, vice-presidential candidate to the new FARC political party, to London to build support for the Colombian peace process and to highlight the current human rights crisis in the country. On her visit, Imelda Daza met with the following people:
- Sir Alan Duncan, Minister for Europe and the Americas
- Members of the Parliamentary Friends of Colombia: Jo Stevens MP, Tony Hunt MP, Jo Madeline Moon MP, Lord Watts, Clive Efford MP, Catherine West MP, Ian Lavery MP and the Rt. Hon. Dame Rosie Winterton (all Labour Party)
- Helen Goodman MP (Labour Party, Shadow Minister for Latin America)
- Patrick Grady MP (Scottish National Party)
- Paul Maskey MP (Sinn Fein)
- Former General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Christine Blower
- Unite the Union General Secretary, Len McCluskey, and Unite the Union President, Tony Woodhouse, as well as the Unite the Union executive committee
- Imelda also held a public rally at Unite House in central London, with many Colombians in attendance
Her visit came as the FARC prepared to participate in elections for the first time. However, its transition from guerrilla movement to political party has not been easy. In February, the FARC was forced to suspend electoral campaigning after violent attacks on its events in different Colombian cities. There have also been attempts in the Colombian congress to prevent FARC politicians from entering the chamber.
Worse still, at least 38 FARC members have been murdered since the agreement was signed in November 2016. Political killings of ‘social leaders’ – trade unionists, human rights defenders, environmental activists, community organisers etc – have also increased since the peace agreement was signed in November 2016 (see ‘Human Rights’ section below).
Imelda Daza discussed these issues in each of the meetings. For more information on Imelda Daza’s visit to London, click on the following links:
You can read an interview with Imelda Daza in the Morning Star here, and watch a report by teleSUR English here, in which JFC director Mariela Kohon is also interviewed.
You can also view a JFC Facebook album of Imelda’s meetings.