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29 May, 2010 12:35

Millions of displaced Colombians demand US respect human life, not money

US corporations are under fire for aiding the creation of world's second largest displaced population. Activists claim millions of Colombians have been driven from their homes.

In light of the issue, hundreds of protestors have gathered at Washington DC’s Capitol Hill. People brought pictures of those who have suffered as a result of the activities of major US companies in Colombia's indigenous territories, which are rich in natural resources. Millions have not only been displaced, but also are either missing, tortured or have been killed.

Afro-Colombian Marino Cardovo fled from his home to the United States after paramilitary groups came in and violently removed residents in his village. “Military and paramilitary came to my town. They bombed out my town, they persecuted Africans living in the area,” Marino told RT.

Marino is one of millions uprooted from his native territory. He became an IDP – an internally displaced person.

Colombia’s internally displaced population is one of the largest in the world, second to Darfur. The activists in DC hope a congressional resolution introduced back in March will gain enough support to urge the Obama administration to address Columbia’s IDP problem and the ongoing seizure of Afro-Colombian and indigenous territories. All of it, they say, is linked to multinational corporations inside Colombia.

“Chiquita Banana has already testified, has confirmed its own guilt. They paid off paramilitaries to the tune of millions. During the time they were paying paramilitaries and guerrillas, 14,000 people in Colombia were killed,” Ben Beachy, National Organizer from Witness For Peace organization told RT.

Organizers say US involvement in training, equipping and funding Colombia's military is escalating the crisis. They want an immediate end.

“Graduates of the schools have been involved in human rights abuses, torturers, massacres over and over again,” people who came to the Capitol Hill to participate in the protest claim. They also want the US to block the US–Colombia free trade agreement.

People hope the decisions the Obama administration will make on Colombia will favor the victims over the corporations.