In 2005, Ricardo moved from Colombia's capital to work more closely with communities and churches hard hit by the war on the Caribbean coast. That year he founded Sembrandopaz with the goal of accompanying community processes of justice and peacebuilding in Montes de María and the Caribbean region of Colombia. Since 2012, Sembrandopaz has been supporting a community movement of the High Mountain Zone in Montes de María. This movement carried out a peace march from April 5 to 8 of 2013 to demand a dialogue with local, state and national governments, which began in San Jacinto on April 7th and continues today.
The threats began shortly after the peace march
On September 13, a threatening letter signed by paramilitaries claimed community organizers were members of the FARC guerrillas. Just days later, prosecutors arrested one of the threatened community
leaders, alleging that he is a member of the FARC and charging him with criminal conspiracy, homicide, forced displacement, extortion, and other charges.
Now a well-placed source has told Ricardo that he is next. This source has indicated that the military is preparing to arrest Ricardo, alleging that he is also a member of the FARC.
WFP has known Ricardo for thirteen years, as Ricardo was instrumental in his then role as director of Justapaz, in Witness for Peace beginning work in Colombia. You may have met Ricardo during a Witness for Peace delegation to Colombia or on one of his many visits to the United States. Ricardo has been an advisor to Witness for Peace for many years and has long been recognized internationally for his commitment to human rights, peace and nonviolence, evidenced by him winning the prestigious Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding peace award.
Please join us in calling on Congress and the U.S. Ambassador to Colombia to speak out against the persecution of Ricardo and the community organizers with whom he works. Click here to take action today. You will be standing up for one of the most inspiring peace leaders in Colombia.