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Colombia Support Network
Cajibio, Colombia - Central New York
Sister Community

"Somos Uno en la Solidaridad" ~ "We are One in Solidarity"

The Colombia Support Network (CSN) is a national grassroots organization that works through sister communities to help Colombians create a peaceful, participatory democracy and an economically just society.

Program goals:
- Develop US/Colombia sister communities
- Respond to urgent action requests (alerts) from Colombian partners
- Support education and lobbying efforts with the US Congress and Administration
- Coordinate delegations to and from Sister Communities
- Educate US public about the reality in Colombia and US foreign policy towards Colombia

CSN condemns violations of human rights by all actors involved in the conflict including guerrilla groups, military, paramilitary, national police, multinational corporations and foreign agents.

Colombia Support Network web site:


Cortland, Ithaca, and Syracuse's Sister Community:
Cajibio, Colombia


Paul Weichselbaum

Colleen Kattau

Committee on US-Latin American Relations (CUSLAR)
Laurie Konwinski, staff

In 2003 the Syracuse, Cortland and Ithaca chapter of CSN established a sister community between Central New York and the Small Farmers Movement of Cajibio (MCC). The MCC is one of man groups struggling for peace and justice in Colombia. Made up of campesinos, indigenous people, and Afro-Colombians, Cajibio is a small municipality located in the violence-torn southwestern department of Cauca, Colombia. (See map)

The CNY/CSN chapter works in solidarity with the people of Cajibio towards their goal of:
- developing organic, sustainable agriculture
- improving family nutrition
- reclaiming traditional medicine and addressing health needs
- participation in local, regional and national arenas to defend the rights of small farmers
- training community leaders for democratic, active participation in the community
- developing a community education plan

The co-coordinators of the MCC are Marylen Serna-Salinas and John Henry Gonzales, both of whom have visited CNY at different times.

CNY Sister Community Activities:

- Monthly meetings generally held in Cortland. Contact one of the above for times and place.
- Respond to alerts from Cajibio.
- Educational programs in our local communities about the reality of Colombia.
- Work to humanize US policy towards Colombia through lobbying our national legislators.
- Yearly delegations to Cajibio with the support of CSN.
- Raise funds to support the work of the MCC. e.g. we obtained a grant from Common Place, a land trust in Truxton, NY. The grant helped buy land for young people in Cajibio to have a community center and agricultural project. We also helped fund health and leadreship conferences and the creation of a seedsharing cooperative for farm families in Cajibio.
- Frequent communications through the exchange of e-mails, letters, and photos.
- Initiated and passed City Council Resolutions in Ithaca and Syracuse supporting the Cajibio Sister Community work.
- Hosted Marylen Serna-Salinas (2004) and John Henry Gonzales (2005) for two-week speaking tours mostly in upstate New York.

CNY/CSN welcomes new members. Please contact one of the above named people to learn more, make a donation, join a delegation to Colombia, or to join us at our meetings.