September 25, 2023


P4200178 BRIDGES returned in April from a visit to the Wayuu indigenous community of La Guajira, Colombia, for the Fourth Yanama: Women and Territory. This community suffered a massacre at the hands of paramilitaries and Colombian military on April 18, 2004. For the last three years, BRIDGES has hosted North American solidarity tours by Debora Barros Fince, Founder and Director of Organizacion Wayuu Munsurat and international spokesperson for her people of Bahia Portete, who now live in exile in Venezuela.   Our little BRIDGES delegation to the Yanama was a diverse group, including three of “our girls” from various regions of Colombia along with our USA contingent and even a Yaqui woman from Sonoras, Mexico. We went to participate in a temporary re-occupation of Bahia Portete to honor the dead and assert the Wayuu people’s right to a peaceful return to their ancestral homeland. (More about Wayuu Solidarity Campaign)


Paula at campPaula first came under our wings at our first Summer Youth Leadership Gathering in Jaque, Darien, Panama. She was a real dynamo of about 16 years old with a vibrant personality. Right away, she took on helping us to coordinate the camp activities.  She was a Colombian refugee who had crossed the border with her family after the massacre in Jurado, Choco’. Life isn’t easy as an externally displaced person in Panama… (More about Paula’s story)


panamarepat In 2003, the Panamanian government attempted to forcibly repatriate many of the refugees who had come to Jaque to escape the Jurado massacre in 1999. BRIDGES was instrumental in providing cameras to those who were being coerced to leave, so that they could document the process.  (More about Colombia Repatriation)


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