Colombia has been destabilized by internal conflict for the past 50 years by illegal armed criminal groups, gangs, drug trafficking organizations, and terrorist organizations such as the FARC and ELN. These organizations promote violence and instability across the country, and the local population is suffers as a result. Many indigenous communities live in difficult, remote terrain and lack access to state services and resources. Marginalized from the rest of the population, these vulnerable communities are often taken advantage of by these violent organizations and forced to support them in many forms to include the cultivation of illicit crops, illegal mining, transportation and storage of illicit material, and much more.
To deter these activities, U.S. Special Operations teams are working hard to assist our Colombian partners in building a civil-military relationship aimed to develop these communities, making them self-sufficient over time. Fe en Colombia was created to link vulnerable populations with state programs from the Colombian government, through facilitation from the Colombian military. This helps reduce the influence these criminal and terrorist organizations have over these populations.
Fe en Colombia has been a huge success so far and is an essential program for the country to create security and stability. The program is designed to develop projects, link private and public sectors, and organize communities by identifying local leaders that bring the community together. Some project examples are counter-youth recruitment initiatives such as soccer tournaments, and alternate crop cultivation techniques such as sustainable coffee and fish farms.
In order to make Fe en Colombia a lasting success, it needs to be implemented nationwide. Accordingly, it will be launched as a national level campaign through the Colombian Army across Colombia this year. However, the Colombian partners lack the marketing materials to promote their effort properly. They are in need of banners, buttons, posters, tee-shirts, and other promotional items to advertise the program during civil-military engagements; thereby reaching as many communities as possible.
A small amount of funding for these essential marketing materials will help demonstrate the positive strides our Colombian partners are making to rebuild and stabilize their country. With your support, Spirit of America can continue to provide assistance to our U.S. partners and help create a peaceful environment in the war-torn parts of Colombia.