How the US Can Better Assist Afro-Colombian Communities with Father Sterlin Londoño Palacios

Witness for Peace, Washington Office on Latin America,TransAfrica Forum, Global Rights, PCN International Working Group, Latin America Working Group Education Fund (LAWGEF) and AFRODES USA cordially invite you to a brownbag lunch….

Fumigations, Displacement, Land Titling and Illegal Resource Extraction in the Chocó: How Can the U.S. Better Assist Afro-Colombian Communities?


Father Sterlin Londoño Palacios, Diocesis of Quibdó (Chocó)

Wednesday October 19, 2011 12:30PM-1:30PM

Washington Office on Latin America (1666 Connecticut Avenue, NW 4th Floor, Washington DC)


         As Colombia gears up for its October regional elections, major developments have taken place in the predominantly afrodescendant region of Chocó. The region continues to be hard hit by conflict violence and displacement. Two major attacks by illegal armed groups, one in LLoró and another in Quibdó, took place in September alone. Rampant poverty, illegal mining, environmentally damaging resource extraction efforts and continued paramilitary and guerilla activities tied to economic projects have many Chocoans to question the benefits of a US-Colombia FTA. On the flip side, on September 18th, after more than a decade of effort, the Community Council of the Popular Rural Communities of the High Atrato (COCOMOPOCA) was finally granted land titles to their ancestral territories. In late September, 5,000 Afro-Colombians blocked roads and waterways to protest aerial fumigation in their territories. This led to authorities suspending the fumigations.    


          Father Sterlin Londoño Palacios is an afrosacerdote (afrodescendant priest) from Chocó. Since his childhood he has participated in different organizing processes on behalf of Afro-Colombian communities. In his fourteen years as a priest, he worked with the Community of Bagadó-Chocó and supported the Community Council of the Popular Rural Communities of the High Atrato (COCOMOPOCA). He was later transferred to Quibdó where he has interacted with several sectors of Chocóan civil society and the Foro Solidaridad Interetnico Chocó (FISCH). Since 2006 he has served the community as the Vicecariat of the Pastoral Afro. Father Sterlin works on advocacy efforts with all Afro-Colombian sectors at the local and regional level as well as different entities within the Catholic Church. He will discuss recent developments in Chocó and the communities’ views and recommendations on US foreign policy and the US-Colombia FTA.


Simultaneous translation from Spanish to English provided


RSVP by COB on October17th by e-mailing Anthony Dest at or by calling (202) 797-2171