U.S.-based activists founded Witness for Peace (WFP) in response to U.S. funding of the Contras. Over the course of the decade, WFP sent thousands of U.S. citizens to Nicaragua to document the devastating effects of US-sponsored “low intensity warfare.”
WFP activists across the country organized events to resist Reagan’s war on Central America. Such activism may have averted an all-out U.S. invasion of Nicaragua, and certainly contributed greatly to the effort to cut off U.S. military aid to the Contras.
At the height of the coup that ousted President Aristide and murdered thousands of Haitians, the Haitian religious community called for an international presence to stand by a people in crisis. In response, WFP began sending delegations to Haiti.
WFP helped organize the first vigil to close the U.S. Army School of the Americas, which trains Latin American soldiers in brutal combat and counterinsurgency methods.
WFP publishes Bitter Medicine: Structural Adjustment in Nicaragua, a ground-breaking resource for activists that put a human face on the impact of structural adjustment policies promoted by the U.S. government through the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
WFP opened its Mexico office in response to the Acteal massacre in Chiapas, as well as increased concern about the effects of NAFTA on the country and a desire to focus attention on the root causes of migration.
When the war ended, many NGOs operating in Nicaragua packed up. But as the U.S. encouraged Nicaragua to embark on a harsh program of structural adjustment, WFP decided to maintain its presence in the country and delegations continued.
WFP began to accompany Guatemalan refugees from camps in southern Mexico back home.
WFP established a delegations program in Cuba. Since then, WFP and thousands of delegates have worked to expose the human costs of the U.S. embargo, and to end it.
WFP opened its Colombia office, to bring light to the human, social, and environmental effects of Plan Colombia, a multi-billion dollar military and counter-narcotics funding package for the Colombian armed forces.
WFP led the a coalition organizing the National Mobilization on Colombia, which brought 10,000 people to Washington, DC to challenge our policymakers to end support for paramilitary death squads and destructive counter-narcotics fumigation in Colombia.
WFP opened its Honduras office in response to the critical need for human rights accompaniment and solidarity.
WFP teams from Colombia, Cuba, Honduras, and Mexico convened in Minnesota with regional and national colleagues from around the US. The workers engaged in a powerful week of visioning and building, led by the principles of Emergent Strategy, and they drafted, finalized and signed a Workers Statement to reflect their central values and beliefs.
In January 2019, the WFP Solidarity Collective was founded by a collaborative group of former WFP national and international staff, board members, regional organizers and volunteers committed to a new vision of horizontal solidarity, both with our international partners and within our own internal organizing and governance.
Witness for Peace and partners achieved a landmark legislative victory for human rights in Colombia when Congress approved a shift away from military aid and toward humanitarian and social aid.
WFP organized a rapid-response delegation to Honduras to document human rights violations in the wake of the June coup and speak out against the role of the United States.
In strife-torn Buenaventura, Colombia, the Humanitarian Space of Puente Nayero is inaugurated by its residents as a non-violent alternative community. WFP and other international organizations accompany Puente Nayero in rotation in order to discourage paramilitary retaliation and mitigate official indifference.