An open letter from Colombia’s vice president on Thursday called for politicians and citizens alike to roll up one pant leg in solidarity with landmine victims, a cause championed by the rock star Juanes.
“It is an act which costs nothing but which sends a strong message of solidarity with the victims,” wrote Vice President Angelino Garzon in preparation for the UN-sponsored International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, April 4, 2013.
Juanes, one of Colombia’s most successful artists ever, started the Fundacion Mi Sangre (My Blood Foundation) which aids landmine victims. The Medellin-born pop star starred in the “Lend your leg” campaign video last year which shows athletes, politicians and artists rolling up their pant legs.
“We all roll up a pant leg today … to tell the guerrillas of the FARC and ELN to stop using [landmines] immediately and tell us where the mine fields are to protect the population, demine, and save lives,” Garzon wrote.
“The United Nations is strongly committed to mine awareness and mine action throughout the world. On this International Day, we reaffirm our commitment to a world free from the threat of mines and other remnants of war,” said Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the UN.
Landmines, most often planted by left-wing guerrilla groups like the FARC, present a lethal obstacle to the process of land restitution. These leftovers from the nearly 50-year armed conflict represent a major thorn in the flesh of the peace process in Havana. The landmines prevent displaced Colombians from returning to their land and thus prevent the society at large from moving towards reconciliation.
- Carta abierta del Vicepresidente (vicepresidencia.gov.co)
- International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, 4 April (un.org)