Biography of Marino Córdoba
Association of Displaced Afro-Colombians (AFRODES)
Marino Córdoba, a well-known community advocate and national Afro-American
leader from Colombia, was forcibly displaced from his home as a result of
illegal paramilitary actions against the civilian populations in Chocó.
Early in his life, Mr. Córdoba distinguished himself as a dedicated leader
and representative of his community, peasants and small farmers of the many
communities of African heritage that people the Pacific region of the
country. Within the widespread violence of raids and massacres, he was
specifically targeted and threatened as an important outspoken leader, as
President of the Small Farmers Organization of the Lower Atrato Ocaba
Region, and as leader and Special Advisor to the Council of Black
pursued studies in Public Administration, focused on Social Management and
Community Development, he had also played a prominent role in the
Constitutional Assembly of 1991, successfully advocating for recognition of
traditional identity and land rights for Colombian Afro-Americans. At the
time of the intensified violence he was working as the Elected
Representative of the African Colombian Communities on the Executive Council
of the statewide Development Council of Chocó (CodeChocó) and as a member
of the Peace Council and Mediator in Alternative Dispute Resolution in the
municipality of Riosucio. As has been the case for 3 million Colombians in
the recent history of the decades-long conflict, he was forced to flee for
his life, together with his family and with those neighbors from the area of
Riosucio who had not yet been killed.
survived and continued his activities in Bogot‡, the capital, under
continuous threats to his life during the last few years because of his
increasingly prominent national and international leadership roles. During
this time, Mr. Córdoba worked as Special Assistant in the Office of
Congresswoman Zulia Mena. He founded and became the first President of the
National Association of Displaced Afro-Colombians (AFRODES) and the Bogotá
District Council of Black Organizations. He traveled extensively as the
representative of the displaced communities, receiving many peace awards and
invitations to speaking tours in various countries of Latin America, the
United States, and South Africa. In 2001, he ran as a candidate to the City
Council of Bogotá, representing the interests of the hundreds of thousands
of displaced persons, of all colors, who have in recent years swelled the
population of the marginal neighborhoods of the capital.
wounded in the leg two years ago, one of the many attempts against him. In
November 2001 the Human Rights Commission of the Organization of American
States requested that the Colombian Government provide the necessary
conditions and preventative mechanisms to guarantee Mr. C—rdobaÕs and his
familyÕs life and livelihood, though the request was really never heeded.
He was finally forced to abandon the country in January 2002, fleeing from
yet another planned assassination attempt, has received asylum in the United
States, where he works and travels to denounce the deplorable situation for
human and civil rights in his homeland, and in particular, to garner support
for the cause of Afro-Colombian communities besieged by the violence of war.
As he left Colombian, Marino was forced to abandon the home he had
established with Nelly Pren Victoria and their three children in Bogot‡,
reunification for their family might yet take many months, perhaps years.
who continues to be the spokesperson and legal representative for AFRODES,
may be contacted directly to request interviews or appearances, or for
further information and material on the situation of displaced communities
in Colombia at firstname.lastname@example.org.