We mourn the loss of a good friend and very dedicated supporter of human rights in Colombia: Father Gabriel Izquierdo Maldonado S.J.
We, the members and officers of the Colombia Support Network were saddened to learn of the passing of Father Gabriel Izquierdo on September 25. Gabriel, a member of the Jesuit Order, spent most of his life working to achieve peace in Colombia, and the Peace Agreement signed by the Colombia Government and the FARC-EP guerrillas, just hours after he passed away, is a testament in part to the extraordinary effort of Gabriel to end armed conflict in his beloved homeland. He dedicated a lot of time and effort to supporting the rights of campesino and Afro- Colombian families who had suffered from the war in the countryside and wrote important essays through the Instituto Pensar at the Javeriana University, drawing upon his own impressive academic accomplishments, including a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Chicago.
When we began our program seeking to form sister community relationships with Colombian communities in areas of conflict, Gabriel helped us establish relationships in Putumayo Department and introduced us to human rights workers whose guidance has been fundamentally important for our activities through the years. As Director of the Jesuit research and educational institution CINEP Gabriel, together with his close friends and associates Fathers Alejandro Angulo and Javier Giraldo, courageously called attention to the paramilitary presence in rural Colombia and spoke out for an end to the scourge of paramilitary violence. He also helped us make arrangements and continuing contacts for our visits to Bogota with delegations from the United States.
We will miss Gabriel’s friendly greetings, but will always remember his strong, effective voice for peace. We send our condolences to his family, the Jesuit Community and friends.
Colombia Support Network
September 28, 2016