Encounters with Human Rights Defenders
Daira Elsa Quiñones Preciado
Community Leader, Nariño Department
Portrait: Verónica Giraldo Canal, 2012.
In 1994, we constituted the La Nupa Community Council with 120 Afro-Colombian families who wanted to recuperate their lands. A lot of people in the community didn’t believe us, but we told them that this land had belonged to our fathers. The violence started in the region, and at the same time the landowners continued buying more and more lands. The assassinations of people very close to me caused me great anger and a feeling of powerlessness. But they also reinforced my determination to fight. These loved ones give me the motivation to continue my work in favor of justice. In all my travels and in my exile, life has given me the chance to meet many individuals involved in magnificent projects. I continue looking for people like them, because it is only together that we will have enough strength to accompany those who are unable to change things, or who think that it is impossible or who are too afraid to do so.