News Archive
Mar 9, 2011 - Colombian President Meets with Atomic Bomb Survivors
President Santos of Colombia shakes hands with survivor Tsuboi Susumu, who lost both parents in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima
Nine survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki traveling with Peace Boat met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón during the ship's port of call in Cartagena on February 25, 2011. The president's warm reception of the survivors (Hibakusha) and his support for their message served as an important contribution to global efforts to create a world free of nuclear weapons, and further cemented Latin America's leading role in the issue.

Nine survivors (flanking the right and left side of President Santos) were designated by the Japanese Government as "Special Communicators for a Nuclear-Free World"
Designated by the Japanese Government as "Special Communicators for a Nuclear-Free World," the survivors are participating in Peace Boat's fourth Global Voyage for a Nuclear-Free World-Hibakusha Project. The aim of the project is to raise awareness of the urgent need for global nuclear abolition by giving people around the world the opportunity to hear firsthand the testimonies and opinions of those who have survived a nuclear attack. Eight countries in the world today possess approximately 22,000 nuclear weapons--many of which are far more powerfully destructive than those used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, and can destroy the Earth several times over in their totality. Many people are not aware of this, however, nor conscious of how the enormous sums spent maintaining and developing nuclear weapons far outstrips funds allocated to education, health, and environmental sustainability.

Each survivor received a symbolic key to Cartagena City
President Santos told the Hibakusha delegation that he had visited Hiroshima in the past, and understood their deep wish for a world without nuclear weapons. His support for their activities was joined by the City of Cartagena, which presented the delegation with keys to the city, and by the University of Cartagena, which offered its auditorium to the suvivors as a venue for them to share testimonies of their experiences to a packed audience. Meeting with the president, city officials, and ordinary citizens provided a tremendous boost to the Hibakusha, and gave them determination to redouble their efforts to create a world free of nuclear weapons that would guarantee that innocent civilians would not be subjected in the future to the pain, horror, and after-effects that they experienced. One survivor, Yamanaka Emiko, reported that despite undergoing decades of difficulties, her experience in Cartagena made her appreciate her life in a renewed way.

Visitors view an exhibition about Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the University of Cartagena. More than 200 people packed an auditorium at the university to listen to Hibakusha testimonies
Latin America and the Caribbean became the first inhabited region in the world to become a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in the 1960s under the Treaty of Tlatelolco, and the region plays an increasingly important role in the growing movement worldwide for nuclear abolition today. Costa Rica has submitted a plan to the United Nations for a convention that bans the use, threat of use, possession, development, testing, deployment and transfer of nuclear weapons, and last year former Cuban President Fidel Castro and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega met with survivors traveling onboard Peace Boat and also added their voices to the call for a nuclear-free world. Moreover, membership in Mayors for Peace, an initiative started by the former mayor of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to promote nuclear abolition, is growing rapidly throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Documents for download
Global Hibakusha Forum Statement for a Nuclear-Free World (English)