by Kailin Koch
“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” – Albert Einstein
This past week, CUSLAR got the opportunity to speak with Mario Cardozo, a hip-hop artist, lawyer, and conscientious objector from Soacha, Colombia. Cardozo was the first recognized conscientious objector for reasons not related to religion in Colombia, and came to the United States to accept an award from the Muhammed Ali Center for his humanitarian work and activism against militarization in Colombia.
Cardozo repeatedly stressed the need to move away from the militarism and violence that have long plagued Colombia, and noted that such a focus on the army takes resources away from other vital fields such as medicine and education. Cardozo stressed the universality of objecting to actions that go against one’s conscious, and notes that while women face no mandatory conscription, they nonetheless are some of the strongest objectors to the civil violence in Colombia. Given the personal nature of one’ conscious, Cardozo also differentiated between conscious objection as a personal decision and as a collective social and political movement. The first as a moral choice, the second attempting to change systemic violence.
As a musician, Cardozo also discussed music’s ability to reach and affect people, thus making positive contributions to social movements. Here him discuss it more in his own words here.