About our logo


The latest news for the struggle for human rights for all in Colombia

Share with Friends

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Is the ELN saying good bye to President Uribe?

Taken from Adam Isacson’s translation posted in CIP

Is the ELN saying goodbye to President Uribe?
Luis Eduardo Celis Méndez, advisor, Corporación Nuevo Arco Iris
Actualidad Colombiana 468 (March 19-April 2, 2008)

Last January 11, President Chávez proposed before Venezuela’s National Assembly the granting of political status and recognition of belligerency to the FARC and the ELN. Through a public communiqué, the ELN Central Command gave its view of this proposal. This news was made known through a video sent to the Telesur network, in which Nicolás Rodríguez Bautista, this organization’s maximum commander, reads the communiqué.

The terms used there deserved to be carefully evaluated. “The ELN cheers the Venezuelan proposal to give the Colombian guerrillas recognition as belligerent forces, and is willing to work to make this initiative a reality. We hope that the international community will join this effort for peace in Colombia,” the communiqué reads.

By now we can evaluate the call on the international community to support the idea of granting belligerency status to insurgent organizations: only the President of Nicaragua showed any affinity for President Chávez’s proposal, and nobody else made any similar pronouncements. Very much to the contrary, the European Union reaffirmed its consideration that both the FARC and the ELN should remain on the terrorist lists as long as they fail to show respect for International Humanitarian Law. For their part, Ecuador, Bolivia and Brazil have been prudent about giving signals of approval, as has Argentina. In general, the pronouncements that have been issued do not view the proposal as appropriate.

Among sectors of the international community, as well as among some political analysts and national social initiatives, it is argued that this is a good moment for the ELN to sit down at the table with the government of President Uribe. That there is a political “window of opportunity,” given that a situation of polarization exists with regard to the FARC. It is believed that President Uribe could be willing to carry out a negotiation including issues that are important to the ELN. In fact, in December they privately indicated their willingness not to demand fighters’ concentration and identification if the ELN presented proposals sufficient to guarantee a cease fire and proceeded to the signing of a “basic accord.”

Since the crisis begun with the termination of President Chávez’s mediating role, the ELN has not had any contact with the government. Now, with this January 20 communiqué, the question that remains is whether the ELN has made a decision not to return to the table unless President Chávez’s role is “re-established” by Uribe - something that, judging from events of the last two months, is not going to hap
pen. The distancing between Venezuela and Colombia is so great that in Caracas, it is said that this open confrontation could be the “catastrophe” that President Uribe mentioned last November as a requisite for him to consider running for a third potential term.

We have insisted that the ELN acts according to rational calculations, that it it has considered a strategy for action, and that everything would seem to indicate that it has joined itself to a stable alliance with President Chávez and, in an informal way, to the FARC’s strategy of staying totally distant from overall negotiation processes with the government of President Álvaro Uribe Vélez. We could be wrong. We hope that, indeed, we are, and that the ELN-government process is renewed in the coming weeks. But all signals indicate that this will not happen, since it would seem that for the moment everything must go through Caracas.  Of course, these dynamic situations could change, but there is little reason to expect a helpful atmosphere nor actors with enough political weight to get involved and breath some new political air into the situation. An aggravating factor is that we are almost at the midpoint of President Uribe’s term and his 80% popularity rating would seem to give him little urgency to modify his strategy.

The ELN should be very clear that to get up from this table, one in which it has explicit political recognition as an armed political force, and in which it was seeking to create a scenario to debate issues of fundamental importance for the nation, would carry a high cost in terms of its credibility at the national and international level, as well as in its strategy of resistance. The war against them will worsen and the humanitarian cost will be permanent, the weakening of its structures could be significant and, perhaps more worrying, its involvement in the dynamics of narcotrafficking could accelerate and place it in directly in the way of the United States’ anti-drug agenda. Another issue, even more delicate, is a failure to build a broad consensus about the complicated agenda of truth, justice and reparations, and a failure to think of negotiations in a country where recognition of armed struggle is infinitely, residually small. A country in which the civilian left itself, in the framework of the 1991 Constitution, feels the guerrillas are a pebble in its shoe as it approaches the 2010 elections.

If the ELN leaves the negotiation table and does not choose to deal with the real difficulties that sprang from the termination of President Hugo Chávez’s facilitation, it will be losing a historic opportunity for a negotiation. New cycles of regional wars will come, as well as a public opinion climate highly favorable to the effort to annihilate them militarily. Those of us who support the mechanism of dialogues and concertations will return to the desert, trying to rebuild the situation, always amid increasing incredulity on the part of those who tell us, “I told you, the ELN isn’t interested in any negotiation.” And yes, everything would seem to indicate that they are not; we hope that we are wrong.

Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI  53701-1505
phone:  (608) 257-8753
fax:  (608) 255-6621
e-mail:  csn@igc.org

Threats, assasinations and more of members of Organizers of the March 6 demonstration

(Translated by Deryn Collins, a CSN volunteer translator)




(Colombia) (Social Organizations) (Date: March 14 2008)
Within the framework of Democratic Security politics the current government has  increased a climate of militarization and has aggravated attacks against the civilian population and social and human rights defense organizations.  Contrary to what is stated in government information, this political stance has not resulted in better human rights and, to the contrary, the number of extrajudicial assassinations committed directly by the public armed forces, arbitrary detentions, judicial false accusations have increased and the panorama of sociopolitical violence has changed in the way the aggressors act.
It is not true that the paramilitaries have demobilized. The information from diverse sources such as the OEA shows that armed bands, such as Aquilas Negra (Black Eagles), Organzion Nueva Generation (New Generation Organization), etc. continue to attack social organizations. This proves that the ongoing process between the government and the paramilitary groups has not resulted in the dismantling of the paramilitary.
Aggression against organizations and their leaders arise at the same times in which denouncement and social fight are most visible and when the situation and rights of victims are being debated nationally and internationally. Since the 5th February when the Homage was announced the stigmatization and signals coming fundamentally from high government and other sectors of the extreme right have generated a climate of polarization, the consequences of which have already been seen.  
Within the framework of the convention a day of Homage to the victims of displacement, assassination and disappeared. Remembrance and Dignity, took place on the 6th March (which also included the IV Meeting of the Movimiento Nacional de Victimas de Crimenes de Estado, (National Movement of Victims of Crimes of the State)) with 24 demonstrations and involving 70 countries.  Without doubt the response from the citizens supporting the homage exceeded the organizer's expectations.
Following is a recount of the serious acts that have occurred in the last few weeks against the people and organizations that were part of the Convention and whose work is in the defense of human rights in Colombia.
Since the 19th February and through different communication media the presidential assessor Jose Obdulio Gaviria inferred that the 6th March demonstration had been called by the FARC.
    1. I
n similar declarations the presidential assessor directly attacked Ivan             Cepeda, a Human Rights defender and member of the Comite de Impulso del Movimiento Nacional de Victimas de Crimenes de Estado (MOVICE).
2.    On the 11th February 2008 the editorial of the webpage of Colombia Libre, the official website of the paramilitary group Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC), said that the 6th March demonstration was a march for revenge and opportunism organized by FARC sympathizers.
3.    On the 12th February March organizers received threatening emails, signed by the paramilitary group 'ONG Nueva Generacion Narino'.
4.     On the 17th February Mauricio Cubides, member of Fensuagro, (an organization integrated to MOVICE), was threatened with death and suffered a kidnap attempt. As a result of which he has had to leave the region.
5.     During the preparation for the Homage, Ivan Cepeda received various threatening emails, in which he was accused of being allied to the FARC guerrillas
6.    On the 29th February shots were fired at the apartment of Luz Adriana Gonzalez, secretary general of the Comite Permanente por la Defensa de Derechos Humanos -CPDH- (Permanent Committee for the Defense of Human Rights) of Risaralda. This organization is part of MOVICE and Luz Adriana is one of the promoters of the Homage. In the same week threatening letters were sent to Guillermo Castano, president of the CPDH, and director of the Federation Nacional Agropecuaria and the Corporacion Campesina del Desarrollo Sustentable. (National Federation of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Rural Workers Corporation of Sustainable Development.)
7.    On the 4th March Leonidas Gomez, Citibank worker and member of the company's National Committee of the Union Nacional de Empleados Bancarios (UNEB) (National Unions of Bank Workers), member of the National Team of education of the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT) (Central Unit of Workers) and member of the Management team of the District Branch of the Polo Democratico political party. was kidnapped and subsequently assassinated.
8.    On the 6th March, day of the Homage, Antonio Pedrozo, member of the organization Tejiendo Esperanza and Coordinator of the National March of the Displaced, received death threats, in an anonymous envelope containing a and the message 'ally of the FARC - death now' that on the outside said was for the attention of Libardo Pedrozo??
9.     During the Homage to the victims, there were serious incidents in various cities. In  Cucuta hostages were taken and civilians, who were not part of the march, took photos and videos. In Bogota, a young man was identified as the one who followed and took as hostage Ivan Cepada during the march on Seventh street.
10.      On the 7th March the President of the UNEB, (Bucaramanga Section) Rafael Boada, who has received several death threats, was the victim of an attack that fortunately he got out of safely. During the night of the 7th March Gilardo Antonio Gomez Alzate, member, educator and delegate of the Asociacion de Institutores de Antioquia (ADIDA) and member of the Centro de Estudios e Investigaciones Docentes (CEID), was assassinated.
11.     The same day the computers in the offices of ASPODEGUA, FENACOA and the CND, which contained information important to their work, were destroyed.
12.      On Sunday the 9th March, Carlos Burbano, member of the sub directive of ANTHOC, promoter and organizer of the 6th March Homage, was assassinated.
13.      On the 11th March various social and human rights organizations received emails containing death threats signed by the paramilitary group the Aguilas Negras, which included a list of persons and organizations such as Minga, Fundip, Asopron, Andas, Asdego, Asomujer, Fenacoa, Codhes, CUT, ONIC, Comision Colombiana de Juristas, Ruta Pacifica de las Mujeres, la Asamblea Permanente de la Sociedad Civil por la Paz, Asomujer y Trabajo; Reiniciar, (an organization that has presented an international demand against the Colombian State for genocide against the United Patriach and that has received repeated threats and attacks), Luz Helena Ramirez, member of the Comite de Impulso del MOVICE; and other organizations and participants of the March.

 These acts are evidence that the paramilitaries in Colombia continue and the process of demobilization by the National Government has only resulted in restructuring and, instead of disappearing, the paramilitary presence is even more evident all over the country, particularly in places where there is strong social organization. These threats show the lack of true commitment in the search for peace.
What is especially worrying is that top Government has run a campaign against the organizations and leaders of the convoctory of the 6th March Homage, and on a lot of occasions it has attempted to delegitamise the defense of Human Rights in Colombia.
It is clear that the National Government, and the president Alvaro Uribe Vaquez promoted, using all the media in their power, the demonstration of 4th February but did not do the same for the Homage of the 6th March and to the contrary attempted to raise a cloud of doubt about the victims of Crimes by the State and the paramilitaries in Colombia, of demanding  their rights.
The one responsible for the acts that happened, and for the security of the threatened organizations in the first place, is the presidential assessor Jose Obdulia Gaviria, for his frightening and irresponsible inferences. We ask that top Government rectify the information sent out about the 6th March Homage and the organizers and recognize society's right to public demonstration and to exercise political opposition.
We call for National and International Solidarity to investigate the origins of the threats and determine who is responsible for the assassinations and attacks that the social leaders have suffered  
Equally, we ask the Colombian Government for immediate results on dismantling the paramilitaries. As well as the cleaning up by the state of the lists created by military intelligence organizations, which have contributed to the stigmatization and systematic eliminations of those who are integrated in the social and human right movement.
Movimiento de Victimas de Crimenes de Estado, Reiniciar, Minga, Asamblea Permanente de la Sociedad Civil por la Paz, Comite de Solidaridad con los Presos Politicos, Comite Permanente de Defensa de los Derechos Humanos, ANDAS, ONIC, Cut Subdirectiva Bogota Cundinamarca, Departamento de Derechos Humanos CUT, Union Nacional de Empleados Bancarios UNEB, ADMUCIC, Ruta Pacifica de Mujeres, Hijos e Hijas Por la memoria y Contra la impunidad, Colectivo de Abogados Jose Alvear Restrepo ' CAJAR-, Comision Colombiana de Juristas CCJ- others.

Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI  53701-1505
phone:  (608) 257-8753
fax:  (608) 255-6621
e-mail:  csn@igc.org

Friday, March 21, 2008


(Translated by Dan Baird, a CSN volunteer translator)


Text by Javier Moncayo 
[Javier Moncayo is a medical doctor at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, where he has done post-doctoral studies in Health Services Administration. Since 2004, he has coordinated the National Network of Regional Development and Peace Programs (Red Nacional de Programas Regionales de Desarrollo y Paz), a network of 17 regional organizations. He is also the coordinator of the Programa de Paz y Desarrollo del Nororiente Antioqueño (Program for Peace and Development in northeastern Antioquia province). Dr Moncayo's son was kidnapped by the FARC guerillas in 1997]

Are you weary of stating again and again that your generation and your parents and no doubt even your children will  not  have known a single day of peace in all of their lives?

Well, so am I.  And I ask you to join with me in stopping this horror.  I invite you to create the possibility that the next generation of Colombians will be a non-violent generation.

What can we do? Many things – and here are my proposals:

Let us proclaim that violence has failed. The reasons:

The guerillas' struggle, lasting more than 50 years, has not only failed to produce the revolution, it has brought to the country the worst scenes  of war: exploding landmines, kidnappings, recruitment of child soldiers, the destruction of entire villages, terrorism, drug-trafficking …. 

The list is long and painful. And the  result has been to weaken in the country the possibility of democratic opposition and to strengthen instead authoritarianism and military options.

The paramilitaries set out with the intention of ending the insurgency.  But after 20 years not only have they proved incapable of that, but they have filled the cities and the countryside with fear and hatred, leaving wounds that will take more than a century to heal.

The proportion of the gross national product the State spends on defence is one of the highest in the world, yet it has been unable to put an end to violence. On the contrary, it has brought us to the verge of war with neighbouring countries and it rewards serious crime in its efforts to destroy the guerillas.

And there is nothing to have us believe that we are near a  long-term        solution to the problem. There is no reform that can remove the accumulated pain, that can remove the reasons why thousands of Colombian men and women go to war.  

So weapons of war have failed, and should give way to alternatives from civil society.  More violence to end violence can only keep us in a circle that will never bring us to peace.  

We can all do something – from our homes, in our work and in our daily lives.


Let us refuse to be polarized. In daily conversation at the table, in the office, on public transport, in the street, let us suggest listening and understanding as ways of dealing with the country's problems, always seeking solutions that do not include violence. 

Let us suggest a prayer each night, together with our families or our friends, based on our religious or spiritual beliefs, for the end to violence and the beginning of reconciliation.


Let us take part in all the collective actions that call for the end of violence and the building of peace: marches, meetings, conferences, concerts  like the concert at Juanes on the border [a joint Colombian-Venezuelan concert for peace].  Let us join with others resolved to seek peace and we will become a group capable of demanding it.  

Let us make the coming 9th April a historic milestone in the call for the end of violence. [Presidential candidate Jorge Eliecer  Gaitan was murdered on 9 April 1948, starting a long period of political violence]. Let us change that date, connected  in our minds with the beginning of violence, into the date of the beginning of peace.  Let us organize marches and vigils on that date.  Let us fill with white flags the houses and offices of towns and cities, let us stop work that day to demand the end of confrontation and a start to building peace. 

From Wednesday 9th April 2008 let us march every Wednesday at noon to demand the end of  war and the beginning of reconciliation.  This will include calls:

to FARC for the unconditional release of all those they have kidnapped, including police and soldiers, and for a readiness to come to the negotiating table to end the war and demobilize their forces;

to the ELN [another guerilla group, smaller than FARC] to continue their negotiations with the Government leading to the end of hostilities and disarmament and demobilization; 

to the paramilitaries to stop rearming, to end for good their involvement in drug-trafficking and tell the country the truth about their actions, with genuine repentance, and to make reparation to their victims;  

to the International Community that it provide permanent and impartial help to the country so that it can undertake all the negotiations necessary to begin the peace process;

to the National Government that it become more flexible and be prepared to accept international support and cooperation.  Also, that it accept the active participation of civil society in establishing frank and open arrangements for peace negotiations, where there is a guarantee of demobilization, integration and the compensation of victims;

to the National Government, further, that it guarantee the revelation of the truth, and set out the reforms necessary to avoid the future resumption of violence and to ensure that peace is built on sure foundations. 

Let us rid ourselves of the idea that  this can only be done by those in high places.  They have not done it until  now, neither now nor in the last 50 years. We need to get rid of this stigma, to root it out.  It all concerns us – and it concerns us now.  

Let Colombia be a country that lives a culture of non-violence and exports it to the rest of the world! 


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Letter from a Member of the European Parliament to President Uribe

(Translated by Johanna Aguillon, a CSN volunteer translator )

Brussels, 04 March 2008
Mr. President of the Republic of Colombia
Dr. Alvaro Uribe Vélez
Palacio de Nariño
Santa Fe de Bogota

Mr. President,

After a few days of reflection may I write with regard to the serious incident on March 1st: I am referring to the incursion into Ecuadorian territory perpetrated by aircraft and troops transported by aircraft, with the aim of killing the 'number two' FARC, Raul Reyes, his companions and take them along with three computers.
Surely, protest and indignation of the President of the Republic of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, and the international condemnation provoked by this violation of Ecuadorian sovereignty totally contrary to the law, will not be surprised, and I think it is with all the awareness of this disapproval that you ordered or stopped committing this act. I have nothing to add on this matter that you did not know already.

I have read very carefully the speech by President Correa, and the "response from its Foreign Minister to the Chancellor of the Ecuadorian government," as well as several articles relating to the contents of the computers.

It is a triple title, His Excellency President, that I would write. As President of the European Parliament delegation for the countries of the Andean Community, as a French citizen, and as an old friend of Colombia and the Colombian people. In addition, I have had the honor several times to meet with you and hear your viewpoint, most recently in Brussels and Bogotá.

As chairman of the delegation to the ANC, I can only express my total lack of understanding when faced with aggression by one country against Colombia brother, and that in the middle of negotiation an association agreement between the Andean Community and the European Union. You assured me, a few days ago, its willingness to negotiate "block by block". How can we talk of block when still a member blocK takes the initiative to launch a military intervention in a foreign territory?

As a French citizen, save the memory of an atrocious war that made my country against the Algerian National Liberation Front, before completing negotiations with him. This war was fraught with international incidents in the same style: the bombing of Sakhiet in Turkey, the diversion of an international flight to catch leaders of the National Liberation Front… These acts discredit both French diplomacy that France lost a war that his military thought Having won on the ground.

No way I would deny the right of the Colombian constitutional government by force of arms to respond to the criminal acts of groups that the European Union itself and maintains registered in the list of terrorist groups: the AUC, the ELN, FARC. But attacking neighbouring countries, and very disturbed by the influx of Colombian refugees, is something quite different.

But there is something more serious - if possible - I mean, the Colombian people, the thousands of abductees and their families, and the possibility of a return to peace in Colombia.
You, Mr. President, publicly adopted a "demilitarized zone" in Florida - Meadow, proposed by the mediators Spanish, Swiss and French, where it could negotiate a humanitarian exchange.

Faced with rejection by the FARC perimeter proposed You had told me: "If you do not want to negotiate in Colombia, to negotiate anywhere, even in the Vatican."

However, several weeks ago that the FARC are releasing increasingly Colombian citizens, senators or representatives. You publicly thanked the mediators who permitted these releases Colombians, releases carrying so much hope.

It is logical that there was a mediation, there was a place for these negotiations, and that if this place was not in Colombia, was then the subject of "agreements" between the FARC territorial temporary, mediators and the authorities of the countries neighbouring Colombia.

It is of public notoriety that only a leader of the magnitude of Raul Reyes could conclude such agreements liberation (Rodrigo Granda, whom you released at the request of President Sarkozy, was in a position too low in the hierarchy of the FARC to take those decisions ).
It has been revealed by one of the computers seized in the camp of Raul Reyes, that the Ecuadorian authorities had made arrangements for at the site, near the border, negotiated the release of the soldier Pablo Emilio Moncayo, the oldest of the prisoners of the FARC, whose only crime was to have defended the constitutional order of their homeland.
Perhaps one day we will know whether the previous releases had been negotiated in the same camp as an agreement or the same style.
What is certain is that by causing the death of Raul Reyes there, the Colombian Armed Forces put an end to negotiations for the release of the soldier Pablo Emilio Moncayo and perhaps many others later. I think particularly in the former Senator Ingrid Betancourt, whose 'proof of life' inspire the highest concerns about their health in the short term.

Mr. President, with all due respect I owe, I would remind respect to the logic and humanity. You may not want mediation and kill the negotiators can not call for international solidarity to save their compatriots, and bombard the fraternal countries that provide facilities for negotiations.
I ask you to think for a moment on the following situation: What would have happened if a major mediator, a Colombian bishop, a leader of the Red Cross, a deputy minister or a European mediator, had been that night with Raul Reyes in Camp facilitated by the Ecuadorian authorities? What would have happened if this person had also been killed by a bomb in Colombia? What would have happened if it had been located in the Vatican Raul Reyes in full negotiations with emissaries Swiss? Will would have commanded to bomb the Vatican?
That is why, driven by the concern of his countrymen, I called this, Mr. President, not only to avoid military confrontations that could endanger the lives of the hostages, but to absolutely refrain from any operation against violent negotiators, mediators or emissaries in the search for a humanitarian agreement, either on Colombian soil, and much less soil of another sovereign country.
Reaffirming our commitment to peace in the region,
Yours sincerely
Alain Lipietz


Monday, March 17, 2008

The Democratic Pole asks Uribe not to pay a reward based on the Constitution

( Translated by Thomas Kolar , a CSN volunteer translator)
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Bogota, March 12, 2008
Senor Doctor
President of the Republic
E. S. D.
Mister President:
Permit me to ask you, with all the respect due your office, that in your capacity of Head of State, Supreme Administrative Authority and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the Republic, that you give to the Minister of Defense and to the other relevant authorities clear and precise instructions that they not pay nor order the payment of reward money of any amount to the individual known as “alias Rojas” as reward for the non-combat killing of the FARC member known as Ivan Rios, in circumstances fully divulged in the media, at the request of those authorities in whose custody may be encountered the presumed confessed killer.
Article 11 of our Political Constitution establishes definitively: “The right to life is inviolable. There will be no penalty of death”. And if the State itself has renounced the penalty of death, it is logically unacceptable that it could delegate to another the right to apply it with impunity and without judicial penalty. This mandate does not admit to loose interpretations or casuistic exceptions on the part of precisely the one who ought to be its guarantor, because it is obvious that one cannot argue reasons of state against the very reason for being of the State.
Nor is the most skilled sophist able to find in the Constitution of Colombia a single word or disposition that authorizes the National Government to pay sums of money from the public Treasury to anyone as a reward for the commission of the crime of homicide even if the victim is part of a group at the margin of the law and was responsible for serious crimes.
Even more, such a payment not only lacks basic constitutionality but is also expressly prohibited by the law in as much as it has such an illicit objective and is inspired by absolute and unhealthy logic; if one imputes these to the state and considers its obligations. Our Civil Code establishes:
Article 1524, “it is understood that an act or contract is illicit if the motive that induces the act or contract is itself prohibited by the law or contrary to good customs or to the public order.”
Thus the promise to give some payment for a debt that does not exist and lacks legitimacy and to promise to give a reward for a crime or for an immoral act is, itself, an illicit act.
In a just state, all political objects and all state actions, as legitimate and justified as they may seem, have a limit that is the judicial order whose values presuppose the definitive renunciation by the government of any rationalization of its acts by “the end justifying the means”. The repudiation of this Machiavellian principle is a minimum ethic for any decent and democratic society.
Alternative Democratic Pole

Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI  53701-1505
phone:  (608) 257-8753
fax:  (608) 255-6621
e-mail:  csn@igc.org

Friday, March 14, 2008

 The Free Trade Agreement and the National Security of the United States

(Translated by John I. Laun, a CSN volunteer translator )
Bogota, March 12, 2008
From Recalca ( Red Colombiana de Accion Contra el ALCA/ Colombian Network against the Free Trade Agreement.

The most recent argument of President Bush to force approval of the proposed bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Colombia by the U.S. Congress is to indicate that it constitutes a matter of national security for the United States.President Bush is, in addition, taking advantage of the weak position of the two Democratic candidates for President with respect to the crisis in the Andean region, since both Obama and Clinton supported the actions of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez. The President of the United States applying his logic may conclude: if they support Uribe, why do not they accept the FTA The support of the Democratic candidates for Uribe signifies a scourge for the immense majority of the Colombian population, which would truly be harmed by the approval of the FTA.    

In recent weeks President Bush also has insisted upon demonstrating that the FTA with Colombia is good for them, since it would increase exports and the business activity of businessmen in the United States. Under the present conditions of recession, a significant increase in Colombian exports is not foreseeable, since the United States wants to overcome its commercial deficit, which implies that it must buy less and sell more. On the other hand, the Colombian government, facing worrisome symptoms in the economy and international trade, has been obliged to debate an increase in some tariffs and has increased the contingencies of free importation of yellow corn and some other raw materials used by industry. Many industrialists, facing the threat of failure of their businesses, are asking for protection of the national market, very much against what was agreed upon in the draft of the FTA with the United States.Right now it seems like the nuclear option planned by President Bush, which consists in forcing a vote on the FTA with Colombia without the approval of the Democratic leadership in Congress, has not proceeded beyond simply a threat, since the intent of the Colombian government to have discussion of the FTA included on the United States Congressional agenda this week again failed. There are no signs that consideration of the FTA with Colombia will be taken up by Congress before the November elections.            The concept of;national security of President Bush consists of tying up even more the Colombian economy, so as to insure that the country will be unable to separate itself from it and will be more vulnerable to North American requirements. In this way it can devote itself to treating its neighbors with hostility and trying to impede their democratic processes, which escape the impositions of Washington. The true cause of the regional controversies is the unconditional alignment of Uribe with the dictates of Bush and his “preventive war At the same time as we should struggle to reestablish normality of relations among the Andean nations, we should point out that a healthy relationship between Colombia and its neighbors also depends upon Colombia not continuing to be the beachhead of the empire in South America.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

CSN 's Statement on the invasion of Ecuador


                                                       March 11, 2008

             The Colombia Support Network (CSN) registers its total  
disagreement with the Bush Administration’s support of the Uribe  
Administration’s violation of Ecuadorian territory to kill members of  
the FARC guerrillas located at a provisional camp nearly one mile  
inside the Ecuadorian border.  It is clear that Colombian  
forces were not “in hot pursuit” of FARC guerrillas in response to a  
FARC attack, as President Uribe falsely told President Rafael Correa  
of Ecuador  after the fact, of the  Colombian attack inside Ecuador.

            It is clear that the Colombian government violated  
international law with its cross-border attack, as virtually all the  
other governments in South America have recognized. The other  
countries in the region had expressed their solidarity with the  
Ecuadorian government.

    We are concerned that the Bush Administration by approving President  
Uribe’s breach of international law may be attempting  to promote  
controversy between Colombia and its neighbors, to impede  
economic and political integration of the South American countries and
to curtail socialist experiments in the region such as those in  
Venezuela. Ecuador has refused to extend the term for the  
US military base in Manta.

    We reject the doctrine of pre- emptive strikes across national  
borders. The U.S. government should consider how it would  
feel if its doctrines applied to acts of other countries were applied to
 this  country.

    We welcome the good faith attempt to resolve issues peacefully which  
was evidenced at the Latin American leaders meeting in Santo Domingo  
last week.

    We call upon the U.S. Congress and the  Presidential candidates to  
renounce  Bush interventionist doctrines,  which are leading our  
country toward being considered an international pariah. We call  
upon them to express their disapproval of Colombia’s violation of  
Ecuadorian sovereignty.

Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI  53701-1505
phone:  (608) 257-8753
fax:  (608) 255-6621
e-mail:  csn@igc.org



Thursday, March 06, 2008

Declaration by Senator Gina Parody on the March 6th March

(Translated by Peter Lenny, a CSN volunteer translator)

( Note : Senator Parodi is a close ally of President Uribe)

- For the victims and against the paramilitaries -


Tuesday 26th February 2008

A declaration on the March 6 march

What is there in common between this march and the one called for 4th February?

·               They are marches against violence
·               They denounce Colombians’ indifference to crimes against humanity and war crimes
·               The reject the use of arms in the struggle for power
·               They call for respect for life
·               We want a Colombia in peace
·               Peace means there are no future victims and that present ones receive reparation. That is why the March parade – in solidarity with the victims – is important

March march

·               “Common graves never again”: the government inspectors now say they have found 1054, some on the farms of Congress members’ relatives or front men
·               “Forced displacements never again”: Colombia holds the record of 2 million refugees, making us the world leader in forced displacements, and comparable in numbers only with Afghanistan
·               “Paramilitaries never again”: one of the groups that has committed the worst human rights violations, and stands accused of 9,000 crimes all over Colombia
·               “Para-politicians never again”: today we have 52 members of congress accused of being connected with crimes of aggravated conspiracy to commit a crime, electoral fraud, voter coercion, and even kidnapping – and another 22 in custody in La Picota prison and 3 sentenced. That means they violated the political rights of each and every citizen who gave them a vote in their area of influence
In Colombia we do not have first-class and second-class victims. There can be no surrendering to the psychological blackmail of those whose intention is to sabotage this march, just as they intended to do in February:
·               The other Mancuso was sent a communiqué – more like a bombshell – that the march had been manipulated by the media to support Uribe and that it was a march in favor of the establishment, of an establishment half of whose members of congress are under arrest and therefore is a “mafia” establishment (give this a tone of rather burlesque irony, so as not confuse it with your own opinion)
And saying of this march:
·               That it is organized by the FARC,
·               That it is sponsored by Chávez
·               That it is against the armed forces and the police.

Which is why it is worth clarifying that
However, it is against the paramilitaries and their partners, who have cause thousands of victims - millions in fact – and in solidarity with those victims. In fact - given the enormity of the crimes committed – it is in solidarity with the whole of humankind.
Not to come out on the march is once again to choose the lesser evil and THE LESSER EVIL CANNOT BE AN OPTION IN COLOMBIA, because after all it is an evil: the paramilitaries have come this far as if they owned the place.
·               Not to march is once again to turn our backs on the 2,000,000 displaced people who we haven’t yet given back their land; it is to turn our backs on the more than 15,000 families who are still waiting for relatives to come home (or at least to find them in a common grave), it is to turn our backs on the thousands of victims of the massacres committed by the “self-defense forces” in the name of A NEW PROJECT OF STATE.
·               Not to come out is to legitimate the recruitment of children and teenagers that the “self-defense forces” carried out and that their leaders have systematically denied in the statements they have made to government prosecutors.
·               Where are the children who were held by the self-defense forces?
·               To permit the March 6 march to fail is to permit the paramilitaries, para-politicians and violence to triumph, once again.

Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI  53701-1505
phone:  (608) 257-8753
fax:  (608) 255-6621
e-mail:  csn@igc.org

Monday, March 03, 2008

Displaced persons reply to editorial in El Tiempo

(Translated by Dan Baird , a CSN volunteer translated)

Below is a copy of the  letter sent by the  National Organisation of Displaced People  [La Coordinación Nacional de Desplazados] to El Tiempo, [Colombia’s largest circulation daily newspaper], in reply to an  article “A Worrying Trend” ["Racha Preocupante"].   The article  blamed and stigmatized the  capital’s population of displaced people – displaced from elsewhere by the country’s conflicts – for  the increased  number of murders in the city:

Bogotá  28 February 2008

To: The Editor


Dear Editor,

The National Organisation of Displaced People is an umbrella body for 246 organisations of displaced people at local, regional and national levels based in various parts of the country.  We exist to coordinate demands that the authorities implement the State’s guarantees on the rights of the displaced. We also seek to analyse the  various factors feeding the armed and socioeconomic conflicts suffered by this country, and the use of Forced Displacement as a strategy for war and death.  

As a national organization, therefore, we wish to refer to your editorial of 27 February  2008, “A Worrying Trend”, which said:

“Professional killings are not the only concern.  In a debate in the Council yesterday the Department of Government revealed that, in 62% of those cases where the killers are known, they are connected to the victims by family or friendship or romantic links. This calls for a special political effort on security,  going further than campaigns on prevention.  There has, for instance, to be a study of the extent to which the flow of displaced people to the capital – more than 50,000 registrations were received last year – contributes to increased social tensions in areas like  Los Mártires, Santa Fe, Usme and  Ciudad Bolívar, which have the highest murder rates”.

For us, this reference is a clear stigmatization of displaced people.  It will increase the social rejection of our children in school and of our people at work when it is so wickedly suggested that we may be responsible for the increased number  of murders in the capital.  

For your information, we wish to make some clarifications.

In our communities we had what we needed to develop with dignity.  We have been forced, though, to leave our own lands in an effort to save our lives.  Because of this, we must survive – marginalised and abandoned – in large cities, which are very different from the places we dream of and where we plan to spend our lives.

There are 4 million displaced people in Colombia. Our human rights have been violated in a strategy, implemented by paramilitarism, which sought to destroy politically and socially organised areas. It stigmatized us as supporters of the guerillas, occupied our lands for coca cultivation and to create strategic corridors to export drugs and import arms.  It took over our lands for plans and superplans to develop farming, energy, mining, tourism  and large-scale ranching.  

It should also be remembered that in the areas you mention our displaced youths are murdered  by groups calling themselves “The Black Eagles” [ the name,  “Aguilas Negras” of a notorious paramilitary formation], and that many of our leaders are persecuted and murdered throughout the country.  You do not ask that those responsible for these bloody crimes should be sought among armed groups now supposedly no longer in existence - like paramilitarism itself.

It is reprehensible that you should insinuate that those responsible for the increase in murders in
Bogotá are the very victims of the crime  of Forced Displacement: we  fled from our lands rather than join armed groups, to keep  our lives and our dignity, because escape was our only weapon of defence.

As victims we seek  the good name of our community.   We ask, therefore, that you immediately correct your editorial  of 27 February 2008 ,“A Worrying Trend” and we ask that , in fairness, this correction  appear in the  space in your newspaper where the editorial was published.

Yours sincerely,

National Executive Committee
National Organisation of Displaced People (C.N.D.)


Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI  53701-1505
phone:  (608) 257-8753
fax:  (608) 255-6621
e-mail:  csn@igc.org



© 2005 CSN
News | Action | Links | About CSN | Donate | Join | Chapters | Delegations | Contact CSN | Contact Webmaster