Help to protect the legal right to protest in Colombia
On October 17, CSN received and urgent message from our Movimiento Campesino Cajibio Sister Community, asking us to speak out against the Uribe Government's violent supression of indigenous marches that started in Cauca Department but also were coordinated with indigenous communities in Choco, Caldas, Guajira, Huila,Casanare, Meta, Norte de Santander that now not only grow all over the country, but are joined by peasant, miners and worker's unions. For years the Uribe government has failed to follow through on promises to protect the indigenous land rights and to keep them safe from attack by all armed actors - the Army, the guerrillas and the paramilitaries. In light of the Uribe administration's promotion of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Colombia that would decimate peasant and indigenous communities and of a new agricultural law that would undermine their right to their historic homelands, the indigenous in Cauca marched onto the Panamerican Highway in protest. President Uribe responded by calling them "terrorists" and collaborators with the FARC guerrillas and sent Army troops to forcibly suppress them. So far, more than 100 persons have been injured and 2 have been killed as the Army fires bullets at peaceful protesters.
Since a push for the FTA has come from the Bush administration and since the U.S. provides hundreds of millions of dollars in military equipment and training to the Colombian armed forces each year, we have a special responsibility to try to have the U.S. government curb President Uribe's vicious armed assault on innocent unarmed civilians. The CUT labor federation and the Polo Democratico Party in Colombia have dennounced the Uribe attacks on the people. Now it is time to add our voices to the chorus calling for President Uribe to end the military campaign against the indigenous communities, to recognize their legal rights to their lands and to hold implementation of the disastrous FTA.
Please write to your Senators and Representatives and ask them to support indigenous rights in Colombia and to oppose the FTA.
Go to our website www.colombiasupport.net <http://www.colombiasupport.net> and click on Action Center
Also, send messages to :
Assistant Secretary Western Hemisphere
Ambassador William Brownfield
Presidencia de la República
Dr. Álvaro Uribe Vélez, Presidente de la República
Or check his website www.presidencia.gov.co <http://www.presidencia.gov.co>
Vicepresidencia de la República
Dr. Francisco Santos,
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Vice- Minister of Defense
Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
phone: (608) 257-8753
fax: (608) 255-6621