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Monday, June 15, 2009

Uribe is Destroying Democracy to be Reelected

(Translated by Steve Cagan, a CSN volunteer translator)

Send by RECALCA*

Warning to the International Community:

We are sending an alert to the international Community to the governments and parliaments of the world, to the labor federations, social movements and human rights organizations, about the very serious situation which we are suffering in Colombia on account of the systematic sharpening of the attacks of the Alvaro Uribe Velez government against legitimate institutions in the country that raise questions and promote alternatives to his policies by democratic and peaceful paths.
Multiple facts make this dramatic situation evident:
- The ambushing of the judicial arm, whose members have been systematically watched, lied about and lost their recognition, which has forced the presence of a special rapporteur of the United Nations for judicial independence and another for the so-called extrajudicial executions, which are an broadly documented crime by the State.
- The persecution of social leaders, irresponsibly and without proof accusing them of being members of armed groups in Colombia, as they just did during their visit to Canada, threatening to have them arrested with the help of other governments.
- The persecution of distinguished opposition political leaders, like Jorge Enrique Robledo, Piedad Cordoba, Wilson Borja, Gloria Ines Ramirez and Jaime Caicedo, against whom the Inspector General’s Office—an institution submitted to the interests of the President—has opened disciplinary actions, based on supposed evidence of links with illegal groups, in one more act of manipulation of the justice system to persecute serious, respected and legitimate political opponents and close down democratic space through the path of criminalizing them.
- The threat of calling a Constituent Assembly to close down the Congress of the Republic if it doesn’t approve the referendum allowing him to be reelected.
- The persecution of important and recognized indigenous leaders, Like Feliciano Valencia, Aida Quilque and Daniel Pinacue, against whom arrest warrants have been issues, ignoring the indigenous jurisdiction clearly established in the National Constitution.
- The growth of attacks upon and murders of leaders of workers’ confederations, for which the ILO has again included Colombia in the watch list of the commission on labor standards while the International Trade Union Confederation has again confirmed that of the 76 unionists murdered in 2008, more than half were in Colombia.
- The scandals that surround the government every day are multiplying. The connection of high functionaries of the government with paramilitary groups, tapping the telephones of members of the courts and of the opposition as part of a systematic program of surveillance against them, extrajudicial executions and pressure on Congress to approve reelection, among other acts.
In recent days, this situation has become more serious, and Uribe Velez has tried, with numerous foreign trips and making efforts to sign harmful treaties, to put a smoke screen in front of international public opinion, looking for support at the cost of losing our national patrimony, accepting all kinds of onerous conditions and distracting attention from the realities of his government, accusing anyone who opposes him of being complicit in terrorist acts, which has been broadly condemned by the participants in the indigenous and social movements and the democratic left, which the government stigmatized and persecutes.
We call on all the governments and peoples of the world to be in solidarity with the Colombian people who are suffering the results of 7 years of attacks on democracy by Alvaro Uribe Velez. Government measures, directed at closing democratic spaces, centralizing power in the President and in executive organs and the public security forces, with evident links to narco-trafficking and the paramilitaries, are increasing in the measure of the growing encirclement of accusations, investigations and evidence against the illegal and criminal actions of the government.
The government of President Alvaro Uribe Velez is trying to asphyxiate the already limited constitutional liberties, dismantle individual and collective civil rights, persecute and silence every form of democratic opposition and at the same time hand over the wealth and sovereignty of the country in exchange for obtaining international support that will allow it to overcome its evident illegitimacy. At this moment, Colombian society and democracy confront a great threat that comes from their government.
We demand of heads of states and parliaments of those countries that are negotiating or are in the process of ratifying and Free Trade Agreement with the Colombian government, that they stop those accords, which will deepen the siltation of poverty, displacement and violence in Colombia, and will give President Uribe the support he is looking for to consolidate his authoritarian project.
*RECALCA brings together 50 of the most important social and labor organizations in the country, to coordinate education, outreach and mobilization strategies in the face of the free Trade Agreement that the national government is pushing.

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



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