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The US Office on Colombia Blog is a bilingual space to discuss important news about human rights and peace in Colombia. Several of our articles come from prominent Colombian organizations and independent journalists. We encourage you to read our articles and participate by posting comments!


El Blog de la US Office on Colombia es un espacio bilingüe para discutir asuntos importantes acerca los derechos humanos y la paz en Colombia. Muchos de nuestros artículos vienen de prominentes organizaciones colombianas y de periodistas independientes. ¡Le animamos a Usted a que lea los artículos y participe con sus comentarios!

Friday, February 13, 2009

President Uribe accuses members of the peace movement of having ties to the FARC.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe once again showed his disdain for the country’s human rights defenders and civil society groups with his remarks linking members of the peace movement to the left-wing guerrillas.

His comments should raise alarm bells for the Obama Administration as they point to the Uribe Government’s lack of respect for freedom of speech, democracy, human rights and a civil society led peaceful resolution to the country’s internal conflict.

Uribe’s remarks come just after the successful release of six hostages – two politicians, one military officer and three policemen – in a mission led by Senator Piedad Cordoba, and coordinated by the Red Cross, with assistance from the Brazilian government.

The hostage release came about after Colombians for Peace sent a letter to the FARC in September 2008, opening the way for a public exchange of communications between the groups, in which they called for a release of all hostages.

For Uribe that was enough to accuse the group, made up of civil society organizations, intellectuals, and opposition politicians of pertaining to “an intellectual bloc of the FARC”.

“We’re not just going to allow the FARC’s intellectual bloc to disorient us now with a discourse of peace, which in the end strengthens terrorism,” President Uribe said during a community meeting in the Department of Meta.

“Now the FARC’s international bloc doesn’t dare defend the FARC directly, the FARC’s international bloc is very clever, very astute, it doesn’t dare to oppose fundamentally the Democratic Security policy, the FARC’s international bloc defends the FARC simply by talking about peace.” (Emphasis added.)

These are irresponsible and dangerous remarks that put the lives of those working for peace in danger.

Similar past public statements have proven to be disastrous when a wave of attacks and threats were suffered by groups and individuals involved in the March 6 2008 protest against the paramilitaries. At the time a senior presidential advisor made public statements linking the protesters to the guerrilla. Following these remarks four trade unionists, some of whom were reportedly associated with the March 6 demonstrations, were killed and members of human rights organizations experienced a large number of physical attacks and numerous threats. Some of their offices were also broken into and equipment and files stolen.

This is not the first time Uribe has accused human rights and peace groups of being linked to guerrilla groups. He has also made such allegations against indigenous groups and internationally recognized human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

The comments also strike a hefty blow against civil society led efforts to reach a peaceful resolution to the conflict by apparently linking all such movements to the FARC. As former hostage Alan Jara said, President Uribe’s attitude has not helped secure the liberation of the hostages. The former Governor of Meta denounced the President’s hard-line stance against the humanitarian accord.

“Everything I’ve heard is about the strength and success of the Democratic Security Policy. If it is so strong could it be that a humanitarian accord would set it wobbling?” Jara said on his release from seven and half years of captivity.

“When one is in the jungle tied to a pole and you hear that there are things that are “immovable”, for me the immovable is that pole, not the conditions.”

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El Presidente Uribe acusa a los miembros del movimiento de paz de tener vínculos con las FARC.

El presidente colombiano, Álvaro Uribe, una vez más, mostró su desprecio por los defensores de derechos humanos del país y por los grupos de la sociedad civil con sus declaraciones vinculando a los miembros del movimiento por la paz a la guerrilla izquierdista.

Sus comentarios deben ser una voz de alarma para la administración de Obama puesto que son una falta de respeto por parte del gobierno de Uribe con la libertad de expresión, la democracia, los derechos humanos y una solución pacífica al conflicto armado encabezado por la sociedad civil

Los comentarios de Uribe vienen justo después de la exitosa liberación de seis rehenes - dos políticos, un oficial militar y tres policías - en una misión encabezada por la senadora Piedad Córdoba, y coordinada por la Cruz Roja, con la asistencia del gobierno brasileño.

La liberación de los secuestrados se produjo después de que los Colombianos/as por la Paz enviaron una carta a las FARC en septiembre de 2008, abriendo el camino para un intercambio de comunicación entre los grupos, en el que se pide la liberación de todos los rehenes.

Para Uribe, eso fue suficiente para acusar al grupo, formado por organizaciones de la sociedad civil, intelectuales y políticos de la izquierda, de pertenecer a “un bloque intelecutal de las FARC.”

“No vamos a permitir ahora que el ‘bloque intelectual’ de las Farc nos desoriente con un discurso de paz, que finalmente fortalezca al terrorismo,” el Presidente Uribe dijo durante una reunión comunitaria en el departamento de Meta.

“Ahora, el ‘bloque intelectual’ de las Farc no se atreve a defender a las Farc de frente; el ‘bloque intelectual’ de las Farc es muy hábil, muy astuto, no se atreve a combatir a fondo la política de Seguridad Democrática; el ‘bloque intelectual’ de las Farc defiende a las Farc, simplemente hablando de paz.” (El subrayado es nuestro)

Estas observaciones son irresponsables y se ponen la vida de las personas que trabajan por la paz en riesgo.

Declaraciones como estas produjeron efectos desastrosos cuando una ola de ataques y amenazas fueron sufridos por los grupos que participaronn en las manifestaciones del 6 de marzo de 2008. Un asesor alto del presidente hizo declaraciones públicas vinculando los manifestantes con la guerrilla. Después de estas declaraciones cuatro sindicalistas, algunos de los cuales fueron asociados con las manifestaciones del 6 de marzo, fueron asesinados y los miembros de las organizaciones de derechos humanos fueron objetos de un gran número de ataques físicos y de amenazas. Algunas de sus oficinas también fueron forzadas la entrada y sus equipos y archivos fueron robados.

Esta no es la primera vez que Uribe ha acusado a sus enemigos de estar vinculadas a grupos guerrilleros. Él también ha hecho numerosas denuncias contra los defensores de derechos humanos, los grupos indígenas y incluso contra organizaciones internacionales – Human Rights Watch y Amnistía Internacional.

Los comentarios también lograr un fuerte golpe contra los esfuerzos encabezados por la sociedad civil de llegar a una solución pacífica al conflicto atraves de vínculando estos moviemientos con las FARC. Como el ex rehén Alan Jara, dijo, la actitud del Presidente Uribe no ha ayudado a conseguir la liberación de los rehenes. El ex Gobernador del Meta denunció la línea dura del Presidente Uribe en contro el acuerdo humanitario.

“Todo lo que oigo es acerca de la fortaleza y el éxito de la política de Seguridad Democrática, y si esta Política es tan fuerte, ¿la pondrá a tambalear un acuerdo humanitario?,” dijo Jara al ser liberado después de siete años y miedo en cautividad.

“Cuando uno está en la selva pegado a un palo, y oye que hay inamovibles, para mí lo inamovible es el palo ese, no las condiciones.”

12 comments:

  1. Excellent article, recently I read a post related to this topic in a Colombian portal on the elections 2010 in Colombia, also they treat everything on candidates, surveys and everything related to the choices(elections) of 2010.
    Also explains to us like to vote from other countries.

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  5. Human rights defenders in cahoots with guerillas? It is plausible but I bet their goal is to make sure that no innocent person who is against the current government will be harmed. It would be a shame if they are having collateral damage as well.

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