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Reply #2: Kidnapped by Hunger, Held Prisoner by Poverty [View All]

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-28-08 09:54 PM
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2. Kidnapped by Hunger, Held Prisoner by Poverty
July 28, 2008

Kidnapped by Hunger, Held Prisoner by Poverty
The Spectacle and the Movement in Colombia
By CLIFTON ROSS

Sunday, July 20th was Colombian Independence day, and hundreds of thousands of Colombians in 60 countries went out into the streets to call for the liberation of those kidnapped in Colombias fifty-year-long war. In Pasto, the capital of the border province of Nario, an elderly woman said she was present at the demonstration to plea for the liberation of all people being held against their will by all parties. One of the singers on the stage in the citys main plaza where about two thousand people had gathered, took the opportunity to call for the liberation of those kidnapped by hunger, those held prisoner by poverty, the street children, and those held prisoners by ignorance.

But neither the sentiments of the singer, nor those of the elderly woman with whom I talked, were echoed in Colombias mainstream media. In the Independence Day event, as broadcast live over most stations, especially the large open air concert in Bogot featuring the likes of Shakira, Carlos Vives and Dr. Krapula, the media chose to focus only on the kidnapped victims of the FARC. Meanwhile, the paramilitaries, which have theoretically been disbanded, still operate in large areas of the country and continue to be responsible for between 60 and 80 percent of political deaths and disappearances.

Most Colombians recognize multiple players in this war: the Colombian and U.S. governments; the oligarchy, whose greed has made Colombia, along with Brazil, a rival for last place in terms of distribution of wealth (65% of Colombians live in poverty); the paramilitaries, sometimes employed by local oligarchs, and other times soldiers operating out of uniform; and finally, on the other side, the leftist guerrillas who make up two separate armies, the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

~snip~
I went to Popayn specifically to visit the offices of the Regional Indigenous Center of Cauca (CRIC) in hopes that someone there could help unravel some of the complexities of Colombian society and politics. Leonardo Perafn had spoken highly of CRIC, calling it the organization at the core of Colombias most vital social movement. In his office in Bogota Leonardo had pulled up images of CRIC members and their supporters, armed only symbolically with batons that show their status as guardians of the tribes, confronting a black wall of police in riot gear sporting shields and helicopters which shot live ammunition.

There were several wounded and one killed in this demonstration, he told me, clicking through images of the wounded and one picture of a hand holding bullets. These are some of the bullets that were being shot from the helicopters, Leonardo explained.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/ross07282008.html
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