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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 03:06 PM
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Colombia: banana plantations expropriated
Colombia: banana plantations expropriated

Tholen Juan Manuel Campo, high representative of the Conservative Party and owner of the fruit producing company, Multifruits, is accused to have violently taken land from Afro-Colombian communities from the province of Choco in the western part of the country, according to statements in La Opinin. The land is currently a plantation of bananas and plantains. The production is sold to the multinational Del Monte with a volume of 52 MT per week.

Ana Carmen Martnez was one of the farmers affected by the violent expropriation and she claims that paramilitary groups burst into the region and took them away. According to Mrs. Martinez right wing paramilitary groups claimed that left wing guerrillas took shelter on their land sometimes. And that was enough reason to remove us from our lands. Presently, the new owner of this land is a high-level politician and member of one of the parties who supported the re-election of President Uribe.

Publication date: December 15 2006

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izzie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 03:11 PM
Response to Original message
1. Rich taking from the rich. What happened to the workers?
The rulers are really good at handing out goods to friends. Maybe we should try the SALT things ones more?
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Tempest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 03:26 PM
Response to Original message
2. The news just keeps getting worse for Uribe
The trail of bodies and scandal is leading right to Uribe's doorstep.

How long before he flees Columbia and requests asylum in the U.S.?
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 03:31 PM
Original message
Sorry, duplicate post. n/t
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 03:31 PM by Judi Lynn

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 03:31 PM
Response to Original message
3. Ally of Colombian president accused of profiting from paramilitary terror for banana exports
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 03:38 PM by Judi Lynn
Ally of Colombian president accused of profiting from paramilitary terror for banana exports

By Frank Bajak

2:37 p.m. December 14, 2006

BOGOTA, Colombia A political ally of President Alvaro Uribe is under investigation for allegedly doing business with illegal right-wing militias as head of a company that sells fruit for shipment to the United States and Europe.
Juan Manuel Campo, a member of the Uribe-allied Conservative Party's executive committee, heads a company that supplies 40 tons of plantain bananas a week from land cleared of its rightful owners through intimidation by banned paramilitaries.

The federal prosecutor's office and the attorney general's office, which regulates public servants, opened investigations after residents of the fertile jungle zone just south of Panama complained to human rights organizations.

Officials in both offices told The Associated Press this week that they are trying to determine whether Campo, 30, had benefited economically from ties with the militias.

The revelation comes amid a growing political scandal in which other close Uribe allies have been jailed on charges of creating and bankrolling paramilitary militias, which have committed thousands of murders and perpetrated widescale land theft over the past decade.

Colombia: Fear for safety/Death threats
PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 23/050/2006
13 December 2006

UA 333/06 Fear for safety/Death threats

COLOMBIA Marqueza Arrieta (f)
Domingo Tovar Arrieta (m) Director of the Human Rights Department of the
Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT), Colombian Trade Union Confederation

Marqueza Arrieta, whose son is a prominent trade unionist, has received death
threats from men believed to be paramilitaries. The real target is believed to
be her son, Domingo Tovar Arrieta, a leading trade union activist. His entire
family are thought to be in danger.

On 4 December Marqueza Arrieta was stopped in the street by two men on a
motorbike, who told her, la vamos a matar, est advertida ("we are going to
kill you, you have been warned"). She reported this to the fiscala (local
Attorney Generals office) in her home municipality of Corozal, Sucre
Department, in northern Colombia. This was apparently the latest and most
serious of a string of threats she has received over the last few years.

Domingo Tovar Arrieta is the Director of the Human Rights Department of the
Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT), Colombian Trade Union Confederation. He
has been threatened repeatedly since November 2003, after he and the CUT
supported a campaign calling on voters to abstain in a referendum the Colombian
government was promoting to gain popular support for wide-ranging social and
economic reforms, the government lost the referendum. He received an anonymous
call from a man who apparently told him, Pagar con su vida la prdida del
referendo ("You will pay with your life for the loss of the referendum") (see
Further Information on UA 89/03, AMR 23/070/2003, 6 November 2003).

On 5 September Domingo Tovar Arrieta sent a letter to the Colombian government
and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights complaining that since
November 2003 he had been under frequent surveillance, and he and his family
had received telephoned death threats.

On 11 March 2005, the CUT issued a press release which indicated that
army-backed paramilitary leaders in the Department of Crdoba had drawn up a
list of trade unionists to be killed, supposedly because they had been critical
of the government-sponsored process of supposed paramilitary demobilization.
According to the press release members of the XVII and XII Brigades of the
Colombian Army would be involved in carrying out the killings and that Domingo
Tovar was a key target.

Colombian right-wing President Alvaro Uribe and friend
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index555 Donating Member (166 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 04:17 PM
Response to Original message
4. if FARC and the paramilitarys were both eliminated.
Columbia might become a nice place to live.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 04:27 PM
Response to Original message
5. A look at the Colombian paramilitaries for anyone who's interested:
July 1, 2005

Colombia's Disappeared
Their Names, At Least

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Vlez opened negotiations with the country's right-wing paramilitaries almost as soon as he took office in August 2002. The paramilitaries -- currently grouped in a national federation called the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) -- have been responsible for the majority of murders and forced displacements of civilians in Colombia's tragic armed conflict for many years. Over 3 million Colombians have been uprooted from their homes and communities -- "displaced" -- since 1985, and tens of thousands more have been murdered. The paramilitaries' signature terror methods include slow torture, dismemberment, and the use of chainsaws. When guerrilla groups participated in the formation of new political parties in the 1980s as part of an attempt to resolve the decades-old war between the government and guerrillas, paramilitaries exterminated over 3,000 members of these new parties.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 05:13 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. As monstrous as these people are, they are AFRAID of their right-wing senators.
Scandal rocks Colombia's leadership
Evidence of links to death squads imperils progress
By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, Globe Staff | December 14, 2006

While those now facing charges are politicians and police, human rights groups have long said the military was the worst offender, using militias to do the "dirty work" in the war against leftist guerrillas and sympathizers. The Department of Administrative Security, Colombia's secret police agency, was tainted last year when evidence emerged that its leadership was infiltrated by paramilitaries.

If charges against security forces are proven in court, Isacson said, "It'll be really hard for Washington to justify continuing $600 million a year in military and police aid to Colombia."

Uribe's three-year peace process with paramilitaries, criticized by victims' groups as too lenient, was the centerpiece of his first term. Coupled with his crackdown on leftist guerrillas and improvements in security, it won him a landslide re election last May and continued US support.

But the confidence between the government and the paramilitaries that allowed for a peace accord appears to have crumbled. Last week, the paramilitary chiefs angrily charged that the government broke its word that they would not serve time in ordinary jails by moving them high-security prison, and declared an end to talks with Uribe's envoys.

Militia chiefs allege the government is trying to silence them from exposing their links to power brokers and are refusing to eat prison food, claiming it could be poisoned. They have implored an erstwhile nemesis -- Senator Gustavo Petro, a former leftist guerrilla -- to press authorities to guarantee protection for them and their families before they expose collaborators.

Camilo Gonzlez, president of the Institute for Development and Peace Studies in Bogot, compared the peace process to a Pandora's box that "has gotten out of the government's hands. . . . There's more interest in shutting {the paramilitary chiefs} up than in getting them to tell the truth," because any one of them could be a star witness against scores of powerful officials, he said.

(This snippet located on page #2 of the article)
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