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Colombia: Thousands Come Out for Anti-Paramilitary March (March 6)

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:01 PM
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Colombia: Thousands Come Out for Anti-Paramilitary March (March 6)

Colombia: Thousands Come Out for Anti-Paramilitary March
Written by Helda Martnez*
Friday, 07 March 2008

Bogota, Colombia (IPS) - "I will march against the members of the security forces who have betrayed the honour of the military and the police, and have betrayed their fatherland, by selling themselves out to paramilitaries and drug traffickers to serve their interests," said Colombian Senator Juan Manuel Galn in a speech given at the spot where his father was assassinated in 1989.

He was addressing hundreds of protesters on their way to take part in Thursdays demonstration that paid "homage to the victims of paramilitarism, parapolitics and crimes of the state" in more than 20 Colombian cities and another 100 around the world.

The peaceful nationwide demonstration took place without incident. But it basically went unreported by the mainstream media, by contrast with the heavy international coverage of the global Feb. 4 march against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas.

Between 1982 and 2005, nearly four million people were forcibly displaced and lost their land, and at least 15,000 people fell victim to forced disappearance, according to a local human rights group, Justice and Peace.

The far-right paramilitary militias, which in the 1980s joined the security forces in their fight against the leftist rebel groups that emerged in 1964, have been blamed by the United Nations for the lions share of the human rights crimes committed in the armed conflict.

Of the 15,000 victims of forced disappearance reported between 1982 and 2005, at least 3,000 were buried in common graves, some of which have begun to be exhumed. It is impossible to know how many were thrown into rivers, a common paramilitary practice.

"Disappearance is a monstrous crime," former Bogot mayor Antanas Mockus told IPS. "That is whywe started this march at the Magdalena river," he said, after accompanying hundreds of mainly indigenous and black people displaced by the war on the three-day march from Flandes.

"We were inspired by an audiovisual testimony by the artist Clemencia Echeverri, who recently showed, in a sophisticated Bogot art gallery, a night-time recording taken from the two shores of the Cauca river" in the northwestern province of Antioquia, said Mockus. (Antioquia is a paramilitary stronghold.)

"On the recording, you hear the sound of the water flowing, and above that you hear the screams of peasant farmers and chainsaws running, and you can see people with sticks, fishing pieces of clothing out of the river," he added.

According to testimony from numerous survivors and members of paramilitary groups, the latter frequently used chainsaws to cut their victims up alive.

"The paramilitaries have perpetrated more than 3,500 massacres and stolen more than six million hectares of land, and since their demobilisation they have killed 600 people a year. They also achieved control over 35 percent of the seats in Congress," said the Movement of Victims of Crimes of the State (MOVICE), which organised Thursdays nationwide march.

Guillermo Cano, director of the El Espectador newspaper, was murdered in 1986 after denouncing, in his column, the activities of "paramilitarism and drug trafficking carried out under the complicit silence of the government."

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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 02:53 PM
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1. And nothing in the American corporate media.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-10-08 11:39 AM
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2. Completely typical, isn't it? How many Americans even know what they're getting is censored?
Only people with active minds would ever suspect there may be something more than what they are being told.

No news is NOT good news.

What's hard to take is the pompous self-righteous attitude the most completely ignorant ones among them develope toward other countries, when they have no clue it has already happened here long ago. We've been conned, duped, tricked, fooled.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-10-08 11:40 AM
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3. Anti-Uribe Protests in Colombia and the World
March 10, 2008

Remembering March 6
Anti-Uribe Protests in Colombia and the World

A significant rise in international opposition toward the militaristic policies of the Colombian state, under President lvaro Uribe Vlez and Vice-President Francisco Santos Caldern (2002-2010), has been realized over the past week. Much of this opposition has been centred on an illegal military campaign carried out under the direction of Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos, which saw Colombian forces deploy an air and ground assault against members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-Peoples Army (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejrcito del Pueblo, FARC-EP) shortly after midnight on March 1, 2008. The illegal clandestine mission, conducted by a special forces wing of the Colombia military via intelligence support from the United States, resulted in the deaths of Ral Reyes, Julian Conrado, and twenty other combatants associated with the FARC-EP. Quickly, these events led both the President of Ecuador Rafael Correa and Venezuelan President Hugo Chvez to denounce the Colombian states blatant violation of international law and agreements established through the Organization of the American States (OAS) and the Andean Parliament, which prevent a nations sovereign territory from being violated.

Virtually every country in Central and South America, including the Caribbean, has denounced the Colombian states aggressions. During meetings of the OAS, state officials and representatives from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, and Nicaragua, condemned the assault. Critics of Venezuelas Bolivarian Revolution, such as Peruvian President Alan Garcia and Paraguays President Nicanor Duarte, have put aside their ideological positions and agreed that the Uribe and Santos administration not only overstepped their boundaries but must effectively guarantee that such a flagrant violation of international law cannot, for the good of the region, transpire again. Unsurprisingly, one of the only backers of the illegal military incursion was the US vis--vis President George W. Bush and J. Robert Manzanares, the United States representative during the OAS meetings.

While a consistent distain toward the Colombian state continues to resonate throughout various Latin American countries so too has a considerable opposition been witnessed within Colombia itself. A domestic condemnation appeared this past Thursday. Colombians from all walks of like not only protested the illegal incursion of their countrys forces on Ecuadors territory but denounced human rights abuses against sectors of the Colombian populace at the hands of the Uribe and Santos administration and their links to the Colombian paramilitary.

In the past year, just under 80 governors, mayors, and Congressional politicians have been alleged or found guilty of having direct connections, meetings, and/or contracts with the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, AUC), which led to oppositional political opponents being targeted for assassination, trade-unionists threatened, and various community organizers disappeared. Included in this list is Colombias Vice-President Francisco Santos Caldern, his cousin Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos, President Uribes brother Santiago and their cousin former-Senator Mario Uribe.

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