Monday, October 29, 5:00 PM
Main Green near Salomon Hall
On Monday, October 29 th, the Colombian Ambassador to the US, Carolina Barco Isakson, is speaking at Brown University. Members of the Brown community are planning a picket demonstration to protest the Colombian government’s brutal repression of unarmed social movements; pursuit of a colonial "free trade" agreement with the US; repeated refusal to bring government-controlled death squads to justice; and the US government’s uncritical support of these policies.
According to Human Rights Watch, Colombia represents the most severe human rights and humanitarian crisis in the Western Hemisphere. It also has the world’s second-largest internally displaced population (after Sudan) and is the world’s most dangerous place for trade unionists; 2,245 have been assassinated in the last fifteen years, according to Amnesty International. For years, human rights organizations have reported that the Colombian military and the death squads it controls are responsible for the overwhelming majority of human rights abuses in the country, as was the case with the US-sponsored dirty wars in Central America in the 1980s.
On top of all this, Colombia is Washington’s closest ally in Latin America. Some $5 billion worth of US aid has been funneled to Bogota in the last five years, and 80% of it has been spent on the military until recently. Only Israel and Egypt receive more US military aid than Colombia.
Despite the Colombian government’s unrelenting efforts to crush them, Colombian journalists and social movements have created a public relations disaster for the administration of President Alvaro Uribe by exposing links between politicians and drug-running death squads. Meanwhile, a groundswell of solidarity activism in the US is threatening to force Congress to cut off aid to the heinous Colombian military.
We’re calling for a protest outside Ambassador Barco’s talk to add to this growing pressure. Conscientious Americans need to stand in solidarity with Colombian activists as they risk their lives for justice. Ambassador Barco must answer for her government’s well-documented atrocities.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
On human rights in Colombia: