Colombia Solidarity Campaign

- Fighting for Peace with Justice -

c1.jpg

Guardian Comment is Free: It is not only Ch?vez who has links to guerrillas Print
Share
Media - Press
Tuesday, 03 June 2008 00:00

Uribe's dealings with rightwing paramilitaries remains an untold story, says Andy Higginbottom

 

 

Your report on the find by Colombian security forces diverts attention from the mounting evidence of President Álvaro Uribe's own links with rightwing paramilitary death squads (Laptop emails link Chávez to guerrillas, May 16).

The article states that Interpol "announced that a two-month forensic investigation of the laptops seized in a raid by Colombian security forces concluded they belonged to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc)".

None of the findings in Interpol's report "conclude" any such thing, as in conclude after an investigation. The two Interpol investigators are computer experts: neither speaks Spanish, and they were tasked solely with inspecting the kit. Interpol assumes that the equipment it inspected was indeed used by Farc, it did not investigate the circumstances of their seizure, when the Colombian army killed 25 guerrillas in its raid into Ecuador on March 1. Are the Colombian security services to be trusted?

It is they who presumably sourced the article's claim that: "Leaks from the trove of 16,000 files and photographs have suggested high-ranking Venezuelan officials plotted to help the Marxist group to obtain weapons and funding."

Your article is more remarkable for the story it did not tell, also involving computers. In the early hours of May 13 Uribe extradited 14 leaders of the paramilitary Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia from its custody to penitentiaries in the US. This manoeuvre leaves in tatters any justice component of the government's own "justice and peace" process. Despite admitting the murder of more than 4,000 people, the "para" leaders have been extradited on drugs charges, not human rights violations, for which they may never stand trial.

In the course of this sudden extradition, top paramilitary Salvatore Mancuso's computer and the hard drives used by four other leaders have disappeared from Itagüí maximum security prison. One drive was used by "Tuso Sierra", known to have business dealings with the former senator Mario Uribe, President Uribe's cousin and lifelong political ally.

With no less than 96 Uribe supporters in the country's congress being held in detention or under investigation for links with the paramilitaries, this latest manoeuvre adds to the suspicion that Uribe himself enjoys impunity at home and in the US. International press investigation of the allegations is thus vitally important, but still woefully absent.

Uribe and Chávez exemplify the two social models competing for the continent's future: neoconservatism versus "socialism of the 21st century". The Andean region is split. Like Uribe, Peru's Alan García is eager to strike a free trade and investment deal with the European Union, while Ecuador and Bolivia, like Venezuela, will not accept the EU's privatisation terms.

In Lima this month I joined 8,000 participants from indigenous peoples' groups, environmental organisations and social movements - at the "people's summit"; we rejected the primacy of corporate interests in the relationship between our two continents. We would all appreciate a better informed reporting of these inspirational developments rather than mere snapping at Chávez.

· Dr Andy Higginbottom is a senior lecturer at Kingston University and is secretary of the Colombia Solidarity Campaign This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Link to source

 

Featured



London Mining Network

london-mining.jpg

The London Mining Network (LMN) is an alliance of human rights, development and environmental groups. We pledge to expose the role of companies, funders and government in the promotion of unacceptable mining projects.


Plan Colombia - Cashing In on the Drug War Failure

Watch online - Plan Colombia

A 20-year "war on drugs" in Colombia has been paid for by the U.S. taxpayers. Still more and more drugs and narco-dollars are entering the U.S. every year. Is it a mere failure by Washington? Or is it a smokescreen to secure Colombia's oil & natural resources?

Until the final stone (Hasta la ?ltima piedra)

Watch online - Until the final stone
The documentary tells the history of a community of peasant farmers in Colombia, accosted by the bullets of the armed groups, who resist categorically, the pressure of violence.

The Red Dance (El Baile Rojo)

Watch online - The Red Dance (El Baile Rojo)
A documentary about a political party in Colombia called the Patriotic Union (la Union Patriotica). About 4000 of its members where killed in a genocide managed by politicians, paramilitaries and militaries in a plan cynically called "the red dance".

Lucha!

Watch online Lucha!
Lucha is a documentary about the students and the struggle for human rights in Colombia. Through the eyes of 5 students, the film explores what it means to be a refugee in one’s own country.

Mark Thomas on Coca Cola

Watch online Dispatches: Mark Thomas on Coca Cola

Political activist, comedian and journalist Mark Thomas travels to South America, India and the US to investigate the way in which the drink's suppliers operate, and uncovers evidence which could tarnish the reputation of the successful brand.

Territorio pacificado

Watch online - Territorio pacificado
A film about the peace community San José de Apartadó

Empire in the Andes- the War Against the Poor

Watch online - Empire in the Andes
The documentary takes a critical look at the strategies and effects of US foreign and economic policy in Latin America, especially in Colombia and Ecuador.