Follow-up on Soacha post Friday links
Oct 292009

We’ve grown accustomed to hearing Colombian government officials accuse the country’s human rights organizations of supporting guerrilla groups. While they never present proof, the notion that human rights defenders are “spokespeople for terrorism” of the left is a regular theme in speeches by President Álvaro Uribe and others. (See examples in the section that begins on page 33 of this report, recently produced by a coalition of Colombian groups.)

But here is an accusation we’ve never heard before. This 20-second video shows Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos, in a Colombian television interview granted last Thursday. Santos is responding to news that Colombia’s Prosecutor-General’s Office (Fiscalía) reopened an investigation into allegations that, ten years ago, he urged paramilitary leaders to set up a presence in Bogotá:

Santos seems to think that Colombia’s human rights NGOs are now in league not just with the guerrillas, but also with the right-wing paramilitaries – and that the judicial system should investigate.

Keep in mind that, in the Uribe government, the human rights portfolio is managed by the Vice President’s Office.

6 Responses to “NGOs in league with… the paramilitaries?”

  1. Camilo Wilson Says:

    Si no caen por tiros desde la izquierda, metanles bala desde la derecha. Hay que tumbarles a toda costa. ¿Es así, chicos, no? Or, as the Gringos would say, If you can’t nail ‘em from the Left, nail ‘em from the Right. But nail ‘em, by God.

  2. Randy Paul Says:

    Saltó el tiburón.

  3. Jaime Bustos Says:

    Too much weed + coke in his youth :mrgreen:

  4. Marcos Says:

    Thanks for proving something that had crossed through my mind a few days ago as part of a different discussion.

    The fact that this blog will not hesitate to use misleading translations if it suits certain purposes.

    This is just the latest example.

    The contrast between what Santos is actually saying and your misinterpretation couldn’t be clearer.

    The phrase:

    “Y que la justicia se preste pa’ eso”

    Doesn’t mean that Santos himself is actively asking the justice system to investigate that “association”, which was more figurative than literal in the context of what he’s saying.

    None of which matters to you people, but at least someone notices these things.

    Have a nice day and enjoy whatever benefits you receive from this “professional” presentation.



  5. Camilo Wilson Says:

    Tengo que responder al comentario del hermano Marcos. Lo voy a hacer en inglés, para que todos los lectores entiendan bien.

    Santos says two things: first, that the only two groups that are happy about the investigation (of him) are human-rights NGOs and paramilitaries. And then he adds that “this type of associations… and that the justice system should lend itself to this, has to leave us extremely uncomfortable.”

    I would agree with you, Marcos, that Santos doesn’t say in the clip that the justice system should investigate this. The offending phrase, however, is “this type of associations.” There is, in some marked degree, a lack of clarity in Santos’ words as regards what type of “associations” he refers to. And so the reader is left with little recourse but to infer that he associates NGOs and paramilitaries. I would hope that Santos, a journalist, writes more clearly than he speaks.

    As you know from my recent comments, Marcos, I dislike Uribe and his regime very much. I dislike the values that he and many of those who support him represent. Those values lead to a lot of human suffering. And many of our Latin American brothers and sisters dislike those values as well, and dislike Uribe. I’m not a radical, Marcos. I’m not a FARC or an ELN insurgent. I have friends and colleagues the world over who hew a conservative line. I like them, I respect them. But some of them defend that line with a certain sophistication. Your defense falls sadly short of that. I would hope that time might either moderate your position, or at least sharpen it so you can be more credible in your defense. Que me disculpe que le hable con tanta franqueza. Se entenderá que le hablo como hermano mayor.

  6. Paramilitaries Threaten Aida Quilcue and Social Organizations : Intercontinental Cry Says:

    [...] month before the death threat was issued by RATROJOS, in late October, Colombia’s Vice President hinted at an alliance between human rights groups and right-wing paramilitaries on live [...]

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