Big new report: “After Plan Colombia” 2009: The decline of “Democratic Security?”
Dec 072009
Evo Morales was re-elected yesterday. (Photo source unknown, it came in our email.)
  • Recent articles in Time, the Wall Street Journal, and Reuters discuss Latin American disenchantment with the Obama administration following its handling of the coup in Honduras.
  • Citing poll data gathered in July and September, however, Gallup finds Latin Americans’ approval of U.S. leadership hitting a median of 51%, way up from 35% in 2008.
  • Evo Morales was overwhelmingly re-elected to another term on Sunday. The best overview we’ve seen is the 3-part series and wrap-up on the Democracy Center’s “Blog from Bolivia.”
  • The Government Accountability Office, the independent auditing arm of the U.S. Congress, issued a report [PDF] last week documenting very slow delivery of U.S. aid to Mexico under the “Mérida Initiative.” As the “Just the Facts” blog points out, the report bears some resemblance to a 2003 GAO report [PDF] documenting slow delivery of U.S. aid to Colombia under “Plan Colombia.”
  • The Fellowship of Reconciliation shares [PDF], and analyzes, the latest list of Colombian military and police units vetted and cleared to receive U.S. assistance.
  • Those involved in efforts to facilitate the next FARC unilateral hostage release in Colombia – which is to include Corporal Pablo Emilio Moncayo, whose father is a leading advocate of negotiations – say that they have entered the “logistical” phase. A good sign.
  • Two excellent discussions of Colombia’s agrarian “counter-reform,” and the central role of narcotrafficking and forced displacement, appear on the websites of Semana magazine and the CINEP think-tank.
  • Semana profiles the Colombian Army’s inspector-general, whose work on the “false positives” scandal is revealing strong divisions in the armed forces on the issue of human rights.
  • Colombia’s Supreme Court handed a 40-year jail term to one of the most prominent “para-politicians,” former Sucre governor and ambassador to Chile Salvador Arana. He was found guilty of helping form paramilitary groups and conspiring to murder the mayor of the town of El Roble, Eudaldo Díaz (the subject of a recent edition of the Contravía television program).
  • Sucre is one of several places where El Tiempo found that the relatives of convicted “para-politicians” are running to fill their loved ones’ former positions in the 2010 congressional elections.
  • Captured paramilitary leader and narcotrafficker “Don Mario” testified last week that Vicente Castaño, one of the most powerful paramilitary leaders long believed to be a fugitive, committed suicide in March 2007.
  • Citing multiple sources, Colombia’s INDEPAZ think-tank publishes a list [PDF] of 278 municipalities (counties, of which Colombia has about 1,100) that registered a presence of “new” or “emerging” paramilitary groups in 2009.
  • Hard-right Wall Street Journal columnist Mary Anastasia O’Grady is the latest conservative U.S. voice calling on Colombian President Álvaro Uribe not to run for another term in 2010.
  • As Hugo Chávez moves drastically to cut off trade with Colombia, Venezuela in October ceased to be Colombia’s number-two trading partner (after the United States). China now occupies Colombia’s number-two position.

3 Responses to “Friday links (Monday edition)”

  1. Stuart Says:

    New Evidence Links Dole Food Company to Paramilitary Assassinations in Colombia

    http://smallfarmersbigchange.coop/2009/12/07/new-evidence-links-dole-food-company-to-paramilitary-assassinations-in-colombia/

    “José Gregorio Mangones Lugo, alias “Carlos Tijeras,” who commanded the William Rivas Front of the AUC’s Northern Block, has provided a sworn statement which sheds new light on the nature of Dole’s relationship to the AUC paramilitaries. The William Rivas Front operated in the banana zone and surrounding areas in the Colombian province of Magdalena, until it demobilized in 2006. Mangones is currently in jail in Barranquilla, Colombia. Both Dole and Chiquita have for many years exported bananas from this area.

    In the affidavit, Mangones, who has already confessed to hundreds of murders as part of the “Justice and Peace” process in Colombia, asserts not only that both Dole and Chiquita regularly paid money to the AUC, but that they did so in return for certain “services,” including the murder of unionized banana workers and others who it was suspected could potentially interfere with the two companies’ profitable operations. Though Chiquita confessed to criminal charges that it violated U.S. anti-terrorism laws, the company has claimed that it was a victim of extortion. Dole, for its part, has denied ever making payments to the AUC.”

  2. Robert Says:

    CIP/Adam supports human rights in Colombia.

    But read the fine print of the text of the letter they are calling on folks to support:

    http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/625/t/8560/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=1651

    Is it supposed to comfort the millions of IDP victims and the murdered labor activists that their allies in the U.S. are after 11 years urging – still – that the military aid to their abusers be ’scaled down’?!

    This is the language from the text of the letter: “These priorities must also be reflected in the FY 2011 budget request. After eleven years, it is time to scale down assistance for Colombia’s military”.

    I am surprised that the Center for International Policy would promote more military aid instead of an ending of it after 11 years of this.

    Is something missing here from the solidarity movement of people with conscience?

  3. Tambopaxi Says:

    Democracy Center’s three part run-up to the elections was very informative. Pronto’s (Miguel Centella’s) analysis/wrap-up of the election results was more comprehensive and in-depth…

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