Joint statement on human-rights certification Colombia hearing Tuesday
Apr 202007
  • Colombian President Álvaro Uribe said yesterday that he was snubbed by Al Gore at an upcoming environmental conference in Miami.

    They called me this afternoon to tell me that Vice President Al Gore’s office, in the United States, had informed them that Vice President Gore would not attend the forum because he could not share it with the President of Colombia, after the debates in Colombia against the Uribe Vélez family and against the President.

    Earlier – disturbingly, and while sharing the stage with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet – Uribe blamed his recent image problems in Washington on "friends of the guerrillas."

    I am very worried that the guerrillas’ political friends, who live here constantly posing as political enemies of yankee imperialism, frequently travel to the United States to discredit the Colombian government, for two purposes: the purpose of keeping the Free Trade Agreement from being approved, and the purpose of suspending the aid.

    Uribe continued, on national television, by charging that the recent accusations come from "friends of the guerrillas, politicians who want the guerrillas to triumph in Colombia, but lack the authenticity to call for it openly."

  • The José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective, a prominent Colombian human-rights organization, has compiled the most comprehensive list to date of Colombian officials under arrest or under investigation for alleged paramilitary ties. Visit this page and download the Microsoft Word (.doc) files linked at the bottom. We will have an English summary available soon.
  • The Colombian government has given US$500,000 to the OAS Inter-American Human Rights Commission. This is being viewed by some as a show of Bogotá’s commitment to human rights, and by others as a naked attempt to influence the commission’s work. El Tiempo notes:

    The contribution of such a sum draws attention, since the annual budget of the IAHRC is between US$1.5 and $2 million. This means that Colombia’s donation equals almost one-third of this body’s annual budget. … The IAHRC is one of the international organizations that views the "Justice and Peace" law with a critical eye. And it is the tribunal that has in its hands transcendentally important cases of human-rights violations in Colombia. According to the Interior Ministry, there are 158 cases before the IAHRC that involve Colombia.

  • Bolivian President Evo Morales, visiting Venezuela on Sunday, had some strong things to say about U.S. aid. He complained that it is always conditioned on "the privatization of our natural resources, the privatization of state resources, or finally they ask us to fight terrorism … but there is no terrorism." He added, "The terrorists ask us to fight terrorism in order to give aid. For them, the terrorists are the social movements. How can we accept conditioned aid?"
  • Mostly off-topic, but here is an interesting map, based on a survey of several U.S. Wal-Mart stores, of where the discount retailer’s products come from. As you’d expect, China dominates. Colombia is one of only three South American countries to appear on the map at all.

6 Responses to “Friday morning links”

  1. rainercale Says:

    Also newsworthy: It seems an attempt was made on Senator Petro’s life either this morning or last night.

  2. Camilo Wilson Says:

    I recall a remark that a senior European diplomat made to me several years ago, during Uribe’s first term. The diplomat and a colleague had recently met with Uribe. When I asked the diplomat his impression of the meeting, he told me that despite his and his colleague’s efforts to engage the president on a range of topics, Uribe was unable to speak of anything but the FARC. The topic of the guerrilla consumed him. The diplomat thought the president’s inability to turn lose of this topic and speak of other things unhealthy, and wondered how it would affect his ability to govern.

    Uribe’s subsequent behavior cum numerous statements would seem to confirm the diplomat’s observation. One has reason to wonder how balanced Uribe is. Maybe his psychiatrist peace commissioner should conduct some therapy sessions with his chief. Or maybe he already is…

  3. jcg Says:

    rainercale; That would be indeed be very newsworthy, and obviously disturbing.

    You have a source for it? I’m only asking because I haven’t heard about it yet but would like to. This request will logically become irrelevant if the issue gets more attention throughout the day.

    Camilo Wilson: I will decline to engage in speculation and subsequent extrapolation about Uribe’s mental health, because at least I cannot presume to be a psychiatrist.

    Still, even if Uribe does prefer to speak about the guerrillas, sometimes in an obsessive manner, he can and does talk about other subjects as well. So I would doubt the claim of his being totally unable to speak about different manners.

    For example, yesterday night he did speak about a lot of other things during the televised press conference he hastily arranged, though it’s true that such references did still pop up. But they weren’t the main subject.

    Evidently though, I definitely do not agree with the blanket accusations Uribe continues to make, just as I have not agreed with others of that same type.

    While it’s far from impossible that some individuals, among all the different people that criticize or oppose him, might conceivably have connections with the guerrillas, that still doesn’t justify his words.

    They are clearly unnecessary and worrying personal attacks. In other words, the fact that there might be some individuals who are “friends of the guerrillas”, doesn’t justify the implications extended to many other people who do not fit that stereotype (as far as is publicly known).

    A lot of people, including Mr. Petro but also many others, have valid concerns that cannot be simply caricaturized as “the work of guerrillas” or their “friends”.

    I cannot accept that, just as I do not agree with blanket accusations and personal attacks made in the opposite direction.

  4. jcg Says:

    Here is it:

    Abril 20 de 2007

    Procurador advierte sobre supuesto plan para matar al senador Gustavo Petro

    “Se obtuvo declaración de un testigo sobre un posible atentado contra este senador y se le informó al gobierno nacional a través del ministerio de Defensa”, dijo el Procurador, Edgardo Maya.

    El funcionario señaló en entrevista con la emisora Radio Caracol que también se transmitieron esas informaciones a Petro, senador del Polo Democrático Alternativo.

    El martes en el Congreso, Petro acusó a Uribe de haber autorizado el funcionamiento de Convivir, de los cuales surgieron grupos paramilitares, cuando fue gobernador del departamento de Antioquia en los años 90.

    Petro además mostró una fotografía del hermano del presidente reunido en 1985 con un capo condenado por narcotráfico y señaló que una finca de la familia del mandatario era protegida por paramilitares que mataron allí a guerrilleros izquierdistas.

    http://www.eltiempo.com/justicia/2007-04-20/ARTICULO-WEB-NOTA_INTERIOR-3521541.html

  5. Randy Paul Says:

    Adam, you are too much too modest, so I will include a link here to your appearance a couple of weeks agon on the Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC. Well done!

  6. Adam Isacson Says:

    Not that modest. It’s linked from our “CIP Analyses” page.

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