Friday Links The Bush administration’s last Latin America aid request
Feb 042008

The State Department’s website this week offers an opportunity to submit questions online to William Brownfield, the U.S. ambassador to Colombia. Answers will appear on Friday. Let’s not toss him softballs!

Meanwhile the State Department will hold a briefing at 3:00 today to present the Bush administration’s 2009 aid request. We’re already getting calls and emails about what this request might mean for Colombia and Latin America; the answer is that we just won’t know until those numbers are made public here, which should be at around 3:00, though we’ll keep checking back all day.

3 Responses to “Stump the ambassador”

  1. C Says:

    Today (February 4) was seemingly important on the ground in Bogotá as thousands marched against terrorism and kidnappings. The march was aimed at the FARC despite the employment of similar tactics by the government related AUC paramilitary group and the Colombian National Army itself. After spats between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and President Uribe over humanitarian exchanges with the FARC, some point to signs in Bogotá that this was an Uribista coordinated march including numerous costly billboards advertising the march. Students at the Universidad Nacional who are generally the first to march for any and every cause protested the march, some handing out leaflets saying “Un estado terrorista convocando una marcha contra el terrorismo…” (A terrorist state calling for a march against terrorism) and held informal talks in public areas of the university in favor of humanitarian exchange.

  2. jcg Says:

    This is evidently quite off-topic, so for that I apologize because I submitted a question and would like to hear more about the actual subject of the original post, but in any case…

    C: You should know that the march was specifically and quite openly targetted against FARC from the very beginning, not just against kidnappings and terrorism in generic terms. Even before any billboards were paid or set up.

    As for the “similar tactics”, that’s very true in one sense but partially up for debate in another.

    But still, the fact is there have been and there will continue to be marches opposing or criticizing the government, the paramilitaries and other abuses exclusively.

    If it’s perfectly possible to have such protests, one march exclusively against FARC is hardly out of the question. It’s just a valid as other previous protest movements.

    And it’s far from a march “coordinated by Uribists” exclusively either, even though it’s logical that they would participate in it. But it goes so far beyond that it’s almost unnecessary to point it out.

    As for La Nacional students marching in favor of “every cause”, that’s mostly speculation on your part. Not to mention that I wouldn’t speak for the entire university so easily as you do. A lot of people there are quite leftwing inclined, which tends to lead them to completely valid anti-government positions, but there are others who have different opinions as well, and can even agree with the government.

  3. jcg Says:

    I was forgetting something as well…being against FARC doesn’t prevent anyone from being in favor of a humanitarian exchange, even if it doesn’t automatically imply it.

    I marched against FARC, but I’m quite in favor of such an exchange, and saw banners proclaiming similar sentiments.

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