Colombia, off of Obama’s itinerary Booo-ring
Apr 032009

Sometimes, reading translated transcripts isn’t enough.

Here is a video, with English subtitles, of some of Colombian President Álvaro Uribe’s more heated attacks on journalists and peace activists in Colombia. In many cases, the president accuses his targets, without evidence, of supporting the FARC guerrillas. The impact on press freedom of such words, from a popular president speaking on nationally broadcast television, is immeasurably chilling.

These clips come from a somewhat longer video prepared by several non-governmental Colombian human rights groups for presentation at the March 23 hearings of the OAS Inter-American Human Rights Commission. That video – in Spanish, with clips of interviews with experts and activists – is here.

Alvaro Uribe and Freedom of Expression from Adam Isacson on Vimeo.

18 Responses to “Freedom of Expression (video)”

  1. Chris Says:,8599,1889021,00.html

  2. Camilla Says:

    I think he’s kind of cute when he gets all made and Jesuitical and schoolmasterlike. Thanks for the translations.

  3. Marcos Says:

    !Claro, es que sin las palabras de Uribe aquí nunca habría periodistas en peligro!

    !Y más aún, aquí nadie más acusa a nadie sin pruebas, ni mucho menos los pone en peligro, si no es Uribe!

    ¿Qué puede ocurrir también lo contraro? Imposible, eso no existe en el mundo del señor Isacson.

    ¡Uribe tiene la culpa de todo y quien no esté de acuerdo es un narcoparamilitar que le gusta matar periodistas!

    Vaya equilibrio y detalle, pero bueno…es claro y lo pongo en Inglés para que lo tengan aún más claro: this website drops lower and lower into the pits of polarization and foaming at the mouth with anti-uribism every time.

    You must want to get praise from Chavez or I guess that must score you points with Obama’s radical friends in high places, but loses you points with people who aren’t willing to swallow this trash.

    Y si decir eso me hace paramilitar, pues qué serán ustedes…

  4. Camilla Says:

    Yeah, it’s worth noting that for the last two years running, NOT ONE journalist has been killed under Uribe’s presidency for his work, unlike all those other paradisical times when ‘humanitarian accords’ and ‘peace processes’ and appeasement were going on.

  5. Will Says:

    Marcos and Camilla,

    What is your problem? The idea of freedom of press is not simply violated if journalists are killed. As the Adam pointed out the problem is creating an environment in which responsible reporting is labeled traitorous, as against the country by the country’s popular president. Can you not see that such actions by Uribe might prevent or undermine the continuation of independent journalism? Are you aware that a free press is especially important in an environment in which the presidency and the congress are held by the same political forces like in Colombia? Finally, while a journalist has not been killed (and I would like to see your source Camilla), they have been killed in the recent past and that fact alone is cause for concern when it is coupled with Uribe’s rhetoric. Marcos your comments do not make you a lover of paramilitarism, just someone a bit confused about the central elements of democratic systems.



  6. Camilla Says:

    Will: Having spent time with the Colombian press, let me assure you these Uribe statements won’t spook them in the slightest. They will save this video of Uribe scolding them and then play it back for laughs. Those guys don’t intimidate easily, and especially not from Uribe.

    Keep an eye on their coverage to see if it has any impact. If anything, it will get sharper as a result of this.

  7. Jaime Bsutos Says:

    Camilla, why don’t you wipe your lips: they are full of it! lol

  8. MZR Says:

    Camilla, what you have said is simply untrue. I think what Camilla might be referring to is a report from the Foundation for Liberty and Freedom of the Press (FLIP), who argued that no journalists were killed in Colombia in 2008 (the first time, according to FLIP, that this has happened in 23 years). Notwithstanding the progress this represents, it’s a million miles away from claiming that no journalists have been killed under Uribe’s administration for “his [or, indeed, her] work”. The organisation also notes that: “Colombian journalists are still regularly threatened by terrorist organisations. FLIP reports that death threats are still a highly effective way of preventing independent reporting.”

  9. MZR Says:

    Also, this positive trend of “0 murders” may have arguably been reversed in 2009. Colombian journalist, Maria Eugenia Guerrero, was found murdered on the outskirts of the Ecuadorian city of Tulcannear earlier this month.

    According to the Latin American Herald Tribune:

    “[Guerrero] who was working for the Integracion Estereo station in the southern Colombian city of Ipiales, was brutally assaulted and killed and her body was left in a remote area outside Tulcan… The body, according to the forensics report, showed signs of sexual assault and it is presumed the journalist was killed in a violent manner because a portion of her skull was not found and had presumably been detached as a result of a severe blow.”

  10. Camilla Says:

    Ecuador is not Colombia, and woe be to Colombia if it should take action against Ecuador within Ecuadorean territory. Guerrero’s death should properly be placed in the Ecuador column on journalist deaths. Ecuador has warned there will be no Colombian intervention to protect its own nationals, so the flip side is that Ecuador was responsible for this journalist’s safety and did nothing.

  11. JBosque Says:

    A President, in a “democracy”, should not be making accusations toward the press in this manner just because he may disagree with the presented facts. Its highly irresponsible.

  12. JBosque Says:

    You don’t hear US Presidents whining about corruption or wrongdoing being brought to light by the ever so vicious US press. You don’t hear US Presidents calling journalists terrorists or even alluding to such nonsense.

    The journalists bringing to light wrong acts are not the ones embarrassing Colombia, the people who commit the wrong acts are.

    That’s the difference between a real democracy as opposed to a pseudo-democracy.

  13. Just Foreign Policy News » Blog Archive » JFP News, 4/7: Syria Hails “Sea Change” in U.S. policy Says:

    [...] Uribe and Freedom of Expression Adam Isacson, Center for International Policy, April 3, 2007 Sometimes, reading translated transcripts isn’t enough. Here is a video, with English [...]

  14. MZR Says:

    Notice, Camilla, how I used the words “may have arguably been reversed”. Nonetheless, I notice that you don’t retract your previous statement, namely that “NOT ONE journalist has been killed under Uribe’s presidency”. A very strong claim. And totally false.

  15. Camilla Says:

    No, totally true, MZR. Not one journalist was killed last year in Colombia. I will get you some proof from the human rights types when I get a chance, there have been some reports out.

    JBosque: Pick up a newspaper. The Obamatons have taken to attacking Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santelli, with the White House press secretary making creepy references to where Santelli lives. He’s called other journalists I know and said the same, it’s pure Chicago mafiya style thuggery threats. It has started.

  16. MZR Says:

    Camilla: “No, totally true, MZR. Not one journalist was killed last year in Colombia. I will get you some proof from the human rights types when I get a chance, there have been some reports out.”

    Camilla, you have changed your argument! Plus, I have already provided the evidence with the links above from the relevant NGO/news report that no journalists were reported to have been killed in 2008 in Colombia, so I don’t quite understand why you have volunteered to provide this again.

    Camilla, I’ve already pointed out that LAST YEAR no journalists were reported to have been killed in Colombia. But, Camilla, your original post argues that no journalists have been killed during the past two years “running”. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. You didn’t once mention 2008, “last year”, etc. Indeed, your exact words were:

    “Yeah, it’s worth noting that for the last two years running, NOT ONE journalist has been killed under Uribe’s presidency for his work”.

    Two years running would indeed be a huge step in the right direction for Colombia. But, we still have a long way to go in 2009 and 2008 certainly wasn’t the “norm”.

  17. Eyes upon the eyes « Todos Somos Geckos Says:

    [...] in mind. So many challenges even to mundane journalism. Here’s some video with subtitles by CIP featuring “footage of some of Colombian President Álvaro Uribe’s recent attacks on [...]

  18. Rosenstolz Says:

    I suggest you to produce a “best of Uribe, Chavez, Evo, Ortega, Correa…” It’s really frightening what is happening on this continent.

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