The government of Alvaro Uribe has rallied Colombians to take part in a large march on Monday, February 4th under the slogan “No more kidnappings, no more lies, no more deaths, no more FARC”.
For immediate diffusion
Montreal, February 1st, 2008. The government of Alvaro Uribe has rallied Colombians to take part in a large march on Monday, February 4th under the slogan “No more kidnappings, no more lies, no more deaths, no more FARC”.
With groups in Montreal and elsewhere responding to this call, we must manifest before the public our indignation at this manipulation of public opinion which distances any negotiation attempts that would permit an endto this armed conflict. The Colombian government seeks to obscure the true face of the conflict: 75% of human rights violations in Colombia are committed by the Uribe administration and the paramilitary forces which are linked to the state. (Source: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch)
This call to mobilization against the FARC discredits the will of the guerrillas to negotiate a political solution to the current conflict since it comes at a moment when the spokespeople of the guerrillas, under the lead of Venezuelan Hugo Chavez, has permitted the liberation of two important hostages, Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez. Instead of getting involved in the negotiations, the Uribe government manipulates the pain of the hostages’ families to nourish a vengeful hatred which reduces the possibilities of a negotiated end to the conflict and negates the responsibility of the state for crimes against humanity.
For if it is true that the FARC violate International Human Rights by holding civilians hostage, the Uribe administration maintains a regime of terror against any political opposition, not only against guerrilla groups, but also the civilian population, specifically targeting union organizations (Colombia has the highest rate of assassinations of unionists in the world), student organizations, peasants, indigenous, etc. These groups are victims of massacres, displacements and forced exile (3.5 million displaced in Colombia), disappearances, extra-judicial executions, arbitrary detentions and torture committed by paramilitary troops, national Army and the police.
This Monday, February 4th, in Montreal and in Sherbrooke, Quebecois and Colombians will be out to counter this war tactic of the Colombian government. “A military solution to the conflict and show of force have demonstrated their incapacity to put an end to the war that has existed for more than 40 years”, explains Antonio Suarez, Colombian refugee in Quebec. “Instead of promoting hostilities, the government must begin to recognize the existence of the political conflict and not negate it’s reality by reducing it to terrorist acts. We need a negotiated political solution to the conflict, because without it the circle of violence will continue beheading our lives and our hopes for peace.”
- 30 -Project Accompaniment and Solidarity Colombia, PASC, Montreal www.pasc.ca Committee for Human Rights in Latin America, CDHAL, Montreal www.cdhal.org Committee of Solidarity with the Colombian Student Movement of the Autonomous Youth Group, RAJ, Sherbrooke
Media contact: former Colombian human rights defender: Montreal: Leila Celis, PASC (514) 966-8421 Sherbrooke: Mauricio Correa, Committee of Solidarity with the Colombian Student Movement of the Autonomous Youth Group (819) 580-3103