2009/01/13 Alerts from Central and South America


Alert from Colombia:




1/12/09  - President George W. Bush is today presenting the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom to Alvaro Uribe Velez, the President of Colombia. We think this award is extremely inappropriate, and the selection of President Uribe debases the value of the award. During Alvaro Uribe’s Presidency the scope of paramilitary activities and of Colombian Army abuses has expanded greatly. Numerous members of Mr. Uribe’s party in Congress have been tied to the illegal paramilitaries, and his Presidential palace received a paramilitary murdered named Job and paramilitary representatives linked to the drug trade. The paramilitary activities, encouraged by members of Mr. Uribe’s party and by military officers collaborating with the paramilitaries, have displaced millions of peasants, indigenous peoples, and Afro-Colombians from their homelands, making Colombia the leading country in the world with over 4 million displaced persons, nearly 10% of the country’s population.  

President Uribe has characterized the human rights community as guerrilla apologists, a patent lie. Meanwhile, with corruption rampant in his government, Mr. Uribe arranged a bribe of a Congresswoman to vote for his re-election, without which he would not have had the votes needed for re-election. His anti-drug policy of crop spraying with Roundup Ultra has, meanwhile, decimated many peasants’ food crops while hardly denting coca production. And labor leaders continue to be murdered in numbers greater than anywhere else in the world.

If there is to be an award of the Medal of Freedom to Colombia it should go, not to the President who has done so much to wreck his country, but to the communities who have organized in peaceful resistance to the Uribe policies--- such as the sister communities which Colombia Support Network chapters have been privileged to work with, such as the Peace Community of San Josesito de Apartado, the Movimiento Campesina de Cajibio, the Embera-Chami community in the Putumayo, the Movimiento Ciudadano de Tiquisio, the Constituent Assembly of Mogotes, and the Alto Naya community. These grass-roots community organizations, which have suffered greatly from paramilitary and military violence, it has been our privilege to promote and support.  

Send this statement to your Members of Congress . Please go to our website and see CSN’s Action Center: www.colombiasupport.net

Send this to : www.change.gov and to Obama’s transition team

 Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI  53701-1505
phone:  (608) 257-8753
fax:  (608) 255-6621
e-mail:  csn@igc.org



Alert from El Salvador:


January is a meaningful month for both Organizers in United States and in El Salvador.  Just two days before President Barack Obama is inaugurated into the White House in the United States, municipal elections will be occurring throughout all the communities in El Salvador.  This Sunday Salvadorians will vote for Mayors and Deputies to represent them in the National Legislature and in their communities.  This municipal election will be the divided, for the first time since the Peace Accords were signed in 1992, from the presidential election that will occur in March 09.


Salvadorians continue to celebrate with you even after you had cast your vote and returned to the hard work of community organizing.  Many people will be glued to their radios and television to listen to the exciting events of next week and the next four years.  As a new party steps into power in the Oval Office, please consider the hopes of the organized communities in El Salvador wanting the same oppurtunity.


You have the power to stop fear tactics that a change in power in the El Salvadorian Government will affect the immigration policy of the United States.  Please review the attached letter and speak with your organization about enabling people in El Salvador to cast votes in a free and fair election for the candidate of their choosing


There is still time to sign on to this letter.  Please review the attached letter and respond to burke@cispes.org  by January 21, if you are interested in signing on or have any questions about the letter itself.


In Solidarity


Jenny Isaacs 


US-El Salvador Sister Cities
P.O. Box 2543
Plattsburgh, NY 12901
(800) 532-1993, ext.103
sistercities@gmail.com <mailto:sistercities@gmail.com