PLATFORM: 38,000 People Murdered Last Year as Politicians Turn a Blind Eye Colombian Government More Deadly Than FARC

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), June 17, 2002 | Go to article overview

PLATFORM: 38,000 People Murdered Last Year as Politicians Turn a Blind Eye Colombian Government More Deadly Than FARC


Byline: Sean Smyth

Sean Smyth of the Colombian Solidarity Campaign in Belfast says local politicians who are critical of the IRA's activities in Colombia are themselves guilty of turning a blind eye to serious human rights abuses in the country

THE DUP, UUP, SDLP, and others are again jumping on the Colombian band wagon to denounce Sinn Fein and the IRA over allegations that the IRA trained Marxist FARC guerrillas.

These politicians are only too happy to rant and rave while turning a blind eye to the truth of the USA's Plan Colombia and their enforcement of a neo-Liberal imperialistic agenda on the Colombian people.

On average, 30,000 people have been murdered in Colombia each year since 1985.

Last year the death rate increased to 38,000, of which, 17 per cent were killed because of the ongoing war between the government and the FARC.

Right wing paramilitaries supported by the government and the USA murdered 197 trade unionists last year. In the first quarter of this year, 85 trade unionists have been assassinated. Their crime was organising the workers to defend their jobs from privatisation.

On June 5, 2002, in the Municipality of Rionegro, Department of Antioquia, Jhon Jairo Alvarez Cardona, a member of the National Executive Committee of the Textile Industry Workers of Colombia, was the victim of an attack when he was with his family.

He was seriously injured and taken to the regional hospital of San Juan de Dios, where he died.

On June 4, in the city of Medellin, a member of the Teachers' Association, Isanas Gomez Jaramillo, was found murdered and, in the city of Santa Martha, Eduardo Vasquez Jiminez was assassinated.

The murder of the electricity workers union treasurer took place at midday in the market place where men travelling on a motorbike shot him three times in the head.

On June 1, in the municipality of Tuquerres, Jairo Jamas was assassinated by a group of men who identified themselves as the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC). He was a member of the Tuquerres branch of the electricity workers union.

He was in the company of his brother, Alvaro Rafael Tukamoto, and his friend, Claribeth Urrea Mendez, who were also killed. …

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