US Certifies Human Rights Record of Colombia, Freeing $55 Million
I thought this might be an April Fools joke considering the already huge, but still developing paramilitary-military scandal that is rocking Uribe's Government to the core (see below). But since only a half dozen US newspapers have even reported on the story, I should not expect this usually routine US announcement to raise any eyebrows among any 'normal' people.
If police and military working with terrorist groups to commit war crimes is not bad enough to warrant some pause in the billions we send their police and military, we have another (again unreported) human tragedy unfolding in the Narino region, where thousands of civillians are displaced and without water - right now. The UNHCR has had to issue a plea to the Colombian Govt to get their act together.
If you want to read an interesting piece of artful bureaucratic twisting and concealing, check out the actual 53 page State Dept. report that officially certifies the Colombians as 'all clear' on the human rights front. I pity the poor folks in Foggy Bottom that had to write this up.
The report has tedious detail, listing out the 178 Admirals, Colonels and whoever else that was removed from the armed forces in 2006. But there is not a single word on the extremely serious allegations against the Chief of the Armed Forces (Gen. Montoya) that appeared on the front page of the LA Times 2 weeks ago, based on a leaked CIA report. about Not a word about the document in US posession that says that the fine General signed his name to a plan where the military would stand watch and protect while a terrorist group murdered and 'disappeared' nearly 100 slum dwelling civillians.
As for the 2,000 (99%) of Colombian labor union leaders who've been killed with impunity, don't fret - the US Government did not forget you. They certified that your Government "has taken action" to find your killers - though actual progress is another matter, as the weak language suggests.
If I need to spell it out the point again, just imagine if Colombia's President Uribe was one of those 'bad-left' Latin socialists, or that the paramilitary 'terrorists' were not right-wingers. State would not be the Department charged with coming up with bullcrap to justify terrible US policy, it would be Defence possibly getting to implement Bush's supposed Afghanistan doctrine.
PS - Sorry for the tone. I get angry when the press writes hundreds of stories about every Chavez or Castro hiccup, but next to nothing about the most serious human rights abuser in the hemisphere - a country that our Government makes excuses for and recieves billions of our taxpayer money.
Published: Tuesday April 10, 2007
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has concluded that Colombia is fulfilling US requirements on human rights and can receive 55 million dollars in military aid, her spokesman said Tuesday.
Rice certified to Congress on April 4 that Colombia's government and armed forces "are meeting statutory criteria related to human rights and severing ties to paramilitary groups," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.
The release of the 55 million dollars, budgeted in fiscal year 2006, depended on Rice's ruling.
Colombia is Washington's top ally in South America, receiving four billion dollars in US aid since 2000 through Plan Colombia to combat drug trafficking and left-wing rebels that have battled the government for four decades.