Volume 21, Number 5
March of the Dead
Direct Action Changes
Winter Soldier Rules of Engagement
Gabriel San román
If the Left Debated the Campaign Issues
Radar, Star Wars, & the Czech Republic
A Dutch Letterbox
"Good News," Iraq & Beyond, Part II
Roberto j. González
Karen Nadder Lago
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In early March there was a significant rise in international opposition to the militaristic policies of Colombia under President Álvaro Uribe Vélez and Vice-President Francisco Santos Calderón (2002-2010).
Much of this opposition has been centered on an illegal military campaign carried out under the direction of Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos, in which Colombian forces deployed an air and ground assault into neighboring Ecuador against members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo, FARC-EP) shortly after midnight on March 1. The illegal clandestine mission, conducted by a special forces wing of the military via intelligence support from the United States, resulted in the deaths of Raúl Reyes, Julian Conrado, and 20 other combatants associated with FARC-EP. Quickly, these events led both the president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to denounce the Colombia's blatant violation of international law and agreements established through the Organization of the American States (OAS) and the Andean Parliament, which prohibit a nation's sovereign territory from being violated.
Virtually every country in Central and South America, including the Caribbean, denounced the Colombian aggression. During meetings of the OAS, state officials and representatives from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, and Nicaragua condemned the assault. Even critics of Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution, such as Peruvian President Alan Garcia and Paraguay's President Nicanor Duarte, have put aside their ideological positions and agreed that the Uribe and Santos administration not only overstepped their boundaries, but must effectively guarantee that such a flagrant violation of international law cannot, for the good of the region, transpire again. Unsurprisingly, one of the only backers of the illegal military incursion was President George W. Bush and J. Robert Manzanares, the U.S. repre- sentative during the OAS meetings.
While a consistent disdain toward the Colombian state continues to resonate throughout various Latin American countries, so, too, has opposition within Colombia. On Thursday, March 6, Colombians from all walks of life not only protested the illegal incursion of their country's forces on Ecuador's territory, but denounced human rights abuses against sectors of the Colombian populace by the Uribe and Santos administration and their links to the Colombian paramilitary.
Promoted by the National Movement of Victims of State-Sponsored Crimes (Movimiento Nacional de Víctimas de Crímenes de Estado or MOVICE) and various social justice-based organizations, March 6 was a day of remembrance, homage, and protest. For months, human rights groups, sectors of organized labor, and politically conscious civilians worked together to create a domestic and international response to the atrocities. Journalist Luis Alberto Matta pointed out that 270 cities, medium sized towns, and large villages within Colombia had connected with each other. Outside Colombia, an estimated 140 cities in 23 countries across Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and Latin America coordinated events outside Colombian embassies in conjunction with protest.
In the past year just under 80 governors, mayors, and Congressional politicians have been alleged or found guilty of having direct connections, meetings, and/or contracts with the paramilitary group United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (Auto- defensas Unidas de Colombia or AUC). The AUC has targeted, threatened, and disappeared trade unionists and various community organizers. Included in the list of those linked to the AUC are Vice President Francisco Santos Calderón, his cousin Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos, President Uribe's brother Santiago, and their cousin, former Senator Mario Uribe.
While the March 6 demonstration was a great success, the state tried relentlessly to dissuade social and political participation through direct coercion and psychological intimidation. Earlier, President Uribe's top political adviser, José Obdulio Gaviria, had proclaimed the events as nothing more than a rally coordinated through FARC-EP.
Coinciding with the state's threats, Colombia's popular media outlets, primarily El Tiempo, made a spectacle of the slaughtered FARC-EP Comandante Raúl Reyes. These media groups paraded photographs of the bullet ridden and mutilated corpse of Reyes on an hourly basis. Such propaganda was employed as a tool to psychologically intimidate and deter activists from protesting. Paramilitaries within the southwestern department of Nariño threatened to attack any organization or person associated with the activities.
Days prior to the demonstration, in the face of threats and intimidation, communities began their procession to the Plaza de Bolívar. Helda Martínez of Inter Press Service documented how roughly 700 people of various ethnicities and racial backgrounds—all of whom have been displaced by state and paramilitary forces joined together at a bridge linking Flandes, Tolima, and Girardot, Cundin amarca. The collective then dropped thousands of flowers of all colors into the Magdalena River, paying homage to those murdered.
As the sun fell on March 6, it was clear that people in Colombia want peace with social justice. Ironically, as hundreds of thousands marched for an end to the civil war, the Colombian state responded as the sun rose the next day with the announcement that it had further crushed any hopes for peace with the slaying of Ivan Ríos, the second member of the FARC-EP's Secretariat to be killed in less than one week.
James J. Brittain is an assistant professor of sociology at Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada and co-founder of the Atlantic Canada-Colombia Research Group.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; email@example.com; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; email@example.com; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: email@example.com; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.