Posts Tagged ‘Alvaro Uribe’

USA: Bekanntem Journalisten aus Kolumbien Einreise-Visa verweigert

Mittwoch, Juli 14th, 2010

“Colombian journalist denied a U.S. visa

By Mark Schapiro

One of Colombia’s foremost journalists, Hollman Morris, has been denied a visa by the U.S. State Department to pursue a year as a Nieman fellow at Harvard University.

The visa denial comes after several years of highly critical reporting on the ties of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe’s administration to right-wing paramilitary squads. He and his brother, Juan Pablo, a producer, created a television show, Contravia, which airs on Bogota’s independent television channel. CIR interviewed them last year by Skype from their studio in Bogota about their reporting, in which over the course of several years they revealed the largely untold story of massacres and human rights abuses by the paramilitaries. Partly as a result of Morris’ reporting, one-third of the members of Colombia’s Congress has been under investigation for having financial ties to the paramilitary units.

In February, Morris discovered he was under surveillance by Colombia’s intelligence service, the DAS—a revelation that spurred an independent prosecutor’s ongoing investigation. The unearthed DAS documents have been collected and published by the Center for International Policy. At least a dozen DAS agents are now awaiting trial for the illegal surveillance, according to the Associated Press.

In March last year, attorneys with the Committee for a Free Press in Colombia publicly complained to the Inter American Press Association of the Organization of American States about the government’s harassment of Morris and other journalists. The OAS followed with a statement highly critical of the government’s threats against Morris and other journalists.

Morris has been widely recognized for his work—including by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. CIR helped him obtain an invitation to the Global Investigative Journalism Network conference in Geneva last April, but he was prevented from traveling to Switzerland at that time due to the eruption of the Icelandic volcano.

The outgoing Uribe administration has accused Morris of being part of the “intellectual bloc” of the left-wing FARC guerrillas, who have been on the other side of the Colombian civil war for much of the past two decades. President George W. Bush placed the FARC on the U.S. terrorist list, which empowers the government to deny those on the list travel to the United States as well as other privileges. The Uribe administration’s charges against Morris are based on having found email correspondence between Morris and a FARC commander suggesting that Morris played an intermediary role in trying to negotiate the release of former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Bettencourt. The government also accuses him of being inexplicably present at a FARC redoubt where the guerrillas turned four hostages over to the Colombian military. Morris denies all the charges. He told CIR that he was present at the hostage release on a journalistic assignment for the Latin American History Channel.

Just over a week after Morris was informed of the visa denial, he was honored at the Universidead Javieriena, one of Colombia’s leading universities for his journalistic courage in the face of death threats and government harassment.

Watch the CIR interview with the Morris brothers:

 

Quelle: Center For Investigative Reporting.)

 

Siehe auch:

Menschenrechtler sieht keine Verbesserung

Kolumbien: Leitete Bruder des Präsidenten eine Todesschwadron?

Mittwoch, Mai 26th, 2010

“COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT ALLEGEDLY KNEW OF DEATH SQUAD

By Patrick Vanderpool

BOGOTA, Colombia – According to a retired Colombian police major, President Alvaro Uribe’s younger brother, Santiago Uribe, commanded a death squad in the early 1990s that killed nearly fifty people, including petty thieves, suspected guerillas, and their sympathizers. Santiago Uribe allegedly led the right-wing group from the Uribe family’s cattle ranch in the Antioquia state municipality.

Although there is little evidence to support the allegations, the ex-officer, Major Juan Carlos Meneses, stated that Santiago Uribe claimed that Alvaro Uribe, a senator at the time, was aware of the illegal militia.  When recently asked about his knowledge of the death squad after the report was first published in the Washington Post, Alvaro Uribe’s stated “I don’t read international newspapers.”

These accusations are coming shortly before the highly contested May 30 presidential election involving Alvaro Uribe’s former defense minister, Juan Carlos Santos.  Alvaro Uribe’s interior minister, Fabio Valencia, has suggested that Meneses’ comments are politically motivated to discredit Santos’ candidacy; a claim which Meneses denies.

Meneses claims that he attended meetings with Santiago Uribe where the group would decide who would be killed.  Additionally, Meneses claimed that Santiago Uribe paid him approximately $700 monthly for a four month period so that Meneses would allow the death squad to operate in the area where Meneses was the top law enforcement officer.  Meneses claims to have personally witnessed at least fifteen men armed with semi-automatic firearms participating in obstacle course training on the Uribe family ranch.

Alvaro Uribe was elected Colombia’s President in 2002 and has since been given significant financial assistance from the U.S. to defeat leftist rebels in the country.  While president, Alvaro Uribe has been criticized by international humanitarian groups for suspected human rights violations.  These violations include Colombian soldiers allegedly murdering more than 1,000 citizens under the guise that they were rebels.

Colombian law enforcement officials have investigated the death squad claims on at least two occasions and have not discovered enough evidence to prosecute Alvaro Uribe; however, Meneses’ claims may be enough to reopen the case.  Meneses claims that he and his family have been forced to leave Colombia and seek asylum in Venezuela after receiving written and telephoned death threats because of the accusations against Santiago and Alvaro Uribe.

Santiago Uribe has been unavailable for comment; however, he denied the allegations in a previous interview with the Washington Post.

For more information, please see:

CBS News –Ex-cop Claims Uribe’s Brother Led Death Squad-  24 May 2010

Time -Ex-cop: Alvaro Uribe’s Brother Led Death Squad-24 May 2010

Colombia Reports – Uribe’s brother led paramilitary death squad – 23 May 2010″

(Quelle: Impunity Watch.)