Communist inspired letter to defund Colombian military
Sam Farr had been a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia, and was contacted by the communist dominated Colombia Support Network in 1997. Efforts by Colombia Support Network were instrumental in getting a letter sent to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, with the 19 other members signing on. The January 30, 1998 letter called for the continued suspension of funding to the Colombian military then engaged in a bloody civil war against communist guerillas.
- Dear Secretary Albright :
- We are writing to express our concern with the worsening human rights situation in Colombia and urge you to take steps to address this matter.
- News reports and first-hand accounts indicate that violence in Colombia is escalating, particularly in the country's northern most regions and the southern coca growing regions. Many different groups and individuals have been implicated in the violence, but an increasing number of human rights abuses are being instigated by paramilitary groups --armed civilians who torture, evict, kidnap and murder Colombian civilians.
- There is also evidence of links between paramilitaries and local drug lords, who rely on paramilitary groups to undertake violent activities on their behalf. The Peasant Self-Defense Group of Cordoba and Uraba, a paramilitary group lead by Carlos Castano, is considered one of the most powerful paramilitary groups in Colombia. Reports indicate that last yeqar Castano's group killed hundreds, if not more than a thousand, peasants it accused of helping rebels.
- As concerned Members of Congress, we urge you to place the issue of human rights and the problem of paramilitary groups in the forefront of your priority list in your dealings with Colombia. We understand that aid to the Colombian army is currently on hold because of human rights concerns and urge you to continue to withhold funding.
Signatories were;Sam Farr, John Porter, Ron Dellums, David Bonior, Marty Meehan, Marcy Kaptur, Scott Klug, James McGovern, Elizabeth Furse, Jim Oberstar, Peter DeFazio, Maurice Hinchey, Gerald Kleczka,John Conyers, Pete Stark, Robert Wexler, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Lane Evans, David Price, Sherrod Brown,