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Displaced Colombians Occupy Bogotá Neighborhood

Displaced Colombians Occupy Bogotá Neighborhood;
Hurricane Helicopter Rescue Crews Pulling Press Duty;
Why Posada Will Not Be Extradited;
World Youth Festival Report

September 5, 2005
Please Distribute Widely

Ramón Acevedo, graduate of the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, reports this morning on the struggle of a group of several hundred families displaced by Colombia's long-running, partly U.S.-sponsored civil war. The families took over a number of abandoned, half-built homes in the working-class Kennedy district of southern Bogotá last week. And while the irregular paramilitary fighters receive generous "peace" deals and assistance from the government to reenter civilian life, these people, their victims, have been subject to police repression and cut off from the rest of the city in an attempt to force them out.

Acevedo writes:

"I spoke to a mother who had been traveling with another family. She told her story of how the paramilitaries had come into her town, in the Tolima region of Colombia, and assassinated her brother and her husband with a chainsaw. They were farmers working a small plot of land. The paramilitaries accused them of working with guerrillas, which she denied. For the past five years she and her three children have had to move around to escape the 'paracos.'

"One of the spokespersons from the group stated, 'The majority of us are displaced because of our political beliefs,' and added, 'We have come from different regions of Colombia, where the paramilitaries violently pushed us out.'"


"Continuously, the 40-year-old Colombian civil war has been fueled by military aid from the United States. Since 1999, when Plan Colombia was signed, over $4 billion U.S. dollars have been funneled into the police and military of Colombia. This has increased human rights atrocities by the government forces and their paramilitary allies. For decades the Colombian government has been involved in gross human rights violations. At the same time the U.S. has made Colombia the largest recipient of military aid outside the Middle East."

Read the full report, today in The Narco News Bulletin:

Also, don't miss a the many important posts to our group blog, The Narcosphere, from the past few days:

Bill Conroy dropped a bombshell late last week, adding to the growing clamor over the U.S. government's incompetence in responding to the hurricane destruction on the U.S. gulf coast. With people suffering, still stranded without food and water in their flooded neighborhoods, former U.S. Customs supervisor Bill Conrad told Narco News that Blackhawk helicopter teams from that agency, sent from around the country to aid in the rescue efforts, had been simply sitting at base for three days with nothing to do. In a telling sign of where the federal government's real priorities lie, the only real work the helicopters had been slated for was to ferry CNN crews to photograph hurricane victims, rather than doing any work to help them. Conrad described the crews as being "livid."

Also, read our correspondent in El Paso, Texas, Narco News Copublisher Bill Weaver's latest analysis of the Luis Posada Carriles immigration hearing. Despite the overwhelming evidence of his guilt in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban passenger airplane that killed 73 people ­ not to mention many other violent terrorist acts over the past four decades ­ Weaver writes that Posada Carriles almost certainly never be allowed to leave the country. While the people most threatened by Posada in his younger days were Latin American civilians, now it is U.S. government officials who have the most to fear, because Posada possesses large amounts of very embarrassing information that would likely get out if he were extradited to Venezuela.

Also, Jean Friedsky filed an in-depth wrap-up and report from the 16th World Youth and Students Festival, held last month in Caracas, Venezuela. The festival, writes Friedsky, was a major example of the new international nature of resistance in the third world to the economic and political domination of the North, especially in Latin America:

"The festival was unique among international leftist convergences: it was not dominated by the privileged global North, but was composed of a broad range of those working for justice. Thousands spent eight days sharing bunk-beds, meals, political analysis, life-stories and Brahma beer with people from half-way around the world.

"'This is an example of true diversity,' noted a student from Mexico. 'There are 22,000 of us, from 144 countries, exchanging ideas and getting to know each other as people.'

"Live music concerts, and dance performances celebrated the diversity of the gathering. 'Cultural expos' (in which each delegation had space to sell crafts and hand out information about their country) and workshops provided forums for participants to learn about others' cultures and struggles.

"Participants also found strength in shared political perspectives. During these trying times, being with thousands who are dedicating their lives to positive change motivated and inspired. 'The benefits of this festival will last long after we all go home,' one Colombian activist commented. 'The personal connections we have made will move forward our current campaigns and help create new cross-border social change efforts.'"

Read Friedsky's full report, here:

From somewhere in a country called América,

Dan Feder
Managing Editor
The Narco News Bulletin

© Scoop Media

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