The Colombia Action Network is organizing events in six cities to honor and remember those killed by the U.S.-backed war in Colombia. March 1 is significant because one year ago the U.S. government directed an attack inside Ecuador that killed Raul Reyes and 25 others. Raul Reyes was a commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP). Angela Denio who will be speaking in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, said, "We will remember the brave Colombian rebels, Ecuadorian supporters and Mexican students who died at the hands of the U.S.-sponsored attack in Ecuador, especially FARC leader Raul Reyes who gave his life for the freedom of the Colombian people."
At the time of the attack, Raul Reyes was in Ecuador attempting to negotiate a release of prisoners of war. The Colombian government reportedly holds 7000 political prisoners and prisoners of war. The FARC supposedly holds 700, mostly soldiers and police, with a few ranking officers and politicians. President Bush and Colombian President Uribe refused to negotiate or seek any prisoner exchange. Their answer was to kill the negotiators. The U.S. ordered the dropping of bombs and directed missiles into the FARC camp. Then Colombian troops entered Ecuador and shot and killed wounded survivors. The attack by the U.S. and Colombia violated the sovereignty of Ecuador - a criminal act of war and a slap in the face to Rafael Correa, the independent minded President of Ecuador.
Tom Burke of the Colombia Action Network says, "Most groups will show the movie Guerrillera, a documentary about a young Colombian college student who decides to go to the countryside and join the FARC. While in college she organizes for social justice and peace, but is increasingly threatened by paramilitary death squads connected with the Colombian government. Like thousands of young women - peasants, workers and students - she makes a big decision to take up arms and fight for what she believes in. She is not acting, this is her real life with the FARC."
The FARC fight so the Colombian people might be free from the U.S. domination and exploitation. So far, the U.S. government has spent $7 billion on Plan Colombia, the Pentagon's counter-insurgency war against poor peasants and workers. Many armed and unarmed revolutionaries organize peasants and workers to stop U.S. companies from robbing the Colombian people's natural resources like coal, oil and diamonds. They struggle so Colombians can have the right to decide their own future and develop their country in the interest of the people.
Burke says, "The Colombia Action Network joins in the struggle to stop Plan Colombia and cut off all U.S. aid, of any sort. The aid will only go to help the rich families that rule Colombia with an iron fist. Colombia is not a democracy. Big landowners, multi-million dollar drug traffickers and government officials who sell out their own country to U.S. corporations are the ones in charge."
Events will be held in Asheville and Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Columbus, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois.