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McCain's Visit to Colombia

by Colombia Action Network |
July 6, 2008
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Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the Colombia Action Network.

The Colombia Action Network is issuing the following call for protests at John McCain's campaign events and at the Republican National Convention, September 1-4 in St. Paul, MN. McCain arrived in Colombia on Tuesday and is promoting his close relationship to death squad leader Colombian President Uribe as a campaign issue.

Hands Off Colombia! End Military Aid to Colombia Now!

Republican presidential candidate John McCain's position on Colombia is unacceptable for advocates of peace and justice. McCain supports free trade policies that benefit wealthy corporations while exploiting the poor. McCain favors spending billions on military aid to the brutal right-wing government in Colombia. McCain has already expressed his unconditional support for the U.S. occupation of Iraq. His current visit with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe proves that he would deliver a continuation of the Bush Administration's brutal policies in Latin America as well. By standing with Uribe, McCain is showing that he supports terrorism, death squads and bloodshed.

The U.S. role in Colombia:

Since 2000, the U.S. has spent over 5 billion dollars funding a right wing government that uses our dollars to kill trade unionists, human rights workers, and campesinos (peasants). The paramilitaries are armed, trained, and directed by the Colombian military, under the leadership of U.S. Generals and 800 U.S. Military advisors. The paramilitaries are funded by Colombian and American narco-traffickers and U.S. corporations like Coca-Cola, Chiquita, Drummond Coal and Occidental Oil. Their paramilitary cohorts cut off the heads of peasants with machetes and dismember bodies with chain saws to terrorize and silence peasants who attempt to organize. In Colombia, speaking out against unjust land grabs and unjust labor practices often involves risking one's life.

The U.S. is supporting an oligarchy in Colombia—a small class of rich families who rule through fire and blood. To maintain this tiny elite, the U.S. is conducting a dirty war against the poor peasants and workers of Colombia, known as "Plan Colombia". The peasants and workers are not helpless victims however, and many have joined the guerrilla movements, especially the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) that has grown and developed into the most powerful rebel force in Latin America today. The FARC, like most people, believes that Colombians should receive the economic benefits of their natural resources, not U.S. corporations. The FARC uses a variety of tactics to fight against the theft of indigenous and peasant lands by the expansions of foreign oil companies.

No Blood for Oil!

Just like Iraq, Colombia has oil. The U.S. imports a substantial amount of oil from Colombia. Corporations like BP Amoco and Occidental Oil want to claim even more of Colombia's oil. This comes at the expense of Colombia's national oil company ECOPETROL and hurts the national income of the Colombian people.

In addition to oil, Colombia is rich in minerals and agricultural products including coal, emeralds, silver, bananas, and other fruits. The Amazon rainforest is rich in water sources and medicinal plants. McCain favors a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that would weaken Colombian labor and environmental protections, allowing U.S. corporations to maximize profits while denying sovereignty to the Colombian people. McCain is bad news for the majority of Colombia's people.

The Republican agenda: An agenda for war!

McCain has a track record of supporting war in both Afghanistan and Iraq. However, his bloody foreign policy is not exclusive to the Middle East. President Bush expanded "Plan Colombia", labeling peasant rebels as "terrorists" and McCain has embraced every bloody aspect of it. McCain has loudly defended Colombian President Uribe from charges that his government violates human rights. McCain calls for closer U.S.-Colombian relations and an expedited FTA – despite proof of Uribe's connections to paramilitary death squads. Republicans have thwarted the Latin America solidarity movements' efforts to close the School of the Americas. Republicans have defended the use of torture in Iraq, at the School of the Americas and at Guantanamo Bay. Lastly, McCain is committed to continuing the attacks on Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez. Attacks on Chavez are a vehicle to attack the entire Bolivarian Revolution, along with all the great gains made for the people under Chavez. The U.S. has built three military bases on Colombia's border with Venezuela to threaten the Venezuelan people's efforts. McCain stirs up fear of Chavez to justify continued military aid to Colombia and a FTA with Colombia, Panama, and Peru.

March on the RNC!

The people of Colombia, like the people of Iraq, need us in the streets protesting at the Republican National Convention. We need to stop the U.S.-sponsored wars in their countries. We need to stop our tax dollars from being spent to prop up the corrupt narco-trafficking regime of President Uribe. McCain is making Colombia an issue in this presidential campaign and we must respond!

The American public is increasingly aware of the U.S. atrocities committed in Iraq, and a majority in this country opposes the war. This public outrage will manifest itself at the RNC. We have an opportunity to educate the 50,000+ people who come to the RNC that the U.S. occupation of Iraq is just one example of this country's quest for empire. Current U.S. policies toward Latin America, particularly Colombia, are the cause of widespread violence and injustice. These policies, which McCain promises to continue, must be confronted at the RNC.

For more information about the September 1 demonstration at the Republican National Convention go to For more information about protests at the RNC go to

Colombia Action Network

The Colombia Action Network (CAN) is an organization of U.S. activists in solidarity with the Colombian people. We stand resolutely opposed to U.S. intervention in Colombia. For more information, please contact us [email protected]