Empire Files: Human Rights Hypocrisy – Colombia vs. Venezuela – Interview with Dan Kovalik

Colombia and Venezuela: two neighboring countries that receive extremely different treatment by the US Empire and the mass media.

While Colombia is known for one of the worst human rights records in the world, it remains a top recipient of US military aid and enjoys uncritical press coverage in Western media–all while Trump threatens military intervention against Venezuela over unsubstantiated allegations.

To contrast the human rights realities, Abby Martin interviews human rights attorney Dan Kovalik, who has recently returned from both countries.

Kovalik has done extensive work in Latin America and was an observer to the recent Constituent Assembly election in Venezuela. He also serves as Associate General Counsel of the United Steelworkers union, teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and is the author of the new book “The Plot to Scapegoat Russia.”

Colombia Violence Spirals on Despite Peace: Yet Another Social Leader Killed in Cauca

from TeleSur

The victim’s body was found with stab wounds. The case is just the latest in a string of dozens of attacks and murders of human rights defenders.

Yet another Colombian human rights defender was found murdered Thursday in the southwestern department of Cauca, one of the regions hardest hit by the country’s more than half century-long civil war and ongoing violence against rural social leaders.

Diego Fernando Rodriguez, a legal representative for a local community council in the Gana Plata area in Cauca’s Mercaderes municipality, was found dead Thursday morning with stab wounds.

The coordinator of the Human Rights Network of Southwestern Colombia, Deivi Hurtado, stated that Rodriguez was found dead with “signs of violence that indicate it was an assassination,” Colombia’s W Radio reported.

According to Caracol radio, authorities have already launched investigations into the Rodriguez’ case…

[read more here]

Columbia’s President Peace Prize and the False Positive Slaughter of the Poor, Disabled and Drug Addicted in his Neoliberal Country

by Scott Creighton

Fitting, huh? President Peace Prize, Kissinger, al-Qaeda’s White Helmets. Great company to keep of previous winners and future winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Columbia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to cut a deal with the left-wing FARC rebels. The deal was put to the people for a referendum and it failed to gain their support. I wonder if they use electronic voting machines.

A Nobel prize for a failed peace treaty facade and a career of imposing harsh austerity on the people of Columbia not to mention 7 years of the extra-judicial murder of thousands of his country’s poorest and most defenseless citizens?

Seems about right these days in Bizarro World, doesn’t it?

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US Sponsored “Democracy” in Colombia: Political Assassinations, Poverty and Neoliberalism

by José David Torrenegra, Global Research

Not a week goes in Colombia without reports of assassinations and persecution of labor and political activists.

Ana Fabricia Cordoba, gender activist and leader of displaced peasants, was shot dead on June 7th inside a street bus, after she foretold her own death due to constant threats and abuses against her family.(1)

Manuel Antonio Garces, community leader, Afro-descendent activist and candidate for local office in southwestern Colombia received on July 18th a disturbing warning that read “we told you to drop the campaign, next time we’ll blow it in your house” next to an inactive hand grenade.(2)

Keyla Berrios, leader of Displaced Women’s League was murdered last July 22nd, after continuous intimidation of her organization and threats on behalf of death squads linked to Colombian authorities (3), a fact so publicly known after hundreds of former congressman, police and military personnel are either jailed or investigated for colluding with Paramilitaries to steal elections, murder and disappear dissidents, forcefully displace peasants and defraud public treasury, in a criminal network that extends all the way up to former president Alvaro Uribe and his closest aides (4).

The official explanation for these crimes is also well known; Bacrim, an acronym which stands for “Criminal Gangs”, a term created from the Colombia establishment including its omnipresent corporate media apparatus to depoliticize the constant violence unleashed against union leaders, peasants and community activists.

Human Rights defenders point to the unequal and unjust structures of power and wealth which rely heavily on repression. However, no matter how much effort is put into misleading public opinion about the nature of this violence, the crimes are so systematic and their effects always turning out for the benefit of the elite that a simple class analysis debunks the façade of these “gangs” supposedly acting on their own, and exposes the insiduous relationship between the armed thugs and seats of political power in Colombia.

What we are dealing with is the expression of present-day fascism in Latin America.

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