March 20th: From Baghdad to Bogota: No More Blood for Oil!
On March 20th the Colombia Action Network stands in solidarity with the anti-war movement! We join with the anti war movement to demand an end to US intervention in the Middle East and an end to the occupation of Iraq! Unfortunately, while the US increased its attacks on Iraq, it also quietly escalated a conflict in another part of the world: Colombia.Since 2000, the US has been funding a war against the Colombian people through its aid proposals entitled Plan Colombia.Colombia, after Israel and Egypt, is the 3rd highest recipient of military aid from the US, and their government is using American tax dollars to kill trade unionists, human rights workers, and civilians.This is a brutal effort by the US government, just like in Iraq, to push forward another agenda determined by corporate economic interests.
Since 2000 the U.S. has invested three billion dollars in Colombia’s civil war. Most of the aid is fumigation chemicals, attack helicopters,weaponry, hi-tech surveillance planes and equipment. U.S. military aid to Latin America has more than tripled in the past 5 years. In 2003, the Bush Administration won more increases in military aid and involvement, including a $100 million military aid project to protect Occidental’s oil pipeline in northern Colombia.That money was attached to the Bush administration’s request for funds for the war in Iraq. Bush states his goal is to arm the Colombian government in an effort to fight “terrorism” and to defeat the rebel armies. Bush is attempting to connect his military interests and his rhetoric with the U.S.’ ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Colombian human rights, labor and other activists are calling for an END to U.S. military aid and intervention. Paramilitary death squads work hand-in-hand with the Colombian military, and reap the benefits of US military aid.The paramilitaries and military are responsible for 80% of Colombia’s human rights violations—the worst record in Latin America. Political assassinations and disappearances are all too common, and trade unionists are the hardest hit.U.S.corporations even employ paramilitary groups to intimidate, threaten and murder Colombian union leaders. Coca-Cola is now the subject of an international boycott campaign, because of its use of paramilitary violence against its union workers.
The US’ interests in Colombia
Much like Iraq, Colombia has oil. Mexico,Venezuela and Colombia provide a substantial amount of the oil the US uses. Corporations like BP Amoco and Occidental Oil want to increase their holdings in the country,however Colombia is not a ‘safe place for investment’ with a long-standing civil war. Both guerrilla armies feel that Colombians should receive the economic benefit of their natural resources and fight against the oil industry’s expansion into new territory—including swindling Indigenous lands.
US Out of Colombia!
On Feb.2nd Bush proposed a federal budget for 2005,which includes a proposal for 700 million in aid to Colombia— including 109 million to finance a special Colombian military brigade to protect an oil pipeline and to train and equip new military leaders. Call Congress and the president to say NO to continuing Plan Colombia! Call 202-224-3121 for the Capitol switchboard.Call to say money for human needs not for war in BOTH Colombia and Iraq!
Join the Boycott of Killer Coke!
In response to the call from workers, the Colombia Action Network has been leading a boycott of Coca-Cola products from coast to coast.They have organized two days of student protest in 2003 with over forty campuses and eighty student groups participating in one or both of the national days of action.The national days of action have given students the opportunity to stand together at their separate campuses and demand that their universities break their exclusive contracts with Coca-Cola, and to educate other students on the connection between Coke and the right wing paramilitary death squads in Colombia. Join the CAN in our next day of national coordinated action on April 15th!. Stand with people across the country against the U.S.’ sponsorship of the murder of trade unionists!