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A Growing Movement Demands: U.S. Out Of Colombia!

By Zeno Wood

Protests against aid package to Colombia.

New York City, New York – Some 75 protestors held a spirited demonstration in Manhattan, May 11, demanding Senator Chuck Schumer vote against the $1.7 billion Colombia military aid bill. Schumer, a Democrat, had indicated his support for the Clinton Administration's military aid package, which would dramatically increase the U.S. role in the Colombian civil war. Protesters chanted, “Schumer, don't be a death squad democrat!”

The Colombia Action Committee, a group that recently formed to oppose the U.S. military aid, organized the action. The committee has reached hundreds of people, with educational events, and political pressure with call-ins and protests targeting New York Senators Moynihan and Schumer.

Endorsing organizations included the committee against the School of the Americas, the Nicaragua Network, NY Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador. “We're putting them on notice that we're going to fight them every step of the way!” said Carolyn Connelly, an organizer of the demonstration.

Under the guise of fighting a “drug war,” the Clinton Administration wants to step up its intervention in the 40 year long Colombian civil war. Currently the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla army (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) are holding peace negotiations; military aid will sabotage any efforts at peace.

The military aid bill proposes more U.S. training for the Colombian Army, which has the worst human rights record in the Americas. Special battalions would be created to invade guerrilla strongholds in the southern part of the country. It also proposes sending hi-tech attack helicopters, and increasing the U.S. role in electronic surveillance.

The result would be a total war on the people of Colombia, who already face massacres every week. They can only exercise democratic rights at the risk of being jailed, tortured, disappeared, or killed.

In the next few months, more pressure is going to be needed to let Congress and Clinton know that there's real opposition to sending more bullets to Colombian Army thugs. The people of Colombia have a right to self-determination. No military aid for Colombia! U.S. out now!

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