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A trade unionist writes from Colombian prison: Letter from Lillian Obando, Colombian Political Prisoner

By Lillian Obando

Fight Back News Service is circulating the following letter from Liliany (Lily) Obando who is a Colombian trade union organizer with FENSUAGRO, the largest peasant and agricultural workers federation in Colombia. She writes academic papers and makes documentary films about the struggles of Colombian campesinos. On Aug. 8, Lily was arrested and imprisoned by the ‘anti-terrorism unit’ of the Colombian National Police. She has been charged with “rebellion” and “managing resources related to terrorist activities.” Her story is tragically familiar in a country where thousands of trade unionists have been threatened, arrested or killed by the U.S.-backed Colombian government. The following letter will be read from the stage and at the Fight Back! forum on Colombia at the School of the Americas demonstration in Fort Benning, Georgia Nov 21-23 by speakers for the Colombia Action Network.

National Women's Penitentiary

Bogotá, Colombia, November 8, 2008

Fraternal Greetings,

For all those who have made the commitment to struggle for a just Colombia, without impunity, where workers' rights are respected , where the political opposition is not assassinated, where human rights are not violated, where the State Terrorism is ended, the passage through the jail is almost inevitable.

But comrades, by whatever chains and gags they intend to put on us, the justice of our struggle requires that we continue resisting wherever we may be. Courage grows with captivity and we maintain our high morale. The bars of the jail do not matter if you, wherever you may be, help us that our voices may move beyond the walls and not be stopped.

Today more than ever we need the world to be informed that in the Colombian jails there are more than 7200 political prisoners. We are here because we dare to think differently, to denounce the ignominy of this Terrorist State and its corrupt governments, mafiosos and paramilitaries. We are here because we have conscientiously decided to embrace the banner of a Colombia in Peace and with Social Justice and that in order to achieve it we continue struggling and acting in keeping with our revolutionary principles.

From the jails of Colombia, the political prisoners continue working for the Humanitarian Exchange of prisoners and for the search for a political solution to the internal conflict. We hope we can count on your support and solidarity to arrive at a happy ending: the construction of that New Colombia of which we all dream.

For all of you, a strong hug in the name of all those who share with me this reality of the jail.


Lillian Obando

Political Prisoner

Prisoner of Conscience

Survivor of the Genocide Against the Patriotic Union

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