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Speaking out for Ricardo Palmeras’s freedom and against FBI repression at Utah student event

By Joshua West

Orem, UT – Tom Burke from the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera spoke to students at Utah Valley University, Oct. 27. The event, sponsored by the Revolutionary Students Union, brought in many students wanting to know more about the U.S.-held Colombian political prisoner, Ricardo Palmera and the situation in Colombia.

Burke’s presentation dealt extensively with the U.S.-funded war against trade unionists and farmers that is being conducted in Colombia. He detailed atrocities such the mass murder of trade unionists and the use of chemical herbicides to decimate crop production in the countryside.

Having provided Utah Valley University students with a background in Colombian politics, Burke went on to explain the plight of Ricardo Palmera, a peace negotiator for the FARC, Colombia’s largest rebel group. Palmera was kidnapped and brought to the U.S., given an unfair trial and is currently being held in the Supermax prison in Colorado.

“Ricardo Palmera is a hero in every since of the word. He has devoted his entire life to the fight to free Colombia from exploitation and oppression,” said Burke.

Burke also spoke about the campaign of repression being carried out by the FBI against members of the Twin-Cities Anti-War Committee, the Colombia Action Network, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera, the Palestine Solidarity Group and Students for a Democratic Society.

Burke encouraged solidarity with these activists, who have been the subject of raids and grand jury subpoenas and spoke of the need for activists across the country to be vocal in denouncing the grand jury witch hunt.

Burke’s visit to Utah Valley University has helped raise awareness about these issues and encourage the students here to join in the struggle to free Ricardo Palmera and stop FBI repression.

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