Minneapolis, MN – The Twin Cities-based Anti-War Committee (AWC) held a program called “The War Next Door: U.S. Role in Colombia’s Civil War,” March 22 here at May Day Bookstore. Speakers included Eden Yosief, of SEIU Healthcare, who recently traveled to Colombia, along with AWC organizers Jess Sundin and Meredith Aby-Keirstead.
After explaining how the U.S. backs its puppet government in Colombia, Jess Sundin of the Anti-War Committee stated, “The U.S. government has also taken a very hands-on role by criminalizing Colombia’s insurgency, as well as leaders of its social movements, and those who work in solidarity with them here in the U.S.”
“In particular, we know that the U.S. has imprisoned two Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) members. The most well known is Ricardo Palmera, AKA ‘Simon Trinidad.’ He was one of the peace negotiators when I was in Colombia. In 2004, he was captured by the CIA while he was in Ecuador to meet with UN representatives. Palmera is held in solitary confinement in a high security federal prison, not allowed to receive letters or communicate freely with his lawyer,” said Sundin.
Sundin continued, “Another FARC member Anayibe Rojas Valderama, known as ‘Sonia’, was extradited to the U.S., then, in 2007, sentenced to nearly 17 years in federal prison here. And of course, there is our own case with the Anti-War Committee. The FBI investigation of us included ‘Daniela,’ an undercover agent who claimed to be of Colombian descent, and who took a special interest in our work in solidarity with Colombia. This work included organizing protests against U.S. military aid, hosting speakers from Colombian trade unionists and participating in solidarity delegations to witness firsthand the civil war fueled by our tax dollars. Though we only hosted speakers granted visas by the U.S. State Department, the government treats some of these union leaders as criminal terrorists, and we were investigated because our hosting them was seen as the crime of aiding terrorists.”