Colombia The Colombian Network can be contacted at LASC at 01-6760435



Smurfit: Social and Ecological Impact-May 1999-05-26

This is the result of five years work and investigation by the Smurfit's Environmental and Human Rights Shareholders' Group with the collaboration of the Colombia Network

The Santo Domingo Massacre and the Involvement of the US and Colombian Army Jan 2000

Tribunal Judgement on the Massacre of Barrancabermeja January 2000


Articles from 'Enlace', a LASC publication

A Killing in Colombia

Mad Mullahs and Like Minded Fundamentalists

Colombia Briefs

A Killing of a Human Rights Lawyer

A Massacre by Paramilitaries

Articles from the Guardian -very much recommended November 1999

Colombia Today

Colombia The History of the Wars










A Killing in Colombia

Paramilitaries shot dead Margarita Guzman Restrepo as she worked at her desk in the Town Hall in Segovia, Colombia. Her death came on a wave of killings in the area. Paramilitaries have since the beginning of March wiped out the local human rights ctte. a long desired result for the Colombian military. Margarita had given accomadation to two human rights activists from Europe and also to the family of a Jaime Ortiz who was disappeared by the Army. These were her horrendous 'crimes'.

The two workers she gave accomodation to were the founders of The Colombian Network, so we set about organising a book dy Doyle Donal Kelly and Eleanor McEvoy. Trade union leaders from Siptu, Atgwu and Impact and leading politicians such as Dick Spring , Proinsias De Rossa, Des O'Malley and Patricia McKenna. In all more than 40 politicians from all parties signed it.

We intend to continue to monitor human rights abuses in Colombia and hope to do more work around this issue. Later on this year we hope to do work around the arms trade and Colombia as well as working closely with other groups such as Amnesty.









Mad Mullahs and Like Minded Fundamentalists

By Gearóid O’Loingsigh of the Colombian Network

When is a slit throat not a slit throat?

a)When it happens in Latin America.

b) When the assassin is a Christian.

c) Whenever The Irish Times decides so.

The answer to the above question is all three. You may have noticied that on a fairly regular basis The Irish Times has seen fit to inform us in some detail that Muslim guerrillas have killed and continue to kill large numbers of people in Algeria. The headlines scream at us that X number have had their throats slit by Muslim guerrillas or that 200 people have been killed by Muslim guerrillas this month in Algeria. We should never forget what is going on in Algeria, it is after all in Africa, "Europe’s backyard" with European powers interfering in its affairs in much the same way Uncle Sam interfers in Latin America (in Zaire/Rwanda France had the dubious honour of having supplied arms to everyone- just to be neutral, I suppose). So we should be grateful to The Irish Times for keeping us informed. Or should we?

Every month more than two hundred people lose their lives at the hands of right wing paramilitaries in Colombia. These death squads are armed and trained by Colombia’s officially Catholic army ( no other religions are recognised within the army , hence the conscientious objection by some Jehovah’s Witnesses) No headlines scream at us that good Christians in the pay of other good Christians have killed 200 people. For a while I thought that it was because of the gruesome manner in which people are killed in Algeria. So when the Colombian death squads killed thirty people in Mapiripán by slitting their throats, in best Algerian style, and then dumping their bodies into a fast flowing river, I rushed out to buy a copy of the said quality broadsheet. Alas, I was to be disappointed. The river carried the story away.

It seems that slit throats only count in Algeria or perhaps only in Islamic countries. Playing to people’s fears about other cultures is very easy. People get their throats slit in Algeria because they are Muslims, right! This type of behaviour would never happen in a good Christian western country. Why analyse what really happens in a country? And please, in these the days of trendy photogenic presidents in the USA absolutely nobody is killed by death squads in Latin America. Only under bad second rate actors could such a thing happen. JFK’s heir apparent over Irish fireplaces would not stand idly by and let that sort of carry-on continue.

So while the mojahedeen sweep down on defenceless villagers, unknown to The Irish Times on the other side of the world a different sort of Mad Mullah is running amok. The fundamentalists of the free market who would gladly see famine stalk the land if it kept inflation down are dispensing hot lead and drawing cold steel across warm throats, sacrificing innocent blood on the altar of neoliberalism in the name of the Holy God of Profit.

Helloooo this is Latin America screaming! Does anybody care?




Colombia Briefs

On the 12th of June the FARC, Colombia’s largest guerrilla group handed over to the Red Cross 70 soldiers who had been captured after the FARC over ran a military base in Caquetá. The handover according to the FARC was done in compliance with the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war. All the soldiers were said to be in good health.

On 15 July right-wing paramilitaries took over the small town of Mapiripán. For five days they terrorised the inhabitants slitting the throats of 30 people and dumping their bodies in the Guaviare river. To date only five bodies have been accounted for. The military tried to present this grisly massacre by their allies as the work of the FARC.

In the neighbouring department of Meta on 13 August 8 members of a death squad lost their lives in a shoot out with guerrillas.

Seven people were killed in the towns of Segovia and Remedios by paramilitary death squads. The dead included the former mayor of Remedios. All of the killings took place in one of the most heavily militarised roads in the area, the one which runs by the gold mine which is under constant protection because gold is worth a lot more than people to the powers that be in Colombia. Somehow the paramilitaries got in and got out without being spotted or stopped.

The Colombian Network can be contacted at LASC at 01-6760435.