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March 6: Boston in Solidarity with the Victims of State Repression in Colombia

Boston, March 10, 2008.- Last Thursday, on March 6, the Boston May Day Coalition, MLK Bolivarian Circle, Permanent Committee for Peace in Colombia, and Chelsea United Against the War, joined in location at Park Street a vigil called by Colombia Vive. With respect for the activity called by Colombia Vive, these groups expressed their own position about the tragic and dramatic situation in Colombia. This coalition, however, demonstrated in solidarity with the initial call made in Colombia to denounce the crimes of the State and the paramilitary and demand that repression be stopped now.

The coalition furthermore denounced the responsibility of the United States for their support to a series of succesive governments in Colombia. As we know, the U.S. Congress has approved support with code names like Plan Colombia, the Patriot Plan or lately the Consolidation Plan. All these plans provide funds and weapons used in the elimination of progressive forces in Colombia. It is clear that supporting the Colombian government and its armed forces it is also providing support for narco-paramilitary forces.

The march called for March 6 in Colombia and the world sought to clarify that in Colombia the main responsible force for violence is the State itself. This is in contrast with a mobilization called last February 4 supposedly for human rights but used to advanced the goal of the government to hide their responsibility in the torture, imprisonment, killing and disappearances of thousands of Colombians. That demonstrated that counted with official support and great commercial media support concentrated exclusively in the prisoners held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and squarely dismissed the great majority of victims of the state and right-wing paramilitary forces.

The original call said it more clearly yet:

"In Colombia nearly four million people have been displaced, mostly by the actions of paramilitary groups. These groups, either acting on their own or together with members of the armed forces, have killed and disappeared at least 15,000 compatriots and have buried them in more than 3,000 underground burial places or thrown their bodies in the rivers; they have killed more than 1,700 indigenous people, 2,550 union organizers, and about 5,000 members of the Patriotic Unity organization. They regularly torture their victims before killing them. Between 1982 and 2005 the paramilitary carried out more than 3,500 massacres, and stole more than six million hectares of land. After 2002, when they allegedly "de-mobilize", they have killed 600 people per year. Their politicians reached 35% control of the Parliament. Since 2002 to-date, members of the National Army have carried out more than 950 executions.

This year 2008 alone, the paramilitary carried out 2 massacres, 9 forced disappearances, 8 homicides, and the Army is responsible for 16 extra-judicial executions. In Colombia, officers of the State and the paramilitary violate human rights and all humanitarian rights. Many paramilitary groups have not de-mobilized. They now call themselves Black Eagles. Many politicians linked to these groups are in public and diplomatic government positions.

No more common graves. No more forced disappearances. No more paramilitaries. No more politicians linked to the paramilitary. No more state crimes!"

The conclusion of this spirited demonstration was that is our responsibility to continue demanding the United States stop supporting the Colombian government, including not passing a free trade agreement that is currently being proposed in Congress. Likewise we must demand an end to the killing, prosecution of all responsible for crimes against humanity in Colombia and the liberation of all political prisoners and prisoners of war in Colombia.

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More pictures of the event at bostonmayday.org/photos_3-6-08
Info in Spanish about the event in Colombia: movimientodevictimas.org