Pubdate: Sun, 17 Feb 2002
Source: News & Observer (NC)
Copyright: 2002 The News and Observer Publishing Company
Author: Gail S Phares


Regarding the Feb. 6 article "U.S. offers aid to guard Colombia oil pipeline":

What does this mean? Is it a war on drugs, a war on terrorism, or is it 
about oil and forcing the "free trade" economic model on people already 
suffering from its effects?

I just returned from a two-week visit to oil-rich Colombia with the 
U.S.-based group Witness for Peace. Our mission was to evaluate the use of 
massive U.S. military aid bestowed on Colombia.

Colombian church leaders, human rights activists, peace activists and union 
leaders point out that the Colombian military is not at war just with the 
guerrillas but with civil society itself. It supports and trains a 
paramilitary that threatens and murders indigenous people and 
Afro-Colombians whose ancestral lands are coveted for oil and other 
economic "mega projects." The military also is fumigating crops, destroying 
the food source for the people and causing people to become ill.

Union leaders who oppose the new "free trade" economic model or 
"neo-liberalism" are under siege. Last year, 157 labor leaders were 

President Bush's war imposes an economic model that exploits workers, 
destroys the environment and negates national sovereignty. The 
beneficiaries are the multinationals who get a bargain for their campaign 

Gail S. Phares

Witness for Peace, Southeast Region

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MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager