Mario Iguaran, Colombia's chief prosecutor (equivalent to US Attorney General), is in Washington this week, trying to bring financial supporters of right-wing death squads to justice. The Chiquita Corporation and Alabama coal mining firm Drummond Corporation are just two US firms suspected of funding death right-wing Colombian squads who assassinateleftist rebel supporters, labor officials and organizers, and innocent civilians.
Recently, there have been allegations that death squads have expanded their mission to include the assassination of labor organizers.
Thousands of Colombians disappeared in the past decade, most victims of right-wing militias that emerged in the 1980s to fight leftist rebel groups.
The paramilitaries quickly evolved into mafias, enriching themselves through cocaine trafficking, theft and extortion in large chunks of the country, particularly the Caribbean coast. Large landowners, politicians and corporations bankrolled the militias to expand their holdings, while police and military officers turned a blind eye.
Human rights groups have criticized the killings of trade union officials and violations by Colombia’s armed forces, creating another obstacle to securing Congressional approval of new military aid and the trade agreement, which has already been signed by Mr. Bush and Mr. Uribe. Fifty-eight trade unionists were killed in 2006, up from 40 the previous year, though labor groups say government estimates of the homicides are too low.Senator Gustavo Petro, a lawmaker and former guerilla fighter who has pushed for investigations of paramilitary groups, says that President Alberto Uribe has aided and abetted right-wing terrorists, that terrorists met on Uribe's ranches to plan murders, and that he has uncovered plans by the Alabama-based Drummond Corporation to assassinate him.
Meanwhile George W. Bush's good friend Uribe is himself in Washington this week, trying to wrest money from Congress amid all the growing allegations of his government's connections to right-wing death squads.
This is our closest ally in Latin America, folks. Colombia is the biggest producer and exporter of Cocaine (including crack cocaine) in the world, and the home to a terrorist army as savage as al Qa'ida.
God help us.