Colombian human rights activists Thursday asked U.S. president Barack
Obama to put pressure on the Uribe government to push forward the
investigations of the DAS wiretapping scandal and to punish those
At a conference of the Washington Office for Latin America (WOLA) the activists sought Obama to be “consistent” with his message of “change” and to require Colombia to take accountability about the wiretapping scandal.
Colombia’s security agency the DAS illegally spied on trade unionists, journalists, opposition politicians and social organizations. Until now, the country’s Prosecutor General only warranted the arrest of former intelligence director, Jorge Noguera, who is accused of having started the alleged illegal practice of the country’s “secret police.”
Journalist Hollman Morris, who claims to have been illegally wiretapped by the DAS, said that also human rights activists from the United States have been spied on.
“We have strong indications that contaminated information, created by those intelligence agencies, were sent to U.S. security organizations to block [the work of] human right defenders and social leaders,” Morris told Spanish newsagency EFE.
Conor Carrigan, an Irish lawyer who works with the Colombian Commission of Jurists (CCJ), urged the Obama government “not to accept any private or public explanation of the Colombian government trying to justify the intelligence operations as part of an anti-terrorism strategy.”
Obama should break his “silence” about the scandal and the situation in Colombia in general, Lawyer Rafael Barrios said.
The outcry of the activits for support comes at a time when the Colombian government urges the U.S. Congress to ratify the Free Trade Agreement and to continue the support for Plan Colombia against drug trafficking and illegal armed groups.
Most of the Democratic leaders in the Congress are reluctant to support the FTA because of the violence against trade unionists and the human rights situation in the country.