Students and professors at Washington D.C.’s Georgetown University Wednesday protested against former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe’s appointment as an invited professor.
Under the name of “Coalition Adios Uribe,” the protesters criticized Uribe’s human rights record during his eight years as Colombian president.
Georgetown’s naming of Uribe as a “distinguished scholar in the practice of global leadership” at the university’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service has been controversial, with critics arguing that the former leader does not represent the ideals promoted by the school.
While students handed out flyers criticizing Uribe, a peace studies professor at Georgetown, Mark Lance, told the crowd that “our message with this process is clear. We want to educate the university and the community on what Uribe has done. We want to remember the victims of ‘democratic security,’ to draw attention to the contributions that the U.S. has made to help Colombia, and, above all, to the fact that the decision to name Uribe as a distinguished scholar was not open to students or professors and has been kept secret until now.”
The protesters also complained that information on which classes Uribe will teach has not been made public. They claim this is an attempt as to avoid further controversy and protests.
Uribe has been busy since he handed over the reigns of power to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on August 7. On August 10 he took his seat as vice chairman of the United Nations inquiry into an Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who appointed Uribe to the panel, defended the selection of the former president against international criticism.