Prominent Colombian journalist Hollman Morris was denied a visa to the U.S., reports The Progressive. In April, documents came to light which apparently revealed security agency DAS’s plot against Morris, including a plan to “request suspension of visa.”
Morris’ visa was denied on June 16, according to The Progressive. He applied for the visa in order to take up his place as International Neiman Fellow at Harvard University.
Morris, an outspoken critic of the Colombian government, was a target of DAS’s surveillance of a range of individuals and organisations considered to be opponents of President Alvaro Uribe’s government, including opposition politicians, human rights workers, and Supreme Court judges.
In April, Morris was given files by the prosecutor general which allegedly belong to the DAS. The files include Morris’ photograph and address, and instructions such as “Initiate a smear campaign at the international level, through the following activities … inclusion in FARC video,” and “Request the suspension of visa.” Cipcol, a U.S. organization which published the files online, interprets this statement to mean Morris’ U.S. visa.
The files also include the instructions: “steal his passport,” and “constant following of his moves.”
In a report released in June on DAS’s surveillance activities, a group of American NGOs said that the agency tracked “in excruciating detail” international trips by Hollman Morris in which the journalist “raised issues of press freedom and human rights.”
Cecilia Zarate-Laun, a founder of the Colombia Support Network, told The Progressive that the visa suspension was “a prime example of ideological exclusion by the U.S. Government premised on the sensitivity of a foreign government to valid critical reporting.”