A Colombian professor who is accused of being a member of the FARC’s
International Committee claims to be the victim of false accusations by
the government to “criminalize” his work.
Miguel Angel Beltran, the sociologist and university professor, who was extradited from Mexico in May, said he was accused of being a FARC member to “criminalize the academic work” he has been doing. “I am studying the political and armed conflict in Colombia, I have written national and international journals and have received criticism of politicians of the government,” Beltran said in an interview with Colombian news agency Colprensa.
According to the police, authorities found a written communication of slain FARC commander ‘Raul Reyes’ in that he warns ‘Cienfuegos, the alleged alias of Beltran, to keep a low profile to continue his work on behalf of the FARC. Beltran allegedly infiltrated Central America’s academic circles to defend FARC interests, recruit new members and seek funds to finance terrorist activities.
The professor, however, claims he only approached the FARC for academic reasons, “to meet one of the actors of the social conflict in Colombia. My articles and presentations were always signed with the name Miguel Angel Beltran. Alias ‘Cienfuegos’ is an invention.”
Asked whether he used his professorship to recruit young people for the FARC, Beltran said “you can ask my students… I always thought the role of the universities are to give the chance to see many perspectives. I think the concern is to adress topics that become taboo.”
Colleagues and students of the Autonomous University of Mexico where Beltran worked earlier supported the alleged guerrilla. “The charges for which he is accused seem totally out of place. We are
concerned and offended,” the coordinator of the Latin American Studies
center of the UNAM told the press after the Colombian’s deportation.
Beltran is currently awaiting trial on terrorism and rebellion charges.