Colombian senator dismissed for opposition

Piedad Cordoba

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Opposition politician gets public service ban

Tuesday 28 September 2010

Progressive opposition politician Piedad Cordoba was barred from public service for 18 years on Monday by Colombia‘s inspector general for allegedly “promoting and collaborating” with left-wing guerillas.

Senator Cordoba of the social-democratic Liberal Party won international acclaim by brokering the release of more than a dozen hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc).

A flamboyant Afro-Colombian known for her trademark turban, Ms Cordoba has spoken out against the former Uribe administration‘s hard-line military approach to Farc, while consistently supporting legislation designed to tackle gender, sexual orientation and race discrimination.

Ms Cordoba, a senator since 1994 and last year mentioned as a possible Nobel peace prize candidate, has not been charged with any crime.

But Inspector General Alejandro Ordonez is constitutionally empowered to dismiss her – and any other member of Congress – by virtue of his jurisdiction over nearly all public servants save the president and top judges.

He claimed that he had dismissed Ms Cordoba because she had “overstepped her government-authorised role” to facilitate hostage releases.

He claimed that she had also made public declarations “that favoured the interests of Farc.”

In public Ms Cordoba has often endorsed Farc’s goal of more equal wealth distribution in the country.

Ms Cordoba said that Mr Ordonez’s “disciplinary investigation has no legal merit whatsoever.”

See also here.

Behind the death threats against supporters of Afro-Colombians: here.

Colombian trade unionist, Parmenio Poveda Salazar, is touring Australia to denounce human rights violations in his country: here.

More than 1,000 British academics joined forces today to call for the release of a Colombian political prisoner. Academic Dr Miguel Angel Beltran was imprisoned in May last year without being convicted of any crime: here.

A November 4 World Bank and International Finance Corporation report, Doing Business 2011: Making a Difference for Entrepreneurs, ranked Colombia as the 39th most “business friendly environment” in the world. Missing from the report were the more than 500 unionists killed in Colombia over the past eight years, making up 60% of all unionists killed globally: here.

Chilean activist Manuel Olate Cespedes was arrested in Santiago on October 29 after the Colombian government alleged he is linked to left-wing guerilla group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC): here.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’s recent designation of his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez as his “new best friend” has put Washington’s nose out of joint: here.

In one sense, the major “African American Experience” unfolded not in the United States, but throughout the Caribbean and South America. The most important question that Black In Latin America attempts to explore is this: what does it mean to be “black” in these countries? Here.

11 thoughts on “Colombian senator dismissed for opposition

  1. Rescuers find six mine blast dead

    Colombia: A coal mine explosion in north-eastern Norte de Santander state has killed six workers.

    Rescuers searched the San Roque mine all night after Tuesday’s blast in Sardinata and recovered the bodies on Wednesday.

    In June, a blast killed 73 people at the San Fernando coal mine in the north-western state of Antioquia.


  2. Farc set to release five hostages

    Colombia: The country’s largest left-wing guerilla group has announced that it plans to release five captives and will deliver them to trusted ex-senator Piedad Cordoba once the government offers security guarantees.

    The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or Farc, declared in a communique that it would free a police major, an army corporal and a marine as well as two councillors from a south-eastern town.

    Farc continues to hold some 22 soldiers and police and an unknown number of civilians.

    It has freed 14 captives since January 2008.


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