Uribe appointment under attack from human rights groups
[Update, 5:15 pm: Vox just learned that Uribe has arrived on campus. Protesters are currently outside the Mortara Building, which Uribe was seen entering earlier today. MPD officers have closed are posted along the 1200 block of 36th Street.]
The School of the Americas Watch, a group dedicated to closing the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Operation, started planning forms of protest this summer. According to Justice and Peace Studies Program Director Mark Lance, SOA Watch joined yesterday’s protest in Red Square.
It isn’t known if Uribe, who was reelected in a 2006 election with more than 60 percent of the vote, has arrived on campus yet. Nonetheless, those who oppose with his hiring expect to continue protesting.
“As long as we have supporters and as long as he has classes, we’ll continue,” Monica Gonzalez (MSFS ’11) told the Voice.
The protests aren’t limited to the physical world. An online form letter addressed to President John DeGioia, as well as Board of Directors Liaison Joan Leach, and University Legal Counsel Jane Genster, is available on the SOA Watch’s website. Last month, a commenter on SFS professor Anthony Clark Arend’s personal blog who claimed to be Charity Ryerson (LAW ’12) posted a list of Uribe’s alleged crimes with a link to a letter from the Human Rights Watch. (Ryerson, who wrote that she has “worked extensively with the Colombian human rights community,” spent six months in prison in 2003 for trespassing on and destroying federal property.)
Not everyone, however, is opposed to Uribe’s appointment. In August, the Washington Times described Uribe as a man who took a country “on the brink,” and turned it into one where a balanced government can exist.
“The legacy of Uribe, I think, is huge,” Myles Frechette, former U.S. ambassador to Colombia, told the Washington Times. “He restored Colombians’ confidence in their own country. He showed them that if the government put its mind to it, it could—with assistance from the United States—beat back the guerrillas.”
Photo: Jackson Perry