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.]

As reported by the Voice, a coalition of human rights activists protested the hiring of former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe yesterday.

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

15 Comments on “Uribe appointment under attack from human rights groups

  1. Well, its only a matter of time before this escalates. Hopefully facilities cleaned John Carroll during the summer.

  2. Ah, yes, Mark Lance. Weren’t there some great letters and posts a few years ago on The Hoya.com that he was involved in?

    I’m not going to pretend I know who is financing Uribe, though from what I have been told by certain senior people at GU, it is not the school’s dime that is going towards this (much like Feith’s hiring – unless I was misinformed, he did not receive his salary from the University proper, but from donations specifically designed for the purpose of hiring him). Many can disagree with Uribe, but that doesn’t mean he has to be censored here. Just MHO.

  3. I don’t think the people protesting truly understand the situation Colombia lived for the last 40 years. It is very simple for people to criticize a circumstance when they are strangers and completely ignorant about it. Uribe did not displace 3 million people. Uribe did not murder union leaders and journalists. Uribe did not massacre thousands of Colombians. Uribe did not incinerate 14 courageous policemen last week. Uribe did not set bombs in the cities and towns of Colombia. If you want to blame and protest against somebody for all those atrocities, then do it against the FARC. However, the protesters do not seem to know who the FARC are, because if they knew they wouldn’t be acting on such stupidity. I will teach you what Uribe did. He gained control of the country again, he increased foreign investment and developed the economy, he fought the FARC and reduced them by about 12,000 men and he accomplished the demobilization of the paramilitaries. I would like to ask Professor Mark Lance, whether he would have the capacity to do the greatness and goodness that Mr. Uribe did for more than 40 million Colombians? I doubt it. What would a PhD who specialized in the philosophy of language, epistemology, philosophical logic and metaphysics, have to say about turning an almost failed state into a productive nation? However, you are right on one issue Professor; Uribe might not be a “scholar,” because he exceeds the definition of that word. He is an authority in politics, conflict resolution, and international commerce, proven by the accomplishments many could not dream of doing. Finally, it is Mr. David Bow who should be ashamed for making those absurd and extremely unreasonable comments. Yet again, it is not his fault, for now anyone can obtain a PhD.

  4. “As long as we have supporters and as long as he has classes, we’ll continue,” Monica Gonzalez (MSFS ’11) told the Voice.


    “As long as the campus media covers us and as long as none of our members have anything better to do, we’ll continue bothering the vast majority of campus,” Sandals McDreadlocks (DUM ’11) told the Voice.

  5. But, do you think they can wait until GAAP weekend to protest?

  6. What bothers me most is that” activists” feel they are pushing against the same yoke MLK, Susan B . Anthony, Gandhi did. Standing american apparel hoodied shoulder to american apparel hoodied shoulder, coffee clutching hand in coffee clutching hand… these young heroes have taken up the fight for all man kind!!!. Sorry, I think this type of display is the one note samba of the self important and ignorant.

    disclaimer: I am a “lefty” who drinks coffee and wears american apparel, and I think this is ridiculous.

  7. So, Georgetown should only hire faculty that “activists” agree with?

    Cultural diversity=good. Diversity of opinion=bad. Very bad.

  8. @Good Judge of Character. I will eat my computer if someone can show me a major Colombian politician with no ties to drug lords/paramilitary groups/etc. The Colombian government only controlled about a third of the country when Uribe became president, so of course he may have made some shady deals, most politicians in that country were. What counts is what he did when he took power. He forced the right-wing paramilitary group to disband, has driven the FARC and ELN out of the countryside, and brought an unprecedented era of growth and confidence to Colombia. He is a hero. Period.

  9. A lot of very wealthy Latinos go to Georgetown and get hysterical when someone goes against the defender of their properties, such as Uribe. They take this whole attitude, like if you are not from Colombia, you have no right to opine about Uribe. If that was the case, they have no right to opine about Bush.

    That’s crap.

    They lived in the cities, and only feel happy now because Uribe has allowed them to visit their big fincas, or travel to Santa Marta accompanied by military escorts. They use their emotion as the trump card, but they couldn’t give a rat’s ass if a bunch of campesinos were killled, as long as they can safely enjoy the spoils of war. They are rich brats, probably schooled at some private American school and have NO sense of what is happening in the Colombian countryside.

    They make me sick with all their stupid whining.

    Fuera Uribe!

  10. am i the only person who finds ‘adios, uribe’ vaguely offensive?

  11. am i the only person who finds that if mark lance is protesting something, i’m instinctively going to be in favor of whatever it is.

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