A very good Justice for Colombia fringe meeting featured among its speakers Colombian Senator, Gloria Ramirez, Richard Howitt, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson in the European Parliament.
Ramirez talked about the impossible situation faced by the Colombian Left. She represents the Democratic Alternative Pole, which has 150 members under direct death threat. It’s predecessor party, the Patriotic Union, saw over 4000 of its members assassinated and there is a real fear that without international vigilance, the same could happen to them.
Howitt was very good. An expert on Colombia he talked about the flaws of the Colombian Government’s peace process for the extreme right wing paramilitaries. He pointed out the impunity enjoyed by these butchers and mass murderers.
He also, very interestingly as a Labour Party Foreign Affairs spokesperson, criticised the Government’s policy of giving military aid to the Colombian armed forces that are responsible for so many human rights abuses.
Finally, Jon Cruddas was also at the meeting. He sent a message of support and solidarity from the majority of Labour Party MPs who have gone on the record to support the Colombian trade union movement.