Labour Conference: Colombia Fringe

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.

One Response to Labour Conference: Colombia Fringe

  1. Matthew Stiles says:

    Interesting report. Richard Howitt has been very good on Colombia for many years. He may be a Labour Party Foreign Affairs spokesperson but he was put into that position by his fellow Labour MEP’s. Bill Rammell who was the Foreign Minister responsible for Latin America was pretty awful on Colombia. He seemed to think that Western cocaine users were responsible for Colombia’s mess. No criticism from him about how an unrepresentative elite has governed by terror for decades and how it has received massive backing from the USA. Triesman is now the Foreign Minister and has just come out with a few platitudes “human rights at heart of our policy” etc but nothing of substance.

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