Defence Minister Slanders Patriotic March

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 16 August 2012

Juan Carlos Pinzon, the Colombian Defence Minister has accused the Patriotic March of being funded by the FARC guerrillas. The last organisation to receive such an accusation - the Patriotic Union – was decimated by military repression and the assassination and disappearance of thousands by paramilitary death squads. The Patriotic Union lost between 3-5,000 members, including virtually all its national level political figures, congressmen, and presidential candidates. The Defence Minister’s allegations have been angrily rejected as an attempt to put the Patriotic March in danger and intimidate its members.

Mr Pinzon stated that “These terrorist organisations have opted to try to mobilise what they call the ‘mass movement’ and so we have things like the Patriotic March, that I can say here with great clarity, is largely financed by the FARC terrorist organisation.”

The Patriotic March is a social movement that includes more than 2,000 social organisations from across Colombia, who have come together to try to break their exclusion from politics and to campaign for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Colombia. These organisations include Colombian trade unions, peasant organisations, political parties, human rights and victims’ organisations, environmental and indigenous groups, as well as women’s groups, LGBT organisations and afro-colombian organisations.

Since its launch in April this year the Patriotic March has been accused of links to the FARC, as well as having several of its organisers and members killed or disappeared. These latest allegations by the Defence Minister heighten the probability that more members of what Colombians call the ‘Marcha’ will be killed in the near future.

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