US Congressmen and Human Rights Advocates Criticised by Colombian Vice-President

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 6 March 2009

Colombia's controversial Vice-President has described a senior US Congressman as an "enemy of Colombia" after he compared Colombia to El Salvador during the height of the death squads in the 1980s and Chile under General Pinochet. Congressman George Miller, a California Democrat who chairs the Congressional Committee on Education and Labor, was also accused by Vice-President Francisco Santos of pursuing an "ideological vendetta" and of being "part of a smear campaign against Colombia".

Santos, who has himself been accused of close links to Colombia's paramilitary death squads, also lashed out at a human rights delegation being hosted by Democrat Congressman Sam Farr. Those visiting from Colombia to give testimony about the human rights situation were "trashing the country" and "attacking Colombia" by saying such things claimed the Vice President.

The visiting delegation included church leaders, those that work with forcibly displaced Colombians and representatives of victims groups, though Santos told reporters that they "should wash their dirty laundry at home" and not "go abroad to talk bad about Colombia".

Yesterday the Vice President also attacked two Colombian politicians who were visiting Washington to seek support for peace talks between the Colombian Government and the leftwing FARC guerrilla group. Senators Piedad Cordoba and Rodrigo Lara were both denounced by Santos who accused them of trying to discredit Colombia.

See also:

November 2008 Colombian President Attacks Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, Trade Unions in Furious Outburst

May 2008 President Attacks Human Rights Defenders

August 2007 Vice President under pressure for paramilitary links

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