Colombia Support Network Representatives detained at Miami airport

We wish to report that we John I. Laun and Cecilia Zarate-Laun, were taken to an immigration office  in the Miami airport when we returned on Friday July 17, 2010 from attending the dedication of the Carol Chomsky Forest (Bosque Carol Chomsky, “La Carolina”) in La Vega, Cauca. For complete details see the following link http://colombiasupport.blogspot.com/2010/07/description-or-our-ordeal-in-miami.html

We believe this  immigration interview process to have been an infringement upon our rights as U.S. citizens and as founding members of CSN. We have always acted honestly and above board. Neither we nor our Colombian sister communities and CSN chapters are supporters of the guerrillas or paramilitaries , and we oppose terrorist activities. If our  4-hour detention by immigration was meant to cast doubt upon this or to deter our commitment to the people of our sister communities, it has failed in its objective. Now more than ever CSN maintains its deep and abiding commitment to the rural communities exposed to the effects of the war and the damage caused by neo-liberal policies of the  Colombian Government, so often supported by the U.S. Government.

We hereby reconfirm our commitment to the five principles which we have come to adopt in the national CSN meetings over the last 23 years. These are : 1) Peace with social justice in Colombia; 2) A negotiated solution to the Colombian conflict; 3)Strengthening of civil society in Colombia; 4) Nonalignment with any of the armed actors in the conflict; and 5) Strengthening of U.S. democracy.

Our detention is a warning signal to organization such as ours which work in solidarity with local rural base communities in other countries- in Latin America, Haiti and Palestine, for example- composed of the poor and disadvantaged who protest against the unjust policies which threaten their persons, their lands and their livelihoods. In Colombia these  communities are typically located in areas considered strategic for access by multinational corporations and governments which wish to implement a neo-liberal agenda.

It is especially frustrating for us that the U.S. questions the activities of non-governmental organizations dedicated to supporting the rights of the poor in other countries. This raises questions about this country’s commitment to democracy.The challenge to CSN’s work implicit in our immigration detention casts doubt upon the Obama administration’s trumpeted dedication to justice and human rights.

ACTION : Please express your concern to the U.S. Government using the following email addresses.

Your Representatives in Congress: See the Action Center at our site: www.colombiasupport.net <http://www.colombiasupport.net/>

PLEASE ALSO WRITE TO THE FOLLOWING US OFFICIALS:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton : secretary@state.gov

Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy and Human Rights Michael Posner : millermg@state.gov

Senior Colombia Desk Officer: Terry Steers-Gonzalez: steers-gonzalezt@state.gov <mailto:steers-gonzalezt@state.gov>

Human Rights Colombia Desk Officer: Susan Sanford: sanfordsm@state.gov <mailto:sanfordsm@state.gov>

Human Rights Director US Embassy Colombia: Carolyn Cooley: CooleyCN@state.gov <mailto:CooleyCN@state.gov>

Please be generous! Support our work: http://www.colombiasupport.net – Click “Make a Donation” from our home page.

Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI  53701-1505
phone:  (608) 257-8753
fax:  (608) 255-6621 e-mail:  csn@igc.org

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