August 1996 News
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See August 22 New York Times, for Page 1 story on the 'privatization' of the Colombian military. ("Oil Companies Buy an Army To Tame Colombia's Rebels" by Diana Jean Schemo) Unable to officially stage a coup d' etat against President Samper, they have gone into business for themselves, as security for the big oil pipelines that some guerrillas keep blowing up. BP and Big Oil pay off the generals and high officials in Bogota, the military gets richer and represses the common people of Colombia even more, and you and I pay when we pump the gas into our cars.
A valuable opportunity for concrete human rights work with Colombia has recently developed that we hope some of you might be interested in. We are in contact with teachers in schools in several areas of Colombia (some being ones of much paramilitary violence), who have expressed an interest with developing some type of 'sister school' or 'sister community' relationship with people outside of Colombia. There is much fear and isolation in their positions, and even simple 'pen pals' can be of value to them and their students and communities.
We have no strict demands upon what you must do to get involved in this; it will start with letters and then you decide what you and your community (school, church, solidarity group, whatever) want to do. The main thing is to provide a link to the 'outside world' with brave people who are trying to better the lot of their communities in the difficult situation of Colombia in 1996.
If you are not interested, but know of someone who might be, please pass this on. If you are possibly interested, please contact us ASAP.