Explanation of Measures in the House 2008

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Attacks on Victims and Human Rights Defenders

Reps. McGovern (D-MA) and Schakowsky (D-IL) co-sponsored a dear colleague letter to Colombian President Álvaro Uribe urging him to publicly denounce comments made by a close advisor falsely linking Iván Cepeda, spokesperson for the National Movement of Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE), and other human rights defenders to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). After these reckless comments were made, several victims’ groups and human rights defenders received threats and six people associated with the victims’ movement were assassinated. 63 representatives, including the co-sponsors, signed the letter.

Extradited Paramilitary Leaders

Reps. McGovern (D-MA) and Miller (D-CA) co-sponsored a dear colleague letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey regarding the May 2008 extradition of 15 former AUC paramilitary leaders to the United States on drug trafficking charges. The letter encourages the Justice Department to cooperate with Colombian judges, prosecutors, and victims’ groups so that these paramilitaries are held accountable for all of their crimes, especially human rights abuses. 35 representatives, including the co-sponsors, signed the letter.

House Cuba Policy Review

A dear colleague letter initiated by Rep. McGovern (D-MA) to Secretary of State Rice calling for a complete review of Cuba policy following Fidel Castro’s announcement that he would not run for re-election as president. This letter made clear that change is needed in our policy: “The decision by Cuba’s government to choose new leadership should be the occasion for a tough-minded review of U.S. policy… After fifty years, it is time for us to think and act anew.”

H.R. 654

Reps. Rangel (D-NY) and Flake (R-AZ) bill to end the ban on travel to Cuba, which gathered 120 co-sponsors.