So it's going to happen. Colombian President Uribe will make his first visit to the Obama White House next Monday to discuss the future of Plan Colombia and the stalled U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with President Obama. While the two leaders met at the Summit of the Americas in April, this could be the moment when President Obama makes clear his positions on Colombia. It's up to us to use this opportunity to make sure that he sets the right course from the get-go by making human rights a priority in U.S. policy towards Colombia.
We need you to email President Obama today to pressure him to take a strong public stand in support of human rights and victims of violence in Colombia–and to live up to his promise that violence against trade unionists will be a central issue while considering the FTA.
This visit happens as the spokesperson for a special United Nations' mission just announced that although the recent killings of civilians by soldiers in Soacha "were undeniably blatant and obscene, my investigations show they were only the tip of the iceberg." The visit also happens as the Uribe Administration has been tarnished by revelations that the presidential intelligence agency illegally wiretapped the phones of hundreds of human rights activists, journalists, and Supreme Court judges. And it happens after a year in which more than 380,000 people fled their homes because of violence.
In its first months, the Obama Administration has worked with the leaders of many nations in an effort to restore the United States' image and credibility around the world. Although we have many concerns about President Uribe and the effect of his policies on human rights, we know that President Obama will meet with Colombia's president no matter how much noise we make. But we have to get it across to our president that sometimes being a good friend to our neighbor means asking tough questions and telling difficult truths. We need him to let President Uribe know that he expects Colombia to play by the rules on human rights.
Once President Obama is "on the record" on Colombia, it will be difficult–but not impossible–to get him and his administration to pursue a different path. That's why we need you to join us today. Click here to send your email straight to President Obama's inbox!
After you've taken action, check out our recent blog posts about ongoing extrajudicial executions by the Colombian army and the DAS wiretapping scandal .