Sat Feb 1: Political Prisoners in Latin America

Posted: January 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

Political Prisoners in Latin America, 4-6pm @ Central Library, Stevenson & Hunt B

Struggle of the Mapuche People in Chile: A short documentary on the struggle of the Mapuche indigenous people of Chile to recover their land and their clashes with the multinational logging companies and the Chilean police.  Many Mapuche activists are now political prisoners, prosecuted and detained under the anti terrorist law that was created by Pinochet.

 A Jail in Columbia: A look inside the La Modelo prison in Bogota, Colombia. Called a “model” prison by Colombia officials the prison in reality is controlled more by the prisoners than the guards. With 5000 prisoners for 2400 spots.and not more than 150 security guards assigned to the prison. The prison is awash in violence, and drugs. Last year, 162 prisoners were killed there. The prison is controlled by members of the guerrilla movement, paramilitary forces, and cocaine traffickers. They have broken the prison up into three different territories and each group has it’s own security forces, defending it’s own territory. In the current context of the peace process between the government of Colombia and the FARC-EP, it is important to remember that more than 9,500 men and women are political prisoners– a consequence of the internal armed conflict that has been going on for more than six decades. The political prisoners are still victims of torture, overcrowding, and cruel, degrading treatment.  Their dignity and human rights are constantly violated and their status as political prisoners is not recognized by the Colombian state. This film by Paul Comiti shows how critical living conditions are for political prisoners.

PBI interviews the president of the Political Prisoner Solidarity Committee Foundation about the prison situation in Colombia: The political prisoners in Colombia are: 1. Political prisoners of war, who have taken up arms against the state 2. Political prisoners of conscience, men and women who have been persecuted, criminalized and imprisoned for their ideas, their work, or their dissident political views against the regime  3. The ordinary men and women who have been victims of “illegal arrangements” in the development of police and military operations and are stigmatized as guerrilla “helpers”. The issue of political prisoners is fundamentally important in the context of the peace talks between FARC- EP and the Colombian government presently taking place in Havana, Cuba. The prisoners of war and conscience held in Colombian prisons or abroad are the result of the internal armed conflict, state terrorism, and the persecution and criminalization of social protest.

Co-sponsored by: Latin American-Canadian Solidarity Association (LACASA) and the International Network in Solidarity with Colombian Political Prisoners (INSPP)

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