DAVID RAVELO AND THE FIGHT FOR COLOMBIA

NOVANEWS

Colombian political prisoner David Ravelo, jailed since September 14, 2010, learned late in November 2012 that he had been convicted and sentenced to 18 years in jail. His case, based on spurious evidence, reflects epic military, police, and judicial repression carried out under a regime of big landowners and the urban elite. After 50 years they are still intent upon military victory over insurgents defending agrarian rights. Ravelo’s case deserves attention: Colombia’s prison population has increased 30 percent during the tenure of President Juan Manuel Santos, Colombian jails now house 10,000 political prisoners, Ravelo’s human rights record is exemplary, and his case has taken on every sign of a judicial frame-up.
A delegation of mostly North American activists traveled to Bogota and Barrancabermeja, Ravelo’s home city, in late November. They were offering international solidarity with Ravelo and hoping to add to a worldwide campaign leading to his liberation. Conscious of U.S. support for Colombian militarization and police excesses, their bias was toward peace in Colombia achieved through negotiated settlement of those issues fueling internal war, social justice, and land reform. That such a process was already underway in Cuba, they saw as a somehow meaningful coincidence.
Juan Camilo Acevedo of the PCC National Commission on Political Prisoners, speaking to the delegation, underscored the role of prisons as tools for criminalizing peaceful protest. They are centers of torture, he stated, and are overcrowded and filthy. Drinkable water and live-saving medical care are often lacking. Many prisons are U.S.-funded and -designed.And U.S. taxpayers’ money channeled to the Colombian army and police through U.S. Plan Colombia ends up, some of it, in the hands of paramilitaries, Ravelo’s nemesis.
The effect, as explained by MOVICE lawyer Franklin Castañeda, was that Plan Colombia “changed the logic of the situation,” making it “more barbaric.”David Ravelo’s fight for justice, therefore, extends far beyond local confines. Communist Party Secretary General Jaime Caycedo Turriago implied that, because the US Southern Command directs the war on the insurgency and Colombia’s upper classes are allied to the United States, Ravelo’s main adversaries sit in offices in the two national capitals. Beyond that, said Caycedo, “We recognize deepening social clashes everywhere. . . [T]he world capitalist crisis has bred widespread discontent and will be worsening. Democratic forces must stand up against interventionists.”
[ed notes:im just citing few paragraphs,due to length,click link for whole article..also see my colombia section..

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