Peace Agenda Forum Opposes U.S. Intervention in Latin America

October 25, 2004

On October 21, the Peace Agenda Forum sponsored an evening discussion in the Chicago area under the general title: "U.S., Hands Off Latin America!"

The program included a speech on "The U.S. & Human Rights Abuses in Colombia" by an SOAW activist (School of the Americas Watch) and another on "The U.S. Anti-War Movement & Latin America" by a member of the Workers Party. After the speeches, participants engaged in lively formal and informal discussion for about 2 hours. Nearly 40 people, including workers, college and high school students, public school teachers and college professors, trade unionists, church and community activists, professionals and others attended the meeting.

The first speaker provided a vivid picture of Colombia. Fifty-five percent of the population live below the poverty level. The speaker zeroed in on the human rights abuses of the Colombian government. Last year 3,000-4,000 political assassinations were carried out, including more trade unionists than any other country in the world. In addition, 100,000 people were displaced - turned into internal refugees - as a result of the war waged by the government and paramilitary right-wing death squads linked to the government. The speaker exposed how the U.S. government has been rapidly increasing its economic and military support for this repressive regime, including sending U.S. military "advisers" to directly assist the counter-insurgency war.

The second speaker called on the audience to take up the work of making the demand "U.S., Hands Off Latin America!" A central part of the political agenda of the American people. He emphasized that this is a fundamental issue of principle because for more than 100 years the capitalist government has imposed colonialism and neocolonialism on the peoples of Latin America and been in a permanent state of war against the peoples.

The speaker showed how today, U.S. imperialism is working to tighten its stranglehold over Latin American, suppressing the popular movements for independence and progress. In particular, the speaker pointed to some of the prominent fronts of the struggle on the continent including the Cuban people's struggle to defend their independence against the tightened blockade and pressure of the U.S.; the Venezuelan people's struggle to defend their "Bolivarian process" in the face of a U.S.-sponsored destabilization campaign; the Haitian resistance to U.S. occupation and colonialism; and the continent-wide struggles against economic domination and virtual annexation expressed in such unequal treaties as the FTAA, CAFTA, etc.