The following is from Fight Back! News:
The National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera is launching a petition campaign targeting U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. The National Committee is demanding the U.S. government immediately release the Colombian revolutionary and stop violating Palmera’s human rights. Angela Denio said, “The U.S. government is acting like a tyrant in Colombia and abusing Ricardo Palmera in a Colorado prison by chaining him from head to toe with the constant threat of electric shock. It is outrageous. Where is Obama on all of this? He promised to stop torture.”
Despite solitary confinement in the Florence, Colorado Supermax prison, Ricardo Palmera continues his fight for freedom. Born into a wealthy family, Palmera spent most of his life organizing with peasants, workers and professionals to make reforms benefiting the people. However, wealthy landlords and big business, backed by U.S. corporations and the U.S. military, opposed progressive change. Most of Palmera’s fellow activists were tortured and killed by the Colombian military and their death squads. At the age of 37, Palmera’s dedication to the Colombian people in their struggle for equality, peace and justice led him to join the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). As an armed guerrilla in the countryside, he spent much of his time travelling to collect economic data and teaching peasant fighters. He also became a peace negotiator in talks with the Colombian government.
In this new role as peace negotiator, he travelled to Ecuador on his way to meet UN officials. Despite an agreement with the Colombian government, U.S. intelligence kidnapped Palmera, extradited him to a Washington DC prison and put him through four trials. The trials were slanted and corrupt. Chief Judge Hogan was caught cheating with Prosecutor Ken Kohl and forced to step down. The U.S. government repeated the trials until they won. Despite never committing a crime in or against the U.S., Ricardo Palmera is now serving a 60-year sentence.
Jeremy Miller of the Colombia Action Network said, “The U.S. government is mistreating and abusing Ricardo Palmera. It is part of U.S. intervention in Colombia and Latin America. It sends a message to anyone who rebels. If you are someone who loves your own country and your own people, then the U.S. will make you pay!” Miller continues, “Now the Obama administration is escalating the U.S. war in Colombia by occupying seven new military bases. Support for revolution grows in Colombia, while the U.S. is losing its grip on Latin America. The Pentagon has command and control over the Colombian military, but is still losing after ten years. So direct U.S. intervention is the next step in the war. Just like Vietnam, Obama is looking more like Kennedy.”
As a U.S. prisoner held under ‘Special Administrative Measures,’ reporters are not allowed to interview Palmera. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons denies letters from his American supporters and his lawyers are not allowed to speak about his trials. The latest oddity is that the Colombian government is conducting a trial of Ricardo Palmera while he sits in a U.S. jail cell. This ‘virtual trial’ means Professor Palmera cannot face his accusers in person, just by video. This virtual justice adds to the perception that Ricardo Palmera is a political prisoner of the U.S. empire.
The petition to Free Ricardo Palmera can be found here: petition to free Ricardo Palmera.