The following statement is from the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera:
The National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera is calling on supporters to send birthday cards to Ricardo Palmera, a Colombian revolutionary and prisoner of the U.S. Empire. July 30th, 2010, marks Professor Palmera’s 60th birthday, which he will celebrate alone in a Colorado Supermax prison.
Ricardo Palmera is a brilliant man who dedicates his whole life to the Colombian people and their fight for independence. Even from his prison cell, even with a gag over his mouth, Professor Palmera inspires thousands in the struggle for peace and justice. Many see Ricardo Palmera as a modern day Che Guevara. As a young man from a wealthy family and attending the naval academy, Palmera could not accept the violence, exploitation, and oppression he saw in his own country. He wanted no part of it. He turned towards organizing reform movements of peasants, workers, and progressive Colombian professionals demanding change. Palmera was tortured for his efforts and most of his friends were murdered by the Colombian military. In the mid-1980’s he became an organizer for the Patriotic Union, a peaceful, leftist electoral coalition. But when the Patriotic Union made gains, the Colombian military and their death squads assassinated 4000 of their activists and elected officials. With the electoral path to social change blocked, Palmera decided to go to the mountains and join the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) at the age of 37. It was in his capacity as a peace negotiator, traveling in Ecuador on a mission to meet a UN official, that he was seized by U.S. agents and extradited to the United States.
Palmera faced ten charges in Washington DC trials that were designed to find him guilty, thereby criminalizing the Colombian national liberation struggle. However he turned the tables on the U.S. prosecutor, judges, and government. Judge Hogan had to step down when he and U.S. prosecutor Ken Kohl were caught cheating after the first trial ended in a hung jury. Professor Palmera’s testimony put the U.S. war and military intervention in Colombia on trial. Palmera sounded like a true patriot dedicated to the defense and liberation of his people, while the witnesses of the U.S. State Department, the FBI, the Colombian military and U.S. military contractors came across as arrogant and sketchy.
At his trial, Ricardo Palmera said, “ Colombia has been at war for more than 60 years, with the growing participation of the USA. Today the war against the insurgents of the FARC is disguised behind other arguments. The war on drug trafficking is a disguise the US uses for greater interference in the Colombian conflict, sending advisors, spies, weapons, and investing millions of dollars in the war. This financial and military support emboldens the Colombian oligarchy and sustains the conditions that cause the Colombian conflict, but provides no solutions. Simon Bolivar said, “the destiny of the US is to plague America with misery in the name of liberty.”
Today, while Ricardo Palmera is in solitary confinement with no human contact, the U.S. is building and occupying seven new military bases in Colombia to intensify the counter-insurgency war against the Colombian people and the FARC. Beyond fighting the FARC, the U.S. plans to use the bases to harass and intimidate Colombia’s neighbors —Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador where revolutionary and progressive governments rule. More U.S military intervention will only create more Ricardo Palmera’s throughout the Americas. For the Colombian people, it promises more poverty, displacement, and death. We must demand “NO to US bases in Colombia!”
We are asking people to send birthday cards and greetings for Ricardo Palmera to our friends at Fight Back! newspaper. We will then organize a delegation to visit a U.S. Attorney General’s office with the request that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder deliver the birthday cards to Ricardo Palmera. Eric Holder is the enforcer of the “Special Administrative Measures” that do not allow Ricardo Palmera to receive mail from his U.S. supporters. Please mail Ricardo Palmera birthday cards to:
C/O Fight Back!
P.O. Box 582564
Minneapolis, MN 55440