Nat’l Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera back on Facebook despite censorship

National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera activist Josh Sykes sent out a message yesterday to members of the anti-censorship group on facebook stating that a new official facebook page had been created for the NCFRP:

Check out the new, official National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera facebook page!

Get it while it lasts!

Become a fan, get updates on the campaign, oppose U.S. intervention in Colombia, stand up for justice, and oppose facebook censorship!

This is part of an ongoing struggle for Colombia solidarity activists to use the popular social networking site as a tool to organize, despite ongoing attacks and censorship from facebook.

NCFRP activists Josh Sykes, Angela Denio, and Tom Burke each had their accounts disabled by facebook following the deletion of the original Free Ricardo Palmera facebook group.

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.

Following his frame-up trials in Washington, Palmera is now serving a 60 year sentence in a Supermax prison in Colorado. He celebrated his 60th birthday on July 30th in solitary confinement.

NCFRP spokesperson Tom Burke at Ricardo Palmera's trial in Washinton, DC

NCFRP activists Angela Denio and Josh Sykes were reinstated by Facebook after a campaign of calling, emailing and inviting friends to the anti-censorship group which has rapidly grown to more than 800 members. However, Facebook banned the “Free Ricardo Palmera!” group and is refusing to reinstate NCFRP spokesperson Tom Burke’s personal account, despite an appeal. The campaign to reinstate the account of  Tom Burke and to reverse the censorship of the original Free Ricardo Group continues.

Most recently, on August 10th, Sykes sent out the following message to the members of the reinstatement group:

Friends,

Myself and several others have been threatened with having our accounts shut down by facebook again, this time for a facebook event about a Fight Back! Newspaper forum on Colombia that took place at the School of Americas Protest a year or more ago. Here’s an article about that forum: http://www.fightbacknews.org/2009/11/20/no-us-intervention-colombia

The text of that flyer in the article is the same as the text in the event, which facebook says is hateful, obscene, etc. Obviously this is just a fabrication in an attempt to silence the Colombia solidarity movement.

Meanwhile, the account of National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera spokesperson Tom Burke has still not been reactivated and facebook has yet to reverse its censorship of the Free Ricardo Palmera group!

We’ll keep you posted as these new attacks, and our collective response, develops.

What you can do NOW:

Call facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at (650) 543-4800 and tell him to

* STOP TAKING THE SIDE OF DEATH SQUADS IN COLOMBIA!
* STOP CENSORING THE COLOMBIA SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT!

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