I’ve been looking at human rights issues that plague South America recently, here are two rather prominent ones:
In the 1960’s, the military wing of the Colombian Communist Party, was known as FARC, or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia.
Since then they have been advocating, through a cocaine-funded guerrilla revolution, for a Marxist government. Well, not so much advocating for it – just wreaking havoc, really.
In recent years, the group has gained some more attention, especially early this year, when Colombian President Hugo Chavez made the controversial plea that people stop branding the group as terrorists.
It’s hard to brand a group responsible for the kidnap and execution of 11 provincial deputies, as anything else. Chavez’s government, by the way, made no attempt at rescuing the deputies.
In early December, the also group ambushed a group of police officers at the Colombia-Venezuela border, killing eight of them. The Colombian Defense Minister, who obviously didn’t listen to Chavez’s plea, called the murders a â‚¬Å“cowardly terrorist attack.
The group is not above risking the lives of innocent civilians, in 2006, their gas cylinder bombs, a weapon that is very difficult to aim, caused several civilian casualties, including a 10-year-old boy.
They also frequently kidnap foreign tourists, so watch it.
Now, on to Argentina.
In the late 1970’s and throughout the 1980’s, a horrible dictatorship existed in Argentina. The streets were governed by military rule and the people feared for their lives, rightfully so, since rape, murder, kidnappings, torture and even the sale of infants was so common in several regions.
Now, 30 years later, anthropologists have discovered a secret detention centre, which they believe was used to torture and kill political dissidents.
More than 10,000 charred human bone fragments were also discovered, confirming what was long known, that the dictatorship committed mass murder on innocent civilians. Human rights groups say that all of the nearly 30,000 that went missing were killed during the dictatorship.
To this day, no real action has been taken. For several years, judges have found loopholes in amnesty laws that have allowed the accused to walk free. In 2006 however, the Supreme court finally put many of the accused on trial, but, since then, not much has happened.
Every year, on International Human Rights Day, Argentines march, commanding suitable action be taken against these men and women.
Hopefully it happens soon.
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