Archive for the ‘human rights’ Category

Black Power in Rio

November 8, 2016

Toen ik in juli 2013 van Barranquilla in Colombia naar Rio de Janeiro verhuisde, kwam ik aan in een ieniemienie kamertje in het centrum. Dat had ik gereserveerd via Airbnb, om van daaruit verder te zoeken naar een echt appartement.


Wist ik veel dat ik in het historisch meest interessante deel van Rio was beland, waar in de negentiende eeuw een miljoen slaven aan land werden gebracht en dat ook wel Klein Afrika wordt genoemd. Ik woon nog steeds in dezelfde straat, ga nu inmiddels naar mijn derde adres, en ik wil hier niet meer weg. (more…)


Sustainability includes a big responsibility

March 22, 2011

Yesterday the Dutch website published an opinion article I wrote on American coal mining company Drummond in Colombia and its supposed ties with paramilitaries there. In Holland at least one power producing company that talks about sustainability and green energy on its website buys coals from Drummond. There are politicians who want to punish those companies. The government doesn’t agree with that, because Drummond hasn’t been condemned (yet). (more…)

Crimes are crimes, no matter who commits them

June 21, 2009

Colombia’s president Álvaro Uribe thinks that the victims of his country’s horrible violence cannot be treated the same way. Those who are victims of crimes commited by the army, the police or the intelligence service DAS do not have the same facilities to get repaired by the state as the victims of the left wing guerrillas or the right wing paramilitaries. (more…)

False positives: Life isn’t worth a thing

May 15, 2009

I don’t know what I should write about: the false positives or the illegal wire taps, both in Colombia. Both are hot news and both keep me between shock and awe. I will choose the false positives and perhaps come back to you with the wire taps. (more…)

Don Mario and Karina, managers of peace

April 23, 2009

The alleged request of ‘Don Mario’ to become one of the Colombia’s peace managers, shows exactly how little the title ‘peace manager’ is worth and how it is only reserved for crooks. (more…)

Will the former paramilitary warlords in USA talk?

March 25, 2009

The former paramilitary warlords in Colombia who have been extradited to the United States are going to testify very soon and are going to give 60 testimonies. Colombia’s Justice and Peace attorney Luis González said so in Washington, during a meeting of the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights (autonomous organ of the Organization of American States, OAS). (more…)

Plan Colombia and false positives

March 19, 2009

Whether the government of Colombia likes it or not, the human rights issue will be important these years in the relation with the United States. First the problem of the false positives has to be solved before the American Senat can send 72 million dollar concerning military support (Plan Colombia) to Colombia, Patrick Leahy, influential Democrat, told Colombia’s daily El Tiempo(more…)

How to save Plan Colombia

March 18, 2009

Colombia’s vice-President’s Francisco Santos’ words to pull out of Plan Colombia should not be taken as literally as he said them. The man is not as childish as he seems. Santos is after the opposite: saving Plan Colombia.


The heritage of a false positive

March 11, 2009

Yesterday I was at the funeral of a peasant who was killed four years ago, probably because he was a leftist political activist. It took his wife four years to find out what happened and within those four years 15 months to get what was left of his body: shattered bones in a box of cardboard. His 11-year old son took the bones from the cardboard box to put them in the tiny coffin, which looked as if it were the coffin of a little baby. The boy was looking how the parts of the skull he found in the box would perhaps match. In the meantime his mother explained to some journalists what had happened.

Photo: Julián Arango

Photo: Julián Arango


False positives and Carnival

February 19, 2009

‘Colombia es pasión’ is the slogan they use to promote the country. When I am in a cynical mood, I add ‘para matar’. In short, Colombia is passion to kill. In this country people are killed because thy don’t want to hand over their cell phone to a thief. They are killed because they (supposedly) cooperate with the guerrilla, the army or the paramilitaries (Look at my post about the Awá). Or they are killed because they are poor. (more…)