Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wake Up Call Special: Beyond Bogotá - The Struggle for a New Colombia Policy

Hello Folks,

Just sending you all a small reminder about tomorrow's edition of
Wake Up Call on WBAI Pacifica Radio in New York (99.5FM for those of you in the listening range; for those of you who are not).

Our primary focus from
7:00 to 9:00am will be Colombia, the so-called "drug war," and the potential for changes in United States policy.

Our main guest will be independent journalist Garry Leech, editor of the website Colombia Journal and author of the new book, Beyond Bogotá: Diary of a Drug War Journalist, who will discuss his work in some of the most war-torn regions of the country, and why the U.S. must be held accountable.

As many of you already know, the United States has sent more than $6 billion dollars to Bogotá in the past eight years as part of Plan Colombia, supposedly to help eradicate cocaine production and secure rural regions held by illegal armed groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)—Colombia’s largest guerilla force—and right-wing paramilitary groups. However, despite significant media coverage of the Colombian conflict, there has been a remarkable absence of firsthand reporting about the situation on the ground. Foreign reporters rarely have the necessary protection to leave Bogotá, and Colombian journalists run serious risks if they report the whole story—with over 30 having been killed since 1995.

Leech has spent the last eight years investigating in the country and has seen firsthand the conditions that have garnered international attention: widespread human rights abuses, collusion between government soldiers and paramilitaries, the effects of violent displacement and aerial fumigation on rural communities, and the consequences of U.S. involvement in the region.

We will also discuss how some of these policies impact the popular social movement, in particular the indigenous communities who have been at the forefront of the struggle for social change in the country. In the second hour, from 8:00-9:00am ET, we will be joined by Manuel Rozental, physician and long time social justice activist, member of the Communication Team of the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca, ACIN, who will fill us in on the latest developments from Cauca and other parts of the country, including the recent massacre of 10 Awa indians in southern Colombia.

Plus, we'll have a discussion about Bolivia with the author of a new book about Bolivia's transformation under President Evo Morales, and will be joined by Christy Thornton, the publisher of the North American Congress on Latin America, NACLA's Report on the Americas.

So tune in and spread the word.
Friday, 7:00 to 9:00am
WBAI Radio 99.5FM

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