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Letter about the influence of paramilitaries at University of Cordoba
Colombia Support Network / Tuesday 24 June 2008

June 24, 2008

Alvaro Uribe Velez
Palacio de Narino
Bogota, Colombia
South America

Dear President Uribe :

We write to you to express our strong support for the courageous
report of Ivan Cepeda Castro and the Movement of Victims of State
Crimes ( MOVICE) on the worrisome influence of paramilitaries in the
Universidad de Cordoba, an important institution of higher education in
northern Colombia.

MOVICE called attention to the fact that the head of the university,
Rector Claudio Sanchez-Parra, was chosen by paramilitary leader
Salvatore Mancuso. Mancuso has for the past several years exerted
strong influence over appointments in the university. During this period
19 members of the academic community have been murdered. Rector
Sanchez is the subject of investigations by the Attorney General’s office
for his ties to paramilitaries, and has appointed several relatives of
Mancuso to university posts.

Those professors, students and employees who oppose the
corruption and violence brought by the paramilitaries, and particularly
those who are members of the union for university personnel,
SINTRAUNICOL, have had their lives threatened. An attempt on the
life of one of the union’s leaders was made after Claudio Sanchez
became Rector.

We are particularly distressed that you have personally
commended the Rector and severely criticized Mr. Cepeda and
MOVICE, whose defense of the victims of paramilitary and state-
sponsored violence we celebrate.

We call upon you to end paramilitary influence in the university
and guarantee a respectful academic environment free of threats. Instead
of crass personal criticisms of Mr. Cepeda show him the respect a true
friend of letters deserves.

We pledge to focus our attention on the Universidad de Cordoba,
and support the courageous efforts of those who seek to end the
destructive paramilitary influence there.


Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor ( retired) MIT
John I. Laun , President Colombia Support Network
Eunice Gibson, Adjunt Professor of Law at Lakeland College and MATC
Al Gedicks, Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Marc Becker, Truman State University
Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Detroit
Dan I. Bolef, Professor Emeritus, Washington University, St Louis
Regina Birchem, PhD
Mark M. Giese, Racine Wisconsin
William Aviles, Professor of Political Sciences, University of Nebraska-
Al Gedicks, Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin -La Crosse
Nancy McClintock, member WILPF
Natalia Jaramillo, Founder Committee, Civic Human Rights Network
Dave A. Davis, Kansas City
Father David Wanish, Diocese of Madison
Dan Kovalik, USSW, Associate General Counsel
Marian Seagren Hall of Wausau, Wisconsin
Joshua Clark, University of Texas, Austin
Nicolas Zakzuk, Miami
Edith Ballantyne, Special Adviser on United Nations to WILPF
Robert W. McChesney, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign
Ann Tiffany, CSN Central New York
Luis Alfonso Hernandez
Fredrik Jansson, President Colombianätverket, Stockholm, Sweden
Lynn Biddle. Cambridge, Massachussets
Pat Stoner
Zoltan Grossman, Faculty in Geography and Indigenous Studies, The
Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington
Sister Frances Hoffman, O.P. Sun Prairie Public Library
Luis Alonso Cardona Betancourt, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Islas Canarias
Philip E. Gates, Retired Superintendent of Schools, Arizona
Enrique Santiago Romero- Abogado, Madrid, Espana

cc Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice
Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon
US Ambassador to Colombia William Brownfield
Colombia ‘ s Ambassador to the US Carolina Barco