United in Opposition: the D.C. Community Protests Georgetown’s Appointment of Álvaro Uribe

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Nico Udu-gama
nico@soaw.org

202-446-6632

United in Opposition: the D.C. Community Protests Georgetown’s Appointment of Álvaro Uribe

WASHINGTON - Professors,
students and alumni of Georgetown University met with a diverse group of activists last
night, the 31st of August, to plan their protest of the
school’s hiring of Alvaro Uribe, the ex-president of Colombia. The university will also
award Uribe a “Distinguished Scholar” fellowship.

At
the end of July, the university announced that Uribe would be teaching a
seminar in September and October in its School of Foreign Service
on the theme of Global Leadership. Organizations in Washington, D.C. working
for peace and justice want to make sure to educate Georgetown students and the
surrounding community about the atrocities committed during Uribe’s
presidency—including the displacement of over 3 million Colombians, the
persecution of journalists and human rights activists, and the murder of over
3,000 and civilians in the now-infamous “false positives” scandal.
Shortly before Uribe left office, authorities uncovered a mass grave containing
2,000 bodies, leading them to believe that the practice of forced disappearance
continues unabated in Colombia
today.

During
the long and energetic meeting, which took place in the Casa de Pueblo in the Mt. Pleasant
neighborhood of Washington,
D.C., the coalition discussed
what form their protest should take in order to be most effective.

Organizations
represented include the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Foundation, Witness for
Peace, the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), the
Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and No War on Cuba, among others.

“I’m
ashamed that a U.S.
university would hire someone like Uribe, but after the meeting I felt
hopeful,” said Becca Polk, an intern with SOA Watch, “not only
because of the incredible turnout but the energy and dedication demonstrated in
working for human rights.”

At
the end of the bilingual meeting, the group divided into four sub-committees:
media relations, community outreach, Georgetown
outreach, and direct action/street presence. Each group will plan actions to be
taken when Uribe arrives on the 8th of September.

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SOA Watch is an independent organization that seeks to close the US Army School of the Americas, under whatever name it is called, through vigils and fasts, demonstrations and nonviolent protest, as well as media and legislative work.

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