CounterPunch supports the Floyd Rebellion and Black Lives Matter.
Please consider supporting an organization working on police accountability, additional resources on the movement and how you can get involved can be found here.

FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

US and Colombia Escalate Attacks on Liberation Church

When I was 12 years old – at the time a devout Catholic and Reaganite – I saw something on television which had a profound effect on my life.   It was a 60 Minutes piece about El Salvador, and it focused on the murder of Archbishop Romero and the four Churchwomen, some of them American, brutally raped and murdered there.   What was striking to me about the piece was its suggestion that the forces behind these atrocities may well have been those being sponsored by the United States.   As we know now, this was indeed the case.   And, it was this realization — that the U.S. was behind the persecution of the Church in El Salvador, and as I came to know later, throughout Latin America — which changed how I viewed the world and the U.S.’s role in it.

Of course, Noam Chomsky, with his partner in crime, Edward Herman, has been analyzing the U.S. war on the Liberation Church in Latin America, and the media’s almost utter failure to cover it, for years.   Chomsky, whose lone poster in his MIT office is one with Archbishop Romero along with the four  Jesuits killed in El Salvador in 1989, has pointed out quite recently that the murder of these four Jesuits (as we know now with U.S. bullets) took place very shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall.  That is, the murders took place as the Cold War – the ostensible struggle between Capitalism and Communism – was ending, leading to the conclusion that the assault on the Church, and in particular Liberation Theology, had little or nothing to do with the U.S.’s proffered goal to eradicate Communism.  Rather, the goal was deeper and more sinister – to wipe out the seeds of social justice itself in Latin America by wiping out radical Christianity (that is, Christianity in a form closer to its early roots before it became the official, state religion of Rome).   In other words, while the U.S. tried to justify its war against Communism as a war against anti-Christian atheists, it was in fact the U.S. that posed more of a threat to true Christianity.

And, the U.S. has carried out this battle with the sword — while the Vatican, which strayed from the roots of Christianity long ago, has carried it out through ex-communications and censure — sponsoring forces which have carried out the murder of literally hundreds of religious (including priests, brothers and sisters) throughout Latin America.   (I will leave to a later day the discussion of the U.S. support for Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor which claimed the lives of between 500,000 and 1 million civilians, mostly Roman Catholic).  And, while one would not know it from the U.S. press, this struggle continues.

Thus, as Colombia’s paper of record, El Tiempo, explained yesterday, six (6) Catholic priests have been killed in Colombia so far this year.   AsEl Tiempo explained, between 1984 and September of 2011, two bishops, 79 priests, eight men and women religious, and three seminarians have been killed in Colombia alone.  And, for the most part, these victims have been advocates for the poor and have been killed by right-wing paramilitaries aligned with the Colombian state and military – the largest recipient of U.S. military aid in the region by far.

The most recent priest killed in Colombia was Father Gualberto Arrieta Oviedo, pastor of Our Lady of Carmen Capurgana (Choco), who was killed with a machete to the head.  Father Arrieta Oviedo, as El Tiempo explains, “was known for his committed work with the poorest communities.”   The Colombian Bishops Conference reacted to this latest murder by decrying the murder of Catholic priests in Colombia, and stressing “the courageous commitment of our priests with the prophetic denunciation of injustice and the cause of the poorest in the country.”  Meanwhile, the Vatican remains silent about these killings.

Of course, it is the “prophetic denunciation of injustice and the cause of the poorest” of the poor which both the U.S. and Colombia would like to see wiped out.   And, it is this goal which is the real impetus for the U.S.’s support of the Colombian military to the tune of over $7 billion since 2000, and for the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which President Obama is threatening to have passed this Fall.  Those dedicated to mission of justice must oppose both these policies with the fervor of those priests who risk their lives every day in the lion’s den which the U.S. and Colombia have created for them.

Dan Kovalik is a labor and human rights lawyer living in Pittsburgh.

More articles by:

Dan Kovalik teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.  His latest book is No More War: How the West Violates International Law by Using ‘Humanitarian’ Intervention to Advance Economic and Strategic Interests.

Weekend Edition
June 05, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Jacob F. Lee – Matthew E. Stanley
Direct Action and the Rejection of Monumental History
Louis Proyect
Reflections on My COVID-19 Immunity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mad Bull, Lost Its Way
Stanley L. Cohen
Everywhere is War
Louis Yako
America Has Always Been Burning with Racism: Who is the Enemy?
Jefferson Morley
Showdown on 16th Street
Eve Ottenberg
Killing Workers (and Customers) – With No Liability
Peter Linebaugh
Say Their Names!
Melvin Goodman
Trump’s War on Democracy
Paul Street
Dear History Students
Lola Allen
How Has Bolivia’s de Facto Regime Taken Advantage of COVID-19 to Consolidate Its Power and Repress Political Rivals?
Jonathan Cook
As US protests Show, the Challenge is How to Rise Above the Violence Inherent in State Power
Alvaro Huerta
Police Abuse in America’s Barrios
Ron Jacobs
Generals Are Not the People’s Ally
Daniel Warner
Resilience
Ramzy Baroud
‘Wolf Warrior Diplomacy’: Israel’s China Strategy in Peril
David Yearsley
Dam Nation and Woody Guthrie
Sam Husseini
The Barr Coup 
Richard C. Gross
Bunker Mentality
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
BlackRock is Bailing Out Its ETFs with Fed Money and Taxpayers Eating Losses; It’s Also the Sole Manager for $335 Billion of Federal Employees’ Retirement Funds
Marshall Auerback
The Battle Over Free Speech Online is a Volcano That’s Ready to Blow
David Rosen
Trump’s Election to Lose
Jack Rasmus
Confronting Institutional Racism
Joseph Natoli
Ubu Orange
Gary Olson
Jakarta: Force and Fraud at Home and Abroad. What’s Next?
Sister Karen M. Donahue
I’m Outraged by Trump’s Church Photo-Op
Jaelani Turner-Williams
Racism is a Public Health Crisis
Chuck Collins
As 42.6 Million Americans File for Unemployment, Billionaires Add Half a Trillion Dollars to Their Cumulative Wealth
Jill Richardson
It Doesn’t Matter Who Protested and Who “Rioted”
Richard Ward
A Matter of Focus
Colin Todhunter
Food and Agroecology: Coping with Future Shocks
Ariel Dorfman
Literature in Times of Turmoil
Russell Mokhiber
ICE Wants to Deport Marc Petitpierre to Switzerland
Liz Theoharis
Organizing the Rich or the Poor? Which America Will Be Ours After the Pandemic?
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Social Media Sucks for Reporting News
Denita Jones
Going Back to Work in a Pandemic
Tracey L. Rogers
A Tale of Two Americas
Paul Cantor
Thank You, Peaceful Protesters!
Susan Block
Sadistic Policing
Nicky Reid
Because Imperialists Rape: Anarcha-Feminism In the Ashes of the MeToo Era
Marilyn Bruya
Trump is the Looter to Worry About
Norman Solomon
Solidarity Includes Wearing a Mask at Protests
Kim C. Domenico
Misfit Redemption: Escape from the Cruelty of White Liberal Innocence
John Kendall Hawkins
The Coming Purge of Doppelgängers and the Palast Revolution
Stephen Cooper
America is Burning
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail