International Labour Organisation ILO
Mr. Juan Somavia
Distinguished Mister Juan Somavia,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
With all due respect I have to raise my concern about the nomination of Angelino Garzón, current Vice President of Colombia, for the Directorate of the ILO.
Even if I do not share the concerns, recently published in weekly political magazine “Semana” , in connection with the indifferent declaration that Colombia is still a country with a huge rate of ist victims.
Because at one side these victims mostly are not victims of the State itself but victims of violent crimes from guerrillas and former paramilitaries. On the other side there are a lot of victims because of criminal acts, free from any political intensions.
I would like to recommend the book “El gran fraude” by Libardo Botero Campuzano, who made a very detailed consideration about this unfortunate subject. Mister Botero Campuzano as a former member of the MOIR, Independent Revolutionary Workers Movement (Movimiento Obrero Independiente Revolucionario) surely is a voice one must hear.
The reason for my letter is the aspect, that I am trusting in the condition, that a work for the ILO needs undoubted human and democratic requirements, to accomplish defence, development and representation of the working population. These aspects can not be separated from the overall social circumstances of any country.
Mister Garzón, as Vice President of Colombia, has to ensure a functionally bureau for protection of human rights for every Colombian citizen.
Since June 2011, I had, among others, addressed nine (9) petitions for the protection of independent journalist Ricardo Puentes Melo and his wife, with three children under age, at the Office of the Vice Presidency for the governmental program for Promotion, Respect and Guarantee of Human Rights and Application of the International Humanitarian Law. And the few answers I have gotten, even that they were not answers at all, only had the information that my petitions were passed to the next office, and from there never heard anything furthermore.
From all this ignoring status the most contemptible is the denial of protection for the three kids.
Mister Puentes Melo has done investigations about the so called disappeared people during the terrorist-guerrilla assault of Bogotás Palace of Justice in the year of 1985, witch was liberated through the Colombian Army. With this detailed work he disproved the sentences against two former military men, General Jesus Armando Arias Cabrales and Colonel Luis Alfonso Plazas Vega.
Someone can read the verdict against General Arias like a tribute to the terrorist group. And even if the main witness from the proceeding against Colonel Plazas was mentioned in the verdict against General Arias as untrustworthy, it had no effect on the verdict that was already been spoken against Colonel Plazas.
I have to mention this in a detailed manner to show the importance of the journalistic work that Mister Puentes Melo had done. Also and especially, in this case, it currently gives great efforts to falsify Colombian history. And so with this exceptional work Mister Puentes Melo brought his life and his family in danger.
But what ever the political circumstances are, a journalist also belongs to the working population and his rights have to be protected in a democratic state, and advertisements about current risks for his work and life have to be considered by the Human Rights Office of the Vice Presidency of Colombia, Mister Garzón had sworn in to this.
The situation gives the impression that there is no right of protection and essential work conditions for a journalist, who refuses to prejudge retired military men like General Arias and Colonel Plazas for the only aspect: being members of the army at a time where national security was at risk from terrorist actions and where the military had acted in exercise of its duty and commands.
The investigations of Mister Puentes Melo to defend the military operation of this time, to save this since decades plagued country, and the necessary security to continue this work had find no place in the authorised office under the jurisdiction of Mister Garzón.
Even if I do not share the political roots of Mister Garzón, I consider him as a man of action. And so I am seriously astonished what kind of reasons he has to evade his responsibility around Mister Puentes` case.
Due to the lack of neutrality from Angelino Garzón in this case, I assume not as a recommendation for the vacant position at the ILO.
I also would appreciate help from your organization in this special case, because there is no doubt that I share the belief of the innocence of the mentioned former military men General Jesus Armando Arias Cabrales and Colonel Luis Alfonso Plazas Vega, and I have great respect and admiration for the work, Mister Ricardo Puentes Melo did.
Summarized I am very interested in the whole truth about the history of Colombia and whatever is necessary to ensure support for committed people on this difficult way, I have to try.
With all due respect I have to thank you for reading my letter.