Sep 29 2010
WASHINGTON DC: Students are delivering an open letter to Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia today, signed by over 150 scholars, urging the university to reconsider its appointment of former president of Colombia Álvaro Uribe as a visiting scholar. Signed by a number of Georgetown professors, leading scholars on Colombia, and many others, the letter objects to Uribe’s ties to paramilitary groups, the “false positives” scandal (in which members of the Colombian military killed civilians and dressed the bodies in the uniforms of guerrillas), corruption and human rights violations in his administration, manipulation of the judiciary, and a notorious wiretapping scandal, as among their concerns over Uribe’s appointment.
“Given the human rights scandals associated with Álvaro Uribe’s administration, and the ties between his administration and illegal paramilitary groups, it is disturbing that Georgetown University has chosen to host him this year,” said Lesley Gill, Professor and Chair of Anthropology at Vanderbilt University.
Signers of the letter include Joanne Rappaport, a Colombia expert and Professor of Anthropology and Spanish and Portuguese at Georgetown University; Greg Grandin, Professor of History at New York University and author of the Pulitzer Prize Finalist book Fordlandia; Yale University professor Gilbert M. Joseph; and Father Ray Kemp, Senior Fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown, among many others.
The full text of the letter follows:John J. DeGioia
Georgetown UniversitySeptember 27, 2010Dear Sir,Concerning former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe’s appointment at Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service as “Distinguished Scholar in the Practice of Global Leadership,” we would like to signal our agreement with the basic thrust of the open letter Father Javier Giraldo Moreno, S.J., wrote to peace activist Father John Dear, S.J., on September 6, 2010, and add our support for Father Dear’s efforts to have Mr. Uribe removed from his post.We reproduce the text of the letter from Father Giraldo to Father Dear:Dear John,I send you fraternal, loving greetings.I write to you with great concern regarding the fact that our Jesuit university, Georgetown, has hired former president of Colombia Álvaro Uribe Vélez, as a professor. I am constantly receiving messages from individuals and groups who have suffered enormously during his term as president. They are protesting and questioning the mindset of our Company, or its lack of ethical judgment in making a decision of this kind.
It is possible that decision makers at Georgetown have received positive appraisals from Colombians in high political or economic positions, but it is difficult to ignore the intense moral disagreements aroused by his government and the investigations and sanctions imposed by international organizations that try to protect human dignity. The mere fact that, during Uribe’s political career, while he was governor of Antioquia Department (1995-1997), he founded and protected so many paramilitary groups, known euphemistically as “Convivir” (“To Live Together”), who murdered and “disappeared” thousands of people and displaced multitudes, committing many other atrocities, would imply a need for moral censure before entrusting him with any future responsibility.But not only did he continue to sponsor those paramilitary groups, but he defended them and he perfected them into a new pattern of legalized paramilitarism, including networks of informants, networks of collaborators, and the new class of private security companies that involve millions of civilians in military activities related to the internal armed conflict, while at the same time lying to the international community with a phony demobilization of the paramilitaries.In addition, the scandalous practice of “false positives” took place during Uribe’s administration. The practice consists in murdering civilians, usually peasants, and after killing them, dressing them as combatants in order to justify their deaths. That is the way he tried to demonstrate bogus military victories over the rebels and eliminate the activists in social movements that work for justice.The corruption during his administration was more than scandalous, not just because of the presence of drug traffickers in public positions, but also because the Congress and many government offices were occupied by criminals. Today more than a hundred members of Congress are involved in criminal proceedings, all of them President Uribe’s closest supporters.The purchase of consciences in order to manipulate the judicial apparatus was disgraceful. It ended up destroying, at the deepest level, the moral fabric of the country. Another disgrace was the corrupt manner in which the ministers closest to him manipulated agricultural policy in order to favor the very rich with public money, meanwhile impeding and stigmatizing social projects. The corruption of his sons, who enriched themselves by using the advantages of power, scandalized the whole country.In addition, Uribe used the security agency directly under his control (the Department of Administrative Security) to spy on the courts, opposition politicians, and social and human rights movements, by means of clandestine telephone tapping. The corrupt machinations he used to obtain his re-election as President in 2006 were sordid in the extreme, with the result that ministers and close collaborators have almost been jailed.
He manipulated the coordination between the Army and the paramilitary groups that resulted in 14,000 extrajudicial executions during his term of office. His strategies of impunity for those who, through the government or the “para-government,” committed crimes against humanity will go down in history for their brazenness.The decision by the Jesuits at Georgetown to offer a professorship to Álvaro Uribe, is not only deeply offensive to those Colombians who still maintain moral principles, but also places at high risk the ethical development of the young people who attend our university in Washington. Where are the ethics of the Company of Jesus?I am writing these lines to you because I am sure that you will share our concerns and perhaps you can forward them to the Jesuits at Georgetown and to other circles of thoughtful persons you know and to those who are in sympathy with justice.With a fond embrace,Javier Giraldo Moreno, S.J.We hope you will reconsider your decision to appoint Álvaro Uribe at Georgetown in light of the concerns noted above. His presence there is an affront to scholars and their educational mission.Sincerely,Osama Abi-Mershed, Assistant Professor of History, Georgetown UniversityRodolfo Acuña, Professor of Chicano/a Studies, California State University, NorthridgeSonia E. Alvarez, Leonard J. Horwitz Professor of Latin American Politics and Society, University of Massachusetts, AmherstMark Anderson, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa CruzTim Anderson, Senior Lecturer in Political Economy, University of SydneyJuan Manuel Arbona, Associate Professor and Chair, Growth and Structure of Cities Department, Bryn Mawr CollegeBenjamin Arditi, Professor, Centro de Estudios Politicos, Facultad de Ciencias Politicas y Sociales, UNAM, MexicoArturo Arias, Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Texas, AustinRobert Austin, Ph.D, Fellow, School of Historical Studies, University of Melbourne
Beth Baker-Cristales, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Acting Director, Latin American Studies Program, California State University, Los AngelesTeo Ballvé, Former Editor, NACLA Report on the Americas, Ph.D. Candidate in Geography, University of California, BerkeleyDavid Barkin, Profesor de Economía, Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana-XochimilcoAnthony Bebbington, Professor and ESRC Professorial Research Fellow, University of Manchester, UKMarc Becker, Professor of Latin American History, Truman State UniversityEricka Beckman, Assistant Professor of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese and Program in Comparative and World Literatures, University of Illinois, Urbana-ChampaignSusan Besse, Associate Professor of History, City College and The Graduate Center, Director, City College Fellowships Program, City University of New YorkJohn Beverley, Distinguished Professor of Hispanic Languages and Literatures, University of PittsburghLarry Birns, Director, Council on Hemispheric AffairsJohn D. Blanco, Professor of Literature, University of California, San DiegoAnthony Bogues, Professor of Africana Studies and Political Science, Brown UniversityPaola Bohorquez, Ph.D., York University, TorontoPaul A. Bové, Distinguished Professor of English, University of PittsburghDonald W. Bray, Professor of Political Science Emeritus, California State University, Los AngelesMarjorie W. Bray, Director of Latin American Studies, retired, California State University, Los AngelesRenate Bridenthal, Professor Emerita of History, Brooklyn CollegeBob Buzzanco, Professor of History, University of HoustonMarisol de la Cadena, Associate Profesor of Anthropology, University of California, DavisLaura Carlsen, Director, Americas Program/Programa de las AmericasMarc Chernick, Visiting Associate Professor of Government, Georgetown UniversityRon Chilcote, Professor of Economics, University of California, RiversideAmy Chazkel, Assistant Professor of History, Queens College, City University of New York (CUNY)Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyGeorge Ciccariello-Maher, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Drexel UniversityChristopher Clement, Visiting Professor of Politics, Pomona CollegeJames D. Cockcroft, Ph.D., SUNY online professorPeter Cole, Assoc. Professor of History, Western Illinois University and Ph.D., Georgetown, 1997Jaime Concha, Professor of Literature, University of California, San DiegoChristopher Connery, Professor of Literature, University of California, Santa CruzAntonia Darder, Distinguished Professor of Education, University of Illinois, Urbana-ChampaignPablo Delano, Professor of Fine Arts, Trinity CollegeGuillermo Delgado-P., Ph.D., Anthropology Department, Field Studies Director,
University of California, Santa CruzRobin Maria DeLugan, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of California, MercedMônica Dias Martins, Professor of Political Science, Universidade Estadual do Ceará, BrazilArif Dirlik, Liang Qichao Memorial Visiting Professor, Tsinghua University, Beijing, Knight Professor of Social Science, University of OregonFrancisco Dominguez, Ph.D., Program Leader for Spanish and Latin American Studies, Head of Centre For Brazilian and Latin American Studies, Department of English, Languages and Philosophy, Middlesex University, UKRoxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Professor Emerita of Ethnic Studies, California State UniversityLuis Duno, Associate Professor of Caribbean Studies and Film, Rice UniversityMarc Edelman, Professor and Chair of Anthropology, Hunter College, CUNYSteve Ellner, Profesor of Political Science, Universidad de Oriente, VenezuelaArturo Escobar, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel HillDaniel Faber, Professor of Sociology, Northeastern UniversitySujatha Fernandes, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Queens College, CUNYRaul Fernandez, Professor, School of Social Sciences, University of California, IrvineBill Fletcher, Jr., BlackCommentator.com editorial board memberAlcira Forero-Peña, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Lehman College, CUNYDana Frank, Professor of History, University of California, Santa CruzGavin Fridell, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Politics,
Trent University, Ontario, CanadaLesley Gill, Professor and Chair of Anthropology, Vanderbilt UniversityStephen R. Gliessman, Ruth and Alfred Heller Professor Emeritus of Agroecology, University of California, Santa CruzGabriel Ignacio Gómez, Professor, Universidad de Antioquia Law School (Colombia)Greg Grandin, Professor of History, New York UniversityGilbert González, Professor Emeritus of Chicano and Latino Studies, University of
California, IrvineTodd Gordon, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, York University,
TorontoBruce Grant, Associate Professor of Anthropology, New York UniversityJean Max Guieu, Professor of French, Georgetown UniversityBret Gustafson, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Washington UniversityEdgar Ivan Gutierrez, Associate Professor of History and Ethnic Studies, Riverside City
CollegePeter Hallward, Professor of Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University, LondonJohn L. Hammond, Professor of Sociology, CUNYJim Handy, Professor of History, University of Saskatchewan, CanadaMark Healy, Assistant Professor of History, University of California, BerkeleyJudith Adler Hellman, Professor of Political and Social Science, York UniversityDoug Hertzler, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Eastern Mennonite UniversityRené Harder Horst, Associate Professor of History, Appalachian State UniversityPeter James Hudson, Assistant Professor of History, Vanderbilt UniversityJean Jackson, Professor of Anthropology, Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyMaurice Jackson, Associate Professor of History and African American Studies,
Georgetown UniversityDale Johnson, Professor of Sociology (Retired), Rutgers UniversityGilbert M. Joseph, Farnam Professor of History and International Studies, Yale UniversityAlejandro Kaufman, Profesor Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de Buenos Aires/Universidad Nacional de QuilmasSusana Kaiser, Associate Professor of Media Studies, Chair, Latin American Studies, University of San FranciscoFather Ray Kemp, Senior Fellow, Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown UniversityRobert M. Irwin, Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, University of California, DavisMaria Lagos, Assistant Professor Emerita of Anthropology, CUNYMark Lance, Professor of Philosophy, Georgetown UniversitySidney Lemelle, Professor of History, Pomona CollegeMarcia Landy, Distinguished Professor of English and Film Studies, University of PittsburghCatherine LeGrand, Associate Professor of History, McGill University, MontrealDeborah Levenson, Associate Professor of History, Boston CollegeKathryne V. Lindberg, Professor of English and Africana Studies, Wayne State UniversityPeter Linebaugh, Professor of History, University of ToledoDr. Gilberto López y Rivas, Profesor Investigador, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Centro Regional Morelos, MexicoFlora Lu, Assistant Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies, University of California, Santa CruzSheryl Lutjens, Women’s Studies Department, California State University, San MarcosCatherine Lutz, Thomas J. Watson, Jr. Family Professor of Anthropology and International Studies, Chair of Anthropology, Brown UniversityFlorencia E. Mallon, Julieta Kirkwood Professor and Chair of History, University of Wisconsin, MadisonPatricia Martin, Professor in Human Geography, Université de MontréalLuis Martín-Cabrera. Assistant Professor, Literature, University of California, San DiegoPeter McLaren, Ph.D., F.R.S.A, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los AngelesAndrés Medina Hernández, Ph.D., Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoBreny Mendoza, Professor, California State University, NorthridgeJim Merod, Professor American Literature, Soka University of America/Aliso Viejo, CaliforniaMinoo Moallem, Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, University of California, BerkeleyElizabeth Monasterios, Associate Professor of Hispanic Languages and Literatures, University of PittsburghIsidoro Moreno-Navarro, Ph.D., Catedrático (Senior Professor) de Antropología, Universidad de Sevilla, Andalucía, EspañaFrederick B. Mills, Professor of Philosophy, Bowie State UniversityLisa L. North, Professor Emerita of Political Science, York University, Toronto
Fellow, Center for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC), York
UniversityEnrique C. Ochoa, Professor of History and Latin American Studies,
California State University, Los AngelesDaniel T. O’Hara, Professor of English and First Mellon Term Professor of
Humanities, Temple UniversityAndrew Orta, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Director, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignMark Overmyer-Velázquez, Associate Professor of History, Director, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of ConnecticutRev. Dr. Joseph Palacios, Adjunct Professor, Center for Latin American Studies, Georgetown UniversityDonald A. Pease, Professor of English, Ted and Helen Geisel Third Century Professor in the Humanities, Dartmouth CollegeIvette Perfecto, George W. Pack Professor of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan, Ann ArborHector Perla Jr., Assistant Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies, University of California, Santa CruzJohn Pilger, Journalist, UKDeborah Poole, Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins UniversityMargaret Power, Professor of History, Illinois Institute of Technology, and Georgetown University alumni, College, 1975Pablo Alejandro Pozzi, History Department, University of Buenos AiresVijay Prashad, George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History, Director and Professor of International Studies, Trinity CollegeRichard Purcell, Assistant Professor of English, Carnegie Mellon UniversityPeter Ranis, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, CUNYJoanne Rappaport, Professor of Anthropology and Spanish and Portuguese, Georgetown UniversityMarcus Rediker, Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History, University of PittsburghDarryl Reed, Associate Professor, Business & Society, Chair, Department of Social Science, York University, Toronto, President, Canadian Association for Studies in CooperationGerardo Renique, Associate Professor of History, City College, CUNYWilliam I. Robinson, Professor of Sociology and Global and International Studies, University of California-Santa BarbaraClemencia Rodriguez, Professor of Communication, University of OklahomaVictor M. Rodriguez, Professor, Department of Chicano and Latino
Studies, California State University, Long BeachCristina Rojas, Professor, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, Ottawa, CanadaNancy Romero, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Brooklyn CollegeJan Rus, Latin American PerspectivesEduardo Sáenz Rovner, Professor, School of Economic Sciences, Universidad Nacional de ColombiaRosaura Sanchez, Professor of Literature, University of California, San DiegoOlga Sanmiguel, Professor of Women’s Studies, University of CincinnatiT.M. Scruggs, Professor Emeritus of Music, University of IowaEllen Schrecker, Professor of History, Yeshiva UniversityBarbara Schroder, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate, Center for Advanced Study in Education, CUNYSheila M Shannon, Associate Professor of Education and Human Development, University of Colorado-DenverVictor Silverman, Associate Professor of History, Pomona CollegeBrad Simpson, Assistant Professor of History and International Affairs, Princeton University, Director, Indonesia and East Timor Documentation ProjectJulie Skurski, Distinguished Lecture in Anthropology, CUNY Graduate CenterCarol A. Smith, Professor Emerita of Anthropology, University of California, DavisWilliam A. Spanos, Distinguished Professor of English, State University of New York, BinghamtonGayatri Chakravorty Spivak, University Professor in the Humanities, Columbia UniversityRichard Stahler-Sholk, Professor of Political Science, Eastern Michigan UniversityAnita Starosta, Rhode Island School of DesignMarcia Stephenson, Associate Professor of Spanish, Purdue UniversityPamela Stricker, Associate Professor of Political Science, California State University, San MarcosSteve Striffler, Professor of Anthropology and Geography, Doris Zemurray Stone Chair in Latin American Studies, University of New OrleansSilvia Tandeciarz, Professor and Chair of Modern Languages and Literatures, College of William and MaryMargo Taméz, Assistant Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies/Indigenous Studies, University of British ColumbiaSinclair Thomson, Associate Professor of History, New York UniversityMiguel Tinker-Salas, Miguel R. Arango Professor in Latin American History, Pomona CollegeMayo C. Toruño, Professor of Economics, California State University, San BernardinoStefano Varese, Professor of Anthropology Emeritus, University of California, DavisMax Viatori, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Iowa State UniversitySteven S. Volk, Professor of History and Chair, Latin American Studies, Oberlin CollegeMarilyn Young, Professor of History, New York UniversityWilliam Walker, Professor of History, University Toronto (ret.)Clare Weber, Professor of Sociology, California State University, Dominguez HillsJeffery R. Webber, Lecturer in Politics, Queen Mary, University of LondonDr. Ingrid Wehr, Associate Professor, University of Freiburg/Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institute, Freiburg (Germany)Judith A. Weiss, Professor Emerita of Modern Languages and Literatures, Mount Allison University, Canada.Margaret Wiener, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel HilDiana Pei Wu, Ph.D., Antioch University, Los AngelesCaroline Yezer, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, College of the Holy CrossGeorge Yúdice, Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures, Professor of Latin American Studies, University of MiamiMarc Zimmerman, Professor of Modern and Classical Languages, University of Houston