Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Adding my signature to this

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 University
September 27, 2010

Dear 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.

Osama Abi-Mershed, Assistant Professor of History, Georgetown University
Rodolfo Acuña, Professor of Chicano/a Studies, California State University, Northridge
Sonia E. Alvarez, Leonard J. Horwitz Professor of Latin American Politics and Society, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Mark Anderson, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz
Tim Anderson, Senior Lecturer in Political Economy, University of Sydney
Juan Manuel Arbona, Associate Professor and Chair, Growth and Structure of Cities Department, Bryn Mawr College
Benjamin Arditi, Professor, Centro de Estudios Politicos, Facultad de Ciencias Politicas y Sociales, UNAM, Mexico
Arturo Arias, Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Texas, Austin
Robert 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 Angeles
Teo Ballvé, Former Editor, NACLA Report on the Americas, Ph.D. Candidate in Geography, University of California, Berkeley
David Barkin, Profesor de Economía, Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco
Anthony Bebbington, Professor and ESRC Professorial Research Fellow, University of Manchester, UK
Marc Becker, Professor of Latin American History, Truman State University
Ericka Beckman, Assistant Professor of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese and Program in Comparative and World Literatures, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Susan Besse, Associate Professor of History, City College and The Graduate Center, Director, City College Fellowships Program, City University of New York
John Beverley, Distinguished Professor of Hispanic Languages and Literatures, University of Pittsburgh
Larry Birns, Director, Council on Hemispheric Affairs
John D. Blanco, Professor of Literature, University of California, San Diego
Anthony Bogues, Professor of Africana Studies and Political Science, Brown University
Paola Bohorquez, Ph.D., York University, Toronto
Paul A. Bové, Distinguished Professor of English, University of Pittsburgh
Donald W. Bray, Professor of Political Science Emeritus, California State University, Los Angeles
Marjorie W. Bray, Director of Latin American Studies, retired, California State University, Los Angeles
Renate Bridenthal, Professor Emerita of History, Brooklyn College
Bob Buzzanco, Professor of History, University of Houston
Marisol de la Cadena, Associate Profesor of Anthropology, University of California, Davis
Laura Carlsen, Director, Americas Program/Programa de las Americas
Marc Chernick, Visiting Associate Professor of Government, Georgetown University
Ron Chilcote, Professor of Economics, University of California, Riverside
Amy Chazkel, Assistant Professor of History, Queens College, City University of New York (CUNY)
Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
George Ciccariello-Maher, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Drexel University
Christopher Clement, Visiting Professor of Politics, Pomona College
James D. Cockcroft, Ph.D., SUNY online professor
Peter Cole, Assoc. Professor of History, Western Illinois University and Ph.D., Georgetown, 1997
Jaime Concha, Professor of Literature, University of California, San Diego
Christopher Connery, Professor of Literature, University of California, Santa Cruz
Antonia Darder, Distinguished Professor of Education, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Pablo Delano, Professor of Fine Arts, Trinity College
Guillermo Delgado-P., Ph.D., Anthropology Department, Field Studies Director,
University of California, Santa Cruz
Robin Maria DeLugan, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Merced
Mônica Dias Martins, Professor of Political Science, Universidade Estadual do Ceará, Brazil
Arif Dirlik, Liang Qichao Memorial Visiting Professor, Tsinghua University, Beijing, Knight Professor of Social Science, University of Oregon
Francisco 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, UK
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Professor Emerita of Ethnic Studies, California State University
Luis Duno, Associate Professor of Caribbean Studies and Film, Rice University
Marc Edelman, Professor and Chair of Anthropology, Hunter College, CUNY
Steve Ellner, Profesor of Political Science, Universidad de Oriente, Venezuela
Arturo Escobar, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Daniel Faber, Professor of Sociology, Northeastern University
Sujatha Fernandes, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Queens College, CUNY
Raul Fernandez, Professor, School of Social Sciences, University of California, Irvine
Bill Fletcher, Jr., editorial board member
Alcira Forero-Peña, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Lehman College, CUNY
Dana Frank, Professor of History, University of California, Santa Cruz
Gavin Fridell, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Politics,
Trent University, Ontario, Canada
Lesley Gill, Professor and Chair of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University
Stephen R. Gliessman, Ruth and Alfred Heller Professor Emeritus of Agroecology, University of California, Santa Cruz
Gabriel Ignacio Gómez, Professor, Universidad de Antioquia Law School (Colombia)
Greg Grandin, Professor of History, New York University
Gilbert González, Professor Emeritus of Chicano and Latino Studies, University of
California, Irvine
Todd Gordon, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, York University,
Bruce Grant, Associate Professor of Anthropology, New York University
Jean Max Guieu, Professor of French, Georgetown University
Bret Gustafson, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Washington University
Edgar Ivan Gutierrez, Associate Professor of History and Ethnic Studies, Riverside City
Peter Hallward, Professor of Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University, London
John L. Hammond, Professor of Sociology, CUNY
Jim Handy, Professor of History, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
Mark Healy, Assistant Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley
Judith Adler Hellman, Professor of Political and Social Science, York University
Doug Hertzler, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Eastern Mennonite University
René Harder Horst, Associate Professor of History, Appalachian State University
Peter James Hudson, Assistant Professor of History, Vanderbilt University
Jean Jackson, Professor of Anthropology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Maurice Jackson, Associate Professor of History and African American Studies,
Georgetown University
Dale Johnson, Professor of Sociology (Retired), Rutgers University
Gilbert M. Joseph, Farnam Professor of History and International Studies, Yale University
Alejandro Kaufman, Profesor Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de Buenos Aires/Universidad Nacional de Quilmas
Susana Kaiser, Associate Professor of Media Studies, Chair, Latin American Studies, University of San Francisco
Father Ray Kemp, Senior Fellow, Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University
Robert M. Irwin, Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, University of California, Davis
Maria Lagos, Assistant Professor Emerita of Anthropology, CUNY
Mark Lance, Professor of Philosophy, Georgetown University
Sidney Lemelle, Professor of History, Pomona College
Marcia Landy, Distinguished Professor of English and Film Studies, University of Pittsburgh
Catherine LeGrand, Associate Professor of History, McGill University, Montreal
Deborah Levenson, Associate Professor of History, Boston College
Kathryne V. Lindberg, Professor of English and Africana Studies, Wayne State University
Peter Linebaugh, Professor of History, University of Toledo
Dr. Gilberto López y Rivas, Profesor Investigador, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Centro Regional Morelos, Mexico
Flora Lu, Assistant Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz
Sheryl Lutjens, Women’s Studies Department, California State University, San Marcos
Catherine Lutz, Thomas J. Watson, Jr. Family Professor of Anthropology and International Studies, Chair of Anthropology, Brown University
Florencia E. Mallon, Julieta Kirkwood Professor and Chair of History, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Patricia Martin, Professor in Human Geography, Université de Montréal
Luis Martín-Cabrera. Assistant Professor, Literature, University of California, San Diego
Peter McLaren, Ph.D., F.R.S.A, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
Andrés Medina Hernández, Ph.D., Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Breny Mendoza, Professor, California State University, Northridge
Jim Merod, Professor American Literature, Soka University of America/Aliso Viejo, California
Minoo Moallem, Professor of Gender and Women's Studies, University of California, Berkeley
Elizabeth Monasterios, Associate Professor of Hispanic Languages and Literatures, University of Pittsburgh
Isidoro Moreno-Navarro, Ph.D., Catedrático (Senior Professor) de Antropología, Universidad de Sevilla, Andalucía, España
Frederick B. Mills, Professor of Philosophy, Bowie State University
Lisa L. North, Professor Emerita of Political Science, York University, Toronto
Fellow, Center for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC), York
Enrique C. Ochoa, Professor of History and Latin American Studies,
California State University, Los Angeles
Daniel T. O'Hara, Professor of English and First Mellon Term Professor of
Humanities, Temple University
Andrew Orta, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Director, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Mark Overmyer-Velázquez, Associate Professor of History, Director, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of Connecticut
Rev. Dr. Joseph Palacios, Adjunct Professor, Center for Latin American Studies, Georgetown University
Donald A. Pease, Professor of English, Ted and Helen Geisel Third Century Professor in the Humanities, Dartmouth College
Ivette Perfecto, George W. Pack Professor of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Hector Perla Jr., Assistant Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz
John Pilger, Journalist, UK
Deborah Poole, Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University
Margaret Power, Professor of History, Illinois Institute of Technology, and Georgetown University alumni, College, 1975
Pablo Alejandro Pozzi, History Department, University of Buenos Aires
Vijay Prashad, George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History, Director and Professor of International Studies, Trinity College
Richard Purcell, Assistant Professor of English, Carnegie Mellon University
Peter Ranis, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, CUNY
Joanne Rappaport, Professor of Anthropology and Spanish and Portuguese, Georgetown University
Marcus Rediker, Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History, University of Pittsburgh
Darryl Reed, Associate Professor, Business & Society, Chair, Department of Social Science, York University, Toronto, President, Canadian Association for Studies in Cooperation
Gerardo Renique, Associate Professor of History, City College, CUNY
William I. Robinson, Professor of Sociology and Global and International Studies, University of California-Santa Barbara
Clemencia Rodriguez, Professor of Communication, University of Oklahoma
Victor M. Rodriguez, Professor, Department of Chicano and Latino
Studies, California State University, Long Beach
Cristina Rojas, Professor, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
Nancy Romero, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Brooklyn College
Jan Rus, Latin American Perspectives
Eduardo Sáenz Rovner, Professor, School of Economic Sciences, Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Rosaura Sanchez, Professor of Literature, University of California, San Diego
Olga Sanmiguel, Professor of Women's Studies, University of Cincinnati
T.M. Scruggs, Professor Emeritus of Music, University of Iowa
Ellen Schrecker, Professor of History, Yeshiva University
Barbara Schroder, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate, Center for Advanced Study in Education, CUNY
Sheila M Shannon, Associate Professor of Education and Human Development, University of Colorado-Denver
Victor Silverman, Associate Professor of History, Pomona College
Brad Simpson, Assistant Professor of History and International Affairs, Princeton University, Director, Indonesia and East Timor Documentation Project
Julie Skurski, Distinguished Lecture in Anthropology, CUNY Graduate Center
Carol A. Smith, Professor Emerita of Anthropology, University of California, Davis
William A. Spanos, Distinguished Professor of English, State University of New York, Binghamton
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, University Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University
Richard Stahler-Sholk, Professor of Political Science, Eastern Michigan University
Anita Starosta, Rhode Island School of Design
Marcia Stephenson, Associate Professor of Spanish, Purdue University
Pamela Stricker, Associate Professor of Political Science, California State University, San Marcos
Steve Striffler, Professor of Anthropology and Geography, Doris Zemurray Stone Chair in Latin American Studies, University of New Orleans
Silvia Tandeciarz, Professor and Chair of Modern Languages and Literatures, College of William and Mary
Margo Taméz, Assistant Professor of Gender and Women's Studies/Indigenous Studies, University of British Columbia
Sinclair Thomson, Associate Professor of History, New York University
Miguel Tinker-Salas, Miguel R. Arango Professor in Latin American History, Pomona College
Mayo C. Toruño, Professor of Economics, California State University, San Bernardino
Stefano Varese, Professor of Anthropology Emeritus, University of California, Davis
Max Viatori, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Iowa State University
Steven S. Volk, Professor of History and Chair, Latin American Studies, Oberlin College
Marilyn Young, Professor of History, New York University
William Walker, Professor of History, University Toronto (ret.)
Clare Weber, Professor of Sociology, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Jeffery R. Webber, Lecturer in Politics, Queen Mary, University of London
Dr. 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 Hil
Diana Pei Wu, Ph.D., Antioch University, Los Angeles
Caroline Yezer, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, College of the Holy Cross
George Yúdice, Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures, Professor of Latin American Studies, University of Miami
Marc Zimmerman, Professor of Modern and Classical Languages, University of Houston