Thursday, April 23, 2015

Allegations of Rape in Colombia

More mainstream media attention on the accusations that U.S. soldiers raped Colombian children (in Time magazine). It's a balanced story, trying to start the difficult process of determining what's accurate.

The truth commission report was authorized at ongoing peace talks in Cuba between the Colombian government and the guerillas of Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC). Twelve Colombian academics, half chosen by the government and half by the guerrillas, authored the report. Renan Vega, a left-wing university professor who wrote the chapter accusing the Americans of sex abuse, is a FARC appointee. Like the FARC, Vega is fiercely critical of U.S. troops and foreign contractors in Colombia whom he calls “mercenaries.” 
What’s more, Vega’s allegations make up just one paragraph of the 800-page report. He does not cite criminal complaints or other sources to back up his claim of 53 sexual assaults. Vega could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for the Colombian Attorney General’s office said there is no record of widespread sexual abuse by U.S. troops or foreign contractors in the Melgar area in the mid-2000s. 
“I would say there’s no truth to anything involving 50-plus people,” said Keith Sparks, who during the mid-2000s was country manager for DynCorp, one of the largest U.S. military contractors in Colombia. “We had at one point up to 1,000 employees. And there were never, on my watch, any accusations of rape.” 
Still, some experts call the truth commission allegations troubling, especially in the wake of other instances of bad behavior by U.S. government employees in Colombia.
This story is going to be fleshed out even more as reporters do a bit of digging.

Here are my previous posts about it.


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