Colombia heard the voice of educators loud and clear last year when 1,000 UK academics wrote to the Colombian president calling for the release of Dr Miguel Beltran. Several unions on the Global Teacher Network did the same, including the CAUT in Canada and the NTEU in Australia.
Since our letter to the president, Dr Beltran’s trial was postponed following several ireegularities including suspected manipulation of the evidence against him. However, it is due to start again on May 3rd.
Dr Beltran has published research on the Colombian conflict and is an outspoken critic of the government. It appears that these actions are not tolerated in Colombia. He has been charged with “rebellion”, tortured, detained for 22 months and is currently held in a prison where 90% of the inmates are paramilitaries. He has been deprived of water and medical attention. We want to make a clear statement to President Santos and the people of Colombia that in a free, fair and democratic society, freedom of speech and expression are not optional. Those who avail themselves of such rights are not criminals, they should not be subject to detention, torture and imprisonment.
TAKE ACTION: UCU is calling on academics across the globe to demand Dr Beltran’s release.
What you can do:
UCU has launched an open letter to President Santos. Academics can add their names by visiting: https://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=5474
Alternatively, unions can send their own letters of protest to President Santos, using our letter as a template if they like.
Please write to President Santos at : email@example.com, or at the following postal address: Casa de Nariño, Carrera 8 No.7-26, Bogota, Colombia.
It is crucial that as many people contribute to this campaign as possible. Our last letter generated a significant amount of press coverage in Colombia including on the nation’s largest TV and radio stations. Please circulate this to your networks and encourage members to add their support.