The U.S.-Backed Colombian Regime is Responsible for the Killing of Dr. Eduardo Umaña Mendoza

Revolutionary Worker #956, May 10, 1998

We received this statement from the International Emergency Committee to Defend the Life of Dr. Abimael Guzmán:

With a deep sense of loss and immense grief and anger, the International Emergency Committee to Defend the Life of Dr. Abimael Guzmán has learnt of the outrageous and brutal killing of Dr. Eduardo Umaña Mendoza, the most prominent lawyer for political prisoners in Colombia, on April 18 in Bogotá, by a right-wing paramilitary commando.

The IEC denounces and utterly condemns this despicable crime against a true democrat and progressive lawyer who dedicated his entire life to defend political prisoners, incarcerated union leaders and activists, students, peasants and other sections of the oppressed people of Colombia.

The murder of Dr. Umaña Mendoza is a blow against the Colombian workers, peasants, students and intellectuals, the democrats and all the progressives and revolutionaries to whom, for nearly 30 years, his life was dedicated, as a young student activist first, and later as a Lawyer. Dr. Umaña Mendoza always defied the power of the U.S.-backed Colombian repressive apparatus with no fear or personal ambition, and was never deterred to take every case to denounce the brutality of the imperialist-backed regime.

In his determined and resolute fight to free political prisoners, to denounce the U.S.-backed Colombian regime, and as a lawyer for the rights of the people, Dr. Umaña served the people taking up all sorts of risk involved in the defense of popular and democratic struggles, persisting in and sharing the people's struggle, living and working according to his convictions for a better world. He never gave up despite all the threats on his life.

Dr. Eduardo Umaña was also an internationalist and a relentless anti-imperialist, actively supporting national liberation movements all over the world. As a founder of the Anti-imperialist International League, and as a founder of the Colombian Solidarity Committee with the Struggle of the Peruvian People right from the start of the People's War in Peru, he also became a friend of the people in many other parts of the world. During the '90s, he was an unreserved supporter of the Peruvian people's struggle. He was one of the first in Colombia to sign the IEC Call to Defend the Life of Dr. Abimael Guzmán (1992), actively encouraging others to join the Campaign. He was also an active member on two of the IEC delegations to Lima demanding the end of the isolation of PCP Chairman Gonzalo (Dr. Abimael Guzmán).

Dr. Umaña's example is an inspiration to those who, like him, never backed off in defending the people. He will be sorely missed by the people of Colombia, Latin America and the whole world. He was not only a lawyer at the service of the people, but a friend of the people to whom he dedicated his life with love and a great sense of affection.

The loss of a friend like Eduardo Umaña is a cause of immense grief and anger for all of us in the IEC, a feeling shared by all the IEC supporters and sympathizers all over the world. The news of the outrageous killing of Eduardo Umaña will surely increase their hatred of his murderers, the imperialists and reactionaries, and give them more reasons to persevere in the struggle. As the IEC-Colombia stated: From England to South Africa, from Nepal to the United States, from Peru to Australia, thousands of voices repudiating this crime are being heard. Today, thousands of voices conveying the message of deep mourning, sympathy and solidarity to his family and friends are being heard.

The IEC holds the Colombian reactionary state, its security forces and the paramilitary organisations created and backed as part of the U.S. imperialist offensive in Colombia, responsible for the savage and despicable crime of killing Eduardo Umaña and call upon all IEC supporters and sympathizers to denounce and repudiate the loss of an ever-missed friend.

The IEC can be contacted at:

27 Old Gloucester Street
London, WC1N 3XX
Fax/Phone: 44-171-482-0853

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