Córdoba on Negotiating with FARC, Why She Was Detained at JFK

Dandelion Salad

Democracy Now!

July 1, 2008

Colombian Senator Piedad Córdoba on Negotiating with FARC, Her Criticism of Uribe and Why She Was Detained at JFK

Senator John McCain heads to Colombia today where he is expected to receive a lavish welcome from Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. We speak with Colombia Senator, Piedad Córdoba, who received a far different reception when she came to the United States–she was detained and questioned by immigration authorities at JFK airport. Córdoba has played a leading role in mediation efforts with the Colombian rebel group FARC and has been an outspoken critic of the Uribe government as well as a leading voice in Colombia’s Afro-Colombian community.

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transcript

Republican Senator John McCain is heading to Colombia today, the first stop on a brief Latin America trip that will also take him to Mexico. McCain is expected to receive a lavish welcome, meeting with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe later tonight. But meanwhile here in the United States, a counterpart of McCain’s in the Colombian Senate has been given a far different reception. On Friday, Colombian Senator Piedad Córdoba was detained by immigration authorities at New York’s JFK airport.

Despite holding a diplomatic passport, Senator Cordoba was interrogated for more than two hours. Immigration agents made copies of her documents, phone numbers, and other personal belongings.

Cordoba has played a leading role in mediation efforts with the Colombian rebel group FARC. She has been outspoken critic of the Uribe government and a leading voice in Colombia’s Afro-Colombian community. Her political views, including staunch support for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, have led to allegations of treason from opponents. She was recently accused of illegal contact with FARC rebels, one of several political controversies she’s faced in Colombia. Senator Cordoba joins me here in the firehouse studio.

Sen. Piedad Córdoba, Senator in the Colombian Congress. She has served as a government mediator in talks with the Colombian rebel group FARC.