News on Colombia from Mario Murillo and Maori Music
We speak with Nicholas Przybyla, veteran of Operation: Enduring Freedom and East Timor and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Nicholas Przybyla speaks about the new documentary film, which he helped produce, Operation: Veteran Freedom. The film chronicles the events of March 2005, when thousands of people assembled outside of Ft. Bragg, North Carolina to protest two years of occupation in Iraq. The group was primarily veterans and family members of soldiers who had fought and died in the war-torn regions of the Middle East. Go to the web site to view trailers.
Listen to the song "the Immaculate Woman" by Mato, a band that Tiokasin Ghosthorse performs with, by downloading the MP3.
We speak with Mario Murillo, host of the Friday edition of Wakeup Call and producer of many other programs on WBAI. Murillo is a veteran radio journalist and currently assistant professor in the School of Communication at the Hofstra University. He is author of "Colombia and the United States: War, Unrest and Destabilization." Mario reports from Bogota, Colombia and discusses the Indigenous communities in southern Cauca, a hotbed for vocalized resistance to the Free Trade of the Americas accord, continued militarization and military intervention of the United States. Murillo reports the Colombian government is targeting Indigenous leaders by various threatening means and that Indigenous communities fear government incursions could lead to massive displacements.
A brief discussion with James Webster, a Maori musician, is accompanied by beautiful flute performances. Webster makes the flutes which he plays.
New York Station Links to Indigenous Radio Station in Colombia
Santander de Quilichao, Cauca, Colombia “Brothers and sisters of the Nasa people, you are my family, we are one family, that’s what I feel. We come from one common mother, Mother Earth.” With these words, Tiokasin Ghosthorse (Lakota), indigenous broadcaster and journalist from WBAI Pacifica Radio, expressed the spirit of the communication web that was established between Radio Payu’mat of Santander de Quilichao in northern Cauca, and WBAI Pacifica Radio in New York, during the initial broadcast that inaugurated the relationship of these stations. The broadcast, part of the Friday edition of Wake-Up Call in New York and the morning news program of Radio Payu’mat, took place on August 12, 2005 at 7:00am.
The 40-minute live broadcast was one of the concrete results of the visit by radio journalist and educator Mario Murillo, veteran broadcaster with WBAI, who was in Northern cauca from August 5 through the 12th. Mario was hosted by the Association of Northern Indigenous Councils, ACIN, and visited a number of indigenous communities, including Toribío, Jambaló and Canoas.
“It’s impossible to know the truth of what is happening in Colombia without visiting some of these communities that are directly affected by the conflict,” said Murillo during the roundtable discussion, hosted in New York by Mimi Rosenberg and Tiokasin. “Not even the people in Bogota or in other big cities of the country know the reality because their sources of information continue being the major corporate media and the official voices that distort the truth.” He added, “if this is the case within Colombia, imagine the level of disinformation that is making it to the United States and the perspective people have of the conflict.”
The agenda of the weeklong visit was directed towards various aspects of the ACIN’s Communication “web” set up within the context of aggression, resistance and promotion of the indigenous community’s life plan. The goal was to establish concrete links of solidarity through community communication media, and particularly radio. In Northern Cauca, along with Radio Payu’mat, there are two other community indigenous radio stations, Voces de Nuestra Tierra in Jambalo, and Radio Nasa, in Toribio, shut down by the Ministry of Communication in 2004, but brought back on the air in June 2005 by order of a tribunal of the local indigenous council.
As a result of the meetings with the ACIN’s Communication “web,”, a number of proposals were made with the hopes of developing the sister-station relationship:
1. Establish a permanent correspondence on the air every week, both on WBAI Radio from reporters of Radio Payu’mat, and vice versa, with voices from New York. The first of these broadcasts will air on Friday, September 9, 2005 at 7am ET on WBAI Radio, and at 8:10am Cauca time over Payu’mat. This will allow audiences in both locales to hear voices of each community discuss matters of importance affecting each country. 2. Establish an internet-link through the web pages of WBAI ( HYPERLINK "http://www.wbai.org" www.wbai.org) and the ACIN, in order to make information from both sites available to visitors to each. 3. Begin to develop plans to coordinate a North American delegation of community media activists from WBAI and other local media projects to visit Colombia in June-July of 2006 in order to have a direct exchange of ideas, strategies and experiences. 4. Explore the possibility of inviting a delegation from Cauca to the United States with the objective of fortifying the Communication “web” between the two countries. This would allow audiences in New York to meet directly with these delegates and hear experiences first hand. Along with this, we would explore ways of sending a delegation from Cauca to the “Our Media” international forum, to be held in Bangalore, India in December 2005. 5. Develop a campaign of material support in the U.S. for the ACIN’s media program, organizing events in the community to collect funds and other resources to strengthen the production capacity of the three indigenous stations in Northern Cauca. With respect to this, Mario Murillo said: “It was inspiring to see the tremendous capacity and commitment that existed at the community level to the issues relating to communication despite the serious limitations that exist impinging the development of these activities. For example, the people can barely even count on the most minimum production equipment such as recorders and microphones, but they’re still producing every day.”
“My message for those listeners in the United States is to keep struggling for your freedom, to recognize that to win freedom means to struggle against dependence, disinformation, propaganda and consumerism,” said Dora Muñoz, indigenous journalist from Radio Payumat. She added “from this point on, the direct communication between the two communities is a reality. We’ll now both be able to hear voices that would normally never be heard.”
Ultimately it will now be possible to weave a communication of solidarity and of truth between peoples and processes. “These proposals can serve as a model that we should develop with other community media around Colombia, throughout Latin America and the rest of the world” said Gustavo Ulcué of the ACIN’s internet project, known as the Telecentro.
Northern Cauca has been the center of indigenous mobilizing in Colombia for over thirty years, and is currently at the center of an intense military campaign on the part of the Colombian Armed Forces and the guerillas of the FARC. Indigenous leaders describe this as a direct threat to the many social gains made over the years by the movement.