Legal Defense of Liliany Obando, Colombian Political Prisoner

We have received an urgent request for financial support regarding the legal defense of Liliany Obando, a Colombian labor unionist, human rights activist, independent filmmaker and political prisoner. We need to raise $1,000 as quickly as possible to cover expenses regarding the collection of evidence vital to her case, which goes back in session in two weeks. We are asking you to donate $50 or whatever you can afford. You can send a check or money order made out to the “Alliance for Global Justice” to AFGJ, 1247 E Street SE, Washington, DC 2003. Be sure and put “Lily Obando Defense Fund” in the memo line. You can also donate online. Scroll down below the list of “Alliance for Global Justice Core Projects” and past the list for “Fiscally Sponsored Projects” to the “Other: Enter Name” option and type in “Lily Obando Defense Fund”.

Contributions of $50 or more ($20 for students) will receive a solidarity t-shirt (as long as we have them in stock) with a picture of Lily and a quotation from one of her letters. Please specify your size. For online donations, you can send an email to and advise me of your contribution, address and size.

Lily’s case is important for Colombia and political prisoners opposing US war and occupation around the world. The US government’s war in Colombia has cost nearly $7 billion and now the White House is occupying seven US military bases in Colombia. Plan Colombia brings poverty, misery and death to the Colombian people, but the people continue to demand a new society. Colombians want a country without US corporations stealing their resources and School of the Americas death squads killing their trade union leaders. As for Lily, US intervention has cost her freedom, separating her from her children.

Lily is being charged with “Rebellion” based on tainted and fabricated evidence found in computers recovered from the US/Colombian attack on a FARC camp in Ecuador. This computer evidence was discredited by the international police agency INTERPOL. The Colombian police Captain who oversaw the initial investigation said in court “there is no evidence”. These cases are popularly called the “FARC-politica” because they try to link unionists and members of the political opposition with the FARC. However, every person investigated as a part of this process has had his or her case thrown out-except Lily.

I believe that the Uribe administration in Colombia is desperate to get at least one conviction in this case. What’s more, the case is being prosecuted as a pretext for shutting down FENSUAGRO, Colombia’s most targeted union and its largest organization of rural workers and farmers. FENSUAGRO and people like Lily stand in defense of farmers and farm workers, and stand in the way of the governments and corporations that want to drive them from their land. So anything we can do to help Lily win this case is not just good for her as an individual; it is part of a key struggle on behalf of unionists, campesinos and political and economic independence in Colombia.

I also want to say that I have never known anyone more dedicated to the revolutionary struggle for a just peace than Lily Obando. She is as honest and committed and principled a person as I have ever met…and as kind hearted. She has become a dear and personal friend.

So…can you give $50 or more to help her out with this urgent request? Or less, if that’s all you can afford? She needs to raise $1,000, and needs it ASAP. Her trial picks up again within the next two weeks and time is of the essence.

James Jordan