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Colombian journalist denied visa for Harvard fellowship

A prominent and controversial Colombian journalist has been denied a visa to enter the U.S. to participate in a prestigious fellowship at Harvard University. The U.S. Embassy ruled journalist Hollman Morris ineligible to enter the United States under the "Terrorist Activities" section of the USA Patriot Act, reports the Associated Press.

Morris is known for his reports on human rights abuses by right-wing paramilitary groups in Colombia, at the independent news outlet Contravia, but has been accused of allegiance to the FARC guerrilla group by Colombia's president. Morris had been awarded the Nieman Fellowship, a mid-career program at Harvard for experienced reporters from around the world, for his work investigating little-known abuses at the hands of far-right armed groups who fight the FARC in Colombia's isolated rural regions.

Reports in Colombia have tied paramilitaries to relatives of outgoing President Alvaro Uribe, coining a new term for such relationships, "parapolitics." Far-right paramilitary groups in Colombia are believed to be responsible for as many as 20,000 deaths or disappearances, according to some reports.

Uribe, a strong U.S. ally, has singled out Morris for criticism, the AP says: "On Feb. 3, 2009, Uribe called Morris 'an accomplice of terrorism' posing as a journalist after Morris showed up with FARC rebels to cover the insurgents' liberation of four Colombian security force members."

In the video embedded above, via the Center for Investigative Reporting, Morris and his brother Juan Pablo Morris explain their efforts.

"We believe the country needs to know this story," Hollman Morris says in the video. "These documents, these archives, these programs will be the story that nourishes the next generation of Colombians. My children must know this. My children's children. If we want and believe that we shouldn't repeat that tragic history in our country."

The Nieman Fellowship is hoping that the U.S. State Department reverses its decision on Morris' visa. From the Nieman Lab blog:

Obviously, we’re hoping this can be resolved. For decades, the Nieman Fellowships have brought journalists from around the world to Harvard to study and learn from one another in an atmosphere of open exchange. My boss, curator Bob Giles, has written to the State Department asking it to change its decision, and other forces are rallying in his support. I don’t know that we have many readers in Foggy Bottom, but if we do, we sincerely hope this won’t be the first time an American political decision has prevented a foreign journalist from studying with us.

The news site Colombia Reports has more on documents that discuss government surveillance on Morris.

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Video: Center for Investigative Reporting

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Every woman has the right to dream of a child. Tubal reversal allows a woman's ability to conceive naturally without any harm. Although tubal ligation is considered a permanent method of contraception, but then you think you're doing something wrong and you should not have a tubal ligation. But do not worry, about 90% of cases, the procedure can be reversed.

It is so difficult for us, who live in a free, almost just society to try to conceive why most people in Latin American countries turned to communism and populism.

Not until we take a course in history, or live in one of these nations, can we understand what hardships, injustices, and inequality the majority of the populations in these countries go through.

Why elect a crazy Chavez as a president? besides the charisma, is the fact that he did not sound nor looked alike like his predecessors (get a clue on the social conditions, corruption these left behind).

I cannot even begin to explain in this brief posting the social conditions that cause leftist leaders to be elected.

However, it is through people like this journalist, who are not paid by the government to sing them praises that actual reform will exist in these countries.

While our media can be biased, its bias will never be as bad as it is in these countries. The information we get to read/hear about these countries is highly controlled (no, i'm not being paranoid, do not depend upon one source for news).

It is through journalists like these that we can begin to understand why people choose their leaders, these journalists are not reporting the minority of the population's perspective, as we are led to believe.

It is also after listening to both sides of an argument that we will be able to help these country's social change come about.

Corruption, drug cartels, are all tied about in the political web within these coutnries, and we might be supporting a government who can be double crossing us. Emptying millions of our tax dollars into a corruptgovernment .
We need to hear the other side to this argument, for a better perspective about these countries.

running late, otherwise i would post more.



Hollman Morris has been known as a FARC sympathizer, anti -Colombian government and anti-USA. It is ridiculous that Harvard invites this typo of person to the US to study. With his political opinions, he will be best fit to study or go to Castro's Cuba or Chavez's Venezuela. That way, he would not be considered a hypocrite. Anyway, I am 100% in support of the denial of a US visa for this FARC sympathizer.

Anytime a journalists has exclusive 'sources' that allows that journalist to have unreasonably excessive access to his subjects, like the FARC organization, how can Harvard with a straight face declare that this guy is really just a journalist? If one particular "journalist" had access to Osama Bin Ladin consistently, (i.e. showing up with Al Qaeda BEFORE a event occurs, etc) would Harvard offer an invitation to that "journalist" also? "Other forces rallying in his support?" Who? The" Colombian Coalition for Legal Trafficking of Cocaine"?

He could still come in thru Mexico aboard the illegal train.

Gee isn't it shocking that Harvard wants to hire a communist sympathizer.

I recall that during the last presidential campaign and one of the debates to be specific that then Sen. Obama was challenged by Sen. McCain to voice his support for "our friends" in Columbia. It appeared to me then that Sen. McCain was still in cahoots with the same ultra right politics that have influenced the region for the past 40+ years and his own politics. This is an illuminating article and portends much regarding both human rights advocacy and freedom of speech. The connection between the politics of the Right and the connection to the expensive and futile war on drugs is apparent. It is time to develop a rational and intelligent approach to an insane paradigm that has resulted in thousands of people losing their lives and property.

Colombia can keep him, or kick him to Venezuela where he belongs... he's nothing but a paid crony of FARC.

has harvard gotten a deposition or testimony from morris where he says he has acted solely as a journalist, as opposed to an 'agent' or 'accomplice' of farc?

presumably, the state department does not cavalierly deny visa applications to journalists from other countries...this was, after all, the state department that lifted the ban on the, um, 'intellectual' tariq ramadan... herandez might even have committed better journalism if he had asked mr morris to explain how his links to farc in no way breached local laws or ethical boundaries


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