June 14, 2024

Today is the 73rd birthday of Colombian revolutionary, Ricardo Palmera, also known as Simón Trinidad. He was a former guerilla of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of the Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP). Trinidad was sentenced to 60 years in the maximum security system, El Alcatraz, where he has faced miserable conditions. He spent 14 years in solitary confinement after being extradited to the US in 2004. In the U.S., only 45 inmates share similar sentences and are classified by the FBI as capable of maximum violence, a threat to national security, among whom sit serial killers, cartel leaders, and Guantanamo prisoners. As is typical with the US security apparatus, they label those who oppose their imperialist plans as terrorists. Expectedly, Trinidad’s role as a symbol of peace has been completely disregarded.

The arrest of Trinidad, with the assistance of the CIA, took place during a humanitarian mission in Quito, Ecuador, for the exchange of hostages and prisoners and a victim of Plan Colombia. Undertaken in the 2000s, Plan Colombia, under the pretext of combating the spread of narcotics, was in reality a $10 billion military package to aid in stomping out the FARC-EP. The Plan upgraded the alliance between the U.S. and Colombia, cementing it as a major ally of U.S. imperialism in the region. As a result, what transpired is the fomenting of paramilitaries that are responsible for the deadly violence that the Colombian state cannot legally carry out, further militarization of Colombian society, and a spiral of atrocities. Over a span of 60 years, including the implementation of Plan Colombia, there have been more than 10 million victims, mostly civilians. Both the Republican and Democratic administrations have attempted to conceal this tragedy.

Simón Trinidad was born and made his political life in Valledupar, Cesar as a member of Unión Patriótica (UP) during the peace negotiations. He witnessed the massacre of over 4,000 members of UP and received death threats, eventually joining the FARC-EP as an educator, and becoming the leading peace negotiator. Trinidad always concerned himself with the plight of the peasants and workers and the freedom of his country from armed conflict. The failure of the peace talks in 2002 and the resulting repression in the countryside by the Colombian government led to a campaign by the Bush and Uribe governments igniting a witch-hunt against Trinidad. Upon his capture, he was framed on false drug trafficking and hostage charges despite having no part in capturing or holding three US military contractors hostage. He received 20 years for each hostage and remains incarcerated today.

In June of 2022, Trinidad won his first lawsuit in the U.S., with the help of his lawyer Mark Burton. This achievement allows Trinidad the right to consult with a Colombian lawyer about his cases in the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP). The revolutionary forces in the U.S. must join in the call for his release. 

The release of Simon Trinidad is an important element in the context of the Peace Agreement. His capture has been a complete violation of legal and human rights. He is a trophy of war and an element in controlling the narrative on the imperialist role of the U.S. in Latin America, hiding its complicity in the death of millions.

On his 73rd birthday, join us in the international campaign by retweeting the international call for the freedom of Simón Trinidad through a Twitterstorm (Spanish: Twitazo). Tag President Biden in the following Tweet format:

#FreeSimonTrinidad @POTUS @SimonTrinidadLi

Free Simon Trinidad!