Alvaro Uribe

October 18, 2016 – The Clinton Foundation left a toxic legacy in Colombia, critics say

Colombian President Álvaro Uribe receives former US president Bill Clinton on June 9, 2010 for a private meeting at the Casa de Nariño, the seat of the Executive in Bogota. (Credit: edunewscolumbia)

(…) “Colombia should be the Clinton Foundation’s best case study. Ground zero for the drug wars of the 1980s and 90s, racked by uneven development and low-intensity conflict for half a century, Colombia has received significant foundation money and attention. Bill and Hillary Clinton have visited the country often and enjoy close relationships with members of Colombia’s ruling party.

Colombia has also been home to the vast oil and natural gas holdings of one of the Clinton Foundation’s largest individual donors, Canadian financier Frank Giustra. In short, conditions were right for Colombia to be the shining example of what the Clinton Foundation’s philanthropy can accomplish in the world, and what makes Hillary so proud of its efforts.

The American Media Institute, a nonprofit news service based in Alexandria, Virginia, partnered with Fusion to send us to Colombia to investigate the Clinton Foundation’s impact. We interviewed more than 50 people in Colombia and found ground realities that contrasted, often starkly, with the nonprofit’s claims about its good work.

Many of the Colombian “success stories” touted on the foundation’s website were critical about the foundation’s effect on their lives. Many labor leaders and progressive activists say foundation programs caused environmental harm, displaced indigenous people, and helped concentrate a larger share of Colombia’s energy and mining resources in the hands of Giustra, who was involved in a now-bankrupt oil company that worked closely with the Clinton Foundation and which used the Colombian military and a surveillance program to smash a strike by its workers.

They paint a picture that belies the progressive principles on which the Clintons have based their political dynasty and philanthropy, embodied in the Clinton Foundation’s promotional copy: “Everyone deserves a chance to succeed.” (Read more: The American Media Institute/Fusion, 10/18/2016)

June 9, 2010: Giustra and the Clintons meet the Colombian President; Giustra gets big contracts in Colombia and Giustra makes big donations to the Clinton Foundation

Clinton shakes hands with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe at a press conference in Bogota, Colombia, on June 9, 2010. (Credit: Eitan Abramovich / Agence France Presse)

“While running for president in 2008, both Clinton and Senator Barack Obama (D) publicly opposed a US trade deal with Colombia, the United States–U., due to human rights violations there.

In June 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, her husband former President Bill Clinton, and Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra meet with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe in Colombia. Giustra has developed business ties worth hundreds of millions of dollars in Colombia after repeated meetings with Uribe and Bill Clinton. Giustra also has donated tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. Uribe has been widely criticized for human rights abuses.

Representative Jim McGovern (D) warns Hillary in a private email that “while in Colombia, the most important thing the Secretary can do is to avoid effusive praise for President Alvaro Uribe.” But Hillary ignores this warning. After the dinner, she gives a public speech in which she praises Uribe as an “essential partner to the United States” whose “commitment to building strong democratic institutions here in Colombia” would “leave a legacy of great progress that will be viewed in historic terms.”

She also publicly supports the US trade deal, a deal which would greatly benefit Giustra and other US investors in Colombia. In 2011, workers for the Giustra-owned Pacific Rubiales company in Colombia go on strike. There are allegations they are forced to live and work in “concentration camp-like” conditions. However, the Colombian military uses force and breaks the strike. By this time, Giustra has donated $130 million to the Clinton Foundation.

Clinton’s State Department certifies that Colombia is “meeting statutory criteria related to human rights,” despite widespread evidence to the contrary, and Clinton and now President Obama decide to support the trade deal they had opposed. Later in 2011, the trade deal passes Congress and becomes law. This is followed by more donations from both Giustra and Pacific Rubiales to the Clinton Foundation.” The Hill, 4/9/2015)  (The New York Review of Books,1/30/2016)