Colombian journalist denied entry into US

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Outgoing Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has accused journalist Hollman Morris of being "an accomplice of terrorism" in the past.
Image: Center for American Progress.

The Obama Administration has denied Colombian journalist Hollman Morris entry into the United States, citing violation of the "terrorist activities" section of the USA's Patriot Act. Morris was attempting to obtain a visa to attend Harvard University's Nieman Program, which is a fellowship for journalists.

The journalist has called attention to ties between outgoing Colombian president Alvaro Uribe, and right-wing militia groups in the war-plagued South American country. Human rights activists have speculated that Uribe might have influenced the visa denial. Morris' phone has also been tapped by the DAS, the Colombian state security agency, which is Colombia's CIA counterpart.

Though the exact reason for Morris' visa denial is unclear, when Morris went on-site to cover the release of four Colombian security force members' release by FARC rebels, Uribe called the journalist "an accomplice of terrorism".

After the news broke that Morris had been denied entry into the US, Robert Giles, curator of the Nieman Foundation and former Gannett newspaper editor, commented that "[w]e were very surprised. This has never happened before." Also in an interview Friday, Morris said "[i]f you have proof that I am a guerrilla, then why not put me in jail? Why just this campaign to discredit?"