The decision by the U.S. Department of State to deny Colombian journalist Hollman Morris a visa so he could join 11 other foreign journalists as a Harvard Nieman Fellowis getting more than just journalism groups involved in the issue.
The American Association of University Professors weighed in on the issue: U.S. Should Not Ban People on Ideological Grounds
The AAUP, the ACLU and PEN wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking her to review the decision by the U.S. embassy in Colombia to deny Morris his visa.
The Harvard Crimson also weighed in on the visa denial. (Colombian Journalist, Nieman Fellow Denied Visa)
Morris was denied under provisions of the PATRIOT ACT. An AP story of July 9 (US denies visa to Colombian journalist) said the U.S. consular who handled Morris’ application cited Section 212(a)(3)(B) of the PATRIOT ACT as the reason for the visa denial. That provision renders ineligible for a U.S. visa anyone who engages in terrorist activities, belongs to a terrorist organization or endorses terrorist activities.
On various occasions, President Uribe has accused Morris of collaborating with rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which killed Uribe’s father in a 1983 botched kidnapping.
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.
Morris was also among journalists, judges and opposition politicians whose phones were illegally tapped by Colombia’s DAS state security agency.
Nearly two dozen former DAS officials have been arrested on criminal conspiracy charges in the scandal and are awaiting trial.
Morris is listed in a 2005 DAS memorandum obtained by prosecutors someone being under surveillance for showing “opposition tendencies to government policies.”
FARC is South America’s largest terrorist organization and is responsible for numerous kidnappings and murders in Colombia. The organization started as a leftist guerrilla movement and has since evolved into a paramilitary and drug trafficking operation.