Mark Burton is a Denver lawyer and activist.
Delegation to Venezuela
Four labor and anti-war activists will participate in the FRSO delegation to do eyewitness reporting for Fight Back! News. Sean Orr, Tracy Molm, Tom Burke and Mark Burton will write articles, conduct interviews and produce videos. They need your support and donations to make this a success.
We are asking all comrades and allies who support the Bolivarian Revolution and believe in international solidarity to help us cover our travel costs. Donate what you can, and share far and wide. Solidarity!
Meeting with communists
On their first day in Venezuela, April 28, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack! delegation held a two-hour meeting with members of Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) Central Committee and leaders of the Communist Youth of Venezuela.
The FRSO delegation is headed by Organizational Secretary Tom Burke.
The groups shared their views on the revolutionary struggle in both of their countries, and the importance of international solidarity.
Pedro Eusse, a PCV Politburo member and trade union leader, said "If there is anything positive about the U.S. aggression we face today, it is that there has been an explosion of solidarity from the United States and around the world."
Both groups agreed to move towards a closer working relationship in the future.
The Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack! delegation in Venezuela met the Minister of Communes Blanca Eckhout, after her triumphant speech about building 2.6 million new homes. Eckhout quoted Hugo Chavez, saying, "Our new society cannot be capitalist because capitalism is designed to destroy our homeland, our society and our people."
The FRSO delegation also met with communists, progressive political figures and members of Venezuela’s government.
Coordinating Committee of Hands Off Syria Coalition
- Bahman Azad, Executive Board Member and Organizational Secretary, U.S. Peace Council
- Mark Burton, Board Member, Alliance for Global Justice; Member of International Committee, National Lawyers Guild
- Dr. Issa Chaer, Board of Syria Solidarity Movement and Syrian Social Club, UK
- Gerry Condon, National Board Vice President, Veterans for Peace
- Sara Flounders, Co-Director, International Action Center
- Margaret Kimberley, Editor and Senior Columnist, Black Agenda Report
- Joe Lombardo, Co-Coordinator, United National Antiwar Coalition
Denver Peace Council
In addition, April 14 was the day of the annual Science March in Denver, a day in which science advocates marched to protest the anti-science actions and policies by U.S. President Donald Trump. The Denver Peace Council joined the marchers in protesting Trump’s anti-science and pro-war policies, especially the recent bombing of Syria by the U.S, England and France. This attack was in direct violation of international law and came just a day before the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was to investigate an alleged chemical attack.
Denver Peace Council member Mark Burton said of the attack, “It was an illegal action against the people of Syria. Thankfully the Syrian Arab Army was able to destroy 70% of the missiles.” The Denver Peace Council condemns this blatant violation of international law and urges progressives all around the world to do the same.
Simón Trinidad Campaign
Mark Burton September 6, 2017 ·
Supporting Simon Trinidad
Ariel Paz September 23, 2015 ·
Political reasons impelled Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to engineer the extradition of political prisoner Simón Trinidad to the United States on December 31, 2004. There, so it was thought, he would serve as an object lesson for other leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC – EP). But twelve years later, on November 30, 2016, Colombia’s Congress ratified a peace agreement between the FARC-EP and the Colombian government. Nevertheless, Trinidad remains in a Colorado maximum security prison, serving a 60 – year sentence.
Over the course of four years of talks, FARC representatives repeatedly demanded that Trinidad be allowed to join their negotiating team in Havana. Even in the waning days of his term, after the conflict had ended, President Obama refused to pardon Simón Trinidad.
The Colombian Congress prepared the way recently for thousands of other imprisoned FARC combatants and other political prisoners to be amnestied and freed. Simón Trinidad won’t be one of them.
Denver lawyer Mark Burton is Trinidad’s U. S. attorney. He recently responded to questions sent via email regarding his client’s situation. Background information appearing below may serve to introduce Burton’s comments.
Simón Trinidad’s father, a lawyer and big landowner, was a Colombian senator; Trinidad’s maternal grandfather was governor of Santander department. Trinidad himself worked for a state-owned agricultural bank, managed another bank, and taught economics in a university. After leaving Valledupar for a rebel encampment in 1987 at age 37 – old for a novice guerrilla – he would be known as Simón Trinidad, no longer as Ricardo Palmera, his birth name. For the FARC-EP, he was a negotiator, political education specialist, financial adviser, and representative abroad.
Local police with CIA assistance seized Trinidad in Quito, Ecuador in 2004. He had been there to contact a United Nations official to negotiate the release of FARC prisoners. After extradition to Colombia, U.S. authorities transported him to Washington. The U. S. government tried him four times between 2006 and 2008.
Trinidad scored a hung jury in the first trial; charges that he was a terrorist and drug trafficker were dismissed. At a second trial he was convicted for allegedly having conspired to kidnap three U.S. intelligence contractors in 2003 after FARC gunfire had brought their plane down. Trinidad received the maximum sentence; 20 years for each kidnapped contractor. Prosecutors were unable to have him convicted at his third and fourth trials on drug-trafficking charges, which the government eventually dropped.
Trinidad was far removed from the scene when the kidnapping occurred. Prosecutors presented no evidence indicating direct or indirect involvement. In prison, Trinidad has lived in solitary confinement for at least 12 years. Prison officials severely restrict telephone calls, correspondence, and visits from family or friends.
UN Human Rights Committee
Mark Burton September 19, 2017:
In the UN Human Rights Committee.
Sinn Fein connection
Mark Burton November 20, 2017 ·