According to Harvard University, Hollman Morris is a courageous and talented war journalist, known for his reports on human-rights abuses by paramilitary organizations in Colombia. Recently, Harvard awarded him a prestigious journalism fellowship. Meanwhile, Colombian president Alvaro Uribe has publicly identified Morris as “an accomplice of terrorism.”
The U.S. Embassy declared Morris ineligible to enter the country under the “Terrorist Activities” section of the Patriot Act, according to a report from the Associated Press. Apparently, he has been traveling around with FARC guerrillas and even accompanied them on an insurgent “liberation” of Colombian security force members. Morris says he was simply there to do his job and cover an important story.
So whom should we believe: Harvard or Uribe? It’s a tough call. Politics in Colombia is a notoriously murky business. According to the Los Angeles Times, media reports in Colombia have linked Uribe’s relatives to various violent paramilitary groups. And while Uribe is a strong U.S. ally, he has been linked to Colombian drug cartels in the past. In 2004, the NSA released a 1991 report calling him a “close personal friend of Pablo Escobar.” Uribe denied the relationship.
Harvard officials have appealed to the State Department in hopes of getting Morris’s visa approved. Ironically, Harvard seems to be battling one of its own in this case. Uribe studied there in the early 1990s.