The Boston Globe World 06/22/2000 Joseph Kennedy offers help to victims REUTERS
BOGOTA -- As the US Congress debated a $1.6 billion aid package for Colombia, former US representative Joseph P. Kennedy II donated $10,000 yesterday to help land mine victims and partially fun an educational program in the war-torn nation.
Kennedy, founder of Citizens Energy Corporation, a nonprofit company that deals in oil to fund charities, met government officials and businessmen, and toured social programs during his two-day visit to Bogota.
“If we want to bring peace to Colombia we need to be involved in the social and economic development of this nation as well,” Kennedy said yesterday.
During his trip, he visited Bogota’s working-class Kennedy neighborhood, which was named in honor of his uncle, John F. Kennedy, in 1961 shortly after the president visited Columbia.
On his first stop yesterday, Kennedy donated $5,000 to a recently inaugurated community center set up to help educate poor children and provide activities for the elderly.
Later, he donated an equal amount to a rehabilitation center, many of whose patients were victims of land mine blasts.
Colombia is locked in a long-running civil conflict between Marxist rebels, ultra-right death squads, and state security forces that has cost more than 35,000 lives in just the last 10 years.
Photo Caption: Joseph P. Kennedy II yesterday at a community center near Bogota. The former congressman donated $5,000 to the facility.