Colombian Communist Paper Struggles

By: Javier Baena, Associated Press Writer

(AP) Colombia’s only communist newspaper is trying to raise money in the United States to stay afloat after 46 years in print, its director said Monday.

Colombians living in New York and Los Angeles have launched a raffle and donation campaign to collect money for the weekly, named Voz, Carlos Lozano said.

Colombians living in Sweden, France, Spain, Germany, and Australia also will collect funds, Lozano said.

Voz — the Spanish word for “voice” — used to use paper donated by the former Soviet Union. But now the newspaper is scrambling to raise the $136,000 dollars necessary each year to publish 35,000 copies a week.

“We’ve accumulated a large deficit and do not receive help from a single Communist Party,” Lozano said.

Right-wing groups accuse Voz of being sympathetic to the leftist guerrillas fighting the Colombian government in the nation’s 38-year-old civil war. The newspaper’s headquarters have been bombed several times, and outlawed paramilitary groups often prohibit the newspaper’s circulation in areas they control.

In 1994, paramilitary groups killed former Voz director Manuel Cepeda, and allegedly killed correspondent Flavio Bedoya in 2001.

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