Today’s El Tiempo headline is about a massacre of 34 peasants in the Colombian department of Norte de Santander. The peasants were apparently ‘raspachines’, those campesinos who occupy the lowest rung of the agricultural economy, harvesting coca leaf for small wages. They were doing this harvesting in a paramilitary-controlled zone. Survivors, quoted in El Tiempo, say it was done by the 33rd front of FARC. A very pro-FARC perspective can be found at the ANNCOL website. I went there looking for either a claim of responsibility, an apology, or an angry denial of the smear campaign accusing them of the massacre, but nothing so far.
The truth is, the strategy of the war, increasingly adopted by the FARC, is to kill civilian ‘supporters’ or ‘sympathizers’ rather than combatants — in this case, as Wilson Borja (a very decent member of the Colombian Congress) said, they killed poor peasants who were victims of the whole system long before they were killed — in his words, “those who benefit least from the illicit business”.