Elections as punishment

Today I saw in the headlines that Stephen Harper, who might just replace gangster Paul Martin (the ‘gangster’ epithet is based on his behaviour as regards Haiti) as the Canadian Prime Minister, is planning to drop the gun registry and put more cops on the streets. In other words, harmonize Canadian crime policies with those of the United States, which is a model for social cohesion and just plain feelings of safety and well-being on the streets.

This is one aspect of the Canadian elite that I’ve never understood.

Continue reading “Elections as punishment”

USO: the punishment for winning begins

A few days ago I blogged about the end of the oil worker’s strike in Colombia, and how they won an agreement preventing the privatization at some cost to the workers. The pattern after a successful strike or demonstration in Colombia is very predictable: workers, especially union leaders, start getting picked off and assassinated by paramilitaries. That began yesterday with the murder of Fabio Burbano at his home, yesterday night, according to a communique from USO. He was a part-time worker and a union activist.

The State Department Doesn’t Know Where Castano Is

Gonzalo Gallegos, spokesman for the US State Dept. for the Western Hemisphere, said about Castano: “We have not been in contact with that individual. We don’t know where he is, and we don’t know where the information came from.”

The information he’s referring to is the information that Castano was smuggled — by Americans — out of Colombia and into Israel, via Panama. An official denial from the State Department and an official denial from the Israeli Ambassador in Colombia are enough to make a person really suspect that Castano is in Israel.

Continue reading “The State Department Doesn’t Know Where Castano Is”

Colombia’s ELN, Mexico, and the Government

Colombia’s second-largest guerrilla group, the ELN (Ejercito de la Liberacion Nacional, or Army of National Liberation) is talking to the government and to the Mexican government about a possible peace negotiation with the Mexican government as guarantor.

If you are wondering how the Mexican governnment, which deploys pretty much the exact same techniques (a US-funded and trained military, paramilitary killers to commit massacres and assassinations to create a refugee problem and destroy the popular base of a guerrilla movement) if on a smaller scale, is supposed to guarantee a peace between Colombian guerrillas and the government, you are not alone.

A little bit about the ELN. The stereotypes about ELN, which have a grain of truth, are: that it at its founding it was more inspired by the Cuban revolution (whereas the FARC is much more a Colombian-based group that organized for self-defense against landowners, private armies, and state violence); that it is more interested in dialogue with the social movements (it tried to spur a major dialogue effort that included social movements years ago); and that it is militarily smaller and weaker than the FARC. Given Uribe’s hard-line stance against the guerrillas, it seems hard to imagine that he would accept a ‘peace’ that isn’t essentially a surrender. Given the history of Colombian guerrillas putting down their arms to get slaughtered, it is hard to imagine the ELN would go for such. So I’m not sure where these dialogues can go.

Carlos Castano not in Israel?

Israel’s ambassador to Colombia, Yair Recanati, said that Castano that the embassy hadn’t heard a word from him about him going to Israel, according to an interview with RCN Television (Colombia’s big television network). This doesn’t exactly mean that he’s not in Israel, although the ‘diplomatic sources’ who told AFP that he was in Israel (from which the Ha’aretz and El Tiempo stories drew) were never named. It seems that those looking for a definitive location for this paramilitary warlord are destined for disappointment… for now…

Carlos Castano in Israel

Colombia’s El Tiempo and Israel’s Haaretz are reporting that Carlos Castano, the head of Colombia’s paramilitaries, the drug trafficker, the mass murderer, has been smuggled into Israel after ‘disappearing’ about a month ago.

This does wonders for Israel’s ‘anti-terror’ posture, since Castano is a mega-terrorist. But then, when you kill thousands (that’s not an exaggeration) of helpless people over a period of many years, that’s called ‘counter-terror’ isn’t it? Maybe Castano, Sharon, Bush, and Uribe can all get together for a televised terrorist group hug.

Actually that Castano ended up in Israel shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. His autobiography, ‘Mi Confesion’, has nothing but praise for Israel and the country is where he says he learned what he knows about how to fight ‘terrorism’: he apparently took courses there on ‘anti-terror techniques’.