Terrorism? Genocide?

Colombia’s regime is using a well-known tactic. When caught committing a crime, accuse the other party. The more mud slung, the better. El Tiempo’s headline, quoting Colombia’s representative to the OAS, “One hopes that Ecuador and Venezuela will have the courage to expel the terrorists from their territory.” Colombia’s claiming they found “evidence” on Raul Reyes’s computer (captured during the massacre and violation of sovereignty that they committed when they assassinated Reyes) of support for FARC by Ecuador and Venezuela. These computer files are a big deal in the Colombian media – you can actually download the PDFs of supposed memos from FARC to Chavez talking about bringing down capitalism, etc (I got my copy, I assume it’s not going to be there forever). Colombia also plans to denounce Chavez before the International Criminal Court for ‘supporting genocide’.

(The same newspaper reported today a paramilitary – these are the death squads supported by the Colombian government – confessing to using poisonous snakes to commit murders. The same newspaper. On the same day. No relevant connections made.)

Bush has announced total support for Uribe in the conflict.

Other Latin American countries have not – Argentina and Chile expressed concerns for the violation of Ecuador’s sovereignty.

Another important point – the humanitarian accord between FARC and Venezuela and Colombia also involved France pretty heavily, and France is not pleased with this assassination.

The Polo Democratico, Colombia’s left party, made a statement that was very timely and very good. They began by reiterating their opposition to Uribe’s regime and its politics and reminding readers that that regime had handed over the nation’s wealth to transnationals. The conflict in Colombia has political causes and would have a political solution, they reject military methods and military options. If it doesn’t come out in English in the next day or two I’ll probably translate it here.

This isn’t going to resolve easily. So stay tuned.

March 6 is an important date – there will be a mobilization against state crimes and paramilitarism in Colombia. It won’t have the state behind it like the Feb 4 mobilization, and will probably be made invisible. But it will be important for the country and important that people outside be watching.

Justin Podur

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.

4 thoughts on “Terrorism? Genocide?”

  1. Colombian politics
    I thought raising the possibility [‘FARC second in command assassinated’ 3/2/08] that Chavez might be using this for political gain would be at least relevent if not substantial but you obviously filtered that out and decided to focus on the only the ‘insulting’ part and make some sort of pointless comment about my post being ‘non-anonymous’ (there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to register on this site).
    The problem I see with bringing up political solutions to the FARC conflict is that Uribe has taken a fundamentally consistent hardline stance against them throughout his presidency. He has been rewarded politically with strong support and a second term. There is a strong case to say that politically he is doing the right thing (at least until this latest incident). The Colombians I know are basically sick of all the violence but see the Government as the lesser of all the evils. This view seems to fit with the election results.
    Also, where is the political support for the FARC? As you noted, the March 6 mobilization is against state and paramilitary crimes. Not much for the FARC there. And again it fits in with a zeitgeist of Government bad, paramilitaries worse, FARC worst.
    I was also going to mention some of Chavez’s own ‘mud-slinging’ that you naturally ignored but thought that it might not be ‘substantial’.

    Matt Costigan

    1. farc’s political support
      Keep trying Matt, and you might just get through a whole email without getting personal. It’ll be good practice.

      I agree that there’s not much support for FARC, and lots of revulsion at their abuses. The March 6 demonstration certainly isn’t in support of them. Chavez argues that they should have belligerent status, but I think that Gloria Cuartas makes sense when she says that they should stop kidnapping and release their victims if they want that status. Of course, meeting incremental moves towards releasing kidnap victims with massacres and assassinations isn’t likely to yield positive results, as many of the kidnap victims and their families know and have said, as well as Chavez, Sarkozy, and others.

      I think it will make sense to reproduce the Polo Democratico statement here, in English. I think their position on this is very solid.

      1. Future of FARC
        Do you think FARC is going to survive more US-Colombian State assault? FARC seems to have made plenty of mistakes like kidnaps etc. They should have learned from Hizbollah. Hizbollah too indulged in such tactics like Kidnapping. But after Nasrallah took over it became more and more politically savvy. He realised tactics like kidnappings are actually counter productive. Now look at Hizbollah, They managed to stop IDF Machine.
        One need not have to agree with Nasrallah’s Politics ,Ideology to (And I don’t agree with his ideology) appreciate he has run his resistance much better than FARC.
        If FARC is vanquished It would not be surprising. These things like Resistance to Capitalism, Imperialism are not like Hollywood Movies (2 hours and a happy ending). I guess one generation fights and gets vanquished and another generation comes and then another. May be our grand kids or great grand kids’ generation will finally see an end to Colombian Terrorist State.
        I wish Uribe is overthrown in Colombia. But things look quite dire right now.

        Ajit

      2. OAS Meeting
        Yes one wonders how Uribe’s actions will play out in the longer term. Polo Democratico’s statement is very solid and attractive. However, I read today that Uribe has an EIGHTY percent approval rating. So I guess he can afford to drop a few points over this.
        Your report of 4 more hostages being released was puzzling. Maybe Uribe’s actions will yield positive results after all. But could the FARC really be pushing for a humanitarian accord so soon after the raid? Or maybe they are in trouble and hope that more releases will buy them some time? And no interference from Mr Chavez this time.
        The Convocation of the Meeting …. etc of the OAS I thought was interesting [http://www.oas.org/OASpage/eng/latestnews/latestnews.asp]. The only two countries mentioned by name are Colombia and Ecuador. The document states 3 Articles relevent to the case and concludes with 3 resolutions. Two of the Articles were directly relevent to Colombia’s actions. However Article 19 states:
        “No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State. The foregoing principle prohibits not only armed force but also any other form of interference or attempted threat against the personality of the State or against its political, economic, and cultural elements”;
        Now I suppose this could be applied to Colombia but the other two Articles deal it much more directly and completely. My conclusion is that this is a sign there is a view that Venezuela is out of order. While there were no resolutions passed that were relevent to Venezuela, there was one passed to convene a meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs on March 17 in order “to examine the facts and make pertinent recommendations.” I suspect Chavez is going to be told to pull his head in. Also worth noting that Resolution 1 did not ‘condemn’ Colombia. In fact, it reaffirmed “the principle that the territory of a state is inviolable” which is simply stating the bleedin obvious.
        While on Mr Alo Presidente, does anyone else think it is ironic that he accuses one politician of being a narco while pushing for a whole group of narcos to being given some sort of political status? Or maybe this whole conficlt is just one big scam and Uribe and the FARC are actually fighting a cocaine fuelled turf war.

        Matt Costigan

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