Colombian civil war: Uribe’s bankrupt road

President Uribe’s government continues to reel as more and more details of the dirty war against the Colombian people surface. To date, 14 members of Congress have been arrested for collaboration with fascist cocaine and murder gangs, 13 of whom are Uribe allies. This has seriously embarrassed his US backers, with some Democrats in the US Congress calling for trade deals and military aid to be blocked. The government has been placed on the defensive by the exposure of wide-scale telephone tapping. Meanwhile a recent large scale assault on the FARC led to the death of 11 local politicians, which Uribe hypocritically blamed on the guerrilla movement.

All these events demonstrate the bankrupt nature of the Colombian ruling elite. Violence, corruption, deceit and falsehood are its trademark. The government has had to acknowledge the existence of 8,000 hours of illegally-taped telephone taps of journalists, current and ex-Congressional representatives and FARC prisoners. The tapes also include taps of Interior Minister Pretelt, Peace Commissioner Restrepo, and Sergio Caramagna, the OAS delegate for the trials of members of the fascist AUC and even AUC paramilitaries. The taps were made by police intelligence and the armed forces without official permission. Ten generals and the director of police have resigned, but Uribe has defended the Minister of Defence who refuses to confirm the names of those spied upon. 168 of 231 Congress members have backed him.

Uribe is hoping to get further support from Europe. However, incoming French President Sarkozy supported Brazil’s Lula in asking for the release of senior FARC member Rodrigo Granda, kidnapped from Venezuela in December 2004 (see FRFI 183). Reluctantly Uribe freed him on 4 June having failed to get Granda’s agreement to renounce FARC and not to return to the battlefield. On 7 June Uribe released 194 FARC prisoners who had agreed this condition and accepted probation. A further 600 FARC prisoners of war have refused, however.

Uribe’s action is part of his refusal to agree that a state of civil war exists in Colombia, and that consequently he should recognise international legal obligations between the sides. For five years Uribe has rejected the demands of relatives of prisoners held by the FARC for proper negotiations. He maintains the fiction that he is faced with ‘criminals’ and either believes he can obtain the release of 59 mostly military prisoners held by the FARC without having to negotiate, or doesn’t care.

Meanwhile Uribe has launched a new military campaign in El Valle, Cauca and Nariño in the west, along with another, the ‘Plan Patriota’, in the south east of the country. On 18 June, in a large scale attack on the FARC, 11 Provincial Deputies captured by the FARC in April 2002 were killed in cross fire. Uribe blocked the expected release of the deputies last October. The tragic consequence of Uribe’s bloodthirsty resolve to obtain a military solution to the civil war, to ‘demand and not beg’ from the FARC, is now being used as a major lying propaganda campaign against the FARC for ‘murdering’ the deputies. These accusations aim to conceal the fact that the Colombian army and AUC gangs have killed almost 100,000 civilians, many in horrific circumstances. Doubting Uribe’s claims, the UN has called for an independent enquiry.

The state continues to be guided by the hands of super exploiters. In the first three years of Uribe’s government, the two biggest oligarchs in Colombia, Julio Mario Santodomingo and Luis Carlos Sarmiento Angulo, tripled their fortunes. Yet the Colombian workers and peasants fight on with unparalleled experience and determination in every arena. In June, the relatives of 174 Colombians murdered by AUC paramilitaries funded by US Chiquita Brands (United Fruit Company) in Urabá and Magdalena between 1997 and 2004 (see FRFI 196), started prosecution of the company for $1bn in a US federal court.
End all US plans for Colombia!
End EU support for Uribe!

Alvaro Michaels

FRFI 198 August / September 2007


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