Category Archives: Colombia

Colombian FARC-EP Defends People’s Demands in Talks

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May 19, 2013

FARC-EP guerrillas from left to right: Tanja Nijmeijer, (unknown), Iván Márquez, Jesús Santrich, and Andrés París.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People´s Army (FARC-EP) said today that their demands in the negotiation table with the government defend the people´s interests and compliance with constitutional standards.

Ivan Marquez, who leads the FARC-EP delegation to the talks in Havana, rejected the stand of President Juan Manuel Santos of describing as a market list the positions defended by the guerrillas.

Marquez said the neoliberal policies spread poverty and inequality countrywide in Colombia, and rejected official figures according to which the number of poor fell from 30 to 20 million people in a nation of 46 million inhabitants.

Those figures are based on neoliberal, technocratic measurements that fail to take into account the human development index or the existence of a humanitarian crisis generated by State terrorism, he said.

Marquez made a positive assessment of the six-month talks with the government in Havana and denied they were running slowly.

“We have to deal with these issues thoroughly and with serenity if we really want to pave the way for the construction of stable, lasting peace,” he said.

The FARC-EP delegation leader said there has been considerable progress on land-related issues, the first point in the agenda.

Source

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Report from Havana: Talking With the FARC-EP’s Peace Commission

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By Chris Gilbert and Cira Pascual
April 12, 2013

Guerrilla members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

If there has ever been any question that the FARC-EP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) is essentially a political organization — one that took up arms guided by apolitical vision and will abandon them when a new political strategy leads them to do so — that question may be forever laid to rest by the words and conduct of the FARC’s peace delegation that is now at work in Havana.

There, in the sunny island which was the theatre of a revolution that changed Latin America and the world, the FARC has assembled a sizable team of negotiators.  That group has been in conversation with representatives of the Colombian government since November of last year.  The 30-member body shows the depth of the organization and the quality — both in human and political terms — of the individuals who have decided to stake their lives on forging a democratic and just Colombia.

“The FARC has always wanted peace,” guerrilla leader Ricardo Téllez explained to us in the lobby of the Hotel Habana Libre.  “Since our beginnings in the distant year 1964, we’ve maintained that we are revolutionaries who seek peace for the country in the least painful manner, which the Colombian state has often violently closed off.”

Téllez’s assertion that the FARC is an organization long committed to pursuing peace is backed up by the group’s repeated efforts to bring the Colombian state to the negotiating table: in 1982 under the government of Belisario Betancur; in 1992 with the dialogues in Caracas and Tlaxcala; most recently in Caguán with president Andrés Pastrana.

In none of these cases, Téllez explained, was there a genuine desire for peace in the government.  In the Caguán process of 1999-2002, the government in fact chose to dialogue because of its difficult military situation and because of the rising social protest in the country.  The establishment’s real aim was to rearm, as they did with the notorious Plan Colombia, paid for and organized by the U.S.

“Now in Havana we have come looking for that same peace,” Téllez continued, “not because the FARC is defeated, not because we have difficulties; rather our military apparatus has been updated . . . and we are accustomed to [a modern] kind of war.”  Téllez maintains that what is correct in a situation in which neither guerrillas nor government can defeat the will of the other is that both should sit down, as equals, and look for a political and dialogued solution to the conflict.

Comandante Andrés Paris, also part of the team, illustrated in a separate interview the complex, multilevel character of the negotiating table by referring to other, unseen “tables.”  Apart from the principal negotiating table, in which the government and the guerrillas dialogue, there is a “mediatic table.”

“Immediately, there was put in motion a powerful [mediatic] machine, both Colombian and international, in perfect coordination, and it started to reproduce the clichés and stereotypes that have always been used against us, the FARC.”  This mediatic table is generally controlled by powerful business groups and represents a serious obstacle to the interests of the Colombian people to have a peace, according to Paris.

A third “table” is the military pressure on the guerrillas, because of president Juan Manuel Santos’s decision to continue the war during the dialogues.  “We responded to this presidential announcement by doing a ceasefire [to which the government did not correspond].  What the government is doing with the military actions is criminal and dangerous, because of the possibility that one of those actions will be used as a pretext to get up from the table [and break the negotiations].”

Despite the adversity presented by military and mediatic interferences, the FARC’s delegation is united in a dream of a Colombia with long-lasting peace.  It is common for the FARC’s negotiators to maintain that the concept of peace needs a “last name” — meaning it should be referred to with the complete phrase “peace with social justice,” because the roots of the conflict lie in the extreme social injustice in the country, represented for example by its GINI index of .89 in the rural areas.

Yet what one learns from the FARC’s delegation is not just numbers, examples, and arguments.  There is also a powerful human narrative of lives given over to (and in some cases shattered by) a total devotion to the cause of the oppressed.  Many FARC members were motivated to join the guerrilla army when close friends were assassinated by state or paramilitary forces.  Others joined on seeing the extreme poverty in the country and the closure of other political channels for change.

Among the latter one may count the internationalist Alexandra Nariño (Tanja Nijmeijer) of Dutch origin, who incorporated herself after a long process of conscientization that began with a university exchange program that first brought her to Colombia.  In explaining her motivation she refers to the experience of seeing entire families living in the street, indigents looking through her garbage, and also the state terrorism exercised in places where she lived and on university students.

“All of us fighting in the guerrilla have our dreams . . . we are not war machines.”  What dreams does Alexandra Nariño have for Colombia’s future?  “A country where all Colombians can live in peace, but a peace with education, a peace with food and health care . . . a country with equal opportunities for everybody, in which there is real and ample participation in politics.”

Source

FARC chooses Ricardo Palmera for peace negotiator

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The following article below was originally published by Fight Back! News, the news wing of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization

September 9, 2012

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) have chosen Ricardo Palmera as one of their negotiators for Colombian peace talks. Professor Palmer is a political prisoner held in solitary confinement by the U.S. government in the Florence, Colorado Supermax prison. Palmera’s supporters in Colombia and around the world are demanding that Palmera be set free and that the U.S. government stop interfering in Colombia’s internal affairs. The FARC put Palmera’s name forward as one of the three main negotiators after peace negotiations were announced last week.

Over the past six months the revolutionaries of FARC have held exploratory talks with Colombian government representatives of President Santos. Negotiations will take place in October in Oslo, Norway, to be followed by more negotiations in Havana, Cuba, with Venezuela and Chile acting as observers. The FARC is advancing a people’s agenda that includes land reform for family farms, good jobs, healthcare, education, housing and the eradication of poverty. There is a great need for guarantees concerning the assassination and murder of trade unionists, community organizers and political candidates.

Tom Burke of the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera said, “The U.S. government has no right to put Colombian revolutionaries on trial or in prison. The U.S. should pursue the crimes against and murders of union workers, poor peasants and indigenous people by Chiquita, Coca-Cola, Drummond Coal and big U.S. oil companies. The U.S. government ignores those crimes while militarily fighting the FARC and wrongfully punishing revolutionary leaders like Professor Palmera. The U.S. government should set Ricardo Palmera free immediately so he can plan a role in negotiations.”

The current FARC/Colombian government agreement advocates “Bilateral and definitive cease of fire and hostilities,” so the FARC proposed a bi-lateral cease-fire this week. President Santos immediately rejected it and demanded a one-sided cease-fire by FARC. President Santos’ negative response makes it likely these negotiations will be a contentious process.

The last time peace negotiations took place in 1998-2002, the FARC continued to wage war against the Colombian military. A decade before that, the FARC called a ceasefire in the mid-1980s while negotiating. This ceasefire led to the formation of Colombia’s most successful left political party, the Patriotic Union. However the Patriotic Union suffered close to 5000 assassinations and murders at the hands of the Colombian military and government death squads over the next few years. It was at this time that Ricardo Palmera left the Patriotic Union and joined the FARC in fighting the corrupt Colombian government. The U.S. government continues to spend nearly $1 billion per year funding, arming, training and directing the Colombian military.

One Year in Prison: Letter from Julian Conrado to the People

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By Julian Conrado
June 8, 2012

From my trench of dignity

Those of us who turn singing into a manifestation of love for the people, we’re always going to be hated by the enemies of the people. That’s why they insult us, slander us, persecute us, jail us, torture us, make us disappear, and kill us. However we express ourselves, this is what has always happened to those who, because of pure love for the people, struggle for their happiness.

But those who imprison a fighter for the love of the people should know that no one has ever been freer than Antonio Nariño in the Cartegena tombs and Francisco de Miranda in the Spanish empire jail [Translator: both were independence fighters], that no one has ever been freer than the five Cuban heroes, or Simon and Sonia [Colombian guerrillas] in the dungeons of North American imperialism, that no one has ever been freer than [Venezuelan communist singer] Ali Primera in the basements of the DIGEPOL [Venezuela’s Intelligence Service, under previous governments] or Hugo Chavez in the cells of the DIM, the Yare jail or the Orchila island.

Those who kill a fighter for the love of the people should know that no one has ever been so alive as Jesus, crucified on Mount Calvary, that no one has been more alive than Ernesto Che Guevara, shot in La Higuera [Bolivia], that no one has been more alive than Alfonso Cano, bombed in the Colombian mountains… Don’t the indignant of Spain feel Miguel Hernandez and Federico Garica Lorca?  Those Allende-ing in Chile don’t feel [the presence of] Victor Jara and Pablo Neruda?

Isn’t Ali Primera felt Bolivar-ing in Venezuela?

Sisters and brothers with dreams of peace with justice and love:

This 31 May marks a year since I became a prisoner on land of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Since my extradition to Colombia or the United States isn’t fair in any way, now the hairy hand of the oligarchy oppressor that strangles my country, regretting not having killed me the day of my capture, has invented a new plan that consists of killing me in prison.

I want the enemies of peace in my country to know that I am more than just a man, I’m a hymn of the poor of the land, a hymn that now, imprisoned, is sung more, is heard more, is danced to more… so what if they kill me?

But… how will they manage to kill a song that blooms in the heart of the people?

Sisters and brothers: despite my difficult physical problems and the uncomfortableness of imprisonment, morally, I feel fine; like a Guayacan [tree]! This metal and cement cage, I’ve converted it into an unyielding trench of dignity, from where I continue resisting and firing Bolivarian verses for the de-privatisation of the planet and its salvation, as well as for the freedom of the 99% of humanity – enslaved to the point of terror, by the heartless capitalist beast.

With a guitar full of red stars, that the young singer Ali Manaure brought me, visiting hours are a true party of fraternal revolutionary happiness. Here I’ve had the immense honour of singing with Gloria Martin, Lilia Vera, Chiche Manaure, Sol Musset de Primera, Amaranta Pérez, Sandino Primera, Lil Rodríguez, Centauro Saher, Oswaldo Mussett, the poet Neybis Bracho, Gino González, Víctor Moreno of the IVEN band, the poet Elí Briceño, Armando López, the journalists Indira Carpio and Ernesto Navarro, Luis Miguel Badaraco of the Cantera Collective, David Gómez “Lucerna”, Floridimar, the poet Carlos Angúlo, Carlos Ruíz, Tamanaco “tocapalma”, Sandino Márquez, Manuel Azuaje, the photographer Paz Capielo, Aura and Alfredo of Neruda Culture, the Argentine Gerardo “cumbia del sur”, Paula, Jhonalbert and Edwin of the R, who else?, Javier, Cira, Carlitos “comrade”, Daniela… the list peaks and grows longer.

But furthermore, from all the points of light of Venezuela, of Our America, they are sending me loving hugs of solidarity and manifesting their unconditional support to the movement for my freedom and political asylum.

My sisters and brothers,  thank you for so much love, but I ask you for more: I ask you from the bottom of my heart that you help the children of the people of the tormented Colombia to get out of the horrible night that we have been kept in for so many years, by the exploiting classes.

The struggle of the Colombian people is about to return to the light of sublime freedom!

We can’t stand seeing our flag trodden on by the invading military boat of imperialism. We want a national, patriotic, democratic, and Bolivarian government! We want reconciliation and national reconstruction, we want economic and ecological development with social justice, we want, finally, peace, with justice and love.

Now I remember, that night under rain of bombs and bullets… my companion and myself, we kissed. Don’t worry my love, I said, if they kill us, we’ll leave a beautiful example of dignity behind. She told me she thought the same. So then we hugged more strongly and we waited. But such a death didn’t come… surely it was scared of so much love. The same thing happened in the little town of Altamira de Caceres, that other night of terror on the 31 May 2011: Love again defeated parched death!

My people: From prison I send you a liberated hug! Dammit!

Loving, we overcome!

Source

FBI harassing North Carolina activists

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The following article below was originally published by Fight Back! News, the news wing of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization

By Tom Burke
June 1, 2012

Asheville, NC – The FBI is harassing anti-war and international solidarity activists in North Carolina again, this time in Asheville. The last time was on Sept. 24, 2010 when the FBI visited a Durham anti-war activist at the same time they were raiding seven homes and the Anti-War Committee office in Minneapolis and Chicago. Back on that day the FBI delivered 14 subpoenas to a grand jury in Chicago, which all the activists refused to participate in.

This time the FBI knocked at an activist’s door in Asheville at 5:00 p.m. on May 30. Her boyfriend answered. He woke her up to tell her the FBI wanted to talk with her. The FBI agent asked to enter her home and she said, “No you cannot come in.”

The FBI agent had a number of print outs of Fight Back! news articles. The top one in the pile was Colombia: Eyewitness Report from Solidarity Delegation, from September 2009.

The FBI agent talked about the Democratic National Convention coming soon to Charlotte. The agent also talked about the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – the most powerful left-wing rebel movement in Latin America – saying, “the FARC is getting a lot of press right now in Colombia.” He asked for a promise that she would let him know if something violent was going to happen. He gave her his card.

The FBI agent then asked about solidarity activists mentioned in the Fight Back! article. The agent also mentioned Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

“Do not let the FBI in your home. They are there to intimidate you,” said Jeremy Miller, a North Carolinian who has been told that the FBI wanted to ‘talk to him.’ “In this case they pretended to be concerned about the upcoming DNC protests, but they are really trying to gather information to put anti-war activists on trial, claiming ‘material support for terrorism’. They are lying to you. Their presence is intimidating and scary, but the best thing is to give them your lawyer’s phone number and not talk to them.”

Another Revolutionary News Blog Has Begun!

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Reading Between the Lines

Mainstream News’ Revelations of the Peoples’ Struggle

When the respectable become extremists, the extremists become respectable: Colombia and the mainstream media

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By James Petras
May 20, 2012

By any historical measure, whether it involves international law, human rights conventions, United Nations protocols, socio economic indicators, the policies and practices of the United States and European Union regimes can be characterized as extremist.

By that we mean that their policies and practices result in large scale long-term systematic destruction of human lives, habitat and likelihood affecting millions of people through the direct application of force and violence. The extremist regimes abhor moderation which implies rejection of total wars in favor of peaceful negotiations. Moderation pursues conflict resolution through diplomacy and compromise and the rejection of state and paramilitary terror, mass dispossession and displacement of civilian populations and the systematic assault on popular sectors of civil society.

The first decade of the 21st century has witnessed the West’s embrace of extremism in all of its manifestation both in domestic and foreign policy. Extremism is a common practice by self-styled conservatives, liberals and social-democrats. In the past, conservative implies preserving the status quo and at most tinkering with change at the margins. Today’s ‘conservatives’ demand the wholesale dismantling of entire social welfare systems, the elimination of traditional legal restraints on labor and environmental abuses. Liberals and social democrats who in the past, occasionally, questioned colonial systems have been in the forefront of prolonged multiple colonial wars which have killed and displaced millions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria.

Extremism both in terms of methods, means and goals has obliterated the distinctions between center left, center and rightwing politicians. Moderate opponents to policies subsidizing a dozen major banks and impoverishing tens of millions of workers are called the “hard left”, “extremists” or “radicals”.

In the wake of the extremist policies of public officials, the respectable, prestigious print media have engaged in their own versions of extremism [1]. Colonial wars that devastate civil society and materially and culturally impoverish millions in the colonized country are justified, embellished and made to appear as lawful, humane and furthering secular democratic values. Domestic wars on behalf of oligarchies and against wage and salaried workers, which concentrate wealth and deepen despair of the dispossessed are described as rational, virtuous and necessary. The distinctions between the prudent, balanced, prestigious and serious media and the sensationalist, yellow press have disappeared. The fabrication of facts, blatant omissions and distortions of context are found in one as well as the other.

To illustrate the reign of extremism in officialdom and among the prestigious press, we will examine two case studies: US policies toward and the Financial Times and New York Times reportage on Colombia and Honduras.

Colombia: The “Oldest Democracy in Latin America versus “the Death squad Capital of the World”

Following on the heels of euphoric eulogies of Colombia’s emergence as a poster boy in an April issue of Time, and in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, the Financial Times ran a series of articles including a special insert on Colombia’s political and economic “miracle”, “Investing in Colombia” [2]. According to the FTs leading Latin American journalist, one John Paul Rathbone, Colombia is the “oldest democracy in the hemisphere” [3]. Rathbone’s rapture for Colombia’s President Santos extends from his role as an “emerging power broker” for the South American continent, to making Colombia safe for foreign investors and “exciting the envy” of other less successful regimes in the region. Rathbone gives prominence to one Colombia business leader who claims that Colombia’s second biggest city “Medellín is living through its best of times” [4]. In line with the opinion of the foreign and business elite, the respectable print media describe Colombia as prosperous, peaceful, business friendly-charging the lowest mining royalty payments in the hemisphere – a model of a stable democracy to be emulated by all forward-looking leaders. Colombia under President Santos, has signed a free trade agreement with President Obama, his closes ally in the hemisphere [5]. Under Bush the trade unions, human rights and church groups and the majority of Congressional Democrats were successful in blocking the agreement on the bases of the basis of Colombia’s sustained human rights violations. When Obama embraced the free trade agreement, the AFL-CIO and Democratic opposition evaporated, as President Obama claimed a vast improvement in human rights and the commitment of Santos to ending the murder of trade union leaders and activists [6].

The peace, security and prosperity eulogized by the oil, mining, banking, and agro-business elite are based on the worst human rights record in Latin America. With regard to the murder of trade unionists Colombia exceeds the entire rest of the world. Between 1986-2011 over 60% of the trade unionists assassinated in the world took place in Colombia, by the combined military-police-paramilitary forces, largely at the behest of foreign and domestic corporate leaders [7]. The “peace” that Rathbone and his cohort at the Financial Times praise is at the cost of over 12,000 assassinations and arrests, injuries, disappearances of trade unionists between January 1, 1986 and October 1, 2010[8]. In that time span nearly 3,000 trade union leaders and activists were murdered, hundreds were kidnapped or disappeared. President Santos was the Defense Minister under previous President Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010). In those eight years, 762 trade union leaders and activists were murdered, over 95% by the state or allied paramilitary forces [9].

Under Presidents Uribe Santos 2002 – 2012 over 4 million peasants and rural householders were displaced and dispossessed of their homes and their lands were confiscated and taken over by landlords and narco-traffickers [10]. The terror tactics employed by the regimes counter-insurgency strategy served a dual purpose of repressing dissent and accumulating wealth. The Financial Times journalists ignore this chapter in Colombia’s “resurgent growth”. They are especially enthused by the “security” that ensued because large scale foreign investment, over $6 billion dollars, in 2012 flowed into mining and oil regions that were formerly “troubled” by unrest [11].

Leading drug lords, who were closely linked to the Uribe-Santos regime, and were subsequently jailed and extradited to the US, have testified that they financed and elected one-third of the Congress people affiliated with Uribe-Santos party in what Rathbone refers to as Latin America’s “oldest democracy”. According to Salvatore Mancuso, ex-chief of the former 30,000 member United Self-Defense of Colombia paramilitary death squad, he met with then, President Uribe, in different regions of the country and gave him money and logistical support in his re-election campaign of 2006. He also affirmed that many national and multi-national corporations (MNC) financed the growth and expansion of the paramilitary death squads. What Rathbone and his fellow journalists at the FT celebrate as Colombia’s emergence as an investor’s paradise is writ large with the blood and gore of thousands of Colombian peasants, trade unionists and human rights activists. The gory history of the Uribe/Santos reign of terror has been completely omitted from the current account of Colombia’s “success story”. Detailed records of the brutality of the killings and torture by Uribe/Santos sponsored death squads, which describe the use of chain saws to cut limbs from peasants suspected of leftist sympathies, are available to any journalist willing to consult Colombia’s leading human rights organizations [12].

The death squads and military act in concert. The military is trained by over one thousand US Special Forces advisers. They arrive in a village in a wave of US supplied helicopters, secure the region from guerillas and then allow the AUC terrorists to savage the villages, killing, raping and disemboweling men, women and children suspected of being guerilla sympathizers. The terror tactics have driven millions of peasants out of the countryside

Allowing the generals and drug lords to seize their land

Human rights advocates (HRA) are frequently targeted by the military and death squads. President Uribe and Santos first accuse them of being active collaborators of the guerillas for exposing the regime’s crimes against humanity. Once they are labeled, the HRA became “legitimate targets” for armed assaults by the death squads and the military who act with complete impunity. Between 2002-2011, 1,470 acts of violence were perpetrated against HRA, with a record number of 239 in 2011, including 49 assassinations during the Presidency of Santos. [13] Over half of the murdered HRA are Indians and Afro-Colombians.

State terrorism was and continues to be the main instrument of rule under Presidents Uribe and Santos. The Colombian “killing fields” according to the Fiscalia General include tens of thousands of homicides, 1,597 massacres, thousands of forced disappearances between 2005 – 2010 [14].

The practice, revealed in the Colombian press, of “false positives” in which the military kidnaps poor young men, dresses them as guerrillas and then assassinates them, comes across in the respectable US print media as evidence of Santos/Uribe’s military successes against the guerrillas. There are 2,472 documented cases of military false positive murders [15].

Honduras: New York Times and State Terrorism

The New York Times featured an article on Honduras, emphasizing the regime’s “co-operation” with the US drug war.[16] The Times writer Thom Shanker speaks of a “partnership” based on the expansion of three new US military bases and the stationing of US Special Forces in the country.[17]

Shanker describes the successful operation of the Honduras Special Operations forces guided and directed by trainers from the US Special Forces. Shanker mentions a visit by a delegation of Congressional staff members who favorably assessed the local forces respect of human rights, and cites the US ambassador in Honduras as praising the regime as an “eager and capable partners in this joint effort”.[18]

There are insidious parallels between the NY Times white wash of the criminal extremist regime in Honduras and the Financial Times’ crude promotion of Colombia’s death squad democracy.

The current regime headed by “President” Lobos- which invites the Pentagon to expand its military control over swathes of Honduran territory- is a product of a US backed military coup which overthrew an elected liberal President on June 28, 2009, a point Shanker forgets to mention. Lobos, the predator president, retains control by killing, jailing and torturing critics, journalists, human rights defenders and landless rural laborers seeking to reclaim their lands which were violently seized by Lobos’ landlord backers.

Following the military coup, thousands of Honduran pro-democracy demonstrators were killed, beaten and arrested. According to conservative estimates by Human Rights Watch 20 pro-democracy dissidents were murdered by the military and police.[19] Between January 2010 and November 2011 at least 12 journalists critical of the Lobos regime were murdered.

In the countryside, where NY Times reporter Shanker describes a love fest between the US Special Forces and their Honduran counterparts, between January and August 2011,30 farm workers in northern Honduras Bajo Aguan valley were killed by death squads hired by Lobos backed oligarchs .[20] Nary a single military, police and death squad assassin has been judged and jailed. Coup leader Roberto Micheletti and President Lobos, his successor, have repeatedly assaulted pro-democracy demonstrations, especially those led by school teachers, students and trade unionists and have tortured hundreds of jailed political dissidents. Precisely in the same time span as the NY Times publishes its most euphoric article on the friendly relations between the US and Honduras, the death toll among pro-democracy dissidents rose precipitously: eight journalists and a TV commentator have been killed over the first 4 months of 2012. [21] In late March and early April of 2012 nine farmworkers and employees were murdered by pro-Lobos landlords.[22] No arrests, no suspects, impunity reigns in the land of US military bases. The Times follows the Mafia rule of omega-silence and complicity.

Syria: How the FT Absolves Al Qaeda Terrorists

As western backed terrorists savage Syria, the Western press, especially the Financial Times, continues to absolve the terrorists of setting of car bombs killing and maiming hundreds of civilians. With crude cynicism their reporters shrug their shoulders and give credence to the claims of the London based terrorists propaganda mongers, that the Assad regime was engaged in destroying its own cities and security forces. [23]

Conclusion

As the Obama regime and its European backers publically embrace extremism, including state terror, targeted assassinations and the car bombing of crowded cities, the respectable press has followed suit. Extremism takes many forms –from the omission of reports on the use of force and violence in overthrowing adversary regimes to the cover-up of the wholesale murder of tens of thousands of civilians and the dispossession of millions of peasants and farmers. The “educated classes”, the affluent reading public are being indoctrinated by the respectable media to believe that a smiling and pragmatic President Santos and elected President Lobos have succeeded in establishing peace, market based prosperity and securing mutually beneficial free trade and military base concessions with the US—even as the two regimes lead the world in the murder of trade unionists and journalists. Even as I read, on May 15, 2012 that the US Hispanic Congressional caucus has awarded Lobos a leadership in democracy award, the Honduran press reports the murder of the news director of station HMT Alfredo Villatoro, the 25th critical journalist killed between January 27, 2010 and May 15, 2012.[24]

The respectable press’s embrace of extremism, its use of demonological terminology and vitriolic language to describe imperial adversaries is matched by its euphoric and effusive praise of state and pro-western mercenary terrorists. The systematic cover-up practiced by extremist journalism goes far beyond the cases of Colombia and Honduras. The reportage of the Financial Times Michael Peel on the NATO led destruction of Libya, Africa’s most advanced welfare state, and the rise to power of armed gangs of fanatical tribal and Islamic terrorists, is presented as a victory for a democracy over a “brutal dictatorship”[25]. Peel’s mendacity and cant is evident in his outrageous claims that the destruction of the Libyan economy and the mass torture and racial murders which ensued NATOs war, is a victory for the Libyan people.

The totalitarian twist in the respectable press is a direct consequence of its toadying to the extremist policies pursued by the western regimes. Since extremist measures, like the use of force, violence, assassination and torture, have become routinized by the incumbent presidents and prime ministers, the reporters have no choice but to fabricate lies to rationalize these crimes, to spit out a constant flow of highly charged adjectives in order to convert victims into executioners and executioners into victims. Extremism in defense of pro-US regimes has led to the most grotesque accounts imaginable: Colombia and Mexico’s Presidents are the leaders of the most thoroughly narcotized economies in the hemisphere yet they are praised for their war on drugs, while Venezuela the most marginal producer is stigmatized as a major narco pipeline. [26]

Articles with no factual bases, which are worthless as sources of objective information, direct us to seek for an underlying rationale. Colombia has signed a free trade agreement which will benefit US exports over Colombian by over a two to one ratio [27]. Mexico’s free trade policy has benefited US agro-business and giant retailers by a similar ratio.

Extremism in all of its forms permeates Western regimes and finds its justification and rationalization in the respectable media whose job is to indoctrinate civil society and turn citizens into voluntary accomplices to extremism. By endlessly prefacing “reports” on Russia’s Putin as an authoritarian Soviet era tyrant, the respectable media obviate any discussion of his doubling of living standards and the 60% plus electoral triumph. By magnifying an authoritarian past, Gadhafi’s vast public works, social welfare programs and generous immigration and foreign aid programs to sub-Sahara Africa can be relegated to the memory hole. The respectable press’s praise of death squad Presidents Santos and Lobos is part of a large scale long term systematic shift from the hypocritical pretence of pursuing the virtues of a democratic republic to the open embrace of a virulent, murderous empire. The new journalists’ code reads “extremism in defense of empire is no vice”.


[1] There’s a general consensus that the respectable print media include The Financial Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

[2] Financial Times (FT) 5/8/12; See also FT (5/4/12)”Colombia looks to consolidate gains in country of complexities”

[3] FT 5/8/12 (p. 1)

[4] FT ibid

[5] BBC News, May 5, 2012

[6] ibid

[7] Renan Vega Cantor Sindicalicidio! Uncuento poco imaginativo) de Terroismo Laboral Bogotá, Feb. 25, 2012.

[8] ibid.

[9] ibid.

[10] Inforrme CODHES Novembre 2010.

[11] FT 5/8/12 p. 4.

[12] See the Annual Reports of CODHES, Reiniciar and Human Rights Watch

[13] Claroscuro Informe Aual 2011; Programa Somos Defensores Bogota 2012; Corporacion Colectivo de Abogados. Jan. – March 2012.

[14] Fiscalia General. Informe 2012

[15] http://www.falsos.positivos.blogspot.com

[16] Thom Shanker “Lessons of Iraq Help US Fight a Drug War in Honduras” New York Times, May 6, 2012.6

[17] ibid

[18] ibid

[19] Human Rights Watch, World Report 2012

[20] Honduran Human Rights, May 12m, 2012.

[21] ibid

[22] ibid

[23] The notorious cover-up of the car bombing is the handiwork of the FT’s star Middle East journalists. See Michael Peel and Abigail Fielding-Smith “At Least 55 Die in two Damascus Explosions: Responsibility for Blasts Disputed”, FT 5/11/12.

[24] Honduras Human Rights, April 24, 2012.

[25] Michael Peel, “The Colonels Last Stand” FT 5/12 – 13/12

[26] One of Colombia’s most notorious paramilitary narco traffickers described the close financial and political ties between the Colombian United Self Defense terrorists and the Uribe-Santos regime. Se La Jornada 5/12/12.

[27] BBC News, 5/15/12. According to the US International Trade Commission estimates the value of US exports to Colombia could rise by $1.1 billion while Colombia’s exports could grow by $487 million.

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FARC-EP’s public statement on the retention of French journalist Roméo Langlois

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Comunicado sobre la retención del periodista francés Roméo Langlois


Comunicado de las FARC-EP

La retención en calidad de prisionero de guerra del periodista francés Romeo Langlois por unidades del XV Frente de las FARC-EP pone de presente lo siguiente:

1. Los periodistas que las fuerzas armadas colombianas llevan consigo en sus operaciones militares, no cumplen el propósito imparcial de informar sobre la realidad, sino el de manipular, ésta para que sirva al proyecto de guerra contra el pueblo colombiano.

2. Cabe preguntar cuál sería la actuación de las autoridades colombianas, si un periodista que con sano criterio informativo acompañara unidades guerrilleras, resultara capturado por el Ejército regular tras un combate.

3. La concepción contrainsurgente del Estado colombiano apunta a involucrar de su lado en la guerra a todo el mundo, incluida la prensa. Que una cámara puede jugar el papel de un arma lo corrobora la diaria manipulación mediática que se practica en nuestro país.

4. Las libertades de pensamiento, expresión e información no pueden operar sólo para el beneficio de los dueños del capital y de la tierra. Nuestra página web es atacada y bloqueada permanentemente, nuestras emisoras son molidas a bombas.

5. El régimen colombiano asesina, amenaza, encarcela o destierra a los periodistas nacionales o extranjeros que intentan investigar o informar sobre la versión no oficial del conflicto. Son conocidos y demasiados los casos como para enumerarlos.

6. Romeo Langlois vestía prendas militares del Ejército regular en medio de un combate. Creemos que lo mínimo que puede esperarse para la recuperación de su plena movilidad es la apertura de un amplio debate nacional e internacional sobre la libertad de informar.

7. Es vieja costumbre del Ejército colombiano emprender aventuradas operaciones de rescate con el deliberado propósito de que se pierda la vida de los prisioneros. Considera más cercana la victoria si nos echa la prensa encima.

Secretariado FARC-EP

Montañas de Colombia, Mayo 2012

English translation: 

1. Journalists who follow the Colombian armed forces operations do not meet the purpose of reporting reality fairly, but manipulate it to serve the project of pushing war on the Colombian people.

2. One might ask how the Colombian authorities would act, if a journalist with sound judgement accompanied a guerrilla unit which resulted in their capture by the regular army after a battle.

3. The Colombian government’s counterinsurgency concept aims to recruit everyone to their side, including the press. A camera can play the role of a weapon when it’s corroborated by the daily media manipulation that is practiced in our country.

4. The freedoms of thought, expression and information can not operate solely for the benefit of the owners of capital and land. Our website is attacked and blocked permanently, our communication channels have been ground to a halt.

5. The murderous Colombian regime, threatened, imprisoned or exiled domestic and foreign journalists trying to investigate or report on the draft version of a conflict. Many of these cases are known and there are too many to list.

6. Romeo Langlois wore the military uniform of the regular army in the middle of a fight. We believe that the least we can expect in order to recover full mobility is opening a broad national and international debate about freedom of information.

7. It is a routine custom of the Colombian Army to undertake risky rescue operations with the deliberate intention of losing the lives of prisoners. We’d be closer to a resolution if we keep the press in check.

FARC-EP Secretariat

Mountains of Colombia, May 2012

Firefight between FARC-EP and Colombian armed forces, 4 killed

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Ed. Note: The following article below was originally published by the Qatari-govt. owned news organization Aljazeera, known for its Qatari- and Western-backed biased journalism on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP). The article below is not free of such bias either. For example, the article’s neglecting mention of the Colombian armed forces’ historical track record of human rights abuses, ranging from the horrid conditions forced upon women, the killing of trade unionists by Colombian death squads, and the kidnapping of members of the FARC and keeping them captured in U.S. prisons, which also includes the political prisoners on Colombian soil as well. They attack the FARC for the killing of civilians through miss-fire, and yet says absolutely nothing about the direct targeted attack of innocent civilians by that of armed forces funded by the Colombian govt. 

To get a far more accurate analysis on the FARC-EP, then I’d strongly urge everyone to acquire a copy of Revolutionary Social Change in Colombia: The Origin and Direction of the FARC-EP by James J. Brittain. In light of the FBI raids of 23 anti-war and solidarity activists’ homes, including the home of former Brown Berets leader Carlos Montes, who continues to hold 4 baseless charges brought against him (also visit the website for the Committee to Stop FBI Repression), James J. Brittain had written a response to both the U.S. and Colombian govt’s. claims of the FARC being a “terrorist organization”, the article titled “Is the FARC-EP (Really) a Terrorist Organization?“. 

April 29, 2012

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People's Army (FARC-EP)

Four security officials have been killed in fighting with the Colombian rebel group FARC in the country’s south, the defence ministry says.

The ministry said that three soldiers and one police officer were killed in the attack in Caqueta province, where it said they had engaged in “heavy combat” with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

A foreign journalist and four soldiers are missing after the raid on the military and police anti-drug patrol on Saturday, the defence ministry said in its statement.

Colombian authorities have launched a search operation for the missing after the incident, which occurred in the hamlet of Buena Vista, in the municipality of Montanita.

On Friday, FARC fighters killed at least five government troops in a gunbattle, while three civilians died after a separate attack on a police station.

The former fighting took place in the southwest of the country, on the border between Cauca and Valle del Cauca departments.

A sergeant and four soldiers were among the dead, Jorge Humberton Jerez, a local military commander, told the media.

The police station attack occurred in Caqueta, where Saturday’s violence also occurred.

‘Political prisoners’

FARC’s deadliest attack this year occurred last month, when fighters killed 11 soldiers in the town of Arauquita, near the border with Venezuela.

Earlier this month, the FARC released the last 10 police officers and soldiers they were holding hostage.

Timolean Jimenez, a FARC leader, has recently denied that proposed negotiations with the government imply that the group is prepared to surrender.

About 400 civilians are still being held hostage by the group, according to estimates from the Free Country foundation. FARC denies that claim, but has not released figures of its own.

It says that it has released the last of its remaining “political prisoners” and has pledged to stop kidnappings for ransom.

The FARC has been at war with the Colombian government since 1964, and is believed to still have about 9,000 fighters active in the mountainous and jungle areas of the country.

Colombia’s FARC denies plans to surrender

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April 20, 2012

Guerrilla members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The leader of Colombia’s leftist FARC rebel group has denied that proposed negotiations with the government imply the guerrillas intend to surrender any time soon.

The statement on Thursday from Timoleon Jimenez, leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), countered recent comments from President Juan Manuel Santos, who said the FARC sought peace after nearly a half-century of conflict.

“For our part, sitting down to talk does not indicate any kind of surrender or submission,” said the statement from Jimenez, also known by the alias of Timochenko.

The statement – which was dated April 14 and posted on the website of the Anncol news agency – followed one allegedly signed by Timochenko last month which said he was ready to “begin working on reconciliation and peace”.

Jimenez, who has led FARC since November 2011, accused Santos of a “double standard” for saying when he took office in August 2010 that he was willing to negotiate with FARC but later sending troops to attack guerrilla outposts.

The leader of Latin America’s largest remaining guerrilla group said the rich-poor divide in Colombia needed to be one of the issues on the table for future talks.

In February, FARC leaders announced their decision to cease kidnapping for ransom as a form of combat – one of the conditions Bogota had set for talks.

The rebels also said they were willing to negotiate with the government.

This month, the guerrilla group released its last 10 police and military hostages, but FARC is believed to be holding more than 100 civilians in captivity.

Santos said FARC’s decision to stop kidnappings for ransom was a positive step, but not enough, demanding the release of all rebel prisoners.

The FARC, founded in 1964, is believed to have about 9,000 fighters in mountainous and jungle areas of Colombia, according to government estimates.

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