Taken from http://www.counterpunch.org/
by MATT PEPPE
A week and a half ago news emerged from Havana that the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the Colombian government had reached a framework for a final peace agreement to be signed within six months. This was hailed as a breakthrough in the half-century-old conflict and an opportunity to bring peace to the people of Colombia. But by adopting the government?s narrative, mainstream media have failed to recognize the primary cause of the violence and the inevitability that it will continue in the future.
By: Edgar Piedrahita.
In a previous article (in Spanish; NT) we referred to Brigadier General of the US Army William P. Yarborough and his impact on the Colombian conflict. Given the unfortunate consequences of his "assistence" - the longest conflict of the Western Hemisphere - it makes sense to review some aspects of his life that will shed light on Nortamerican militarism and its global impact.
Taken from: www.workers.org
The following message was sent from Workers World Party/Mundo Obrero to the FARC-EP of Colombia on May 23.
Comrades of the FARC-EP,
The Mundo Obrero/ Workers World Party would like to extend strong revolutionary greetings of solidarity to each and every one of the members of the revolutionary movement on the occasion of the glorious celebration of your 50th anniversary.
Havana, Cuba, site of the peace talks, April 24, 2014
Today we begin round 24 of the peace talks, seeking peace for Colombia under the crossfire of warmongering hostilities.
Ra?l Reyes and his people ? true heroes
?They gave their lives for a decent future for humanity and for an end to imperialist exploitation, for the unity and independence of Our America?
?That night I managed to fall asleep before 9pm. I reckon it was one or one-thirty in the morning when a sharp, piercing whistle woke me up. It lasted milliseconds. Then I heard the sound of a powerful explosion and then an intense beam of light flashed for a moment.?
?There were two other large explosions before I heard the engines of the planes that bombed us. Then came the helicopters to strafe and fire rockets. Cries for help echoed from several of the wounded, while on various flanks I heard rifle fire and grenade explosions triggered by the troops on the ground who assaulted us.?
?After the continuous discharges had ceased, the camp was filled with enemy soldiers using night vision and they seemed to be guided by the voices of the wounded crying for help. Screams, words of command and isolated rifle shots carried out the executions of some of our defenseless comrades.?
So reported one of the lucky survivors of the March 1, 2008 episode, when the transit camp used by Comandante Ra?l Reyes in Ecuador was bombed and assaulted while on peacekeeping missions commissioned by the Directorate of the FARC-EP.
The then President Uribe V?lez, knowing the results, decided to inform the Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa, about a casual confrontation between the FARC-EP and the Colombian Army on the border, in the region of Putumayo, as a result of which Colombian troops had seen the urgent need to go beyond the national boundaries in order to bring down the insurgents.
Intoxicated by the success of the murder of 26 people (a member of the National Secretariat of the FARC-EP, 4 Mexican students, an Ecuadorian citizen and 20 Colombian guerrillas), President Uribe, the high command and the military forces and Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos took full responsibility for the operation.
By joining the so-called war on terror declared by U.S. President George W Bush, the Colombian government marked the inauguration of a new era in the fight against the insurgency in Colombia. In accordance with that, it planned to ignore the existence of the social and armed conflict that has lashed the country for more than four decades and believed it had every right to venture into the territory of other nations in order to carry out what it described as preventive operations against terrorist forces.
Once on the scene, the Ecuadorian authorities found with ease the falsehood of the version of events of President Uribe. An operation of that magnitude and specificity necessarily required prior intelligence work, proper training of pilots and jungle commands, the use of high technology to target locations and the use of boats equipped with sophisticated equipment. In short, careful planning and execution.
The armed forces of Colombia deliberately violated not only the air and land space of Ecuador, but also bombed part of its territory, which undoubtedly meant an act of war against a friendly country, was aggravated by the wounds, detention and execution of Ecuadorian citizen Franklin Aisalia Molina.
Six years after the occurrence of Uribe's slaughter in the neighbouring country, there is no doubt about the important role played by the government of the United States. The Manta military base served as the intelligence centre and the bomber that took off from it was flown by US personnel. The coordinates, bombs, and the key mechanism for triggering tasks were delegated to the U.S. military.
This was confirmed with the special report published last December by the US newspaper The Washington Post, which widely exposed how the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) develops covert operations in Colombia, and how the shadowy Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) participates in operations against the guerrillas in our country. The JSOC has a license to kill and is only answerable to the President of the country to our north, without any control by Congress.
The high command of the military and police, with no sense of shame for their homeland, came to pose as heroes, alongside Uribe and Santos, after the slaughter in Sucumbios, christened ?Operation Phoenix?, when in fact they merely played the role of scavengers assigned by the empire.
Instead, the name of our Comandante Ra?l Reyes and each of the guerrilla fighters martyred on March 1, 2008 in Ecuador continues to grow to gigantic proportions before the people of Colombia, Latin America and the world. They are true heroes, men and women of the FARC-EP who gave their lives fighting for a decent future for humanity, to end imperialist plunder and exploitation and for the unity and independence of our America, to build a country in peace, with democracy, social justice and sovereignty.
Eternal glory to them; your dreams will be fulfilled.
SECRETARIAT OF THE CENTRAL HIGH COMMAND OF THE FARC-EP
Colombian jungle, March 1, 2014
Havana, Cuba, site of the peace talks, February 28, 2014
The war agenda of the Colombian government
The sinister face of the geopolitical alliance between Washington and Bogot? appears once again, after the release of the agenda of the minister of war, Juan Carlos Pinz?n, about his participation in the "High Level Dialogue on security" with the CIA and the Department of State.
Several issues are noteworthy here, and generate more doubt and mistrust about if the Colombian government is sincerely considering internal peace and good relations with its neighbors.
While discussing the post-conflict, apart from maintaining the high rates of military spending, they are requiring more support to increase the war, specifically looking for new subsidies for the so-called Plan 'Sword of Honor 2', which aims at the annihilation of the guerrillas Blocks of the FARC.
It is clear that the government runs a double standard. They have two different agendas to determine the destiny of the country. Apart from Havana's Agenda of peace, the agenda of war continues being plotted, in dark collusion with the US government.
Perhaps in response to the criticism against the prohibitionist, punitive and military treatment of the war on drugs, raised by many academic and scientific sectors around the world, who come to the conclusion that it has failed, President Santos spoke about the need to rethink this policy, which has caused the deepening of the conflict in our country, forced displacement and environmental degradation, among others. However, contrarily to everything that is being discussed today in Havana, in Pinz?n's agenda appears - as a first-order issue - the component of combating drug trafficking within the framework of military counterinsurgency campaigns, including Washington's interventionism.
Being known that the United States only carries out aerial spraying if the countries with presence of illicit crops ask for it, it is the height of submission for the government of Colombia to beg them to continue with the spraying of Monsanto's Agent Orange in our countryside.
Are they definitely planning to ignore the rejection of this criminal fumigation, expressed by rural people through proposals and protests? As he did with the Ecuadorian people affected by fumigation at the border, instead of keep on poisoning Colombia's countryside, the Santos government should also compensate the campesinos affected in our country.
In Pinz?n's war agenda, it is clear once again, that there is unilateralism regarding issues that are being discussed at the Havana peace talks.Aspects of transitional justice, dealing with benefits for army officers who are involved in crimes against humanity and allusions to the future of the insurgency, are addressed at the parallel imperial talks, which in the end seems to be charting the policies and decisions of our counterpart.
If the Bogot? government is so interested in the US blessing, the FARC-EP insist on the participation of a representative of the government of this country in the peace talks.
When talking about peace, the government and its ministry of war must leave ambiguity aside, as well as the hypocritical diplomacy of the good neighbor and act with transparency. It is not right to continue scheming, and not only from Bogota, but also from Washington, against a country like Venezuela, which has diligently and selflessly accompanied the peace process, doing everything that's within their power to achieve the reconciliation of the Colombian people.
How can it be understood that while Foreign Affairs carries out cooperation meetings with Venezuelan authorities, they secretly ask support from Washington to increase the military forces' capacity, with the preposterous claim that in the future there might arise a scenario of confrontation with Venezuela or Nicaragua?
Hopefully the coordination meetings of the defense ministers of the Pacific Alliance - U.S. and Canada - promoted by Colombia, won't end up becoming a kind of neo-colonial strategy, which affects the peace of the neighborhood, recently advocated by the CELAC.
Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP
Terrorism or legitimate rebellion?
This document intends to be a short brainstorm on the War on Terror, the list of terrorist organizations and our inclusion in it.
Havana, Cuba, site of the Peace Talks, January 18, 2014
After 10 years behind bars, Simón Trinidad has to be repatriated
"I don't have guaranteed the right to defense; they don't allow me to send documents to my lawyer and judges in Colombia, in which I can prove my innocence; this has to be shown by my compañeros to the government delegation in Havana. They won't even let me talk to the ICRC".
The Army of Colombia: a pawn in the CIA's chess game
By Pablo Catatumbo - member of the secretariat of the FARC-EP.
In recent weeks the public opinion has been inundated by major international media revelations about the direct involvement of the US government intelligence community in our internal affairs, with serious implications in the context of the Colombian government's relations with neighboring countries, as well as in the development of the social and armed conflict in Colombia.
On the report of the Washington Post
On December 21, 2013, the Washington Post published a report about the latest covert action by the CIA, the NSA and the Pentagon, that is, of the United States of America, in Colombia's internal armed conflict. This involves decisions and authorizations by at least Colombia's last three governments.
Interesting revelation, that shows many incredulous people that the interest of the US government has been one of the main triggers of the long war Colombians have been enduring. More ambitious studies could easily show that the same thing has happened since the days of Operation Marquetalia in 1964. This was publicly recognized in Colombia, but whenever the nature of the conflict is being studied, this fact is ignored with astonishing irresponsibility.
According to the report, the covert action program has helped the Colombian Army to kill at least two dozen rebel leaders, according to interviews with more than 30 serving or retired officers in the United States and Colombia. At the same time, the National Security Agency was carrying out electronic eavesdropping and wiretaps. All these operations were financed with a secret budget of billions of dollars, additionally to the nine billion dollars aid from Plan Colombia.
President Santos, according to the same report, tried to downplay the issue when he was interviewed by that North American newspaper. Defense Minister Pinz?n, on the contrary, had no qualms about openly recognizing it in the media and praise it as part of the traditional military agreements between the two countries. It is clear that neither of them feel the slightest appreciation for Colombian sovereignty, since gringo impositions on drugs and terrorism are more important to them than any consideration of national interest. Not to speak about Colombian General and Admirals; their knees are calloused.
It is not that we didn't know or didn't have any idea about it, but some things do become clearer with the report of the US newspaper. For example, that the columnist Oscar Collazos is completely right when he suggests that the greatest contradiction that generates debate between former Colombian presidents, is about showing which of them is responsible for the major part of killings of their citizens. This debate is also reproduced with clear interest by the Colombian media, which are always so prone to publish and exaggerate what these nefarious individuals call "crimes committed by the guerrillas". We could now paraphrase Senator Piedad C?rdoba, when she described Colombia was a huge mass grave. saying that, with the consent of recent governments, Colombia is a victim of the most blatant and unpunished wiretapping on behalf of the intelligence services of a foreign power.
Similarly, the cited report includes disclosures that makes one shiver. The article states that according to President Santos "part of the experience and the efficiency of our operations and our special operations were the product of better training and knowledge that we have acquired from many countries, including the United States". This endorses what the report states about the transfer of the American experience in Afghanistan and the struggle against Al Qaeda to the Colombian conflict, ie intelligence procedures including bribery, illegal arrests, disappearances, torture and illegal pressure on people who are expected to give information.
This makes clear that the ongoing degradation of the methods used by Colombian military, police and security forces originates in the instruction and advice given by the Americans. The government of Juan Manuel Santos is aware of the kidnappings, blackmail, death threats and attacks employed by the Colombian intelligence service to obtain, through the families of the guerrilla commanders and fighters, the location of these in order to kill them. Methods that have even been employed against the families of the FARC-EP members of the Peace Delegation in Havana. He also knows perfectly well, because of his time as defense minister under ?lvaro Uribe, the true story of the military intelligence that led to the gruesome murder and mutilation of Comrade Iv?n R?os.
The analysis of the report also mentions the opportunistic and unilateral interpretations of international law by successive U.S. governments, submissively accepted by Colombian leaders. Mr. Reagan authorized military intervention on behalf of his country in any nation under the pretext of combating drug trafficking; Mr. Clinton authorized the interventions to secure his country's control of strategic resources located anywhere in the world; Mr. Bush acted the same way, under the pretext of preventing what his government qualified as the terrorist threat. All this was enough for the notions of independence, sovereignty and self-determination of people to be put in the museum of history, next to the corpse of the fundamental rights of human beings.
Only such a brazen reign of arbitrariness, born out of brute force, can explain, as corroborated by the report, the aggression of the Colombian military against the sovereignty of Ecuador on March 1, 2008, and the subsequent treacherous murders of Colombian guerrilla comandantes outside of combat, through the use of the cynically called "smart bombs" or the actions of the special forces. The report reveals the efforts of the CIA and the Pentagon to get the reprehensible and unique legal interpretations, which allow these crimes to be perpetrated. It also exposes the wickedness of the U.S. law schools in which all these novel legal theories are brewed and which are responsible for legitimizing terror as a respectable method of political action.
It is true that more astute scholars may draw many more implications from this report, but in addition to what we've already said, we should ask ourselves now, when the discussion on the issue of illicit crops is coming up: What is the true role this oligarchy of vendepatrias (nation-sellers) sees for the peace talks with the FARC-EP, or possible talks with the ELN, when the interests that produce an intensification of the conflict in our country are exposed on a national and international level? This report leaves many doubts about the desire for peace by the Colombian state and its imperial boss. Which confirms our idea that a true peace in our country can only be achieved with the massive and decisive participation of the millions of Colombian victims of this regime, who have just suffered one more mockery with the ridiculously meager increase of the minimum wage while the military budget grows geometrically to crush their dissatisfaction.
SECRETARIAT OF THE CENTRAL HIGH COMMAND OF THE FARC-EP
Colombian jungle, January 2014, year of the 50th anniversary of our uprising