The US press slanders FARC while ignoring the atrocities of the UAC/death squads. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and, yes even our own State Department have all concluded that the right wing death squads are responsible for roughly 80% of atrocities in Colombia. And yet these death squads--through their close ties with the regular Colombian army--are the ones our tax dollars are supporting (nothing new here, of course, if you know your history; the CIA always supports fascism over democracy).
Perhaps the biggest misconception the oil-soaked press popularizes is the idea that FARC is the main force behind drug trafficking in Colombia. It is true that FARC taxes coca growers to raise funds, but if the US is truly interested in stopping the flow of cocaine they would do better to target the paramilitaries since these organizations have been built on a foundation of drug trade and raqueteering from their very inception. According to the Council on Hemispheric Affairs "the creation of the United Self-Defense Groups of Colombia (UAC), the official title of the loosely-connected paramilitary organizations formed in the 1980s, was made possible in large part through the private fortunes amassed through their leaders' earlier involvement in the drug trade. The UAC, in fact, was outlawed in 1989 after government investigations revealed that Pablo Escobar, the notorious boss of the Medellin drug cartel, was running one of UAC's largest military operations."
Most Colombian peasants who grow coca today used to grow traditional crops but have been pushed by increasing poverty to grow the only crop that can provide sufficient income. The brutality of unregulated capitalism and the invasion of TNCs has created a situation in Colombia today where 70% of the land is owned by three percent of the population.
One of the main goals on FARCs platform is to provide alternative crops to coca farmers (I'll bet CNN never told you that) and for the profits of Colombia's oil resources to benefit the people, instead of Occidental Petroleum. I should note here that G. W. Bush owns stock in Occidental. He also owns stock in Monsanto, which provides much of the defoliant chemicals used in Plan Colombia. In more senses than one we can say that Bush has a lot of STOCK in Scam Colombia.
The "war on drugs" is just as hypocritical overseas as we know it to be at home. The DEA even admits that "all branches of government" in Colombia are involved in "drug-related corruption"--not to mention our own CIA's notorious involvement in cocaine trafficking. And yet the State Department only added the UAC to its official list of terrorists last year, while FARC has been listed as a "narco-terrorist" group for years.
Next time we encourage solidarity with the Zapatistas we should remember FARC, too.
Recommended Links http://www.zmag.org/ http://www.cislac.org.au/ http://www.usoutofcolombia.org/archives/00000031.shtml http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/gaitan/gaitan.htm http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/drugwar.htm http://www.farc-ep.org/ http://www.colombiasupport.net/ http://www.narconews.com/ http://www.lawg.org/colombia.htm http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/molano.htm http://www.narconews.com/petras1.html http://www.copvcia.com/
International Commission. "FARC-EP: Historical Outline"
Chomsky. "World Orders Old and New"
Chomsky. "Rogue States: The Rule of Force in World Affairs"
Colombia Labor Monitor. "Colombia"
See Articles and columns in FARC Homepage
See Articles in Z-Magazine Homepage by various writers.
See Articles in Committee in Solidarity with Latin American and the Caribbean (CISLAC)[Various writers, featuring Professor James Petras well known Latin Americanist]
Use search engine in Indymedia.