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FARC to Narco News on Repressive Logic of Drug

by Narco News Monday, Jun. 18, 2001 at 5:54 PM

I am a guerrilla soldier in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - Popular Army, FARC-EP. In my country we are victims, perhaps like no one else in the world, of the arbitrary policies of the government of the United States, particularly in recent times, with the implementation of Plan Colombia.

Publisher's Note: We received an email in the Narco Newsroom last night. This is what it


Dear Friends,

I have read your pages in Spanish and they seem very interesting. I am a

guerrilla soldier in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - Popular Army,

FARC-EP. In my country we are victims, perhaps like no one else in the world,

of the arbitrary policies of the government of the United States, particularly in

recent times, with the implementation of Plan Colombia.

I would like to humbly send you an attached article that I have written about the

issue of the war on drugs in Colombia, and I would be honored if you decide to

publish it.

Sincerely yours,

Gabriel gel

We decided to investigate whether Mr. Ángel was, in fact, an insurgent with the

FARC, the largest guerrilla army in the world. We also wrote to Mr. Ángel, who wrote us

back, in response to various questions we posed to him, saying:

Dear Sir,

I infinitely appreciate your attention. I am a member of the Issues Commission

(Comisión Temática) of the FARC-EP (Armed Revolutionary Forces of

Colombia-Popular Army) that is in charge of the public appearances in the zone

of distension. You can find that at the direction: www.resistencianacional.org,

which is the magazine of the National Secretariat of the FARC-EP. There, in the

most recent issue, are two of my articles.

I understand perfectly your prudence in verifying this communication…

With this email I'm sending you an exclusive photograph taken with

Comandante Manuel Marulanda Vélez during the 37th anniversary celebration

of the FARC, last May 28th.

Gabriel Ángel

At the Narco News Bulletin, we believe that robust speech and dialogue is a

necessary component of democracy, peace with justice, liberty and human rights. We

have often published the communiqués of Zapatista Subcomandante Marcos from Mexico.

Today, we are very honored to translate and publish for you this exclusive column by

Gabriel Ángel, issues commissioner for the FARC, so that our English-speaking readers

may hear from the insurgent movement in Colombia, in its own words, without distortion

or censorship from the commercial media, on the very important public policy issue of the

war on drugs.

From somewhere in a country called América,

Al Giordano, Publisher

The Narco News Bulletin


"They Should Not Cry Later"

The Nefarious Effects of Repressive

Logic and the War on Drugs

By Gabriel Ángel

Translated by The Narco News Bulletin

Conforming with the criminological conceptions of North American Congressmen,

crimes are committed by people who decide on their own initiative to be outlaws, led by

their morbid inclination to do evil, consciously assuming the role of the bad guys.

Consequently, they must be punished, as examples, so that the rest of the good citizens

are warned and learn that they can't live like that. That's why the punishments are so

severe: to prison, life sentence or death, according to the estimated seriousness of the


The gringos surely identify themselves with the Christian God of the Old Testament, a

barbaric, cruel and despotic God who brutally punishes those who oppose his will. Rains

of fire, infernal plagues, genocides… The religious dedication of U.S. citizens to the Bible

is not by coincidence. It seems more like identity. We see them on TV or in the movies

listening attentively to the pastor, swallowing, as absolute truths, the history of the

prophets, the chosen people. It fits their character well. We've even seen presidents with

pastors in cultlike-trance on the news.

All these visions of the world are poisoned by dogmatism. The Anglo-Saxon thinking

persona is openly reactionary and his legal, judicial and penal doctrines are no exception,

ill fated when they relate to us. With the Colombian people, with the Latin American people,

with the inhabitants of the Third World, or the Fourth of that world they recently invented.

So it is in the case of drugs. The North Americans pass judgment that the phenomenon of

drug trafficking begins and ends in the sphere of criminality and criminal laws. It's just a

crime, an illicit act that must be combated with all the weight of the State, with all its force,

with all its power.

For some reason that cannot be explained, the bad guys dedicated to drug trafficking are

experiencing a notable growth, an authentic rise. They are a true challenge for the

champions of justice. As bounty hunters, they must search the entire planet for them,

reduce them, imprison them and annihilate them. There are poisoning the youth,

destroying the tranquility of their homes, inducing sin in every form. Disgracefully for us,

they have concluded that the hideout of the rogues is in Colombia, that on the sidewalks,

the farms and the jungles of this strategic South American country the ones responsible

for their grand social defects can be found.

We, the Latin American people, have very different positions in almost all things

related to them. Our cultural and historical traditions lead us to think in another way. In the

end, the role of the losers, of the subordinated, of the simple dominoes of foreign

domination always corresponds to us. We have seen ourselves obligated by the

circumstances to look to all sides, to doubt all powers, to drink from the most multiple

fountains of consciousness. All of our presumed benefactors have ended up escaping

after sinking their claws in our backs. That's why we are so distrusting. Our inclination is

to inquire more, to investigate more, to examine more together and observe all the sides of

the coin. We prefer to place ourselves in reality, however hard it may be.

Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, one of the most brilliant and recognized minds that Colombian

genius has produced, joined the positive school of civil rights founded by Enrico Ferri in

Italy with such enthusiasm. And our criminal codes made, as their own, the idea that the

delinquent is, in a certain way, an ill person, a product of the conjunction of innumerable

economic and social causes that must be taken into account at the hour of thinking about

imposing a penalty. This could not be understood as a punishment, but rather as a

method of rehabilitating the prisoner, of recuperating him for society. Many aggravating

and extenuating circumstances of a conduct had to be looked at, including the danger

posed by the subject. Acting justly was much more complicated than applying an ironclad

sole criteria with orthodoxy. It was about human beings.

Since the end of the 1970s, the efforts by the Colombian oligarchy to adopt the inspiring

philosophy of the gringos began to be sustained. Above all because they were interested

in initiating a frontal assault against drug trafficking and imposed it upon our country, that

since then is no longer just a folkloric producer of marijuana without grand crime bosses

and international mafias. There were various attempts to adopt the judicial system of the

prosecutors and their semi-secret trials, as well as the Anglo-Saxon penal conceptions in

the legal code. Today, absurd penalties of 60 years and more in prison are spoken of, in

time to propose, without blushing, the death penalty as the best method to fight crime: the

secret witnesses, the judicial deals, the pardon for sloth and the entire gamut of corruption

and legal blackmail that is now its daily bread.

Any sociological vision of reality has completely disappeared. The repressive logic, the

wrath of God, has become dogma. A man of the size of Alberto Lleras Camargo, liberal

patriarch of other epochs, had come to write in 1979 in the daily El Tiempo of Bogotá, as

the magazine Elmalpensante reminded us recently, of secret services, those that elevated

the price of drugs so high that they fed the creation of a mafia disposed to obtain them in

any part of the world to bring them to the United States and make their grand business.

And he warned how our country would become the scapegoat for a responsibility that the

gringo government has alone. "The war on drugs will stain the reputation of our

countrymen in the future," he prophesied. The spheres of power completely disappeared

this kind of analysis. The subjection to the empire was total.

Presidents Turbay, Betancur, Barco, Gaviria, Samper and Pastrana, in succession,

increased the legal, police and military methods against drug trafficking, turning their

governments into mere executors of the erratic North American policies. If all the

dilapidated efforts by the recent Colombian governments had been better dedicated to

solve the problems of rural property, economic development and social justice in the

countryside, it is absolutely certain that our peasant farmers would never have recurred to

the cultivation of illicit crops. It would not have been necessary. They would have enough

to live, and live well. And if instead of similarly undertaking a crusade against drug

trafficking, the North Americans had adopted the legalization of drugs with all their

educative, preventative and medical ability, the narco-trafficking mafias would have

disappeared a long time ago. The problem would not exist.

The satanization of the drug problem has turned anyone who demonstrates a point

of view opposed to the logic of the North Americans into a drug trafficker, to face

repressive and brutal solution. This is the case of the FARC. Very much in the historical

tradition of the Latin American people, the FARC have sustained that the solution to the

drug problem cannot be military, but must be social. And they have proposed legalization

to the gringos. The revolutionary fight in Colombia has the peculiar quality of being

tangled up in a social reality marked by illicit crops, something that has never occurred in

any of the revolutionary processes of other homelands. But the FARC have demonstrated

on repeated occasions, over and over again, its condemnation of drug trafficking. It's just

that the solution proposed by our organization doesn't fit under the lens of the United

States. That's why they stigmatize us as a narco-guerrilla. And that's why Plan Colombia,

designed in the Pentagon, forwards a warlike solution.

The North Americans employ immeasurable efforts to prove connections by the FARC

with drug trafficking. It is barely an excuse to give legitimacy to its propositions of

domination and control over factors it considers strategic for its economic interest, like

Venezuelan petroleum and the Amazonian bio-diversity. And they cover it up with their

absurd war on drugs, a war that only succeeds in aggravating the problem. It raises the

prices, stimulates conformity with the mafias, generates widespread corruption, and

increases addiction. Worst of all it drowns the Colombian people in a sea of blood,

destruction and horror. How can it be that the leading classes of the country betray the

interests of the country in this manner? The way things are, we believe that it's not going

to last for long. Those who believe that Plan Colombia will flatten the struggle of the

Colombian people will see. They should not cry later.

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