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It is Possible to Resist

by Miguel Urbano Rodrigues Thursday, Sep. 27, 2001 at 10:54 PM

Miguel Urbano Rodrigues, 75 years old, is a Portuguese writer and journalist. He was director of the Lisbon newspaper "O Diario", principal editor of Brazilian "O Estado de Sao Paulo", and council representative for the Communist Party of Portugal in the parliaments of the European Council and the Western European Union. He was also a teacher of Contemporary History at the University of Lisbon, and the author of a dozen books.

There are many important lessons that humanity can learn from the struggle of the FARC-Peoples Army in a time of historic crisis characterized by the North American empire's attempt at perpetual universal domination.

The first thing that it tells us is that it is possible to resist the imperial system and neoliberal globalization, conceived of and imposed by United States with the objective of consolidating and deepening the abyss that already divides a minority of industrialized rich countries from the rest of the world-that is, four-fifths of humanity. The second, implicit in the first, indirectly concerns the problem of power. We live in a time when pessimism has contaminated wide sectors of the intelligentsia, pushing them towards an attitude of resignation in the face of the hegemonic system and trying to reform it but giving up the attempt to eliminate it. In this time, the idea that neoliberalism would be the system of ultimate power, and thus that any alternative project that involving armed struggle is merely utopian, is particularly negative.

Such conviction was disseminated so widely that influential personalities from the left proclaimed that the problem of power had become secondary to the current correlation of forces, and realism in the immediate future would lead to struggles whose upper limit would be reforms that could humanize capitalism. It happens that capitalism, by its own essence, is dehumanizing.

I see in the strategy of the FARC-EP, in its 37 years of uninterrupted struggle, a wonderful example of coherence and strength, of loyalty to a humanistic and revolutionary ideal. By itself, the FARC-EP is not able to take power. But the history of Colombia in the last four decades also has proved that the local oligarchy, armed and financed by U.S. imperialists, was not and will not be able to destroy the FARC-EP, nor those eternal ideals and values that its members take on.

In the beginning of the 21st Century, the FARC-EP, with its resistance, emerges before humanity as a symbol of revolutionary and humanitarian defiance concentrated in the challenge to "make possible the impossible".

History does not repeat itself, as Marx affirmed. But, in a very different context, the FARC-EP is playing a role in a unipolar, imperialized world that reminds me of the epic struggle of the Vietnamese people. I find no other precedent for the heroic transformation of what used to be a small and untamed guerrilla in an authentic poplar army.

However, the proximity of the empire and its meddling, and the support of the local oligarchy, contribute to stamp FARC-EP's struggle unique characteristics.

Incapable of crushing the FARC through the use of arms, they try to at least isolate, if not destroy, them and reduce their credibility through defamation.

The effort to present the FARC-EP as "narco-trafficking guerrillas" conforms to a plan and objective conceived in Washington. One should not underestimate the infamous government of the United States. Once the false image of the insurgency was spread through relentless media bombardment, it contributed enormously towards restricting solidarity with the FARC-EP.

It was not only Bush, Kissinger, Blair and Aznar who have repeated the slander. European and Latin American writers who are said to belong to the left, took it as true also. Some reach the extreme of aligning the FARC-EP with the paramilitaries, who are criminal organizations, an instrument of the terrorist State policies of Colombia.

The revolutionary humanism of the FARC-EP scares people. The fear of the truth is the engine of the campaigns to distort their concrete position in the peace process. The documents released by the Central General Staff of the FARC-EP and the positions defended in the Table of Dialogue make it very clear that for the FARC-EP, national reconciliation, reconstruction and peace demand a very wide consensus.

The road to a democratic and progressive Colombia cannot be opened in an atmosphere of duplicity. The Common Agenda, approved by the Pastrana Government, is not compatible with the parallel development of Plan Colombia, imposed by Washington and glorified by the local oligarchy.

Indispensable Solidarity

I write these lines from a FARC-EP camp, somewhere in the demilitarized zone. As a writer and journalist I have had the opportunity since the Second World War to be witness to not a few revolutions and counter-revolutions. It is thus not easy today to yield to my emotions. I limit myself to comply with an ethical responsibility by expressing my admiration to the comparos and compañeras from the FARC, from the Commanders to the youngest combatants, men and women who I met during these last few days. Rarely have I found along the paths of the world, revolutionaries with such integrity and purity.

The saga of the FARC-EP, during its long existence, because of its loyalty to the chosen path, because of the nature of its internal and external enemy, will remain forever in the history of the peoples' struggle for freedom and progress. The epic of the FARC-EP, its unbreakable confidence in victory, though distant and without a foreseen date, transports and transmits the hopes of humanity. It is comforting to perceive the authenticity and unselfishness of Manuel Marulanda Vélez and his Bolivarian compañeros and compañeras for their courage and Latin American spirit, and their Marxist stand for their clear commitment to history.

Solidarity with the struggle undertaken by these wonderful people is a must for all progressive men and women of the world.

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