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Colombia Voters Reject U.S. War

by producer Friday, Mar. 15, 2002 at 11:22 AM

When Colombian voters went to the polls yesterday to elect a new Congress, they massively rejected the candidates of the traditional ruling two-party system of the Conservative and Liberal parties.

Colombia Voters Reject U.S. War

Ruling Parties Lose the

Senate and the House

By Al Giordano

The results also strongly suggested a rejection of the U.S.-imposed strategy of "frontal war" upon the Colombian rebels.

This is a story, so far, untold by the U.S. press.

President Andrés Pastrana -- the U.S. government's delivery man for the billion dollar military intervention known as "Plan Colombia" -- saw his Conservatve party shrink to just 21 members of the 166 member House of Representatives, and to just 13 seats in the 99 member Senate.

The Liberal Party -- the other side of the oligarchy's political coin -- lost it's near-majority in the Senate (losing 19 of its seats, thus cutting its bloc from 48 to 29 senators) -- and suffered a loss of 31 seats in the House -- from 84 members previously to just 53 in the new Congress.

Smaller independent parties gained, collectively, an absolute majority in both Houses: 92 of the 166 seats in the House of Representatives, and 57 of 99 seats in the Senate.

With the exception of the European press agency EFE, the coverage by the U.S. and Colombian press has been dreadful. Nobody seems to want to report a story that, at its heart, reveals big trouble for Plan Colombia.

Associated Press "reporter" Jared Kotler -- taken to task last week by Narco News for his false and invented report of the assassination of Senator Martha Daniels -- seemed to have written his story before election day and filed it last night. "Colombians ignored threats of rebel violence" to go to the polls, was Kotler's lead. He failed to note the 62 percent abstention rate in yesterday's election. AP's Kotler described voters as "fed up with the FARC," and even repeated is boldfaced lie of last week referring to "a Senator slain last week by suspected FARC rebels." (Not even Colombia's notoriously anti-rebel press, nor Colombian prosecutors, have repeated this fiction -- denied by the FARC rebels, who do take credit for their bellicose actions -- since the nation's top prosecutor revealed last week that the investigation could be leading toward "common criminals" and not a political act.)

But Kotler continues taking dictation from the U.S. Embassy's propaganda machine instead of doing his job. For any authentic journalist would have noted the big news of yesterday's vote: the largest vote-getters in the country were two former members of the M-19 armed guerrilla movement, both of whom favor a negotiated peace settlement over the Washington orchestrated bloodbath backed by Pastrana.

Heading the votation in the Senate was former guerrilla Antonio Navarro. In the lower House, his colleague and ally of two decades, Gustavo Petro, won the day. Both are leaders of the independent political movement called Vía Alterna, or Alternate Path.

"A new hypothesis about the electoral success of Vía Alterna," reported the online daily El Espectador this morning in a reference to Navarro and Petro's ticket-topping triumph, "is the rejection, by a large part of the population, of the idea of a 'frontal war' against subversion which the electorate identifies with the political figure of (presidential candidate) Alvaro Uribe."

The chief of Pastrana's Conservative Party, Carlos Holguín, resigned last night in disgrace after his party's drubbing at the polls.

The only foreign news agency to report the results accurately was the Spain-based news agency EFE, which led its story with these words: "Colombia's two traditional political parties, the Liberals and the ruling Conservatives, both lost seats" in the Senate and the House.

Colombia's new Congress will take office on July 20th.

Yesterday's elections in Latin America's oldest democracy were a defeat for Plan Colombia and the oligarchy's two-party system.

Again, we ask: Where Is The Press?

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