imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

New Colombian government slams door on peace

by José A. Cruz Saturday, Aug. 17, 2002 at 5:25 AM 212-924-2523 235 W 23 st., NYC 10011

When Anne Patterson, U.S. ambassador to Colombia, called on the new government of ultra-rightist President Alvaro Uribe Velez to summon the reserves to fight against leftist guerrilla forces, Uribe’s minister of defense, Martha Lucia Ramirez, did just that on the following day.

When Anne Patterson, U.S. ambassador to Colombia, called on the new government of ultra-rightist President Alvaro Uribe Velez to summon the reserves to fight against leftist guerrilla forces, Uribe’s minister of defense, Martha Lucia Ramirez, did just that on the following day.

Two things were clear. One, the Uribe government is openly in Uncle Sam’s pocket, and, two, the violence of war will broaden its impact on the Colombian population.

An editorial in Voz, the weekly newspaper of the Colombian Communist Party (CCP), noted that on the day of Patterson’s “order” 50,000 women “were demanding the end of the war and decisive government measures for a humanitarian and political solution to the conflict.” Both Patterson and Ramirez “slammed the door on the national sentiment” for peace, the editorial said.

This national sentiment for peace, and maybe the fear of continued war under Uribe, is so great that sectors of the Colombian establishment, including former presidents, are calling for a prisoner exchange between the guerrillas and the government. Even Andres Pastrana, the outgoing president, tried to jumpstart the peace process by proposing a last-minute “humanitarian agreement,” which would have had the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) release 69 captured political officials, including former presidential candidate of the Green Oxygen Party, Ingrid Betancourt, in exchange for government release of 40 FARC members.

Until the week before his term of office expired, Pastrana had rebuffed all FARC initiatives for a prisoner exchange. The on-again, off-again peace talks between the FARC and the Pastrana government broke down in February of this year and Pastrana proceeded to have the army attack FARC units.

Recently, in a videotape released by the FARC, Betancourt accused the government of responsibility for the breakdown in the peace negotiations and for “abandoning” FARC prisoners. Betancourt’s message was directed to the United Nations Office of Human Rights in Colombia and the Organization of American States commission overseeing the country’s electoral process. Calling for national unity to seek a way out of the armed conflict, Betancourt criticized the “lack of vision of our ruling class.”

Last year the FARC released over 200 captured army and police officers in return for about a dozen FARC members, during negotiations with the Pastrana government. Most observers saw the move as a positive step in the peace process.

The FARC is the largest guerrilla organization in the country, with an estimated 18,000 members, and has approximately 40 percent of the country under its control. Even though the Bush administration has included the FARC and the smaller National Liberation Army (ELN) in its list of “terrorist organizations,” the European Union has refused to include the FARC in its own list.

The ELN has about 4,000 members and operates in the northeastern part of the country. The Pastrana government’s peace negotiations with the ELN have followed a pattern similar to its dealings with the FARC.

The political establishment in Bogota, the Colombian capital, has always blamed the FARC for the breakdown in negotiations. But when the FARC attempted in the 1980s to give up the armed struggle and compete in the electoral arena, forming the Union Patriotica Party, its candidates and activists were killed by right-wingers.

In a letter to Uribe, Amnesty International said it was “seriously concerned that the collapse of negotiations with the … FARC … is leading to an intensification of the conflict, and that the chronic human rights crisis will worsen even further as a result.” The organization told Uribe it feared that “the likely impact of some of the policies being put forward by your government would exacerbate this human rights crisis even further.”

Despite the calls within and outside the country for a renewed peace process, President Uribe has not backed away from his position, supported by the Bush administration, that military action is the only answer to the 38 year old civil war. The Wall Street Journal, lauding Uribe, called him “Colombia’s George W. Bush.”

Voz commented, “The U.S. government is not interested in a peace process in Colombia. They continue to prepare for direct intervention with the help of some governments of Latin America, as was denounced in a Brazilian daily a few weeks ago, because they think they will quickly end the insurgency and the people’s resistance in Colombia, both of which are obstacles for the hegemonistic imperialist project FTAA [Free Trade Area of the Americas].” The FTAA would allow the free movement of capital across the boundaries of the countries of the Western Hemisphere, except for Cuba, without regard to national sovereignty.

Amnesty International also expressed concerns that U.S. financing and involvement in Colombia’s internal conflict would increase violations of civil rights.

Uribe’s plan is to double the size of the army and the national police and to enlist and arm civilians in the civil war. Critics say that this would bankrupt the country. Uribe is aware of this. He is asking the U.S. to bankroll his military increase.

Last month the U.S. Congress approved a measure that would free up over one billion dollars for the Colombian military to fight the guerrillas. The funding is from the monies set up for Plan Colombia.

Plan Colombia was supposedly set up to combat the cultivation of opium; however, about 80 percent of its funding goes to the military and police forces. With the latest action by Congress, all of the Plan Colombia money can now be used for the military. Critics of Plan Colombia have charged all along that that is its main purpose.

Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have criticized Uribe’s move to involve civilians in the war, saying this will spread the war and cause further civilian deaths.

In keeping with his hard-line military policy, Uribe has declared a state of emergency. Officially known as a State of Internal Commotion, this decree allows the curtailment of civil rights and liberties, including giving the state the power to arrest anyone with a court-issued warrant. The decree also gives the police and the military greater powers.

The state of emergency and Uribe’s election pose great dangers to the trade union movement, people’s organizations, workers and peasants.

A labor leader in Bogota, who did not want to be identified, told the New Colombia News Agency that Uribe’s new policy is “a package of measures designed to limit basic freedoms and civil rights in general. One part of the law, for example, allows the state security forces to detain people only on suspicion of supporting the guerrillas – with no proof needed at all – and another allows the army and police to break into people’s homes without a warrant. But there are even worse parts, such as restrictions on the freedom of movement and the freedom of the press.”

Another provision lets the state ban meetings, protests, and similar activities that are deemed against state policy. The labor leader said, “What I fear is that these new regulations will be used against people such as trade unionists, human rights workers, land reform activists, student leaders and independent journalists, all of whom Uribe hates, as he says they are guerrilla sympathizers.”

Even before Uribe’s election, union leaders and others have been attacked and assassinated by members of the right-wing paramilitaries. Since 1990 more than 1,500 trade unionists have been killed in Colombia. About 90 percent of all the murders of trade unionists in the world have been in Colombia.

Over 200 Colombian labor leaders were killed in 2001. This year the number stands at 105, with the latest being Hernan de Jesus Ortiz, a leader of the country’s labor federation and of the teachers’ union, and Jose Robeiro Pineda, a former leader of the electrical industry union.

In a number of workplaces the management has called in the paramilitaries to stop a union from organizing the workers there. One such company was a Coca-Cola bottling plant. The United Steelworkers of America (USWA) and the International Labor Rights Fund have filed a lawsuit against the soft drink giant.

The suit, filed in U.S. federal court, accuses Coca-Cola and its Colombian subsidiaries of using the paramilitaries to kill, threaten, kidnap and torture union leaders. USWA President Leo Girard said the steelworkers filed the suit in solidarity with Colombian workers.

The paramilitaries target trade unionists for assassination, accusing them of being “communists” and “subversives” and allied with the leftist guerrillas.

At a meeting of the International Labor Organization in June, Colombian trade unionists brought up the issue of the killing of trade union leaders and asked that the organization sanction Colombia. The conference, which included representatives from governments and corporations, as well as labor unions, refused to vote for sanctions even though delegates said they were “concerned.” The refusal drew strong protests from labor delegates from the United States, Cuba, France, Switzerland, Pakistan, Britain, and Sweden.

The ultra-right paramilitaries were started as private armies by rich ranchers and drug traffickers to “protect” themselves from the FARC and ELN. In 1997 a number of the “independent” paramilitaries united into the United Self-Defense of Colombia (AUC). They number from 5,000 to 7,000.

Human rights organizations have documented evidence that the paramilitaries enjoy a strong relationship with the armed forces and the police. This includes evidence that paramilitaries have moved unhampered through Colombian army-controlled areas on their way to sites where they have massacred peasants and others. Various reports show that the majority of civilian, non-combatant casualties have been linked to the paramilitaries.

It is an open secret that Uribe supports and has the support of the AUC, which has been linked to the drug cartels. Upon Uribe’s election the AUC publicly sent him congratulations.

In February of this year, the Colombian paper El Espectador reported that Uribe had connections with Pablo Escobar, infamous head of the Medellin cartel, when Uribe was mayor of that city. Evidence shows that Escobar, in an attempt to improve his public image, funded a couple of municipal projects with Uribe’s blessing.

Uribe is from a rich landowning family in the department of Antioquia. According to the book The Horsemen of Cocaine, by Fabio Castillo, Uribe’s father was involved in drug trafficking.

In an interview with the New Colombia News Agency, Jaime Caicedo, general secretary of the CCP, called Uribe a “representative of the new Colombian bourgeoisie, an example of the upper middle strata, enriched by narcotrafficking, determined to make the program of big transnational capital work.”

When Fernando Londoño, the new minister of the interior and justice, was asked by the press earlier this month which laws and rights could be restricted by Uribe’s actions, he answered, “All of them.”

Uribe’s presidency threatens greater danger to the working class and people of Colombia. There is also the real danger of greater U.S. intervention.

The author can be reached at

Originally published by the People's Weekly World

Report this post as:

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

EPA Head Scott Pruitt: Of Cages And Sirens A06 2:15PM

The Shortwave Report 04/06/18 Listen Globally! A05 4:25PM

Nicaraguas Conflic with native Peoples on the Caribbean Coast Near Bluefields in Decade80 A05 12:14PM

Millions Boycott The Sponsors Of Laura Ingraham A05 11:36AM


More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy