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New book: ''War in Colombia. Made in USA''

by Leslie Feinberg Tuesday, Mar. 18, 2003 at 1:21 PM

The anti-war movement in the United States and around the world needs a clear view of the Pentagon's "Plan Colombia" and its impact on this hemisphere. Now that information is available in a book from the International Action Center: "War in Colombia--Made in U.S.A."

New book: "War in Colombia - Made in USA"

The anti-war movement in the United States and around the world needs a clear view of the Pentagon's "Plan Colombia" and its impact on this hemisphere. Now that information is available in a book from the International Action Center: "War in Colombia--Made in U.S.A."

17.03.2003 (By Leslie Feinberg, Workers' World) On Feb. 13, a U.S. government plane was downed by gunfire over southern Colombia and crashed into the jungle below. Forces from Colombia's largest revolutionary army took three survivors prisoner, all U.S. citizens. A fourth U.S. citizen and a Colombian Army sergeant were reportedly shot and killed at the scene of the crash.

President George W. Bush did not pre-empt network television to rattle the sabers for full-scale war in this hemisphere. Nor did his generals conduct live Pentagon briefings so the networks could proclaim a "hostage crisis."

Why such low-key coverage? The flight was carrying out a secret intelligence mission. U.S. officials refuse to identify the missing personnel or admit what government agency employs them, but there is speculation that it is the CIA.

The rebels are offering a prisoner exchange. While Bush and his generals prepare to lay all-out siege to the Middle East, Colombia is their quiet war. But it is no less dirty. The anti-war movement in the United States and around the world needs a clear view of the Pentagon's "Plan Colombia" and its impact on this hemisphere. Now that information is available in a book from the International Action Center: "War in Colombia--Made in U.S.A."

Many authors contributed to the book. Section I, "U.S. Intervention in Colombia," debunks the "war on drugs" excuse and shows how massive aerial chemical defoliation of farmers' cropland, first employed by the United States in Vietnam, is itself a violent act of war.

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark writes that the multi-billion- dollar Plan Colombia, announced in September 1999 by the Clinton administration, was meant to "eradicate the four-decades-old revolutionary struggle of the poor in Colombia, bring drug cartels under government control and reinforce small oligarchies subservient to U.S. economic and political interests in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela."

Journalist Andy McInerney analyzes the world political context for Plan Colombia and its continuation, Bush's Andean Regional Initiative. IAC Co-Director Teresa Gutierrez shines light on the real terrorists in Colombia: the U.S./paramilitary alliance. More than 35,000 Colombians have been murdered in this reign of Klan-like terror over the last decade.

Part II, "Voices from Colombia," lends this extraordinary book even greater power. It speaks directly from front-line trenches of this war-- the jungle, the shop floor, the tilled land. The reader hears from Manuel Marulanda Velez, founder and commander in chief of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC- EP); Antonio Garcia, over-all military commander of the National Liberation Army (ELN), the country's second-largest guerrilla movement; women commandants; Javier Correa Suarez, a leader of the National Union of Food Industry Workers (Sinaltrainal); the Lawyers Collective Corporation; the peasant organization of coca and poppy growers; a joint statement by 60 Colombian social, human-rights, non-governmental and peace organizations. And more.

Part III analyzes how U.S. intervention in Colombia affects the region. Cuban President Fidel Castro Ruz explains that the United States "simply wants to take possession of the markets and natural resources of the Third World countries, including those that were part of the former Soviet Union ... . It is already almost the master of the great oil reserves of the Caspian Sea. It wants to play the role of a new Roman world-wide super-empire, which, of course, will last much shorter than the Roman Empire--and it will meet with universal resistance."

Venezuelan Minister of Education Dr. Aristóbulo Isturiz lays bare the vivid events of the unsuccessful right-wing coup attempt in his country orchestrated from Washington in April 2002.

The wide impact in this hemisphere is also examined by President Lucio E. Gutierrez of Ecuador; former political prisoner Ismael Guadalupe, a leader of the Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques; and Dominican activist and poet Narciso Isa Conde.

Part IV contains documents from many international gatherings rejecting Pentagon intervention in Colombia. In the last section, "The People of the U.S. Say No," we hear from former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney, Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, Sen. Paul Wellstone, and School of the Americas activists the Rev. Roy Bourgeois and Linda Panetta. There is also a statement supporting Colombian labor unionists by the AFL-CIO national executive council.

Access to the book's contents is aided by a chronology of Colombian history, appendix documents and an index. Co-editor Rebeca Toledo, a Latina lesbian activist who contributed her skills in many aspects of the book's production, took part in the Tribunal Against the Violence of Coca-Cola in Bogota in December 2002.

["War in Colombia--Made in U.S.A," published by the International Action Center, New York, 2003. 297 pages with index, chronology and appendix. Edited and compiled by Rebeca Toledo, Teresa Gutierrez, Sara Flounders and Andy McInerney. .95.]

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