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Colombia's Internal Politics

 

 
Davy Carlin • North Belfast News 11/6/2002

 

The press in recent times has carried many articles in relation to Colombia, attempting both to rise questions and analyse replies. Yet both its historical and present day political situation has by and large been glanced over portraying thus irrelevancy in relation to the ongoing issues. Those questions which have been raised though have been varied, from is Colombia a haven for narco-terrorists and its supporters, to what is Plan Colombia?

Yet, such questions can only be answered with a study of Colombia's internal politics in relation to external concerns and interests. It needs to be said from the onset that I believe the tragedy of Sept 11th has brought the ruling interest agenda forward by years, with the intensification of repressive legislation, the curbing of civil and human rights, with the widening agenda to take evermore into account economic, political and strategic interests. All this at the behest of increased interventions, the ripping up of long held agreements, hawkish militarism and the ever increasing agenda for dominance.

As always set interests have and will dictate strategy of the leading powers, so unsurprisingly Colombia is now the third largest recipient of US aid after Israel and Egypt. This 'humanitarian' aid package when studied gives an interesting insight into the prioritising of humanitarianism toward the Colombian peoples. Just six percent of the 1.4 billion dollars is for humanitarian concerns, ten percent for structural development and eighty four percent for militarist projects. So the development under the guise of Plan Columbia is increasingly forwarding for US interest the country into a military supportive state. The US articulation of Narco-terrorism while widely circulated rings of hypocrisy in that region and further afield, with Paublo Escobar, Bolivia, Peru, Nicaragua, Contras (all ringing a bell perchance)? The US in effect is using a particular strategy in pursuing their long term objectives, that is, in one situation they target their 'narco-terrorists' (presently) while in the other they actively support and fund them (historically). This has been a regular occurrence of both US state and agency mindset.

Support, political and economic, therefore then depends on the tactical interests of the US. So today we see their support for Ariel Sharon as opposed to their initial covert actions against Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, or their funding for continually developing military economies as opposed to their inactions towards Argentina or Bolivia's economies. In effect Colombia is but a cog in a historical wheel of various modes of intervention whereby the US attempts to stand outside and above internationally agreed rules while from within attempting to combine in many cases forced consensus and judgments for their interests. What the media though has tended to miss or avoid is that Plan Colombia while voicing in part to eradicate drugs has and continues to cause severe economic crisis with tens of thousands of Columbian peoples losing their homes, the constant militarism of their country, the ever decreasing democracy, state sponsored murders of civil and human right activists and external support for right wing paramilitaries. In Colombia various guerrilla organizations exist such as the ERP and ELN but it is the Farc that the media has concentrated on due to the arrest of a number of Irishmen.

The term Narco-terrorist has been given to the Farc by the media as the Farc receive a tax from the growers of coca plants etc. Yet interestingly little is mentioned of the fact that the overwhelming majority of drug profits have gone to the state leaders, the ruling classes and right wing paramilitaries, many of whom are supported by US agencies. Similarly it is also rarely mentioned that in the late 80's the Farc and M-19 embarked on a peace strategy with many thousands of their activists and election workers murdered and targeted by those who wanted only a military defeat of the Farc. Incidentally such groups again receiving various support from those US agencies

Today Colombia is both strategically of interest to the US as well as increasingly economically, due to its increasing oil and gas resources. More importantly though the US no longer wants a situation of growing guerrilla armies in its backyard. Sep 11th ironically in large part has provided the opportunities as increasingly seen through differing avenues to advance their aims. The voicing of drug eradication in Columbia practically has meant the actual increase of fifty percent more crops grown after two years of spraying, with the displacing of tens of thousands of people and the destroying of natural resources in the process. An interesting fact also to emerge is the while forty three percent of all crops are grown in the northern part of the country the spraying is almost done solely in the south - is that perchance guerrilla territory? So is it all about the eradication of drugs? In reality while they call this Plan Colombia it has happened many times before with various countries from Nicaragua to El Salvador. I believe also that the US has set its eyes on other Central American countries and are in the process of enhancing strategy towards them while also targeting others in the widening war on terror.

The Colombian affair in Ireland has taken a part external affair and made it once again solely a political internal one with US interest. It would be both interesting and refreshing if while questions are being asked that some may be directed at those who have at times supported, but have always laid the base by their actions for their now so called narco-terrorists.



 

 

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