CPI statement on Colombia

3 October 2008

Colombia has never enjoyed a long period of peace. Every attempt by workers and peasants to organise has met with murder and repression. Paramilitary forces aligned with landowners and businesses have acted as the unofficial arm of the state, assassinating trade union organisers and massacring peasants.
     The army has openly co-operated with these forces on many occasions. Faced with this repression, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and, independently, the National Liberation Army (ELN) were founded in 1964.
     The FARC, seeking a peaceful way forward, launched the Unión Patriótica party in 1985. Five thousand of its candidates and activists were murdered; and the repression has not abated since. This year so far more than forty trade union organisers, and also many more peasant leaders and political activists, have been murdered. For the embedded press, these atrocities are not news. They would have us believe that Colombia is a model democracy assaulted by terrorists, and that anyone who tries to mediate is guilty of aiding terrorism.
     The case taken in Spain against María Remedios García for alleged connections with the FARC is part of an offensive by the Uribe regime to criminalise all those who attempt to bring peace to Colombia by initiating dialogue with the insurgency, especially the recent efforts to broker an exchange of prisoners, which involved President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. The Colombian Senator Piedad Córdoba, who promoted this humanitarian exchange, is being prosecuted in Colombia with similar allegations.
     The sudden rush of accusations is allegedly based on a laptop computer belonging to Raúl Reyes, the FARC leader treacherously murdered in Ecuador by Colombian forces with the help of the United States. They claim to have found terabytes of information implicating whoever they wish to accuse of involvement with the FARC. A Danish court, unlike the Spanish, has, quite properly, refused to accept this concoction as evidence.
     Recent revelations in Colombia have confirmed the intimate relationship between the Colombian state and the paramilitary death squads, and also with the drugs traffic, including the personal involvement of members of Uribe’s family and Vice-President Santos.
     The state-terrorist regime of Álvaro Uribe is the United States’s main agent in its attempt to roll back the tide of liberation and reassert its control over Latin America. It spends billions of dollars on “Plan Colombia,” maintaining this criminal gang in power. Likewise, it is funding the openly racist secessionists in Bolivia, trying to tear that country apart like Yugoslavia.
     During the peace negotiations of 1999–2002 many European politicians, including Marjorie Mowlan, played a positive role. When these efforts broke down under US pressure, the European Union, following the American line, declared the FARC to be a “terrorist” organisation, thereby putting another obstacle in the way of bringing the sixty years of civil strife in Colombia to an end.
     It is time for this obstacle to be removed. Both the FARC and the ELN, while recognising that negotiations with Uribe are impossible, are open to discussions with a new government towards a peaceful solution.
     The CPI calls on all democrats to condemn and expose the imperialist backing for the brutal Uribe regime, which shamelessly uses paramilitary death squads to terrorise the population and has no scruples about attacks on the territory of neighbouring countries. It is imperative that European states and EU institutions not be used in its support. Our party is committed to working in solidarity with the Colombian people, and all the peoples of Latin America, in their struggle for peace and independence.

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