From Socialist Voice, August 2008

Spanish authorities arrest solidarity activist

On Saturday 26 July the Spanish authorities arrested a solidarity activist, María Remedios García Albert, on a charge of being a representative of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), which the European Union describes as a “terrorist” organisation.
     The arrest of María Remedios García is another example of the restrictions on democratic rights under the so-called anti-terrorist laws of Spain. It is an effort to intimidate the solidarity movement with the people of Colombia, who are suffering for decades from an attack on their social and political rights and freedoms, both from the Colombian oligarchy and from US imperialism, resulting in the death of thousands of people.
     María Remedios García is an open public figure who has campaigned for an organisation that is attempting to develop solidarity with the Colombian people and has consistently supported a negotiated political solution of the Colombian conflict
     Her arrest is part of the continuing criminalisation of political and social struggle around the world. Those who work against or dissent from the established orthodoxy in relation to who or what is a “terrorist” become targets of the accusation of being “soft on terrorism.”
     María Remedios García was released temporarily but faces a number of charges and restrictions.
     The FARC has in the past agreed to a ceasefire and agreed to take part in elections, during the course of which nearly five thousand activists were assassinated by government forces and right-wing death squads.
     The struggle in Colombia is first and foremost a social and political one and has its roots in the deep inequality that is all-pervasive in Colombian society. The FARC is one expression of resistance by the Colombian people. Resistance is also expressed in the efforts of workers to join trade unions, which has resulted in the death of many union organisers, killed in the main by death squads in the pay of transnational corporations, in cahoots with various Colombian governments and the local oligarchy and its international allies and backers.
     Bill Clinton, former president of the United States and the darling of European liberals, developed “Plan Colombia,” which was to secure US political, economic and military interests in the region and to use Colombia as a springboard for actions against progressive governments and movements in the region. The US Navy has recently re-established its 4th Fleet in the waters of South America, after fifty-eight years.
     Calls for a unilateral ceasefire by the FARC are not the way forward. From our own experience we know that it takes two sides to make peace, and there needs to be the political desire on both sides to engage in dialogue to bring it about. A ceasefire in a political situation in which one of the main protagonists—the Colombian state—still has as its strategic goal the other side’s complete destruction can lead to wholesale mass murder by the state and its agents. Struggles do not exist in a vacuum.
     It is only the Colombian people who can determine the course and methods of struggle in their campaign for social and national justice.

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