Congo RDC Colombia Today Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia- People’s Army

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  • #726

    The Revolutionary Armed Forces of ColombiaThe Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia

    What is the FARC-EP?

    The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army is a political-military organization, Colombian insurgency, proudly subversives. We don´t have anything to do with delinquency or banditry.


    We are Marxist-Leninist and Bolivarian, also communists, not “pro-soviet” or “pro-Castro”, although we do feel identified with the principles of both revolutions, in particular with the Cuban Revolution, which continues illuminating the world with proud and dignity. Moreover, these qualifications are being part of the Cold War terminology.

    We use pseudonyms as our “nom de guerre”, which is usually the name of an outstanding comrade or loved one. The term “alias” used by the bourgeois press has negative connotations as it refers to bandits or delinquents, which we are not.

    We have never kidnapped. When we arrested a person, generally because of his unwillingness to pay revolutionary taxes, we called that a “financial detention”, not kidnapping. In February 2012, we took the sovereign decision to stop realizing financial detentions.

    The detentions because of political reasons can´t be considered kidnapping either; they are forms of exercising popular justice, especially against corrupt politicians. It´s the implementation of our Law 003 against corruption.

    Military and policemen captured in combat aren’t kidnapped either; they are called prisoners of war, according to international laws.

    As People’s Army we undertake military actions against our class enemy and their repressive apparatus. Our actions never aim at doing any harm to the civil population. Generally, our actions are being presented as attacks against the population by the mass media, as part of their war of disinformation.

    It is noteworthy that for the mass media there are two classes of fallen in combat: ours are casualties, dead in combat; theirs are assassinated or killed.

    We have a legislature, subordination to the higher command and a solid chain of command, structure and all the qualities that legitimate us as a belligerent force, apart from the popular support we have. It´s absolutely false that we are isolated or that we have lost our political route.

    Drug-trafficking is a lethal issue for popular interests, inherent to capitalism, where easy and quick money-making prevails. Our theory and our praxis show that we don´t have anything to do with it. From the Pentagon, the north-Americans trace policies for their local servants, to use drug-trafficking as an excuse for their re-colonization plans.

    Another recurrent topic in the disinformation media is terrorism. There is no definition of it. The great Spanish playwright and writer Alfonso Sastre defines the situation very well when he says that the resistance of the weak is called terrorism, while the outrage of the powerful is called justice.

    The guerrilla struggle is a legitimate way of conquering people’s rights. In our case, the violent and repressive character of the government, obeying orders of the United States, didn´t leave any other option, and since the moment we started our struggle until now, the reasons of the confrontation not only haven´t been resolved; they have increased.

    For us, the war isn´t our goal. That’s why we have always held high our banners and our proposals for peace. The State, the dominant class, the White House and the different governments have repeatedly interrupted the attempts to find peace through dialogues, when they become aware that the guerrilla’s unconditional capitulation, as they pretend, is not possible.

    This is a new attempt. We approach it with certainty and faith. It´s possible to find a solution, as the causes of the war are being resolved.

    Peace Delegation Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia- People’s Army

    #730

    When Colombia Bombed Ecuador: The Killing of Raul Reyes

    The FARC’s second in command was killed in Ecuador eight years ago by the Colombian army, with the help of U.S. intelligence.

    On March 1, 2008, the Colombian military carried out an attack on a FARC guerrilla camp in northern Ecuador, killing one of the group’s top commanders, Raul Reyes.

    The attack, an aerial bombardment, has long been considered controversial because it was illegally carried out in Ecuadorean airspace, with the help of the U.S. government.

    Then-President Alvaro Uribe at first denied this fact, saying the attack was carried out from Colombia in order to “not violate the sovereignty” of its neighbor. Evidence later revealed, however, that the Colombian air force had deliberately crossed into Ecuadorean territory to target the rebel camp, and specifically the rebel leader.

    According to testimony from both U.S. and Colombian officials, the Colombian Air force also carried out the attack with tacit U.S. approval, and dropped U.S.-made “smart bombs,” according to The Washington Post.

    This close partnership between the U.S. and Colombian forces was part of a larger CIA covert action program to help Bogota take out rebel leaders. This included providing real-time intelligence to track the guerrillas and a US$30,000 GPS guidance kit to guide smart bombs to their target, reported the Post.

    Reyes, in addition to being one the FARC’s top two leaders, was an advocate for peace. He was one of the principle negotiators of the previous peace talks (1998-2002) under former President Andres Pastrana, trying to bring five decades of fighting to an end. 

    He also led a mission of FARC guerrillas on a special trip through Europe, along with government officials, to raise awareness and funds for a post-conflict Colombia.

    However, when Uribe took office in 2002 the peace talks crumbled, the new president determined to crush the guerrillas rather than negotiate. That same year, the military took over an area of 42,000 kilometers and a US$2.7 million bounty was put on Reyes’ head.

    The guerrilla leader took refuge in the jungle region of Putumayo, and crossed the border into Ecuador where he and his crew were eventually found and targeted.

    The 2008 bombardment also killed over a dozen other people in Reyes’ camp, most of whom were other guerrilla combatants.

    Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa condemned the attack and confirmed that Colombian war planes had entered into Ecuador’s territory, followed by ground troops who came by helicopter to collect Reyes’ body and bring it back to Colombia before the FARC could give him an honorable burial.

    Today, Reyes is a divisive figure. For supporters, the rebel leader is a symbol of resistance against the oppression of the Colombian state. For the army, Reyes’ killing was considered one of their most important victories against the left-wing guerrillas.

    In 2012, after Uribe left office, the FARC and the Colombian government renewed peace negotiations under the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos, who was the Secretary of Defense at the time Reyes was killed. The two sides are closer than ever to reaching a final peace deal and expected to sign an agreement by their self-imposed deadline of March 23.

    #732

    Freedom of Thought in Colombia: the Story of Miguel Angel Beltran

    Written by W. T. WHITNEY, taken from this website

    Miguel Ángel Beltrán, teaching at Colombia’s National University, studied armed conflict and social division in Colombia. His ideas displeased Colombia’s rulers, and he’s been imprisoned intermittently since 2009. He’s presently in maximum security at La Picota prison in Bogota. Beltrán began a hunger strike on February 15.

    He was doing so, he explained, out of solidarity with fellow political prisoners, hunger strikers among them, who’ve been protesting anti-human conditions in Colombia’s prisons. He indicated also that he was defending critical thinking, his own cause.

    Beltrán recalled that the government of President Juan Manuel Santos had recently promised to ease conditions for FARC prisoners of war and to arrange for evaluating their personal situations in order to prepare them for civilian life in a Colombia at peace. He also cited demonstrations three months earlier by political prisoners in 20 prisons who were demanding the release of prisoners who were very sick, elderly, or handicapped.

    He denounced government inaction, adding that, “I join with these men and women that today are on hunger strikes [protesting] overcrowding, no sunlight, scanty meals … and sub-optimal medical services.” He noted his own “commitment to defending critical thinking, to have it articulate theory along with transformative practice.”

    Left-leaning historian Renán Vega Cantor is a supporter of Beltrán and in a recent interview explained what “critical thinking” may have to do with his imprisonment. According to Renán Vega, the Colombian intelligence service during the presidency of Alvaro Uribe, “maintained a list of activist intellectuals to be assassinated and did kill several of them. It was in that context that persecution of Miguel Ángel Beltrán was initiated … because he simply had a different point of analysis as to the Colombian conflict.”

    It was all about the “politics of criminalization of critical thinking and of attitudes opposed to the misnamed politics of “democratic security” under the Uribe government.” For Renán Vega, “Miguel Ángel exemplifies the dignity inherent in critical thinking, with convictions solid like steel, that bend neither to every kind of threat nor to false promises.”

    Beltrán was carrying out post-doctoral studies in Mexico when on May 22, 2009 police there arrested him. Disregarding a bi-national extradition treaty, they transferred him illegally to Colombia. Charged with the crime of rebellion, Beltrán would be in prison for 25 months before a judge issued a verdict in his case. Identifying him as “Jaime Cienfuegos,” Colombian officials claimed Beltrán was a member of the FARC international commission. For President Uribe, he was the “most dangerous FARC terrorist.”

    Prosecutors supposedly had found incriminating evidence in computers belonging to Raul Reyes, a FARC leader. The Colombian military had taken possession of the computers after its March 1, 2008 bombardment (with U. S. assistance) of a FARC campsite in Ecuador that killed Reyes and others. Later on, the Supreme Court questioned the state’s handling of the computer files and disqualified alleged evidence from that source in prosecutions. The files were being used as a tool for hobbling political opponents, Beltrán among them.

    On July 27, 2011, a judge acquitted Beltrán, and he was released. In her ruling she cited the earlier Supreme Court rejection of the evidence.

    In 2013 Colombian Attorney General Alejandro Ordoñez ordered Beltrán fired from his academic post at the National University. Professors and students there protested, and Beltrán was able to return to teaching in early 2014. Ordoñez soon confirmed his order, decreeing also that Beltrán was prohibited from teaching at a public university for 13 years. The rector of the university, “functioning as a peon of the establishment,” fired Beltrán.

    In December, 2014 the Superior Tribunal of Bogota overruled Beltran’s acquittal and sentenced him to eight years in prison. Beltrán returned to prison in December 2015. At Picota prison he shares space with common criminals and paramilitaries.

    On January 25, 2016 Beltrán participated in a “cassation” process before the Supreme Judicial Court. “Cassation” refers to a last-resort appeal before a high court seeking review of previous legal interpretations rather than the facts of a case. Beltrán delivered his statement to the Court by means of a video presentation recorded in prison. It’s useful here for elucidating what “critical thinking” means to Beltrán.

    Beltrán begins by emphasizing the “importance of freedom of thought as a fundamental component of knowledge and academic activity.” He continues: “Freedom of thought has served the acquisition of knowledge in the face of interference from the political, economic, cultural, and religious powers.”

    Beltrán notes that he “has rigorously debated [his conclusions regarding] armed social conflict in Colombia in national and international settings, defending the thesis that armed social conflict has objective causes and is rooted in social inequality, injustice, and in social and political exclusion.”

    He explains that, “During the [presidential] term of Alvaro Uribe, it was prohibited to speak of armed social conflict, or it was only possible if one referred to the conflict in terms of a terrorist threat.”

    Beltrán regards peace being negotiated now in Havana “as a positive sign that it may soon be possible to think differently, to sustain [alternative] opinions.” And, “my students are looking for signs that values proclaimed in my classes like honesty, tolerance, pluralism, and rigorous academic analysis are a really legitimate part of academic work.”

    Miguel Ángel Beltrán included an “anti-dedication” in his latest book, written in prison. It reads: “To Attorney General Alejandro Ordóñez; to Prosecutor Ricardo Bejarano, and to Judge Jorge Enrique Vallejo – Because with your incessant persecution you have strengthened me in my determination to defend critical thinking.”

    #733

    In jungle camps, Colombia rebels take peace lessons

    MAGDALENA MEDIO VALLEY (Colombia), Feb 27 — In their secret jungle camps, Colombia’s Marxist rebels used to learn how to fight.

    They still carry the rifles and machetes they have used for half a century in their war against the Colombian government. But now troops of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are sitting down for classes on how life will be once they lay down their weapons.

    Thousands of miles away at talks hosted by Cuba, their commanders are negotiating a peace accord they hope to sign with Bogota in March. Meanwhile, here in the jungle, FARC soldier Tomas, 37, is acting as an instructor, explaining to his fellow recruits what is at stake. AFP was granted exceptional access by FARC commanders to this mountain camp in northwestern Colombia.

    After his 14 years spent marching and fighting in this jungle, Tomas must now convince his comrades to work to achieve the FARC’s aims by political means. “Some of them are looking forward to it. They are pleased about it, optimistic,” he said. “But others are keeping quiet about it. They are a bit reserved. “How do we sever ourselves from the weapon we have carried for so many years?”

    Makeshift classrooms

    Classes like these are going on in various camps around the country that are home to the FARC’s 7,000 members. At this camp in the Magdalena Medio region, a mustachioed commander in a green beret orders ranks of troops to sit down side by side. They have built the makeshift classroom themselves, cutting down trees to make tables. Among the fighters are young women and boys scarcely out of puberty, with rifles by their sides and pistols on their hips.

    With the sun beating down on him, Tomas sits by his laptop computer and explains the issues covered by the peace talks. “The problem, companions, is about the land. Access to the land must be democratized,” he said. Some of the young recruits yawn and shake their heads as they struggle to follow the presentation. Older troops listen more closely and take notes, occasionally raising their voices to say “excuse me, comrade” and ask a question.

    Among the elder members is Cornelio, who has spent 33 of his 55 years fighting in the FARC. He fears anarchy could break in the regions it controls, if its fighters disarm. “They talk to us about laying down our weapons. They talk to us about turning into a political party,” he said after the class. “So the question we ask ourselves is: what will happen when we put the weapons away and delinquency breaks out?”

    No more killing

    The FARC started in the mid-1960s as a peasant uprising against perceived state oppression and took over areas where state control was absent. They are classed as a terrorist organisation by powers including the United States and the European Union. The conflict has ground on for decades as a territorial dispute between various armed groups.

    Now, as negotiators close in on a March 23 deadline to sign an accord, Latin America’s last armed conflict could soon be over. But lingering disagreements over disarmament and other points in the negotiations still risk delaying the accord.

    The conflict has killed 260,000 people and displaced 6.6 million, according to the United Nations. Even with the prospect of peace, some FARC members are afraid. Franky, 27, has been a FARC soldier since he was 17. “We hope they don’t let us down,” he said.  “That we don’t lay down our weapons and then find they carry on killing us just for the sake of it.”

    Then, there is the risk from within, said Tomas. For some of the younger recruits, politics is far less exciting than having rifles in their hands. “We have to guarantee that, when we lay down our arms, those kids get down to the work of political activism,” he said. And “that is a real challenge.”

    #735

    Statement by Cuba and Norway, guarantor countries of the peace talks between the government of Colombia and the FARC-EP

    Cuba and Norway, guarantor countries at the Negotiating Table between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP), announce to the public that, as a result of consultations made in the last few days with the participation of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Cuba and Norway, an agreement has been reached to overcome recent difficulties and normalize the talks between the parties in Havana.

    The parties will continue to comply with the commitments made with regard to measures of de-escalation and confidence-building.

    The Guarantors welcome the firm commitment of the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP to continue to make progress so as to achieve a final agreement soon.

    Cuba and Norway thank the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP for the confidence they have shown in the Guarantors and the constructive spirit in which both parties contributed towards the positive results we are announcing today.

    Cuba and Norway reaffirm their commitment to continue contributing to the progress of the talks and to the achievement, in the shortest possible time, of a final agreement to end the conflict and build a stable and lasting peace in Colombia.

    #736

    Condolences to the family Castro Ruz

    Compañeros:

    FIDEL CASTRO RUZ.
    RAÚL CASTRO RUZ.

    With deep regret we are writing to you on the occasion of the regrettable death of compañero RAMÓN CASTRO RUZ, historical militant of the cause of the people of Cuba and all Our America.

    Through this letter we send our sincere condolences for such deep loss, extended to the whole family Castro Ruz and all the Cuban people: our solidarity in these painful moments. We are confident that the legacy of compañero Ramón will be kept alive in the fight for socialism and in the coming generations that will assume the historical tasks of the revolution.

    Yours sincerely,

    Secretariat of the Central High Command of the FARC-EP.

    #737

    Expert: FARC Must be Free to Tour Colombia for Peace to Triumph

    Carlos Medina Gallego says Colombians who have doubts about the peace process can only be won over with the help of the rebels.

    In response to the controversy over the visit of leading members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia to a the town of El Conejo, Carlos Medina Gallego, an expert on the internal conflict in Colombia, argues that — instead of hindering these kinds of visits — dialogue between rebels and the public should be encouraged.

    Gallego, a professor at the National University of Colombia who has written extensively about the armed conflict, told Contagio Radio in an interview Saturday that the success of the peace process depends on the Colombian public feeling confident that an agreement will actually bring peace to the country.

    For Gallego, the only way that will happen is if all parties can freely visit and talk with communities to convince them that the peace process should be trusted.

    Talks between the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, have been ongoing since 2012 and are in their final phase, with a deal expected to be signed in late March.

    However, the peace process has hit what analysts inside Colombia consider to be one of its most significant stumbling blocks, after news emerged that members of the FARC peace delegation visited a town alongside armed combatants.

    Right-wing politicians, such as former president and current Senator Alvaro Uribe, called the actions of the FARC “armed proselytism.”

    The FARC responded by saying that it was an “unwarranted controversy” generated by politicians who have always opposed the peace process.

    Gallego agreed with the FARC, saying that there are politicians who deliberately exaggerate these kinds of incidents in order to “show there are shortcomings in the process.”

    Nonetheless, the Santos government responded to the controversy by banning FARC peace negotiators from visiting their camps.

    Gallego argues that this is the wrong strategy. He believes that not only should the FARC be allowed to visit their guerrilla camps, but that they should also visit other communities to promote the peace process, just as the government does.

    “The communities have many doubts, they have uncertainties about the process that will follow the signing of the agreement and the reach of the agreement,” said Gallego.

    “Who better than the FARC — who have been operating in those territories, who maintain a relationship with the people of those territories — be those who illustrate the benefits the peace process and the realities of the agreements … to the population in the areas where they have been and where the conflict has taken place,” he said.

    According to Gallego, who works closely with communities affected by the armed conflict, residents are concerned that the vacuum left by the exit of armed FARC combatants will be filled by right-wing paramilitary forces.

    Residents must feel confident this will not occur in order to win their support for the peace process, argues Gallego, thus the intervention of the FARC is indispensable.

    “I believe it is important that the negotiating table … come to an agreement to create a unified communicative discourse directed at Colombian society,” said Gallego.

    As for the controversy over the appearance of FARC leaders alongside armed guerrillas, Gallego reminded the public there is no bilateral cease-fire in place. “The FARC are under a unilateral cease-fire … and it would not have been prudent for this organization to have attended as if they were covered by a bilateral cease-fire and as if there was zero risk,” he said.

    Despite the controversy over the presence of armed combatants, the tone of the event with the FARC delegation was decidedly festive, with speeches emphasizing the coming and much hoped for peace.

    #738

    Just one side of the conflict

    By: Marco Leon Calarca, member of the Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP

    The talks in Havana between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP are coming closer to its objective:

    A Final Agreement, allowing us to close the long period of violent confrontation that has ended up in death, dispossession, displacement and an immense pain for the country. To that extent the situation becomes more risky, since the enemies of reconciliation are redoubling their efforts to hinder and lead to failure a national purpose.

    The insane actions of military provocations in order to accuse the guerrillas of breaking their peace commitments are threats to the peace process, set up in such a way that they generate media scandals and make it impossible for the parties to find a lasting solution. This situation is well known and preventive measures are being taken.

    Another practice is the persistent manipulation of information, sometimes even disguised as an effort to contribute to the process (and this is not about restricting freedom of expression, for we should always remember that it must be based on uncontrolled and sufficient information).

    To insist on the absolute responsibility of the guerrilla –besides ignoring the reality evidenced for example in the conclusions of the Historical Commission of the Conflict and its Victims-, is a manipulation aimed at warding off chances of forgiveness and reconciliation.

    To declare that the guerrilla has killed, ambushed, kidnapped, burned down or displaced, are tendentious statements, which among others, is precisely what is to be overcome since they constitute acts of war. In many ways the guerrillas accept their responsibilities, stating that its target is not, and has never been, to harm their own people. Yet, nothing is said about the responsibility of the state and its military and paramilitary forces; as we have pointed out: that’s seeing only one side of the issue.

    To make matters worse, and as a slanderous way to explain the degradation of war, the media insist on reporting an alleged loss of the insurgency’s political orientation, even pointing out a supposed discontinuity of the noble ideals of the founders of the FARC-EP; what a paradox! They forget that even before the FARC’s uprising, resistance forces were labeled as bandits.

    A sly way of presenting things, with half-truths and biased surveys showing little support for peace and highlighting the “infinite mistrust” of people with the FARC. Lies, which are presented as unbeatable obstacles for the peace talks and which won’t take them anywhere. This way, things will remain the same, with huge benefits for those who profit from war: a powerful minority.

    The majority of the people are hoping for peace; a majority that identifies with the process and participates in one way or another; suffering the rigors of war and its economic, political, social and cultural consequences; people, who also understand that the problem is not about weapons and much less about the weapons of their insurgent defenders. This majority is intended to be hidden in the name of democracy. This situation is part of what we need to resolve, the ability of the majority to express themselves, to inquire, to speak.

    Peace is – and will be- a conquest of the whole of Colombian society, men and women, side-by-sidebuilding it: effort, sweat and surely even tears will be shed in order to finally enjoy the society we deserve.

    Note:
    Joy, celebration and even a party were invented to hide the fiasco of Plan Colombia. What a shame!

    #739

    <h2 class=”itemTitle”>Forum on End of Conflict in Colombia</h2>
    On February 10, the last one of the forums organized by the UN and the National University of Colombia ended in Bogota. The forum had been organized at

     

    the request of the peace delegations of the National Government and the FARC-EP in order to collect proposals and perceptions of society on items 3 and 6 of the Agenda, concerning End of Conflict and Implementation, Verification and Endorsement.

    So far, these forums have been an important input for the discussions in Havana; likewise, this last forum, with participation of about 700 people, presented a multiplicity of proposals that were discussed during three days at different workshops. Discourses and written proposals made by social organizations from all over the country, panelists and experts in the field, will be collected by the organizers of the event and brought to Havana in the course of next week.

     

    Thus, bilateral ceasefire, accurate treatment to the phenomenon of para-militarism, mechanisms to ensure the support and backing of civil society to the implementation of the agreements, the strengthening of the judicial system and the solution to the prison crisis were some conclusions of the forum, in which people demanded a bilateral solution on the definition of a mechanism to endorse the Final Agreement, contrary to the government’s unilateral intention to impose a plebiscite, which goes against the terms of the Agenda approved by both sides in 2012.

    #741

    The Black List


    The FARC-EP were described by the USA as a terrorist organization in 1997, a decision that was ratified on November 2, 2001. The European Union followed them in 2002, after the failure of peace talks with President Pastrana. In Latin America, however, only Peru and Colombia consider the FARC a terrorist organization.

    There is no internationally unified criterion on what means to be a terrorist. What concept guides these lists? Actually, the inclusion of an organization in the list corresponds to state interests, political alliances and economic needs”. In the list there are many insurgent organizations and it completely ignores the existence of State terrorism, principal source of terror in many countries, for example … .in Colombia.

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