After the breakdown of talks with the eln, the pastrana government sets the war machine in motion
Those who have believed the u.S. Government’s declarations so far are "plan colombia" the government, which believes that the farc is fighting drugs and not the opposition, has been disabused of this notion in recent weeks. A little more than a year after the u.S. Congress approved $1 billion in military aid, colombia is well on its way to open civil war. Since the government of conservative president andres pastrana took office on 7 december, the. After pastranas declared an end to talks with the eln guerrillas on august 8, the colombian army launched an offensive throughout the country in which, according to army sources, several hundred people were killed. Not only eln-controlled areas in departments such as bolivar and arauca, but also regions under the influence of the farc guerrillas, who are still negotiating with the government, are attacked by elite units several thousand strong.
Vor drei jahren war der amtsantritt von prasident pastrana noch als auftakt eines neuen friedensprozesses gefeiert worden. The editor-in-chief of the "le monde diplomatique", ignacio ramonet, described pastrana in the summer of 1998 as a great hope for colombia, which had been ravaged by war for more than 50 years. In fact, immediately after taking power, the new president fulfilled several important conditions for the start of peace negotiations. For example, he left the farc guerrillas, who were considered to be close to the cp, a 40.The new president established a security zone of about 1,000 square kilometers in the south of the country, suspended arrest warrants for leading guerrilla commanders, and traveled to the area now controlled by the farc in january 1999 to kick off the talks.
But while the government was using this method to polish up the image of the colombian state, which had been tarnished by human rights violations, drug scandals, and corruption, at the same time the "plan colombia" the largest u.S. Military aid package in the history of latin america. Officially, the plan aims to decisively reduce coca production in colombia (war on drugs or biological warfare?). In fact, although cocaine production has remained largely stable over the past 10 years, the cultivation of the alkaloid plant has apparently shifted from the traditional cultivation countries of peru and bolivia to colombia. This development was caused by the anti-drug operations in the neighboring andean countries, as well as by the serious crisis of the traditional colombian agriculture, caused by the neoliberal opening policy. The drop in prices for classic agricultural products such as corn and meat leaves small farmers far from the big cities with little alternative but to grow coca.
More disturbing to washington than the fact of coca cultivation itself may have been the fact that a large part of the plantations are located in areas of southern colombia traditionally controlled by the farc. The guerrilla organization is not directly involved in drug trafficking, but unlike the eln, which rejects drug cultivation for political reasons, it taxes the purchase of coca paste by middlemen. With the help of these revenues, the farc has transformed itself in recent years into arguably the best-equipped and most powerful guerrilla ever to have existed in latin america.
Developed in 1999, the "plan colombia is now apparently intended to help inflict a strategic defeat on the resisting guerrillas. Of a total of $1.3 billion approved by washington for colombia, $1.1 billion is earmarked for the military, police and judiciary. The focus is on the delivery of several dozen huey and black hawk combat helicopters, the deployment of several hundred u.S. Military advisors and the buildup of elite units in the colombian army. With these so-called "anti-drug battalions" the most serious component of the military warfare is the creation of combat units that, although officially integrated into the colombian army, are de facto co-led by u.S. Officers.
The most serious component of the "plan colombia" however, the expansion of aerial herbicide spraying has caused. In total, the colombian police and the u.S. Contractor dyncorp will spray several hundred thousand hectares of land with highly toxic herbicides over the next few months – a measure that critics in the andean region have called an "military warfare" is called. Even studies by the government in bogota estimate that as a result of the spraying, in the putumayo department alone, 200.000 people will flee and another 7000 will die. Families in the affected regions are already complaining that young children have died of diarrhea after the operations. In addition, there is the lasting contamination of the amazon region with chemicals and the damage or. Destruction of several hundred thousand hectares of rainforest.
The damage to be expected from these exploitations is so severe that even the governments of the neighboring countries of ecuador and brazil have expressed their concern. But those responsible in the usa are not impressed by this. Evidently, the expulsion of small farmers from the region is part of the calculation. The occupations not only destroy the most important source of income for the farc, but also depopulate areas where large deposits of oil are found. Thus, access to the resources is facilitated in two ways: both leftist rebels and the recalcitrant civilian population are cleared out of the way.
Against this background, president pastrana’s peace policy appears in a different light than it appears in europe. Pastrana took over the reins of government in bogota at a time when the colombian establishment had fallen into international disrepute and the farc guerrillas possessed the military initiative. By initiating peace talks, pastrana was able to restore the damaged image of the colombian state to such an extent that a total of $2 billion in foreign financial aid has flowed into the country. Now, as so often in colombian history, the upper class is relying on a military slogan. The peace process with the eln, which broke off a few days ago, is the best example of this. At the end of 2000, the pastrana government in cuba had signed an agreement with the guerrilla organization, which, unlike the farc, did not engage in bilateral negotiations with the state, but rather in a broad social peace debate within the framework of a so-called "national convention" aspires to. However, the government simply did not implement the demilitarization of a small area in northern colombia, as agreed in the treaty, for a year, only to call for renegotiations in july of this year. When the eln was unwilling to do so, pastrana broke off the talks because of the eln’s unwillingness to talk.
Since then, the propaganda organs of the colombian army have been pushing at full bore. Every day, new reports of victory are announced to prove that the war is winnable and that the guerrillas cannot be trusted. Obviously no lie is too stupid for the generals. Basque members of a spanish ngo were portrayed as eta members, and after the arrest of three irish republicans in bogota, the ira claimed to be building with the farc a "superbomb with the explosive power of a nuclear device".
The farc want to resume talks with the government of president andres pastrana about a ceasefire. U.S. Secretary of state colin powell spoke out monday in favor of continued support for the negotiations before the attacks, which caused him to cancel his planned visit to colombia. The war on terrorism now launched by the u.S. Government, however, could lead to an intensification of the fighting in colombia. Farc, eln and auc are considered terrorist organizations by the u.S.