Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Lose those unwanted pounds on the FARC diet!
Southern Colombia--For well-over 30 years, Colombia has been involved in a civil war between the paramilitary and military forces (with American "advisers") of the narco-industrial Oligarchs to the North, and populist and Marxist Revolutionary forces in the South. Both sides traffic in cocaine, and sometimes in heroin and marijuana to fund their activities.
Both sides kidnap members of their factions, as well as the kidnapping of innocent bystanders and public officials. That's correct: there are no "good guys" in the civil war in Colombia, none. But the State Department's line on FARC is consistent: they sell drugs to fund their activities, while the Oligarchy doesn't. This is a lie.
The other lie held by those at State is that the Oligarchy and its paramilitary and military forces never kidnap or murder anyone, particularly anyone who expresses dissent within territory under their control, in the cities and the countryside. FARC opposes these activities, because unlike most Americans, they're capable of courage and sacrifice. They aren't perfect, and they have needless blood on their hands too. This is how a civil war works. The regime's crimes are far-and-away greater.
But that story doesn't fit when you're trying to extend your influence in the South American nation, especially when American "drug interdiction" troops and advisers are being misused for counterinsurgency purposes. You need a pretext. The State Department has had to make-due with the line that "FARC is to blame for everything bad happening in Colombia."
According to the American State Department, Colombia's Oligarchs also never systematically harass and murder the homeless in their cities. No, it's all big, bad FARC, never the Oligarchs and their decidedly criminal activities that get assigned almost completely to FARC. The rebels are no angels, but they're in a fight for their survival, just as much as their captives. Of course these released hostages are angry at the rebel group for doing what they did to them--it's their right, and it's a reasonable reaction.
What's unreasonable is to play into the lexicon of the American State Department's line that FARC--and only FARC--are responsible for the drug trade in Colombia. This is a fiction that's easily dispelled by a hard look at the internal politics and policies of that troubled nation.
The former hostages are right to be angry, and wrong to point their fingers in one direction at FARC, implying that the power structure to the North is blameless. For a number of them, it's nothing new. Recent years have amply illustrated through the atrocities of right-wing paramilitary employed by the regime that this is a lie. It's a lie that the former hostages are willingly perpetuating, but hey, don't they look svelte? Name one that looks fat.
It would behoove international citizens to consider who these hostages really are when reading their opinions. They're never going to look this sexy ever again. And speaking of the unsexy and the unattractive boor, what was Sen. John McCain doing down in Colombia during the 4th of July? Was this a botched "October surprise" on his part (and Karl Rove's?)? It doesn't matter. We'll never win in: Iraq, Cuba, Afghanistan, Central Asia, or anywhere else. That can only be good for the interests of the average American.