This post seems appropriate for Thanksgiving, a day characterized by an idealized view of immigration. Franco Ordoñez has a good story ab...
Low turnout, parties associated with criminals, and voter intimidation in the countryside. Those are legislative elections, Colombia-style.
Steven Taylor is there as an election observer, so check out his commentary and photos.
Worst possible catastrophe in Colombian Elections : The triumph of Criminals, Paracos, Narcos, Paramilitaries, Swindlers, Money Launderers, Dirty MoneyColombia is the closest ally of the United States in Latin America.That Sad Result is the effect of having Uribe for 8 years.The worst possible catastrophe in Colombian Legislative Elections.The triumph of Criminals, Paracos, Narcos, Paramilitaries, The relatives of those processed by Justice and unable to present their names because of Indictments, Accusations and Judicialization.OK, many people have been expelled and kicked out from the Colombian Congress for being Narcos, Mafia, Paramilitaries, Swindlers, Thieves, etc ...But their brothers, sisters, spouses, sons, daughters, nephews, nieces, etc ... can present their names for Legislative Elections.And they have been elected in great numbers, ( because of millions of dollars in narco dirty money ) ... These are all right wingers.Meanwhile the honorable and decent people from the left or center did not win the election and are out of Congress.People that have stolen public money, or given it to their relatives and friends get elected.Very sad, extremely sad.Colombia is the closest ally of the United States in Latin America.The Future of Foreign Policies :Prophesizing.comVicente Duque
A Colombian Clown said :"Thanks Heaven, the world is going to end in year 2012 ( according to the Mayan Prophecies and Nostradamus ) so we are going to suffer from this corrupt congressmen during only two years"The Future of Foreign Policies :Prophesizing.comVicente Duque
Setting all the electoral shenanigans aside, though, I think it's sufficiently clear that Uribe and company have managed to build a powerful right-wing political coalition that commands significant popular support. Thus, for the ideologically-committed within the FARC, it's time for a reality check. The FARC's insistence on the continuation of armed struggle is not helping the Colombian Left. Rather, the FARC's strategic choices have actually strengthened the Colombian right. The FARC would be doing everybody on the Left a favor if it would seriously begin exploring a path to peace.
Hmmm I think the unfortunate reality is that any semblance of "ideological commitment" amongst the FARC has been gone for a LONG time now. Instead they're merely just another violent criminal organization that rapes, pillages, extorts, murders, and rakes in major profits from the drug trade under the facade of whatever political objectives they claim to have, more on par with Joseph Kony's LRA than a truly revolutionary organization. Accordingly, they won't put down the arms until the profits run out, which will happen once a sea change happens in US drug policy or every square inch of the Amazon is fumigated or developed (and who knows which might come first!)I seriously doubt they could care less about aiding, directly or indirectly, the Colombian Left, and indeed it's more likely that they favor the Right maintaining a stranglehold on Colombian political institutions as a means of perpetuating the struggle, and accordingly the profits. And of course, the US govt is playing right into their hands with its disastrous drug policy and military aid in the "war on (narco)terror."
@Justin: you are absolutely correct.Indeed, what the FARC and ELN have done is simply associate themselves with kidnapping, drugs and murder in the minds of the population (and with good reason). I was talking to someone just this afternoon who was telling me that when he was young he was revolutionary-minded, seeing the injustices of the poor and so forth. This was just after he told me that the reason that yesterday's elections were the least violent in 30+ years because of Uribe's policies and that the results were a call for continuation of his policies. I suspected that had I asked, he would have been in favor of a third term.He also went on to tell me how his wife had been kidnapped by the ELN a little over a decade ago and how he lost 30 years of work and savings to get her back.At any rate, there is little wonder that the left has so little credibility here.Also the Polo Democratico Alternativo is rife with internal conflict and anachronistic ideas that don't play well with the voters.
Hmmm I think the unfortunate reality is that any semblance of "ideological commitment" amongst the FARC has been gone for a LONG time now.That's how the FARC is often portrayed (typically to justify U.S. policy), but I actually don't believe that Alfonso Cano is just a mafia don. You can't really say the FARC leadership lives the good life because they don't. I think Cano and a number of other FARC leaders really believe in revolutionary struggle, but the problem (as Steven notes) is that, after so many years of conflict, Colombians want political order. The FARC's strategy has shown itself to be a failed political strategy that is doing immense damage to the Colombian Left because the FARC has created an image of the Left as a force of disorder.
Good points. I may have been a bit overzealous in my previous assertion, as this characterization may actually better be applied to the right-wing paramilitaries.Nevertheless, it's hard for me to imagine that any of the FARC, and perhaps even especially its most "ideologically-committed" members, feel they have any connection whatsoever to the mainstream Colombian Left, let alone consider the damage their actions have done to the Left's long-term prospects. And sure, many members might be driven by the rhetoric of their left-wing ideology, but I think if they were truly reflective and self-critical enough to compare their values with their actions, they would have long ago given up murdering, extorting, and terrorizing the poor peasant populations they claim to represent. The fact that such a significant portion of their forces are child soldiers (or were at least recruited as children) seems to only underscore this point.Accordingly, it's hard for me to imagine the FARC leadership giving up the struggle after 40+ years because they make a rational calculation and decide that it's in their own and the rest of the Colombian people's best interests to quit fighting. Instead, it seems they will only be able to be disarmed once they can no longer afford to keep fighting, which would again require seismic change in Western Hemisphere drug policy and the drug economy, or they are forcibly eradicated similar to what happened to the LTTE in Sri Lanka. I certainly hope I'm proven wrong however, as the "eradication" policy has a much greater priority for the US and Colombia than changing drug policy...
Well, there is one precedent for laying down arms so as not to do more damage to the Left, but it is from an entirely different context than that of Colombia. Germany's Red Army Faction disbanded on exactly the pretext that its existence assisted the German center-right (and made it more difficult for the Social Democrats to get elected). Most people would have thought that such an insular and violent group as the RAF wouldn't have cared about how its strategic choices hurt the broader Left as well, but the RAF ultimately saw the writing on the wall. One only hopes that the FARC will do the same.
Uribe's arrogant and dyscontrol personality - Too much given to wrath, rage, narcissism, egomania, egolatry, autolatry, being the demiGodThis was Published before the elections of March 14/2009 - And this writer seems somewhat Uribista, however what he wrote is good and true. I don't share his admiration for the President, which I see as a guy suffering from Psychological Infatuations and tendencies to Despotism.Colombia is the main ally of the USA in Latin America, so the Corruption and Criminality of the Colombian Legislative and Executive has an impact on U. S. PolicyColombia ReportsColombia more secure, but democratically weakMarch 11 2010 By Pablo Rojas MejiaColombia more secure, but democratically weakhttp://colombiareports.com/opinion/the-colombiamerican/8656-colombia-more-secure-but-democratically-weak.htmlSome excerpts :A third element of democracy, press freedom, is under attack in Colombia. Much of Colombia’s mainstream media is still run by oligarchic groups with strong ties to the political establishment. A perfect example is Cambio, a popular news weekly known for its vigorous and independent investigative reporting that was recently reduced to a monthly. Cambio is owned by the Santos family, which includes former Defense Minister (and likely Uribista candidate for the Presidency) Juan Manuel Santos and current Vice President Francisco Santos. The official story is that the Santos family decided to downsize the magazine and replace its leadership because Cambio was in financial disarray. However, the magazine was actually doing quite well and most observers agree that the shakeup at Cambio was a response to its vigorous and politically inconvenient investigative reporting.Other independent media outlets and investigative reporters have been threatened, marginalized and silenced by the political establishment. President Uribe was notoriously dismissive of dissenting journalists and media groups and frequently accused them, almost always baselessly, of sympathies for or ties to guerrilla groups and the Venezuelan government.Finally, despite the recent show of strength by the Constitutional Court, the independence of the judiciary is increasingly under threat. Throughout his Presidency, Uribe deliberately discredited the courts, accusing them of political bias and corruption when, in fact, the judiciary has long been known to be Colombia’s most independent, honest and transparent institution. Leonardo Efraín Cerón, spokesman for a national association of judges, recently said that Uribe’s rhetorical attacks on the courts created a dangerous environment for judges, contributing to the murder of Soacha judge Fernando Patiño. Other members of the judiciary - as well as reports by international observers - confirm this general sense of growing harassment and isolation.In short, Uribe’s legacy as a democrat is not unambiguously positive. The President has indeed improved security, but he is also leaving behind a hopelessly corrupt Congress, an appalling human rights crisis and a weakened judiciary. Though not all of these problems are new, most observers agree that Uribe has done little to address them, in some cases, has stood in the way of efforts to reduce them. His successor would do well to put bolstering Colombia’s democratic institutions near the top of his agenda, but he will have his work cut out for him.The Future of Foreign Policies :Prophesizing.comVicente Duque
Nevertheless, it's hard for me to imagine that any of the FARC, and perhaps even especially its most "ideologically-committed" members, feel they have any connection whatsoever to the mainstream Colombian Left, let alone consider the damage their actions have done to the Left's long-term prospects. They do not give a damn about other parts of the legal Colombian left. They will use it though. Basically they want to win power; creating the conditions needed to advance in that goal. They will make tactical concessions in order to make those conditions possible. Elections are factored into their plans, whether it creates an opportunity for them to create a legal political presence, or simply refitt and rearm. In the past they have indicated a willingness to talk, subtly signalling to voters that a "peace" candidate would go a long way to helping end the conflict. They did that with Pastrana. They had also did that in the 80's using the time-out as a way to re-arm and expand. They also have some "legal" activities whether through spreading money, by fronts, or by infiltration of unions and political parties. They will also "favor" certain candidates in areas they control - in much the same way the paras do. The kind of breathing room they want now, is recognition as combatants - allowing them some legitimacy, in order to extract concessions. A reduction or end to US Aid, would change the situation on the ground. A cease-fire would stop them from being pummeled out of existence. Ditto for a "despeje" zone.
Basically they want to win power; creating the conditions needed to advance in that goal.But that's not possible. And it's not outside the realm of possibility that people like Alfonso Cano could come to recognize reality.Unfortunately, the rest of Boli-Nica's "analysis" is a highly politicized account. To omit the fact that the two-year cease fire in the mid-1980s ended because the Colombian right was physically annihilating the Patriotic Union is to ignore a key piece of historical background. There is plenty of blame to go around as to why the contending sides are so intransigent today. To ignore the Colombian right's contribution to the problem is befitting of a ultra-rightist idealogue who has nothing constructive to offer.
Unfortunately, the rest of Boli-Nica's "analysis" is a highly politicized account. To omit the fact that the two-year cease fire in the mid-1980s ended because the Colombian right was physically annihilating the Patriotic Union is to ignore a key piece of historical backgroundYou casually omit that the FARC - under Arenas vision - intended the UP to be another tool as part of an overall military-political strategy to gain power. The FARC during this period simply continued arming and actually increased its strength. When indpendent and non-affiliate people joined the party and tried steering it independent of FARC direction, FARC cadres and sympathizers raised a ruckus. That no doubt helped fuel the perception it was a FARC front, and fueled the slaughter. Slaughter, which the FARC cynically used as a justication to continue doing what it already was doing.
Oh, I see. So if the Colombian right knocks off four UP presidential candidates who --whatever their sympathies-- were not guerrillas, we're all supposed to ignore the fact that the Colombian right has long contributed to the country's cycle of violence.This is why I will never take you seriously, Boli-Nica. You never acknowledge your side of the spectrum's contribution to the problem. If your side of the spectrum is complicit in heinous crimes, you'll just pass that off as something that the guerrillas made them do. It is exactly this type of pathology that perpetuates the violence.All sides of the spectrum in Colombia need to take responsibility for whatever they've done to contribute to the cycle of violence. Anybody who suggests otherwise has nothing constructive to contribute.
You are spot-on, Justin. The repressive pathology is ever present. Here in the US they attacked the left with the red scare--all socialists were a threat to national security because they were Soviet moles.Venezuela has nothing close to what the Colombian rightwing does to that country's left tendency.Bolinica's extremism and hypocrisy is readily apparent. The typical death-squad mentality of Latin American elites, but has long been rejected my most of the people in the region.Bolinica's extremism and hypocritical blindness, I think, stems from the strong rejection of his ideology by the people in the countries that his family has historically terrorized.Now he hangs with far right facists in Miami, ccommiserating and hating over mojitos in some dank bar off of Calle Ocho. Even the viejos of the Bay of Pigs see him as some un-tested softie. Thus he positions himself as more rightwing than his exilo bretheren. This functions as anillusory salve for a truely diseased spirit.But there is always another mojito...and dreams of a resurgent, racist deathsquad dynasty that will work with the US to ensure the slaves know their place.But I make the mistake of over psychologizing: Bolinica is simply a dishonest, deluded fanatic. His fellow elites pat him on the head and allow him to hang around because he says what these freaks want to hear.Send his ass to the imperial wars if he won't go on his own volition.
Justin, Steven, I agree with you guys. Justin's observation regarding the German experience is interesting. I wonder if there's any possibility/chance of replicating relevant parts of that experience in Colombia. As well, I'd wonder if any aspects of the M-19 experience might be applied in the FARC case. Could (or would) someone like Navarro Wolf play a part in some sort of negotiation process to bring FARC in from the cold (or properly, the jungle)?
I have disliked the left but lately I am correcting some of my ideas :Jorge Enrique Robledo, the most voted leftist from the Polo Democratico Alternativo increased his votes from 80.969 votes in year 2006 to 152.936 in March 2010. ( Extremely Beautiful Result and most amazing because his party lost many seats )That reflects a combative guy in Congress that fought against the corruption of Agricultural Subsidies and the Bad Behavior of the President's sons buying lands whose value was going to be increased by Executive Decision ( Zonas Francas for Free Trade ) ... He was the best of anti-corruption.It seems that Lawyer Germán Navas Talero, member of the Chamber of Representatives for Bogotá has survived in his seat. This guy is extremely important because as a "Constitutionalist" he sued the President and the members of the Senate for breaking the Constitution with the third term for Uribe.I dislike leftists Chavez Style but I am glad that some leftists that fought and will fight for cleanliness and against corruption of the executive survive in Congress."Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods."-- H. L. Mencken(1880-1956) American Journalist, Editor, Essayist, Linguist, Lexicographer, and CriticThe Future of Foreign Policies :Prophesizing.comVicente Duque
It is a Great Colombian Custom that the sons of a President become rich without working or struggling, just by presidential decree.And giving millions of dollars in agricultural subsidies to Uribe's rich relatives, friends and political supportes, is just stealing the taxpayers money, a theft.That is why the fight of these two congressmen from the left : Jorge Enrique Robledo and Germán Navas Talero should be underlined and spotlighted. A fight against presidential corruption and despotism.Among the misery, poverty and violence of Colombia, having a Constitutional Court that fights the president with such energy and resolution and that forbids third presidential terms is a little ray of hope for a better future.And definitely Uribe was on his way to become a satrap and dictator, another clown like Chavez.The Future of Foreign Policies :Prophesizing.comVicente Duque
i am not deliberately ignoring a damn thing. Want to place things in proper context? Don;t see you mention the drug trade in your diatribe. And that was the gamechanger, that changed the dynamics of Colombias "situation". The same years that the UP was created was exactly at the same time the FARC started their "gram" tax on cocaine, gaining a windfall. That windfall enabled them to enhance their capabilities versus the army. It was also when the M-19, the ELN, and the FARc, started kindapping narcos and allies, starting that part of the blood feud. And it was when the narcos starting arming the "paras" to fight the FARC and to protect their new landholdings, with the complicity of the army. And the drugs also created new zones of conflict where both the guerillas and the paras fought for key drug production and routes.That new strength is what enabled the FARC to actually flourish. They have used the dope trade and kidnapping as a source of resources for weapons. The M-19 and the Maoists ended up negotiating to end hostilities, and as part of the bargain ended up forming legal parties. The FARC never intended to give up fighting. It had the money to buy guns and advance its goals, politically and militarily. They didn't have to compromise, they were better off than they were in the 60's or 70's. They probably still think the same
As well, I'd wonder if any aspects of the M-19 experience might be applied in the FARC case. Could (or would) someone like Navarro Wolf play a part in some sort of negotiation process to bring FARC in from the cold (or properly, the jungle)?I think it would do some good if the Left in general would start calling for the disarmament of the FARC. The very existence of the FARC as a guerrilla force is a liability for the entire Latin American Left. Firstly, the FARC provides a pretext for the U.S. to intervene in the region and to set up military bases that nobody in the Left wants. Second, the Colombian right can use the existence of the FARC as an excuse to engage in all manner of atrocities against non-combatants. Third, the FARC contributes to a damaging image of the Left as a force of violence and disorder. There are some important historical lessons we can draw upon to clarify the point. 15 years ago, when Peru was still fighting the Shining Path, most Peruvians would tolerate all manner of atrocities and repression in the name of defeating the guerrillas. Today, Alberto Fujimori is in prison, and most Peruvians recognize much of horrors that took place under his watch. So the lesson is that, if people really want the Uribe types to be disgraced --and perhaps even brought to justice one day-- for their complicity in some of the most horrid atrocities, the first thing that needs to happen is for the FARC to disarm and to thereby deprive the Colombian right of the foil that it uses to garner popular consent for its sheer brutality and retrograde politics.
Still no real acknowledgement from Boli-Nica that the Colombian right shares a huge burden of responsibility for the long cycle of political violence in Colombian society. The FARC also shares a huge burden of responsibility, but that's not the whole story. If you go back to the very beginning of la violencia (which gave birth to the FARC), you'll find that the cycle of political violence had its roots in the out-and-out fascist politics of a significant segment of the Colombian ruling class, led by Laureano Gomez. Unfortunately, the ghosts of Laureano Gomez are swirling all about in modern-day Colombia.
Justin Delacour said :"The very existence of the FARC as a guerrilla force is a liability for the entire Latin American Left. Firstly, the FARC provides a pretext for the U.S. to intervene in the region and to set up military bases that nobody in the Left wants."Well said Justin, I agree.The references to the History of Colombia in the 1940s and 1950s are very appropriate, also the reference to Violent President of the Rigth Laureano Gomez, a guy that admired Mussolini and Hitler, at least before the Second World War.It is also appropriate to say that the son of Laureano Gomez, name Alvaro Gomez was a conservative Intellectual, a man of peace, very intelligent, later murdered, he can not be blamed for what his father did, when he was very young. Alvaro Gomez contributed to pacify the M-19, and to a more liberal and tolerant Constitution of year 1991. ( That installed many Constitutional Defenses, Defenses for the Rights of People, and Tutelas or Tutorships to protect the offended, kind of Ombudsmen )So everything is not chaotic and disastrous in the History of Colombia. And the fact that a good man was the son of a bad man is a plus.The Future of Foreign Policies :Prophesizing.comVicente Duque
Still no real acknowledgement from Boli-Nica that the Colombian right shares a huge burden of responsibility for the long cycle of political violence in Colombian society. The FARC also shares a huge burden of responsibility, but that's not the whole story. If you go back to the very beginning of la violencia (which gave birth to the FARC), you'll find that the cycle of political violence had its roots in the out-and-out fascist politics of a significant segment of the Colombian ruling class, led by Laureano Gomez. Unfortunately, the ghosts of Laureano Gomez are swirling all about in modern-day Colombia.Whatever dude. Seems obvious that calling the murder of civilian activists as "slaughter", as well as saying the paramilitary's acted in "complicity with the army" is talking about the "right wing" "responsibility" in Colombia's "cycle of violence". Said military and landowning classes- affiated with the para/narcos being the "right wing". Or at least part of it. And Colombia is not El Salvador. You can't talk about monolithic blocks both "left" and "right" in Colombia. The cycle of violence may be constant but the actors and the conflicts have changed. Certainly, sectors of the Church, who were behind Laureano Gomez and his Falangist rhetoric, have been a non-factor these past decades. The army, stayed out of the "Violencia", and later on were more obsessed with fighting the M-19 in the cities than the FARC. And when things got more out of hand they worked hand-in-hand with the paras. And the FARC themselves were a bunch of backwoods Stalinists, who have been fighting in the boonies since the late 40's if you count the Communist self-defense forces that spawned them. They were nothing till the 80's. They had none of the appeal the the M-19 had to urban Colombians, even the Castrista Elenos seemed hipper. They still think Fidel is an upstart. They simply don't care what everyone else thinks, and they have come back from a lot worse. So why should they give up their guns? Its way cooler to blow shit up in the jungle, hang with cute teenage girls, indoctrinate peasants in "materialismo dialectico", sell blow through Venezuela than it is to become a lame unarmed city dweller who might get clipped by someone whose dad u killed.
Seems obvious that calling the murder of civilian activists as "slaughter", as well as saying the paramilitary's acted in "complicity with the army" is talking about the "right wing" "responsibility" in Colombia's "cycle of violence".No, actually, what you wrote before was a clear attempt to rationalize the slaughter of the Patriotic Union. You wrote: When indpendent and non-affiliate people joined the party and tried steering it independent of FARC direction, FARC cadres and sympathizers raised a ruckus. That no doubt helped fuel the perception it was a FARC front, and fueled the slaughter. Slaughter, which the FARC cynically used as a justication to continue doing what it already was doing.In the narrative above, the FARC itself is portrayed as the ones who are primarily responsible for the paramilitaries' annihilation of a legal political party. The paramilitaries are portrayed as if they were merely responding to FARC provocations. That's quite the opposite of acknowledging the right's share of responsibility in the cycle of violence. What you do is engage in open apologetics for the right-wing slaughter of a legal political party. Your antics are plainly disgusting.
You can read whatever you want into it. Anyone else, can plainly see that the paragraph clearly sets up the following - that there was a "slaughter" of civilians in a political party, and that the party in fact had a lot of independent members not connected with the FARC.
News and History of ColombiaCNN in Spanish ( Angela Patricia Janiot ) says that Noemi Sanín defeated "Uribito" in the Conservative Primary ( Consulta Conservadora )This is another strike against Mr Uribe and his despotism."Uribito" was Andres Felipe Arias, ex Minister of Agriculture, during his tenure as minister the subsidies for Agriculture were given to the Richest Colombian Landowners ( the relatives, friends and supporters of Uribe) many of them connected to Paramilitaries.I guess now "Uribito" will be Juan Manuel Santos because of being the Crown Prince, the Dauphin ( French for Dolphin, as a reference to the animal they bore on their flag ), the heir apparent.Juan Manuel Santos is a sycophant of Uribe and represents exactly the same.*********************About Laureano Gomez***********************Some people in Forums have recently mentioned Laureano Gomez, president of Colombia during the Korean War and a very violent man that propitiated "la Violencia" by killing the progressives.This guy sent Colombian troops to die in that Far Place of Asia.The same as Uribe that sent Colombian Troops to die in Afghanistan to listen "The Master's Voice", like the cute dog of RCA Victor advertisements in 192x.The Future of Foreign Policies :Prophesizing.comVicente Duque
Well, Boli-Nica, I'll let others be the judge of whether you engage in apologetics for right-wing atrocities in Colombia.
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