During the late Soviet era Latin America was called the “flaming continent”. Nowadays this definition is not less actual than at that time but even more actual. The disruption of the Soviet Union and the majority of the socialist camp countries caused the world communist movement decline and mass disappointment in the very possibility of building a fair social order and making the world pure and perfect. That’s why the Latin American countries’ eruption into the future at the turn of Millennium appeared to be a real shock for enemies of freedom and a jolt of fresh air for everybody who strived to it.
Aside from Cuba which had held the fort actually alone for all the 1990es the socialist oriented forces have won within a few years in Venezuela, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua… In fact rightist conservatives (that means pro-American forces in Latin America) retain power only in two countries of the continent - in Salvador and Columbia.
While speaking about the civil war in Columbia a sole association emerges in a commoner’s conscience - “good” Americans together with Columbian authorities fight against drug mafia but can’t win. But what in fact took place and what takes place in Columbia?
Like the majorities of the countries of the region Columbia has acquired its formal independence from Spain in the first half of the XIX century, at Simon Bolívar’s time. As long as Bolívar was alive six modern Latin American states - Venezuela, Columbia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia - were consolidated in a united state of Grand Columbia [Gran Colombia] spreading all over the Northern part of the South American continent. Soon after Bolívar’s death his heritage was pulled apart. (The picture is too familiar, isn’t it?)
Columbia (New Granada up to 1863) became a “banana republic” in its proper sense - banana and coffee are basic agricultures produced mainly for export. Banana plantations belong to the “United Fruit Company” notorious in the region for brutal exploitation of agricultural workers. This expression suits to political regimes replacing each other as well.
A civil war was raging in Columbia in 1948-53. Its pretext was the popular leftist liberal politician Jorge Eliecer Gaitan’s murder in 1948. In fact it was not a war between conservative and liberal rivals who came to good understanding in the 1950es but a war between peasants and landowners. That’s time from which current guerilla movement in Columbia originates. After the war had finished some peasants’ groups in outlandish rural areas didn’t lay down their arms. The mass movement against oligarchy appeared in the 1960es. The first wide organization was the United People’s Front headed by the revolutionary priest Kamilo Torres.
The year 1964 is considered to be the date of foundation of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia - the Army of the People (FARC-EP) acting up to nowadays. Approximately at the same time the Army of National Liberation (ELN) appeared; and the Army of People’s Liberation (EPL) appeared three years later. Under the conditions of brutal suppression of any protest when annihilation of opposition leaders and activists became a common event it had no other way but to move to jungles and take up arms.
The government gave back as good as it got having used against guerillas “death squadrons” - formally independent from the state paramilitary units of ultra-right militants (“paramilitares”) who massacred brutally not only guerillas but also peasants of the areas where they enjoyed population’s support. At the war against its own people the Columbian government relies upon large assistance of the USA.
Since 2000 the FARC made multiple attempts to start negotiations with the government stating the demand of political prisoners liberation, paramilitary units disarmament and cancellation of the U.S. military presence in the country. The President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez offered his intermediary, too. However, the Uribe government refuses to make advances to insurgents.
In the early March 2008 the FARC has again become the focus of interest of the world and Russian news agencies. On March, 1 the Columbian governmental troops having not notified the authorities of Ecuador invaded the territory of this country and “sustained an operation on demolition of a terrorist” - they meanly, by hands of a traitor from his encirclement murdered Comandante Raul Reyes (autonym Luis Edgar Devia) known as the FARC “Foreign Minister”. Reyes was one of the nearest associates of Manuel Marulanda Veles (autonym Pedro Antonio Marin), the FARC irreplaceable leader for 40 years.
Ecuador has ruptured diplomatic relations with Columbia. After its manner Venezuela and Nicaragua have withdrawn their ambassadors from Bogotá. It was getting really tough at the South American continent. Everybody realized that in the case of warfare Ecuador and its allies would deal not only with fighting on two fronts Columbia but with backing Uribe United States. On March, 7 the parties managed to come to a peaceful agreement.
It was not the first invasion of the Columbian army to the territory of a neighbouring state - for example, on January, 20, 2008 Alirio Quiñones, one of outstanding activists of legal (!) Columbian organization “Communist Youth” (JUCO) was killed by two point-blank shots at Venezuelan territory, in the near-border state of Apure. Russian mass media portraying the FARC in no way but as extremists, terrorists and drug merchants concealed this news.
The FARC reject any charges of connections to drug traffic and point out that it were “paramilitares” which were created with drug mafia’s support in order to defend interests of coca plantations owners. To take only one example, in 1998 in Florida American customs officers detained an airplane with 415 kg of cocaine belonging to Carlos Castaña, one of the founders of ultra-right paramilitary units. Concerning the FARC, the “Replacement of Illegally Cultivated Drug-Containing Plants” plan is being implemented in areas controlled by guerillas, for example, Cartagena del Chaira; social and economic conditions are created for cultivation of fruits and agricultural crops in the favourable subequatorial climate. Thus, as the saying is, Americans and their puppets lay their own fault at somebody else’s door.
The success of guerilla movements lies in population support, and the FARC are not an exception. After 40 years of warfare the insurgents made not only Columbian authorities but their American masters, too, take them into account. For all no one knows, whether “New and Fair Columbia” they fight for would become the next country of the “flaming continent” which would get rid of the American capital yoke?