US considers intervention in Colombia
Posted 23 February 2003 - 04:56 AM
Martin McNamara in Caqueta, Colombia
Sunday February 23, 2003
The United States is considering direct military intervention in Colombia for the first time following the murder of an American and the kidnapping of three others, all suspected CIA agents.
The US embassy in Colombia has recommended Washington make a 'major response' to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) rebels responsible, and American officials have confirmed that military action is being considered to recover the men from the dense jungles of the southern province of Caqueta.
They were captured after their plane crashed into the jungle suffering engine trouble. Despite the swift arrival of the Colombian army, the rebels spirited three survivors away after executing one American and the Colombian pilot who are thought to have put up a struggle.
Washington has refused to release any information about the men, entrenching the belief that they were CIA agents on a surveillance mission.
For the people of Caqueta, the prospect of a US military incursion into the province is yet another nightmare. In the past year, since the collapse of the peace process, they have seen the suspension of local government and are living under a form of martial law. Scores of ordinary people have been tortured and murdered by right-wing paramilitaries and they face a constant campaign of bombing and kidnapping by the Farc.
The murder of the first US government worker in Colombia's bitter war has again focused attention on Caqueta. This isolated province first hit the headlines in 1999 when it became central to a truce under which the Farc were given effective control of a Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) the size of Switzerland.
San Vicente del Cagu?n became its unofficial capital and the site for peace talks between the government and the guerrillas, but now the threat of US action hangs over the town, just a few kilometres from the scene of the plane crash. A search for the kidnapped men has been launched by troops, backed by US helicopters and intelligence planes.
Sister Bernadette, a nurse who has worked here for 20 years, said: 'Farc ran everything. They were able to train and recruit and build up their strength. That is what the peace process achieved.'
The DMZ ended a year ago and thousands of troops poured back into the region, but the Farc still control much of Caqueta.
'In the jungle and the villages, this is still a demilitarised zone,' said Father Gabriel, a local priest. 'The Farc control everything and if we want to do anything we go to them, not the military.'
The military confine themselves to San Vicente and the main roads, but even so are only partly successful. Two bombs went off near the town's central plaza last month and kidnapping has become almost a mundane activity.
Local guerrillas have perfected a technique they call pesca milagrosa - miracle fishing. The name comes from the biblical story of Jesus telling his apostles to cast their nets on the water and how they emerged bursting with fish. The guerrillas will stop a convoy of cars and buses, and take hostage those they suspect have rich friends or families.
There was a local administration and police force in San Vicente, but when the DMZ ended, they all left - or were murdered. The town hall is closed, the police station was blown up and the area left without any form of non-military government.
Then the paramilitaries turned up. 'They arrived in town one night and the next day there were five bodies in the Cagu?n river,' said Fr Gabriel. Funded by ranchers and cocaine barons, the paramilitaries have grown into a fearsome force in Colombia. And although illegal, they have strong links to the military. Often no one can be sure which side is responsible for murders in Caqueta.
For anyone working with the community, the risk is from both sides. The guerrillas murdered a colleague of Sister Bernadette who was seen talking to the military. She herself was stopped at an army roadblock and her medical supplies confiscated. Every day for a week she went to the local military commander's office to demand their return but also visited the local Farc commander to explain her trips, lest he decide she was an informer.
A delegation from Amnesty International recorded 17 politically motivated murders, with 78 more noted.
Areas of the Caqueta jungle have been cleared for coca growing and it is targeted by US-backed anti-cocaine measures. Coca is grown by small farmers, but the crop is the Farc's main source of income and they control every aspect of production.
Locals complain the coca spraying destroys crops and wildlife, poisons the land and causes illness. The US has just increased its budget to the Colombian government to fight the cocaine trade and bring peace to the country.
Posted 23 February 2003 - 06:33 AM
Just alot of yankee dollars going south. Something else is going on in Columbia.
Could it have something to do with a certain oil rich country next door ???
Posted 23 February 2003 - 06:47 AM
I had a suspicion these guys were CIA agents. Unless maybe they're "privatised assets" - mercenaries. I think it makes my point that the CIA should stick to gathering intelligence.
We need to get the hell out of Colombia. There's a little bit of a double standard when our client state Afghanistan is allowed to grow all the opium they want, but Colombians get chemical warfare for growing cocaine.
Best place top defend against drugs is at the border. Better border security would also help against terrorists. Bring 'em home.
US drug and terror policy is a perfect storm of contradictions.
Posted 23 February 2003 - 07:06 AM
Right now US Special Forces only advice and train. They do not accompany Columbian troops. If you are expecting greater involvement keep an eye on the Phillipines. Their role there will define future conflicts.
Posted 23 February 2003 - 01:32 PM
They need to spread the wealth around. No more dons and peons.
It was the same in the US at the end of the 1800's. Henry Ford figured out that if he paid his workers double, it would make him a rich man.
The rest is history.
Posted 23 February 2003 - 02:36 PM
...following the murder of an American and the kidnapping of three others, all suspected CIA agents.
I would say killed in action and prisoner of war respectively. The U.S. is already fighting a war and must not moan when things aren't going the way they want. How on Earth will the U.S. be able to invade Iraq with this attitude.
Posted 10 April 2003 - 07:55 PM
now the F.A.R.C. because of these illegal united states deals that are part of the B U S H FAMILY DYNASTY are well armed with the latest sat tech to even the latest tech that can take down military helicopters to military jets and a few tools that can be manufacture like the small mines used in the iran contra affair that can destroy our military warships. so if the united states decide to go into columbia, south america well you better believe thats is is to corner the cocaine trade like in afghanistan and to support the crude oil business in that country.
Posted 10 April 2003 - 08:07 PM
But you have to confess to yourself here, that had they really considered a problem, they would have dealt with it back in the 80's like they said they would. Somebody is not doing their job. And the flow of our federal money into Columbia continues.
This needs to end.
Posted 10 April 2003 - 09:47 PM
the Colombian Armed Forces and the paramilitaries have helped preserve a corrupt social, political and economic system in Colombia that is closely aligned to U.S. political and economic interests in the region.
The counterterrorism aid is not being used to target the paramilitaries or to protect their victims. According to human rights organizations, the AUC is responsible for the majority of the following atrocities: the forced displacement of more than two million Colombians from their homes and land; massacres that have taken the lives of thousands of peasants over the past few years (there were more than 400 massacres in 2000 alone); the assassination of more than 3,800 union leaders over the past 15 years without a single culprit ever being convicted. While the paramilitaries are the principal perpetrators of these human rights abuses, many of them have been committed with the collaboration, and sometimes direct participation, of the U.S.-backed Colombian military.
...the U.S. has strengthened the largest players in Colombia's drug equation primarily because the death squads form an integral part of the U.S.'s overall strategy of counter-insurgent warfare. The publicly stated goals of Plan Colombia are merely propaganda devices employed to construct the U.S. as a moral agent in world politics whilst hiding motives that have more to do with geo-strategic reasoning. Central to this propaganda effort is the association of the rebels with drugs and thus immorality. The concept "narco-guerrilla" usefully conflates insurgency with drug running within official U.S. discourse. Having constructed the guerrillas as drug runners within the public imagination the U.S. can then act decisively against these enemies in the form of Plan Colombia. Why then is it necessary to suppress the rebels and to implement Plan Colombia? I argue that the U.S. is trying to defeat or at least contain the FARC as part of its broader objectives of tackling any perceived challenge to its oil and investment interests.
The rebels pose a threat to the Colombian state, and by extension Washington's interests. The FARC currently control a geographical landmass the size of Switzerland within southern Colombia, and enjoy widespread support amongst the peasant population.56 Whilst the FARC are militarily deadlocked with the Colombian army and its narco-paramilitary allies (and thus unlikely to overthrow the Colombian government) their very existence weakens the legitimacy of the state. Furthermore they are pursuing an alternative socio-economic project to the neo-liberal hegemony promoted by Washington and adopted by its Colombian ally. Targeting the coca plantations within FARC territory serves a dual purpose. It allows Washington to continue to claim that Plan Colombia is an anti-drug plan whilst pursuing counter-insurgency, but most importantly of all, by concentrating all of its efforts towards coca plantations within FARC territory it cuts off significant tax revenue for the FARC thereby making the insurgency harder to fund and thus sustain. In short, Washington has chosen to ally itself with the ultra right narco-paramilitaries that share Washington's common objectives.57
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users