archivos de los protestos globales

stop plan colombia - proposal to act in Europe and beyond

Alfonso from the Black Communities' Process (PCN) will come to Europe for the upcoming anti-WEF preparatory meeting in Geneva (16-17 December) and to talk with people interested in doing something about the dreadful situation in Colombia. He will also speak in Freiburg on the 13th (next Wednesday) and will stay after the meeting a couple of days in Geneva to continue working on the preparation of the campaign. If you are interested in this topic, it would be brilliant if you could stay at least till Monday evening.

In another message you will find a summary in Spanish of the intensified onslaught by paramilitaries (last week saw the biggest massacre ever done by the paramilitaries, a still undetermined amount of people were killed, so far 70 people have been identified but there might be more since the corpses were cut in pieces and thrown into a swamp) and of the current threats (the Colombian army has announced more massacres by the paramilitaries in the christmas period). This intensification of the war is being done to 'clear the field' for the military intervention of US troops in Colombia (logistically supported by the Dutch government). We hope to have the message translated into English soon.

The war in Colombia will certainly spill over to other countries of the region, in fact it has already provoked the extension of the operations of the paramilitaries and all the other actors of the conflict beyond the Colombian borders into Panama, Venezuela, Brasil, Peru and Ecuador. The US army has already built new military basis all over the region specifically for the Colombia Plan, including the largest US military basis of Latin America in Manta (Ecuador) and many other basis in countries as far apart as El Salvador. They have also received permission from the Dutch government to use the military basis in the Dutch colony of Curacao (in the Venezuelan coast) to bomb the region. This whole shit is a remake of the Vietnam war, but this time with extensive use of genetically modified biological weapons and a much deeper involvement of European governments and companies. In another message you will find an excellent summary of the discussions that took place in Prague about the Colombia Plan and the campaign ideas, done by some folks in Bristol (with the help of an article on the issue by Chomsky).

We propose to start in Geneva a process of discussion on how to give shape to the campaign against Plan Colombia in Europe, on the basis of the proposals that come from the Colombian movements (black, indigenous and peasant). An important element of these proposals is a speakers tour of Colombians in Europe, that the PCN has proposed to hold from the 19th of January till the end of February (in order to also participate in the anti-WEF actions). There will be 6 representatives of black communities travelling around Europe in groups of 2 (one man and one woman) and hopefully there will be some representatives of indigenous and peasant movements with them (but this is not confirmed yet). We would like to start discussing these tours and the other proposals of the Colombians in Geneva. We hope that the groups working on the mobilisation against the WEF will consider making Colombia an important issue in the protests.

Alfonso will arrive to Europe before the meeting in Geneva: on Wednesday the 13th he will participate in an event at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, together with two other Colombians: an adviser of the National Peasant Council, and an indigenous person who has just been elected governor of Cauca for the first time in colombian histoty (one of the most violent and colonial regions of Colombia, in the North of the Pacific coast; he was the candidate of a coalition of indigenous, black, peasant and other social movements). On the evening of the same day he will speak at the KTS of Freiburg, most possibly also with the other two persons from Colombia (this is still to be confirmed). If you want to attend that meeting, get in touch with

a few individuals supporting the PCN

below you'll find background info on the Plan Colombia and the call by the PCN at the very end (pt 4)

Date: Thu, 09 Nov 2000
From: "Guy Debord"
Subject: Plan Colombia Meeting



Hi folks. This rather lengthy e-mail gives a brief explanation of Plan Colombia and the horrors that it will bring to Latin America. The meeting in Bristol is to discuss how to build a global resistance movement to the Plan. How to realise the struggle in our own terms and in our own countries, and to discuss what practical steps can be taken to stop it. This IS the Vietnam for our generation. So let's do something to stop it.

If you don't have time to read it all, the beggining of section 3 gives a brief overview, with the rest of it covering the issues in more detail.

  1. MEETING PLACE [not included]
  2. MEETING STRUCTURE [not included]
  4. CALL BY PCN (Process of Black Communities)


At the S26 demonstrations against the IMF and World Bank in Prague, community leaders from the Black Autonomous Communities of Colombia were present, as were their companeros from Bolivia, Ecuador, Honduras and Panama. Coming from some of the poorest areas in Latin America, they told a tale of repression, ethnocide and ecocide. Of a war being waged against them under the guise of the USA's "War on Drugs". Of community leaders massacred by government-backed CIA trained paramilitaries. Of mass displacements and disappearances. What happens after displacement? Time for the good old US-based multinationals to move in. Sound familiar?


PCN (Proceso de Comunidades Negras) are planning an improvised Tour through Europe in December/January. The PCN is trying to internationalise its struggle. PCN is at a stage of developing an international strategy which it would like to develop in co-operation with 'us'. In Prague the following aims and areas of work were identified:

Creating international visibility and legitimacy:

The armed conflict in Colombia has lead to an apparent polarisation between guerilla and State - as the only two actors in the conflict, leaving several other sectors of society and social struggles invisible.

informing as much as possible about the situation in Colombia, the true impact of Plan Colombia on people and nature and the true motivations behind this war - the cruellest form of capitalism,.

Their ancestors have taught them a saying " I am because we are" (soy porque somos) meaning that an individual can only be free if the people around are free too. This was a fundamental principle in the struggle against slavery which built their movements. Now in this age of globalised capitalism they said their struggle for freedom can only be successful if other struggles for freedom succeed to. They would like to develop new forms of International solidarity based on that principle.


In 1999, Colombia became the leading recipient of U.S. military and police assistance. Clinton's recently approved Colombia Plan escalates this situation, with a $1.6 billion "emergency aid" package - mostly in the form of military aid. The EU is also participating in the Columbia Plan.

Columbia has had an ongoing civil war for over three decades. Quite predictably, the announcement of the Colombia Plan led to counter measures by the guerillas. This will lead to military escalation, rather than peace.

The Colombia Plan is officially justified in terms of the "drug war". However, the targets of the Colombia Plan are the guerilla forces based and the peasantry and indigenous people who are calling for internal social change. This would interfere with how the States want Colombia integrated into its neoliberal plans for world domination and corporate expropriation of Colombia's valuable resources, including oil.

It's the same old story with the usual suspects. Multinationals, backed by Western governments and the World Bank and IMF are rubbing their greedy hands over their plans for Colombia. With privatisation of national industries, water and power utilities and the opportunity to steal lots of land off the locals - they have a lot of money to make. The people who oppose this become the real targets of US-backed oppression. The reports coming out tell the horrors of CIA trained paramilitaries who seem to have graduated with flying colours from the School Of Americas. Chopping up people in massacres, cutting unborn children from their still-living mothers wombs, violent scenes of torture and death. The message to the communities is clear: "Mess with us, and this is what you'll get."

When scrutinising Plan Colombia, we should ask a few questions. If the US wants to give alternatives, other from the drug industry, to the Colombian people, then why does the Plan include only token funding for alternative crops? If Clinton is serious about attacking the drug lords (narcos), why do the counterinsurgency battalions target and attack the weakest and most socially fragile link of the drug chain: the production by peasants, settlers and indigenous people? Why is more not done back home to stamp out drugs in the States, oh, and why is Uncle Sam not too bothered about stopping the money from the drug trade ending up in US coffers - 90 per cent of "laundered" narcodollars stay in America? Maybe, there's another agenda being served.


The Clinton administration also insists that any peace agreement must permit crop destruction measures and other U.S. counternarcotics operations in Colombia. The same is true of the chemical and biological weapons that Washington employs. These measures multiply the dangers to the civilian population, the environment, and legal agriculture. They destroy legal food crops like yucca and bananas, water sources, pastures, livestock and all the crops included in coca crop substitution programs. There are also uncertain but potentially severe effects on the fragile tropical rainforest environment, which contains significant parts of the planet's biodiversity.

The genetically modified mycoherbicide used to destroy coca plantations - part developed at the Long Ashton Research Institute in Bristol - will financially benefit the corporations that will mass-produce it for the Plan. The same will be said for the parasitic multinationals that will move in to "develop" the areas devastated by the ecocide. At the end of the day, the Fat Cats get fatter, while the population starves.

Since the fumigation of coca crops began a couple of years ago, cocaine production has rocketed, alongside the rapid increase in massacres (which is almost doubling year on year).


Much the same is true throughout the Andean region. For instance, there is a similar situation developing in Bolivia, with "Plan Dignidad". This is being met by widespread resistance. Additionally, anti drug spraying programs are developing in Thailand and Afghanistan. The whole of Latin America is under threat as the United States' global police force readies itself for war.


Through the 1990s, Colombia has been the leading recipient of U.S. military aid in Latin America, and has also compiled the worst human rights record. In Colombia, however, the military armed and trained by the United States has not crushed domestic resistance, though it continues to produce its regular annual toll of atrocities. Each year, some 300,000 new refugees are driven from their homes, with a death toll of about 3,000 and many horrible massacres. The great majority of atrocities are attributed to the paramilitary forces. a UN study reported that the Colombian security forces that are to be greatly strengthened by the Colombia Plan maintain an intimate relationship with death-squads, organise paramilitary forces, and either participate in their massacres directly or, by failing to take action. The rate of killings had increased by almost 20 percent over the preceding year, and that the proportion attributable to the paramilitaries had risen from 46 percent in 1995 to almost 80 percent in 1998, continuing through 1999. 68 percent increase in massacres in the first half of 1999 as compared to the same period of 1998, reaching more than one a day, overwhelmingly attributed to paramilitaries.
prominent human rights activists continue to flee abroad under death threats. several trade unionists are murdered every week, mostly by paramilitaries supported by the government security forces. Forced displacement in 1998 was 20 percent above 1997, and increased in 1999. Colombia now has the largest displaced population in the world.

Hailed as a leading democracy by Clinton and other U.S. leaders and political commentators, Colombia did at last permit an independent party to challenge the elite system of power-sharing. The fact that about 3,000 activists from this party were assassinated shows the outrageousness of these claims. Meanwhile, shameful socio-economic conditions persist, leaving much of the population in misery in a rich country with concentration of wealth and land-ownership that is high even by Latin American standards. The situation became worse in the 1990s as a result of the neoliberal reforms". Approximately 55 percent of Colombia's population lives below the poverty level.

Ten years ago, as U.S.-backed state terror was increasing sharply, the Minister of Defense called for "total war in the political, economic, and social arenas," while another high military official explained that guerillas were of secondary importance: "the real danger" is "what the insurgents have called the political and psychological are," the war "to control the popular elements" and "to manipulate the masses." The "subversives" hope to influence unions, universities, media, and so on.


The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports that "all branches of government" in Colombia are involved in "drug-related corruption." Other observers have also reported the heavy involvement of the military in narcotrafficking, and the U.S. military has also been drawn in. The paramilitaries openly proclaim their reliance on the drug business. However, the U.S. and Latin American press report, "the US-financed attack stays clear of the areas controlled by paramilitary forces," though "the leader of the paramilitaries [Carlos Castano] acknowledged last week in a television interview that the drug trade provided 70 percent of the group's funding."

In standard U.S. terminology, the FARC forces are "narco-guerillas," a useful concept as a cover for counterinsurgency, but one that has been sharply criticised on factual grounds. It is agreed-and FARC leaders say-that they rely for funding on coca production, which they tax, as they tax other businesses. But "'The guerillas are something different from the traffickers', says Klaus Nyholm, who runs the UN Drug Control Program," which has agents throughout the drug producing regions. He describes the local FARC fronts as "quite autonomous." In some areas "they are not involved at all" in coca production and in others "they actively tell the farmers not to grow [coca]."


Why do peasants in Colombia grow cocaine, not other crops? The reasons are well known. Peasants grow coca because of the crisis in the agricultural sector of Latin American countries, escalated by the general economic crisis in the region. There ard other factors that operate to increase coca production. Colombia was once a major wheat producer. However, due to developments in free trade and the globalised economy, wheat production has been undermined. A year before President Bush announced the "drug war" with great fanfare (once again), the international coffee agreement was suspended under U.S. pressure, on grounds of "fair trade violations." The result was a fall of prices of more than 40 percent within two months for Colombia's leading legal export.


In the 1960s, many third world governments (acting through UNCTAD-United Nations Commission on Trade and Development) proposed a "new international economic order" in which the needs of the large majority of people of the world would be a prominent concern. One proposal was a program for stabilising commodity prices for third world products (e.g. coffee, sugar, bananas etc)- a practice that is standard within the industrial countries by means of one or another form of subsidy. However, this was successfully resisted by agribusiness and now free trade has ensured that those with market power in the food chain (from energy corporations to retailers) are enjoying great profits while the agricultural crisis, which is real, is concentrated in the middle of the chain, among smaller farmers, who produce the food farmers are therefore compelled to turn to crops for which there is a stable market. The result is that drug entrepreneurs can easily find farmers eager to grow coca, cannabis or opium for which there is always a ready market in the rich societies. Furthermore, IMF-World Bank programs demand that countries open their borders to a flood of (heavily subsidised) agricultural products from the rich countries, with the obvious effect of undermining local production. Those displaced are either driven to urban slums (thus lowering wage rates for foreign investors) or instructed to become "rational peasants," producing for the export market and seeking the highest prices-which translates as "coca, cannabis, opium." Having learned their lessons properly, they are rewarded by attack by military gunships while their fields are destroyed by chemical and biological warfare, courtesy of Washington and European governments.


The US Supreme Court recently concluded that it has been "amply demonstrated" that tobacco use is "perhaps the single most significant threat to public health in the United States," responsible for more than 400,000 deaths a year, more than AIDS, car accidents, alcohol, homicides, illegal drugs, suicides, and fires combined." As use of this lethal substance has declined in the U.S. companies have shifted to markets abroad, such as Columbia. In comparison to the 400,000 deaths caused by tobacco every year in the United States, "drug"-related deaths reached a record 16,000 in 1997. Tobacco products are not only forced on countries, but also advertising for them, under threat of trade sanctions. The Colombian cartels, in contrast, are not permitted to run huge advertising campaigns in which a Joe Camel-counterpart extols the wonders of cocaine.


Furthermore, only 4 out of 10 "drug" addicts who needed treatment received it, according to a White House report. The seriousness of concern over use of drugs was illustrated when a House Committee was considering the Clinton Colombia Plan. It rejected an amendment calling for funding of drug demand reduction services. It is well known that these are far more effective than forceful measures. But the inexpensive and effective path will not be followed. Rather, the drug war targets alike poor peasants in southern countries and poor people in northern countries. While Clinton's Colombia Plan was being formulated, senior administration officials discussed a proposal by the Office of Budget and Management to take $100 million from the $1.3 billion then planned for Colombia, to be used for treatment of U.S. addicts. There was near-unanimous opposition, particularly from the US "drug czar". Since 1980 "the war on drugs" has shifted to punishing offenders, border surveillance, and fighting production at the source countries. One consequence, both in Europe and North America, is the enormous increase in drug-related (often victimless) crimes and an explosion in the prison population, with no detectable effect on availability or price of drugs.


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