archivos de los protestos globales

Date: Sat, 14 Aug 1999
Next Nam "Columbia"

As people's war advances
U.S. general rushes to Colombia
Latin American gov'ts reject Pentagon intervention

By Teresa Gutierrez

A U.S. general made a hurried visit to Bogota, Colombia, on July 26, and the countries of the region are deeply worried that Washington is preparing for a major military intervention.

Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey's stated mission is to assess what he calls a deepening regional crisis. He is expected to approve an additional $500 million in U.S. military aid to Colombia over the next two years--money that would admittedly be used against revolutionary guerillas who in early July showed their strength by staging a nationwide offensive.

The general has already recommended to Washington that it send $1 billion in "emergency drug supplemental assistance" to Colombia and other countries in the region.

The governments of Peru, Brazil and Venezuela have all issued statements condemning any outside interference. And Colombia President Andres Pastrana, who has been conducting peace talks with the rebels, had to make a public statement that he would "never accept nor permit the intervention of other countries in the internal problems of our nation."

But that is exactly what McCaffrey's trip represents.

Status quo is unbearable

The countries in the region are all suffering from acute social problems. The gulf between rich and poor has grown unbearable as billions of dollars are siphoned out each year in debt payments to imperialist banks, mostly on Wall Street.

This has led to massive strikes in Ecuador, the election of a populist president in Venezuela and the growth of leftist guerilla movements in Colombia.

McCaffrey's job as U.S. "drug czar" is to conceal the real counter-revolutionary mission of the U.S. military in the region by lumping together the leftist guerillas with narco-trafficking.

McCaffrey's visit came just three days after a U.S. Army plane was reported missing in the mountains of Colombia. It is reported to have been carrying five U.S. military personnel, including two officers, and two Colombian air force officers.

On July 26, wreckage believed to be the plane--a De Havilland RC-7--was spotted in the mountains close to the border between Ecuador and Colombia.

What was a U.S. military plane doing flying over the dense jungles of Colombia?

The Pentagon said on July 24 that the missing plane was on a "routine counter-drug mission gathering information to support the Colombians in the counter-drug effort."

Does anyone really believe that the Pentagon is using highly sophisticated electronic communications planes like the RC-7 to locate coca plants? If it were really interested in fighting the cocaine trade, it would concentrate its efforts on the cocaine cartels in the cities--or better yet, on the U.S. banks that launder billions of dollars in drug money each year.

But the real narco-traffickers, the ones who amass great fortunes, are a substantial part of Colombia's bourgeois class. And that is what the United States is trying so desperately to shore up against a revolutionary Marxist movement that would restructure Colombian society in favor of the workers and poor.

Clinton tripled military aid

The United States has a bloody and repressive history of trying to crush liberation movements in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The revolutionary armed struggle in Colombia has liberated nearly half that country's land mass. It is that movement--supported by workers and peasants--that Washington wants to crush.

That's why President Bill Clinton signed a budget last Oct. 21 that tripled U.S. military assistance to Colombia. But the liberation movement's gains continued.

The Pentagon brass and politicians in this country are not sitting around worrying about drugs. They are certainly not going after the big banks here and other segments of the U.S. ruling class that profit handsomely from drug money. It's a huge cash cow.

The number-one issue on their minds is how to stop the FARC and other revolutionaries who are hell-bent on liberating their country. That's why the Pentagon already has 300 military "advisers" in Colombia.

At any moment, the Clinton administration and the Pentagon could trump up some excuse for overt military intervention in Colombia. The time for the anti-imperialist movement to oppose U.S. intervention in Colombia is now, before it becomes another Vietnam.

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