Plan Colombia: The New Scenario for Latin America?

By Rafael Bautista
Resumen Latinoamericano

In Gabriel García Márquez’ “A Hundred Years of Solitude”, war is just a rumor. The same happens in Juan Rulfo’s “Pedro Páramo”. As long as war affects other people, one can’t live in peace — that’s why magical realism is a sort of magical answer to a reality that is happening beyond oneself (we must bear in mind that Colombia has endured over two centuries of war, since the communal uprising of 1781). The Latin American boom also generated, in the urban idiosyncrasy (where the natives are absent), a sort of alienation with reality: Macondo and Comala, the fictional places, are still destinations for intellectual tourism by those who turn impotence into conformism, while reality maintains its fatidic and inevitable course. That’s what urban temperament mostly feels when faced with repetition: indolence. This is achieved by the role of media in the political life: they create a society that lives a double life. That’s why politics can’t mature and war goes on, because betting for peace would entail a necessary renunciation: peace can’t mean war with others.

The triumph of the ‘No’ in the peace referendum in Colombia is a reflection not only of the current neoconservative rise in the continent, as a neoliberal answer to what was called the “Latin American democratic spring”, but also of the deadly rise of capital in the midst of the civilizational crisis of the modern world. The latest process of global accumulation are tightly related to the systematic plundering of life from human beings and nature, and this is impossible without war.

It’s not a coincidence that war is now the main demand of the financial sector. War is the only scenario that can guarantee capital, in the chronic worldwide deflation, the cancerous growth it needs to survive —because without constant growth, capitalism is impossible. That’s why we’re seeing a new cold war, where peace is useless to re-establish an unipolar world with an absolute hegemony of the dollar.

In this context, the geopolitical implications of the “No” in Colombia reflects a decided inclination of the elites towards the dollar. In order to maintain their lifestyle, they need war, because not only do they intend to recover their geopolitical supremacy, which was unsettled in Syria and in Ukraine (and the capturing of Mosul and Aleppo seems to announce open war between Russia and the US, which will be inevitably nuclear), nor reconquer Eurasia in the geo-economical level (that is, stopping CHina’s expansion and preventing the strategic rise of Russia), but reestablishing a necessary condition for capitalism: the system doesn’t fight for something in particular but for everything. Therefore, a multipolar world defies the hegemony of the dollar and threats globalization, which enabled the exportation of neoliberalism to the entire planet.

Only a balance between different powers, in a multipolar world, with regional economic sovereignties, could end with the monopolistic ambitions of the financial world, which is mostly the dollar.

The strategy in Colombia was to exacerbate hate, disseminate lies, and divert attention —the media arsenal of fourth-generation wars. Media analysts become the soldiers of this non-conventional wars, as spokespeople of the elites.

By sabotaging the peace plebiscite, they don’t leave a choice to guerrillas but to continue waging war, because blocking their transition to the political life means that their only alternative would be to surrender unconditionally, which means death. Rebels to the system don’t have any rights, they’re not like other humans, and there’s no peace for them. Democracy is only for those who the system wants, not for the expelled ones.

But the worst thing of all is that through democracy, the possibility of a political coexistence was eliminated. In the Colombian areas where people have suffered the most due to war, the Yes won, while urban sectors, where violence is but a topic of conversation on TV, voted against the agreements. Those who haven’t directly suffered due to war, “democratically” deny peace to the victims.

Those who defend institutions can’t solve this contradiction: why can democracy be undermined in a democratic manner?

Superficial analyses that supported the ‘No’ highlighted some advantages that the FARC would have been entitled to as a consequence of the agreements. But they don’t mention that the agreements included reparation for the victims: 10 million hectares would have been returned to peasants that had been expelled from their lands. More than half of these lands is now the property of big landowners, drug traffickers, paramilitary groups, hired guns and militares, that hate the idea of giving back the land to peasants. They are the ones that also boycotted the 1985 peace agreements. Former President Álvaro Uribe is the head of this sector.

Peace would entail renouncing to privileges for the Colombian right, and they’re not willing to do that —a proof of that is the murder of 7,000 FARC militants when they intended to leave arms and participate in democratic life through the Patriotic Union. That’s why, for the FARC, it is necessary to have guarantees in order to make an agreement, if not, they will all become moving targets if they blend into civil life.

But the agreements went far beyond just legalizing members of the FARC. Besides devolution of land, the agreements proposed autonomy for peasants, gender equality in agribusiness, eradication of child labor, political reforms to strengthen the participation of the citizenship, civil control over power, access to media, policies for inclusion and reconciliation, substitution and eradication of drug plantations, dismantling of paramilitary organizations, etc, etc, etc. It was more than an agreement to end war, but an unusual proposal to transform the country. But the decadent system couldn’t allow this.

The situation in Colombia is a reflection of what happens when local elites collude with the geopolitics of the dollar. The Plan Colombia is ready to be exported as a geopolitical strategy to turn our countries into failed states.

It aims to strangle any attempt at regional integration and instead submit our economies to commercial treaties imposed by the U.S.. The Pacific Alliance is not only triumphing thanks to its capacity, but also thanks to the lack of competence and energy of the ALBA. Because they left the economic stability up to the macroeconomy, the financial sector gained strength. Due to a lack of multipolar geo-political vision, the UNASUR ceased to have a regional importance. Not even Brazil was strong enough as an emergent economy and part of the BRICS to lead a project for regional independence. The only one lucid enough in this whole story was commander Hugo Chávez, who might have even sacrificed the stability of his own country to consolidate a hemispheric integration that isn’t submitted to the imperial hegemony. His lesson was clear and coherent with his Bolivarian ideology: South America will only be a strategic actor, globally, if the freedom is achieved in a joint and unified manner.