Colombia: A Special Kind of US Puppet

Alice Loaiza

The U.S. is doing all it possibly can to sabotage the Colombian Peace Process (2016) reached between the government and the FARC-EP guerillas after more than 40 years of struggle. The Peace Accord has been attacked and dismantled by the new ultra right government of Ivan Duque, backed by former president Alvaro Uribe and the United States. Right wing paramilitary groups and the military are assassinating ex Farc members and social leaders throughout the country. More than 400 people have been gunned down since the Peace Accord was signed. The promised land reforms have not been implemented, the victims of war (especially regarding state violence) are ignored and the promise to insure the right to public political activity of the new FARC party ( La Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común) has been blocked. The U.S. is the puppeteer of this story.

The US opposes any country in Latin America that gives political space and power to popular and people’s movements and the history shows this very clearly. It also helps right wing governments and movements to suppress political movements that are critical of US policy and intervention. There is no country that has been untouched by U.S. aggressions, manipulations and interventions of some sort. Colombia, over many years of grooming, has become the main stage for U.S. covert as well as open actions throughout the area. There are 7 U.S. military bases in Colombia, the embassy in Bogota looks like a command post for World War ll, with many bustling offices of the CIA,the military, Special Forces, etc. Plans to overthrow the legitimate government of Venezuela are on their front page and the Colombian government is the U.S. sidekick for all of it. The U.S. backs and trains paramilitary and military to enter Venezuela from Colombia, forms large opposition groups, Venezuelan as well as Colombian, ciphers off Venezuelan money at the borders to augment the crisis, creates an ultra right media storm against Venezuela for all of Latin America among many other actions.

But that isn’t all the US does. There has been a long history of revolutionary as well as other opposition movements in Colombia among the peasants, workers and students. Since Colombia is such an important pawn in the U.S. plan for control of Latin America, it is important to suppress these movements, build Colombian support for the U.S, fortify the Colombian right wing politicians and close down voices of opposition. There are many ways of doing this: financing the right, creating a pro imperialist mass media, promoting evangelical and other religious extremism, controlling university curriculum through privatization, “scholarships” and materials, building a well armed and trained military and police force, killing and arresting opposition leaders among other things.

Just to name a couple of recent cases, Paula Rosero Ordonez, the legal representative of her community for Human Rights was assassinated this week in the community of Narino by men on a motorcycle as she drove home. She had received many threats but continued working for her community. Other leaders have been killed by the same means on a weekly basis.

Another case of international interest is that of Jesus Santrich, ex FARC-EP negotiator of the Colombian Peace Accords and congressman. The U.S has decided to make an example of him by demanding his extradition as a drug trafficker but of course, without any proof. He has been held illegally in La Picota prison for 13 months. The courts were finally able to order his release which apparently was to happen on May 17th. He was rolled out in a wheelchair, doped by the authorities and surrounded by national police. He was then rearrested on the spot for the same “crime”, and flown off to a Bogota bunker in a helicopter. They have refused his release and the U.S is pressuring for his extradition, just as they had done 10 years ago with the FARC leader, Simon Trinidad who is locked away in a super max prison in Colorado. Many other legalized ex Farc leaders are in hiding, knowing a public appearance would also mean their arrest. One of those leaders Ivan Marquez stated in an open letter that it had been a mistake to give up the arms in order to negotiate peace in Colombia.

Our role as people who live in the United States is to not let U.S. imperialism have a moment of rest from our critical and collective voice. More and more people and organizations are standing up for the sovereignty of Venezuela and against the coup. The flagrant and destructive role of the U.S. in Latin America and the world is so exaggerated that it is difficult to ignore. The U.S presence in Colombia has and will again cause the world to side with the struggles of the Colombian people.