Maria Fernanda Barreto
The increase in massacres in Colombia led to a massive protest against this type of murder in Bogotá on August 21, 2020
A year of deep tensions between Colombia and Venezuela, of course instigated by the United States with the approval of a pro-Uribe government willing to subordinate Colombia’s interests to those of the northern power, has ended.
Venezuela closes 2020 in full popular resistance to the economic crisis, dismantling terrorist actions against it in the midst of a pandemic that it has been able to confront even to the point of becoming one of the countries with fewer deaths per covid-19 in the region and, of course, with President Nicolás Maduro in power.
However, the United States and the sector most subordinated to its decisions on the Venezuelan right, with the complicity of the Colombian state, insist on adding to their media, psychological, political and economic attacks against the Bolivarian Revolution, military actions of an irregular type in which NATO intelligence bodies coordinate with Colombian paramilitary groups, private military contractors – especially of US origin – and local terrorist groups in which young right-wing activists in Venezuela and retired military personnel are intermingled with common criminals.
If anything can be said about the current Venezuelan geopolitical situation, and without doubt, it is that at this moment it is being besieged like no other country in the region, although Cuba and Nicaragua follow on the list of victims of this imperialist action, along with the peoples of the rest of the countries of the continent with subordinate governments.
In spite of the multiple attacks on the Venezuelan economy, including unilateral coercive measures to break Venezuela’s import and export capacity, to legitimize before international public opinion the theft of Venezuelan assets and to increase the power of the dollar in the national economy; direct sabotage of public services and terrorist actions against productive facilities, all this has a great direct impact on the correlations of social forces, which can be measured more in the growth of depoliticization and apathy than in popular support for its local actors; and even with the social science teams at the service of the Pentagon, multiple NATO intelligence apparatuses operating on the ground, the experience in irregular warfare of the Colombian military forces and their paramilitary groups, the actions of their private military contractors from Colombia, and with the pro-Uribe government willing to do anything to carry out their orders, the United States has not been able to twist the Venezuelan reality in its favor and has trapped itself in its own lies of governments and virtual embassies.
Its failed “Guaidó project,” which was already in sustained decline, has come to an end with the inauguration of the new National Assembly on January 5, 2021, when he will no longer even hold the position of deputy (substitute). In other words, the United States has categorically failed in its attempt to change political correlations directly in its favor and in its military actions.
Nevertheless, calls for destabilization continue and at any moment one can expect the return of terrorist actions of territorial control known as “guarimbas”, that they may continue to attempt coups d’état, commando type operations, and attempts to establish zones of territorial control of Colombian paramilitarism and local terrorist bands in Venezuela.
Obviously it is also foreseeable that attacks against the country’s productive installations, robberies and, of course, the promotion of a conflict between Colombia and Venezuela as an instrument of an imperialist war of indirect approach will continue, something that fortunately has found, up to now, much opposition in public opinion, social organizations, left and center-left parties, and even in some business and political sectors of the Colombian right.
To summarize, Venezuela is on the point of ending the year 2020 in peace for the good of the people and for the disillusionment of those who have done everything possible to lead it to war.
Colombia, for its part, is closing the year 2020 with an unresolved social and armed conflict, which, in contrast, is in one of the worst years of this decade. The balance of deaths makes it clear: Colombia is a country at war in which between January 1 and December 14 of this year 84 massacres have been registered; until that same date 292 leaders and social leaders had been murdered in the territories, 12 people because they were their relatives and 60 ex-combatants of the FARC-EP who signed the peace agreement; and 2020 is not yet over.
This figure does not include deaths in combat or so many other victims of the conflict, such as those killed by state repression of social protest, for example. On average, three social leaders are murdered every two days, and an average of two massacres is committed weekly, all with presumed government complicity. This, by many elements that we have touched on in other analyses, configures an ongoing genocide, which includes the ethnocide of the indigenous and black communities of Colombia and promotes gender violence, because it must also be mentioned that reports of sexual abuse of women, especially girls and adolescents, by the Colombian public forces have increased.
This terrible balance does not include, either, the people who have died from malnutrition, lack of drinking water, or from not having access to the health system, all of these factors that make up the cause of this same conflict.
What can be added is that it is one of the countries with the highest number of deaths per covid-19 in the region (39,195) as of December 15, and this, as is already known, also has to do with its high levels of social exclusion.
Colombia is the worst in the region (perhaps followed by Haiti) and one of the worst in the world in this last area, even though it has not set off alarms in multilateral organizations or obtained the condemnation it deserves from world public opinion. The painful silence is in the end co-responsible.
The armed conflict does not cease, the ELN peace delegation continues to be stranded in Havana without any dialogue with the Uribe government, and meanwhile the guerrilla organization continues to be active in the country, perhaps even growing.
The second Marquetalia, and other sectors of the ex-FARC-EP continue to be active as well.
Of course, the PLA and a host of paramilitary groups also continue to operate.
In short, although the intensity of combat has decreased in some regions, Colombia today is like it was ten years ago: a country at war.
In December 2019, Trump launched his “América Crece” initiative, whose original name in English is “Growth in the Americas”. Last August, the bilateral expression of this plan was announced, under the name “Colombia Crece” (Growth in Colombia), with the presence of three senior White House officials, who baptized this initiative as a “New Plan Colombia”.
Duque emphasized that the axes of the “New Plan Colombia” will be the fight against drug trafficking, counter-insurgency and, as expected, he insisted on actions against Venezuela.
Colombia’s location on the map is geostrategic, it has a coastline of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, it links the Mesoamerican region with the south, it is the entrance to the Amazon and it shares 2,219 kilometers of border with Venezuela, a priority objective for Washington.
In Colombian territory, military and police forces from other countries are trained, doctrines and manuals are developed, international military operations are planned and even launched, such as “Operation Gideon” in which a group of Venezuelans led by two US mercenaries from the SilverCorp company were trained and at the beginning of May of this year left by boat from the Colombian coast to enter clandestinely into Venezuela, where they were captured by the joint action of the Militia and the Bolivarian National Police together with sectors of the People’s Power.
Five months later, a US citizen from the Colombian Guajira was detained, who had the support of Venezuelan conspirators with the information and weapons necessary to execute a sabotage to the facilities of the Amuay refinery. After a month, another US mercenary was captured and President Maduro stated that “Iván Duque and Álvaro Uribe Vélez are behind this attack, together with the US intelligence agencies”.
Uribism is in its worst moment, even the big pollsters point this out. The Colombian people have continued to resist in rural areas, facing genocide against their leaders, and have returned to protest in the streets of the main cities despite the isolation measures.
In September, a popular uprising against police brutality met with only more repression in response, causing the largest massacre in Bogotá in this century. Then the indigenous Minga that left from the southwest arrived in the capital, which became the national indigenous and popular Minga, and was received by a large crowd. To end the year, the first anniversary of the national strike of November 2019 was celebrated and, in sum, in this 2020, the Colombian people continued to resist the most violent oligarchy in the continent and peace is still far away.
However, Iván Duque continues to focus his policy on attacking Venezuela and supporting the most violent Venezuelan opposition, led by Leopoldo López and subordinating Colombia’s interests to those of the United States, keeping Colombia as the beachhead of the aggressions against Venezuela.
Duque continues to give priority to a supposed struggle for the “liberation of Venezuela,” threatens the International Criminal Court, receives Leopoldo López, invites him to his program, allows him to travel across the border and carry out a series of propaganda acts regarding the so-called Guaidó consultation, and, of course, López could not fail to meet with the patron of the ubérrimo who pretends to believe that all of Colombia is his farm, Álvaro Uribe Vélez, and with the Mayor of Bogotá.
In the midst of world geopolitical tension, the United States is a decisive player in the tensions between Colombia and Venezuela and knows that it is losing its world political hegemony, a product of the emergence of new political, but also economic and military powers that will gradually undermine the absolute power it held since the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the so-called Cold War ended.
That hegemony that made the world unipolar will surely change, even before it loses its economic and military primacy. That is why it has relaunched its Monroe Doctrine and, although the governments of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua resist it, only the former has the economic resources and the geostrategic position that elevates it to the rank of priority for its plans.
Venezuela, for its part, has known how to play on the world chessboard and has moved the correlation of international forces in favor of that resistance.
In this context, last May 27, a new US Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) arrived in Colombia to supposedly help in the fight against drugs. So this year the U.S. military presence in Colombian territory has increased.
The Colombian government, both current and previous, has always managed to evade any political control over this presence, and joining NATO as Latin America’s first global partner only aggravates the subordination of Colombian troops to imperialist plans in the region. Military forces, by the way, which are currently very divided over business, visions of war and their role in imperialist geopolitics.
The recent triumph of Biden may mean a change in the discourse of the White House on these binational relations, it may even put a brake on the up to now clear intention of generating a fratricidal armed conflict between both bordering nations, to try to retake the peace accords signed between the Colombian State and the FARC-EP, even to force a re-evaluation of the Uribe government on the need to retake the dialogue with the ELN, but in general terms its international strategy does not change. It will continue trying to consolidate its hegemony over the region, advancing in the consolidation of Colombia as its enclave and, of course, trying to reconquer Venezuela.
In summary, after this year of tensions, a 2021 of struggle for our Venezuelan sovereignty, for the union of our peoples and for the defense of our sacred right to live in peace, awaits us.
Translation by Internationalist 360°