Tag Archives: Colombia

FARC Marxist Rebels Behind Killings In Colombia

Government says FARC members who refused to disarm after the peace deal behind murder of mayoral candidate, others

BLUKE TAYLOR

OGOTA, Colombia—A candidate who aspired to become the first female mayor of a municipality in southwestern Colombia, a candidate running for city council, and four others were brutally killed by former members of the Marxist guerrilla group FARC, who refused to disarm during the country’s 2016 peace process, the government has said.

The bodies of mayoral candidate Karina Garcia and the others were found in a car incinerated on the side of the road in the Cauca region on Sept. 1. The assassination, which follows the alarming announcement by two former FARC leaders last week that they would return to war, is the first killing of a candidate during the campaign season for local and regional elections in October.

Experts monitoring an uptick in electoral violence across the country expect more to follow.

Garcia, who was 32, sensed that she was in danger from criminal groups eight days earlier, when four armed men threatened members of campaign and ordered them to take down all electoral banners and posters. Posters touting the candidate had been previously defaced by unknown actors with black spray paint.

But rather than backing down, Garcia continued to campaign for bringing political change to the municipality, requested assurances from the town’s mayor, and pleaded with rival candidates not to spread rumors that she said were putting her life in peril.

“Please, for God’s sake, don’t act so irresponsibly,” Garcia pleaded in a video she shared online on Aug. 24, refuting claims that she would bring paramilitaries or multinationals to the area. “This can bring fatal consequences for me.”

Eight days later, despite her pleas, Garcia’s charred body was discovered alongside five others in a burned-out car on the side of the road.

The charred remains of the car in which mayoral candidate Karina Garcia and five others were shot and killed, in a rural area of Suarez, Colombia, on Sept. 2, 2019.

The vehicle was hit by two grenades before coming under fire from another SUV and was then torched, a bodyguard who escaped the attack told local media.

Killed along with Garcia were a man and four other women, including local activists, a candidate for the city council, and Garcia’s mother.

Local residents held a candlelit vigil on Sept. 2 for the young politician, who leaves a husband and a 3-yearold daughter behind.

“They didn’t take the reports seriously,” the victim’s father told local press, denouncing the authorities for not protecting his daughter. He said his daughter “felt the need to help her community, in her veins.”

A peace agreement reached with Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels in 2016 that formally ended a half-decade of conflict was supposed to open a new peaceful chapter in the country’s history. But while many areas witnessed a decrease in violence as 7,000 guerrillas put down their guns, in some regions, the violence continues, and targeted killings of human rights defenders and community leaders are surging.

“After 2016, the statistics on lethal and non-lethal violence have skyrocketed, and the situation is critical, not only for political actors but also for social leaders and human rights defenders that have been constantly attacked and murdered by these groups,’’ said Giorgio Londoño, researcher for the Peace, Conflict, and Postconflict department at the Bogotá- based research institute PARES.

Violence in the Cauca region is driven by rampant drug production and its strategic proximity to the Pacific coast, from where drugs are shipped abroad. Its volatile security panorama is complicated by strong social movements from indigenous groups that criminal bands aim to silence with intimidation and violence.

Among the bands warring for control of the territory are guerrillas, paramilitaries, and several new fronts formed by FARC rebels who refused to disarm. All, which were previously minor actors, have strengthened since the FARC left its power vacuum, analysts say.

The government has blamed the latest incident on FARC dissident rebels of the Sixth Front and offered a $45,000 reward for information that could lead to the capture of the alleged perpetrator, alias ‘Mayimbu’—a FARC dissident known for dominating illegal marijuana production in the region.

As local and regional elections approach, violence committed by such groups is likely to spike in the coming months, experts say.

Since nominations for departmental and municipal elections were submitted over a month ago, five applicants have already been killed, according to Colombia’s Electoral Observation Mission.

PARES reports eight threats, two killings, and three attempted murders to electoral candidates in Cauca since late October last year.

“Our research on electoral violence leads us to think that there could be more actions of this kind,” Londoño predicted, calling on the government to implement promises made in the peace agreement and offer better protection to those who report threats against them.

Caracastan: Is Venezuela planning a war against its neighbors?

Venezuelan Attack

Some experts are calling attention to recent developments in the Castro Colony of Venenozuela (a.k.a. Caracastan).

It seems that Venenozuela is preparing for war, possibly on two fronts: against Colombia and Guyana.

Such a move would — of course — follow all the guidelines of The Castro Playbook.

Castronoid General Abelardo Colome Ibarra, and other senior Cuban military officials pose with their Venezuelan pupils
Abridged from INQUISITR:

During the last few months, the Venezuelan government has been positioning troops along the border with the small South American nation of Guyana. This has raised the concern that Caracas may be intending to take the Essequibo territory through military force…

… It is hypothesized that Nicolas Maduro may use military action as a way to unite the Venezuelan people against a foreign foe. Additionally, the occupation of Guyanese soil could become a bargaining chip against the ICJ and the United States.

The fact that Guyana lacks any credible military force makes the country an optimal target for the relatively well-equipped, but logistically barren, Venezuelan military…

… It should be noted that another front has recently opened in this crisis.

Last Friday, the Venezuelan Minister of the Interior, Néstor Reverol, advanced the possibility of military action against Colombia, the Globoreports. He accused Bogotá of providing Venezuelan citizens Colombian identities and military training, which would be a reason for a military intervention. Reverol also added that the recruitment is characterized by the presence of “paramilitary personnel, partisans, and criminal bands.”

The website Poder Aéreo reported the deployment of Venezuelan F-16 fighter jets on the border with Colombia…

… As all the factors are put together, the question remains: Will Venezuela invade its neighbors?

The answer is hard to determine.

by Carlos Eire

Murder 220,000 People Including Children And Get A ‘Do Over’?

FARC

“The fact that a war criminal could become the president of Colombia makes no sense,” former Peace Commissioner Camilo Gomez said at a recent court hearing.

After more than five decades of battle in Colombia’s jungles, the nation’s largest rebel movement initiated the launch of its political party Sunday at a concrete convention center in the capital, vowing to upend the country’s traditional conservatism with the creation of an alternative leftist coalition.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia will transform into a political party under a new, still-to-be-announced name as part of a historic peace deal signed last year. The accords guarantee the ex-combatants 10 seats in Congress and the same funding the state provides to the nation’s 13 other political parties, in addition to a half-million dollars in funding to begin a think tank to develop their political ideology.

“We are taking an extraordinary step in the history of the common people’s struggle in Colombia,” said Rodrigo Londono, better known by his nom de guerre Timochenko, to an audience of former guerrillas dressed in white T-shirts with the hashtag #NuveoPartido (#NewParty) on the back.

“This doesn’t mean we are renouncing in any way our fundamental principles or societal project,” he said.

The organization has signaled that it will adhere to its Marxist roots and focus on winning votes from peasants, workers and the urban middle class with a social justice platform, but it faces opposition from many who identify the guerrillas with kidnappings and terrorism.

A poll released in August found that fewer than 10 percent of Colombians said they had total confidence in the rebels as a political party and a large majority said they’d never vote a former guerrilla into Congress.

“They’re not going to be received very warmly in most of Colombia,” said Adam Isacson of the Washington Office on Latin America think tank. “Their human rights record hurt them. Their media image is terrible. Most Colombians quite simply aren’t socialists or communists.”

But, he added, “All is not lost. A message of wanting to redistribute wealth and undo economic injustice could probably do quite well in a lot of poor areas of Colombia.”

The group’s entrance into politics has been met with fierce resistance from leaders like former President Alvaro Uribe, one of the peace agreement’s staunchest critics. After passing a law earlier this year ratifying the group as a political party, the nation’s Supreme Court is now debating the legislation’s constitutionality. Critics say the former rebels shouldn’t be allowed to participate in politics before first going through a special peace tribunal.

Supporters like Ivan Cepeda of the leftist Alternative Democratic Pole contend that political incorporation of the group known as the FARC is the best means of ensuring a lasting peace.

“We have had to pay a very high cost in lives, in infrastructure … that today we are saving with the end of the conflict,” Cepeda said. “It’s more an investment in the democracy of Colombia.”

The FARC was formed in the early 1960s by guerrillas affiliated with Colombia’s Communist Party. Over the next 53 years the battle between the rebels, government forces and right-wing paramilitaries claimed at least 250,000 lives, left another 60,000 people missing and displaced millions, becoming the region’s longest-running conflict.

Four years of negotiations in Havana between rebel leaders and the government culminated with the signing of a peace accord in which guerillas agreed to turn over their arms, confess their crimes in a special peace tribunal that will spare most of any jail time, and turn over their war spoils as reparation to victims.

The agreement also addresses thorny issues like how to reduce Colombia’s booming coca production and provide economic alternatives to poor farmers. The U.S. once labeled the FARC one of the world’s largest drug trafficking organizations.

Colombian voters rejected the accord by a razor-thin majority in a post-signing referendum but a modified version with relatively minor changes was later approved by the legislature. A poll this summer by the Colombian firm Politmetrica found that optimism about the peace process has declined since last October’s referendum, from 67 percent of those surveyed to just about 53 percent.

The conference launched Sunday is expected to gather 1,000 former combatants from around the nation and define the FARC’s political platform. In a document leaked this spring — called the “April Theses” in a nod to Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin’s directive by the same name — the FARC leadership described its political party as rooted in “Marxism, Leninism, emancipatory Bolivarian thought and the people’s revolutionary ideology.”

The rebel leader known by the nom de guerre of Pastor Alape said the party’s would quickly seek a leftist coalition to advance implementation of the peace accords.

FARC leaders have toyed with keeping their same acronym and changing their name to the Alternative Revolutionary Force of Colombia, but the idea hasn’t received a warm reception.

“If the FARC intend to grow it’s a mistake,” journalist Angel Becassino told news magazine Semana. The acronym “signifies a past that generates a lot of confrontation.”

By CHRISTINE ARMARIO, Associated Press

Colombia On Its Way To Becoming Venezuela? The Scary Facts.

Colombia Mess

In mid-April, President Trump had a brief, cordial exchange with two former presidents of Colombia — Alvaro Uribe and Andres Pastrana — at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. After the Miami Herald reported the encounter, critics suggested it might “undermine” the Colombian “peace deal” struck by the current president, Juan Manuel Santos, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

In fact, it’s less a peace agreement than a pathway to dictatorship for a key US ally and to an expansion of drug trafficking here — developments that would pose grave challenges to Trump’s national security agenda and fight against opioid addiction.

Remarkably, this disastrous course will likely be partially financed with nearly half a billion US taxpayer dollars — promised by then-President Barack Obama — unless Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan deny the appropriation to implement the deal.

For 52 years, the Marxist narco-terrorists of FARC have financed their mayhem with the production and export of cocaine and heroin to the United States. FARC has committed an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 murders and ravaged the country. It remains a US-designated foreign terrorist organization.

Uribe and Pastrana each attempted to negotiate a just and stable peace, but FARC’s demands proved too onerous and no agreement was reached.

Santos got a farcical one-sided agreement so damaging to Colombia’s democratic system and FARC’s victims that the people demanded a national referendum. Last October, the deal was voted down.

Circumventing the will of his own people, Santos pushed a revised agreement through the Colombian Congress three weeks later as a way to avoid having to hold a second referendum and risking another defeat.

The terms of the “very bad deal”(for which Santos won a Nobel Peace Prize):

  •  Drug-trafficking will no longer be a major crime.
  •  Money-laundering will no longer be a crime.
  •  Extradition of major narco-terrorists to the United States won’t be permitted.
  •  All criminal records of FARC members will be erased.
  •  There will be no punishment for any member of FARC, including its leadership, even if they’ve committed crimes against humanity. But members of the military and national police who’ve received long sentences for events related to the conflict will remain in prison.
  •  FARC will have the right to establish a third political party, nominate candidates for president and enjoy the protection of a paramilitary “security organization” armed and paid by taxpayers — but under FARC control.
  •  A special court — half of which will be made up of FARC-appointed judges — will be created outside the constitutional judiciary to investigate and adjudicate all matters related to the conflict.

And what did the FARC concede for the deal? Little beyond pledging to surrender an easily replenished fraction of its weapons and voluntarily reduce the drug acreage it controls but only by a small amount — promises it’s already slow-walking.

As with Obama’s Iran deal, every concession is given to FARC upfront for a promise of future compliance. But taking a page from the Palestinian playbook, FARC split itself into two entities: a) the political FARC, to negotiate and abide by the agreement and participate in politics, and b) the business FARC, which, unbound by the terms and not forced to disarm, would likely continue its illicit drug production and exports.

Santos now effectively controls the three branches of government, the independence and integrity of which have been grossly compromised. Colombia’s democratic system is in danger of steaming toward either a dictatorship controlled by narco-terrorism and radical socialism a la Venezuela or a military takeover likely resulting in bloody chaos.

The situation offers Trump a major opportunity to make good on two key campaign promises: stemming the flow of drugs here and protecting American taxpayers.

Santos desperately wants Obama’s promised $450 million annually to implement the deal — which will include direct distributions to FARC members and government grants of millions of acres of prime agricultural land while providing no compensation to the victims of FARC crimes. Such a gift, whether whole or in part, would be interpreted as US support for the agreement.

When Santos arrives in Washington this month, Trump should make clear that neither the appropriation nor approval for the deal will be forthcoming.

The FARC agreement needs significant changes in order to preserve democracy in Colombia. The Colombian people desire peace, but its price should not be the handover of the government to the narco-terrorists or military — with a substantial assist in blood money from US taxpayers.

Monica Crowley is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.

Evil Defeated: The Courage of Colombia’s Voters

FARC Colombia
FARC Colombia

New York Post:

“Congratulations are in order for the people of Colombia, who, in a democratic referendum, have rejected the peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces known as FARC,” say the editors of The New York Sun.

Though weary after 52 years of conflict, they rightly rejected “a compromise with a nihilistic Marxist movement whose entry into peace talks was one of the most cynical maneuvers in the history of the Americas.”

And yet the now-rejected deal “was hailed by nearly every liberal paper and politician in the world (including Hillary Clinton).” The Colombian people “turned out to be smarter than the elites who rule them” and are “prepared to risk [more] war over a false peace.”