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Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:22 PM

A Case Study in Orwellian Lies and Imperial Delusions: Colombia’s Disappeared

August 02, 2012
A Case Study in Orwellian Lies and Imperial Delusions
Colombia’s Disappeared

The cover of Colombia’s Semana magazine depicts a photo which should warm the cockles of any decent heart: the indigenous people of Cauca carrying an armed soldier, one of many who had invaded their land, away from their town. The story of the resistance in Cauca was simply amazing, as indigenous, armed with nothing more than sticks, chased away the U.S.-funded military and physically dismantled the barracks they had just set up. Yet, the editors of Semana were not overjoyed with this scene, instead referring to it as a “tragedy,” and asking how it could be that indigenous peoples would drive out the very military which purports to protect them.

Of course, the question answers itself . The indigenous do not see the military as their protectors; rather, they seem them for what they are – invaders come to take their ancestral land from them as they have taken it away from hundreds of thousands of others indigenous who disproportionately make up Colombia’s over 5 million internally-displaced peoples — the largest internally displaced population on the face of the earth. And, the Obama Administration itself – which is funding the military’s counterinsurgency campaign in Colombia, very well knows the feelings of the indigenous on this subject.

Thus, as the U.S. Embassy acknowledges in a February 26, 2010 Embassy Cable released by Wikileaks, indigenous tribes have asked that the Colombian military to withdraw from their land because it is the military’s very presence which “’brings the conflict to the backyard of the indigenous,’” thereby putting their lives and very existence at risk. Yet, in this same cable, entitled “Violence Against Indigenous Shows Upward Trend,” the Embassy characterizes this request for military withdrawal from indigenous land, which the Embassy acknowledges is “sacred to their [the indigenous’] cultural identity,” as “impractical.” And, the U.S. Embassy explains why this is so, stating that “capital investments in the mining of hydrocarbons sectors” as well as “investments in rubber [and] palm oil” – that is, the very investments which U.S. military policy is designed to promote – demand that this land be subdued by the military. The fact that, as this Embassy cable acknowledges, 34 indigenous groups are being driven to the point of extinction as a result, does not change this game plan. (Of course, given the U.S.’s efficient genocide which wiped out its own indigenous population – much more thoroughly, it should be noted, than the Spanish did in Latin America — this should not be surprising).

In the case of Cauca, the military, ejected by the indigenous with minimal violence (no military personnel were killed though the military itself killed 2 indigenous in fighting expulsion), re-captured the area with the overwhelming force of 28,000 troops. And, the Colombian government, as it is of wont to do, vilified the indigenous uprising, claiming that it was somehow inspired, if not instigated, by the left-wing FARC guerillas — this, despite the fact that the indigenous called for the FARC to leave their area as well. And, it should be noted that the FARC agreed to withdraw from the land if the military and paramilitaries removed themselves too.


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Reply A Case Study in Orwellian Lies and Imperial Delusions: Colombia’s Disappeared (Original post)
Judi Lynn Aug 2012 OP
COLGATE4 Aug 2012 #1
Peace Patriot Aug 2012 #3
COLGATE4 Aug 2012 #4
Peace Patriot Aug 2012 #5
COLGATE4 Aug 2012 #6
Peace Patriot Aug 2012 #2

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:41 PM

1. Why would any government agree to leave a

piece of sovereign territory in the hands of a guerrilla movement?

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Response to COLGATE4 (Reply #1)

Mon Aug 6, 2012, 12:48 AM

3. You need to read the article....

It explains very well why this simplistic "sound bite" of yours is wrong.

Continuing from the OP:

This type of vilification – designating any political opposition, even if peaceful, as somehow linked to the guerillas — is a long-standing tactic of the U.S. and Colombian government to justify their own brutality. And, sadly, this tactic is quite effective even at misleading the U.S. left and progressive forces, and in convincing them to refrain from supporting struggles which deserve to be supported.

An example of this phenomenon which I have personal knowledge of involves the peasant union in Colombia known as FENSUAGRO, the second largest union in Colombia. FENSUAGRO has a long and proud history of peaceful resistance in Colombia and is one of the most outspoken groups in support of a negotiated peace process with the guerillas. And, FENSUAGRO has paid dearly for its activism. Thus, 5 out of the 11 unionists killed this year in Colombia have been from FENSUAGRO. One of these unionists, Herman Henry Diaz, was disappeared, only his clothes found on a road connecting two different military bases. FENSUAGRO believes that Mr. Diaz was killed by the military which controls the area in which he was taken, but, without a body, the truth will probably never be known.

On my recent visit to Colombia, the President of FENSUAGRO, Eberto Diaz Montes, talked to me about the violence against his union. He explained that FENSUAGRO has lost 1500 members to murder — almost exclusively at the hands of the Colombian military and its paramilitary allies. As for the paramilitaries, Eberto, in agreement with former Colombian Attorney General Mario Iguaran, attributes their rise and domination of large swaths of Colombian territory to the support they received from Chiquita Bananas from 1997 to 2004 – support which totaled $1.7 million and included 3,000 kalashnikov rifles. These same Chiquita-sponsored paramilitaries murdered and displaced scores of FENSUAGRO’s members who were living and working in the banana region which Chiquita forcefully took over in the late 1990’s.

The number of killings suffered by FENSUAGRO is staggering, accounting for around half of all unionists killed in Colombia (over 2900 since 1986). And, given that Colombia leads the world in trade union killings, it is fair to say that FENSUAGRO is the most endangered union in the world.

--from the OP (my emphases)


You need to acknowledge WHO is being murdered in this region--entirely peaceful trade unionists and peasants--and WHO is doing the murdering (also corroborated by Amnesty International)--the U.S. funded/trained Colombian military and its closely tied rightwing paramilitary death squads (about half and half, according to AI)--and WHO are the beneficiaries: U.S. corporations, U.S. war profiteers and Colombia's wealthy landowners and fascist militarists and politicians, who have used this "scorched earth" policy to prep Colombia for U.S. "free trade for the rich."

You need to follow events (or perhaps you do) and grasp that the U.S. and its fascist allies in Colombia have sabotaged every effort to bring about peace in Colombia's 70 year (!) civil war, including recent efforts (which occurred during the Bush Junta). This is NOT about a country defending its "sovereign territory" against leftist guerillas. It is about wholesale murder and mega land theft and oppression by the rich against the poor. It is about eliminating trade unions and other advocates of the poor. And it is about the gross misuse of U.S. tax dollars to support a corrupt fascist establishment in Colombia who have stolen the lands of five million peasant farmers by brutal displacement policies designed in Washington DC!

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Response to Peace Patriot (Reply #3)

Mon Aug 6, 2012, 03:27 PM

4. Thank you for your sophmoric explanation of events in Colombia.

As someone who was lived, worked in and has been intimately familiar with Colombia since 1967 your breast-beating about 'fascists of various descriptions who are using a scorched earth policy to prep Colombia for U.S. 'free trade for the rich' would be comical except for the fact that you obviously believe it. You really ought to take a deep breath and then go and actually visit the country that you pontificate about with such fervor. You might be surprised.

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Response to COLGATE4 (Reply #4)

Wed Aug 8, 2012, 12:13 PM

5. I am one of the 99%. I don't have money to travel. You do...so...

...please give us the benefit of your travel, work and life in Colombia.

What sort of company did you work for? (big? small? type of product? Colombian employees? etc.)

Did you work for the U.S. government or any private contractor of the U.S. government?

What was (is?) the nature of your work?

What kind of neighborhood did you live in? (urban? rural? rich? poor? middle class? etc.) (did you live in a hotel, at a military base, at company-provided accommodations, or did you rent or buy living space among ordinary Colombians?)

What parts of Colombia have you visited? (coastal resorts? urban business centers? barrios? rural--peasant farms? big ranches? U.S. military "forward operating locations"?)

What sorts of people do you work with and hang out with? Rich, poor, middle class? Business people? Military? American? Colombian? Other? Ordinary workers? Landowners? Developers? Maids or gardeners? The unemployed? (Where have they stowed those five million displaced peasant farmers?) DEA agents? Colombian government officials? Tourists? Grocers? Waiters? Shoe manufacturers? Palm oil magnates? Politicians (left? right?)? Etc.

You say you are "intimately familiar with Colombia since 1967"--but that tells us nothing. Colombia is a big country, and it has one of the worst rich/poor discrepancies and some of the worst poverty in Latin America. Know any Jesuit humanitarians? Union organizers? Peasant farmers? Survivors of Colombian military massacres? Families of "false positives" murder victims? Leftist politicians? Leftist journalists? Amnesty International investigators? Litigants against Chiquita International or Drummond Coal on those corporations' death squad activities? Sweatshop workers? Farm workers? Small farmers?

Did you (do you) work for any large U.S. transglobal corporation, such as Chiquita, Drummond Coal, Exxon Mobil, Occidental Petroleum, Monsanto, Dyncorp, Bechtel or similar entity? And if not--if you had (have) a private business or small business, or worked (work) for one, does it have subcontracts to a large U.S. transglobal corporation?

In order to trust that you truly are "intimate" with Colombia--and not just with the rich elite--I need more details of your experience there, at least in a general sense, and a sense of the kinds of people you deal with and what they have to say. Even if your experience is necessarily limited to the privileged class, you could still have an open mind about conditions in Colombia for the poor and what is needed to create a more equitable society and to stop the horrible human rights violations that are occurring there. Indeed, an objective view would be all the more laudable if your work and contacts are among the rich (and/or the military, and/or the U.S. government).

But I cannot accept a vague assertion of "intimacy" with Colombia as the equivalent of "expertise" on Colombia, giving you the right to call my views "comical." I closely follow U.S. government policies, corporate and alternative news reports, the reports of human rights groups and whatever other sources that I can access on Colombia and Latin America, including many sources on past and recent history. My views are well-informed. My sympathies are with the poor majority and I have watched the U.S. government crush the poor, time and again, in Latin America, for too long--for my whole life.

MY perspective is as a U.S. citizen who is forced to PAY FOR the many crimes of the U.S. government and its fascist allies in Latin America. I have no private interest in the matter. You do. Please explain your private interest so that I and others can evaluate your reply to me.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Reply #5)

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Aug 6, 2012, 12:20 AM

2. Your tax dollars at work--for "hydrocarbons sectors" and investors in rubber palm oil!

And, if the truth were known, also at work for the trillion+ dollar cocaine revenue stream, which needed to be wrested from the small players--for instance, the FIVE MILLION peasant farmers who have been brutally displaced from their lands (tiny farms which grow food for the family and local community and maybe a few coca leaves for local use or to supplement extreme poverty incomes), consolidated into the hands of the big, protected drug lords and wealthy landowners and land thieves and directed to U.S. banksters, the CIA, the Bush Cartel and other beneficiaries.

Oil. Big Ag. Cocaine. The big drivers of transglobal corporate brutality aided by BILLIONS of U.S. tax dollars in military aid to Colombia, which has one of the worst human rights records on earth, plus numerous U.S. military bases, U.S. military training and coordination, USAID-designed "pacification" programs and more.

Paid for by you and me, in the interest of these transglobal monsters and war profiteers.

There is absolutely nothing we do to put the "Humpty Dumpty" of Colombia back together again--it is a U.S. broken country and society--except to leave them the !@#$ alone for a hundred years. And that ain't gonna happen until we straighten out our own country. (My advice: Start with the corporate-run, 'TRADE SECRET' voting machines, all over the U.S. in every state, now largely--75%--controlled by one, private, far rightwing-connected corporation--ES&S which bought out Diebold.)

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