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For FARC's Sake: Colombia's U.S.-Sponsored Aggression Destabilizing Andean Region

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 08:26 AM
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For FARC's Sake: Colombia's U.S.-Sponsored Aggression Destabilizing Andean Region
from AlterNet:

For FARC's Sake: Colombia's U.S.-Sponsored Aggression Destabilizing Andean Region

By Richard Gott, AlterNet. Posted March 8, 2008.

The deaths of two senior FARC leaders will stymie the peace process and any hope for release for FARC's hostages.

This article originally appeared on Comment is Free. It is reprinted here with permission of the author.

The deaths of Ral Reyes and Julin Conrado, two senior figures in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), are clearly a serious blow to the guerrilla organization. It will now call a halt to the release of hostages held by the FARC in the jungle over many years, a process that had been proceeding slowly under the auspices of the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chvez. Freedom in the short term for the former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, in which the French president Nicolas Sarkozy has taken a personal interest, now seems unlikely, and many people believe that she is dying. Hopes of the imminent release of three U.S. defense contractors have also been dashed.

By all accounts, the midnight attack on the camp of the FARC leaders, a mile inside Ecuadorean territory in the jungle region south of the Putumayo River, was a political decision taken by the Colombian president, Alvaro Uribe, to end the peace process orchestrated by Chvez. Four Colombian politicians, held as hostages by the FARC for the past six years, were released last week and given a royal welcome in Caracas. Reyes had been among those who organized their freedom. Killed at the age of 59, Reyes had long been more of a diplomat than a guerrilla commander, though he was often photographed in military fatigues and carrying a gun.

According to the Ecuadorean president, Rafael Correa, the bodies of the FARC commanders and 13 guerrillas were recovered in their pajamas after being bombed while sleeping in a tent on the Ecuadorean side of the frontier. The Colombian air force, Correa claimed, had used advanced technology "with the collaboration of foreign powers" to locate the camp and "to massacre" its occupants. Uribe's government is a close ally of the United States and Israel, whereas Correa belongs to the radical camp led by Chvez. Subsequent to the bombing, Colombian troops crossed the frontier into Ecuador to recover the bodies.

Ever since 9/11, the United States has requested the Colombian government to refer to the FARC as a "terrorist" organization, a word also now used by the European Union. Yet the Colombian guerrillas are the most long-lasting of all such movements in Latin America, long predating the current obsession with "terrorism." Their leader, Manuel Marulanda, first led the FARC in the early 1960s and has survived into the 21st century, while Ral Reyes had run the organization's political wing for many years. A well-known negotiator and promoter of the FARC's cause in meetings in Europe and Latin America, Reyes was a crucial collaborator in the recent efforts by the Venezuelan president and Colombian Senator Piedad Crdoba to release some of the Colombian hostages. ......(more)

The complete piece is at: /

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