With the mistaken impression that they have the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP) on the ropes, the imperialists and the Colombian oligarchs are raising a cry for the FARC to put down their arms. But there are very clear reasons why this will not happen. This is explained quite well in James Petras’ article, “Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-Peoples Army (FARC-EP): The Cost of Unilateral Humanitarian Initiatives“, which dates back to the murder of FARC commander Raúl Reyes. But even some Marxists have become a little confused, so it is necessary to say a little more and look a little deeper at the experience of the Colombian people’s struggle.
The Red Dance: Memory of the Silenced is about the systematic assassination of thousands of Unión Patriótica (Patriotic Union – UP) activists. The UP was founded by the initiative of the FARC out of a desire for peace, and because of its popularity and its electoral victories against the Colombian ruling classes, it was destroyed. This documentary tells its story.
Watch “The Red Dance”
In addition to the video, I want to suggest that my readers check out this excellent interview with a former UP leader, Imelda Daza-Cotes, who is also featured in the video.
In that interview, Daza-Cotes says, “The electoral results of the UP became its death sentence. After that the crimes were daily. In the country, the UP grew to 400,000 votes. The left previous to this had never been able to get more than 150,000 votes in any election. It was a huge advance. It was after that the police and the army began to kill members of the UP daily. Even our presidential candidate was killed. 3000 leaders in total were killed.”
This interview demonstrates how the killing of UP activists closed the door on any electoral path to peace and justice for the Colombian people, and led activists like Ricardo Palmera, to take up arms and join the FARC.
Now Ricardo Palmera is held in a U.S. prison as the result of a neo-colonial extradition policy. The United States, under “Plan Colombia” gives billions of dollars of aid to the Colombian death-squad government in order to protect U.S. corporations like Drummond Coal, Occidental Oil, Chiquita Banana, and Coca Cola. This documentary is particularly useful now. This history of the UP is important to consider and this documentary does well demonstrate why it would be a mistake for the FARC to disarm, and why the armed struggle is the only viable course for the Colombian people. All progressive people should consider the history of the Colombian people’s struggle and support their just fight for national liberation.