Julian Conrado: De mi pueblo para la guerrilla

I was just listening to some music of Julian Conrado, who was a musician and member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP), which is a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla organization that has been fighting for socialism and national liberation in that country for more than 40 years. Conrado was reported killed in the illegal U.S./Colombian Government raid in Ecuador that also killed Raul Reyes. The music is beautiful and inspiring, so I thought I would post this excellent video here.

Check out these statements and interviews about the murder of Raul Reyes for more information:

4 responses to “Julian Conrado: De mi pueblo para la guerrilla

  1. hey just so you know, from what i understand, he actually is not dead…it was believed that he had died with reyes, but actually he hasnt.

    also, while obviously as someone living in colombia, i would much rather the FARC then Uribe, from a maoist analyis of farc, it seems to me that they do not have, nor follow, a good massline. After they became involved with the drugtrade, they lost a lot of support (as well as ethical goodwill), and now in the years that they have been kidnapping people, they have lost tons and tons more of support. The fact is the gov’t and the media can rally millions of colombian people against farc (the feb 4th and july 20th marches) but farc (especailly in bogota) seem to not have the support they need…

    just some comments from a canadian living in colombia, i could be wrong, and as i said, i’d much rather farc then uribe. But i do think, for example, that castro’s critque after operation jaque is vaild.

  2. Thanks for the comment.

    What you say is interesting though. Castro’s critique was that the time for armed struggle has passed and that they should lay down their arms and join the peace process. Casto, who I have much respect for, is unfortunately mistaken here. Have you read this article by James Petras?

    As for the ‘kidnapping’ – there is nothing unusual about an army/dual power taking prisoners. The overwhelming majority are Colombian military and the rest are reactionary compradore politicians and big landlords who don’t pay their taxes or have committed grave crimes against the people. And what of the Colombian government, who for their part have 500 worker and peasant fighters of the FARC in their prisons?

    Also, regarding the drug trade. The U.S. government in their illegal trials against Ricardo Palmera failed in two rigged trials to prove that the FARC were drug traffickers. Furthermore, U.S. intelligence from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) makes the allegations even more strange and unbelievable. Here is what DEA Administrator Thomas A. Constantine reported about the FARC before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on February 26, 1998: “To date, there is little to indicate the insurgent groups are trafficking in cocaine themselves, either by producing cocaine HCl and selling it to Mexican syndicates, or by establishing their own networks in the U.S.” Many peasants in FARC territory grow Coca (which is like a weed and is all that will grow in some areas where defoliants have been used against the guerrillas) and the FARC taxes the crops. Nonetheless, the FARC denounces the drug trade as responsible for much of Colombia’s misery. And what of the Colombian government, which is bound by a hundred and one thread to the paramilitaries and the drug trade, all the way up to Uribe himself, who was, before he became President, on a U.S. list of top drug trafficers in Colombia.

    The government’s anti-FARC demos were successful because the right-wing comradore bourgeoisie is anti-FARC, the bougeois media is anti-FARC, and Alvaro Uribe shut down the country, from government jobs to public schools, so that everyone would pretty much have to go. Furthermore, the anti-Paramilitary demos held later as a counter to the anti-FARC demos were quite successful, though some of the organizers of those demos were later murdered or disappeared.

    I too have heard that maybe Conrado isn’t dead. I’m not sure what to think about that. I certainly hope that he is alive, still fighting and still making beautiful music.

  3. hey hey
    ok,
    1) I dont think you read castro’s piece… he most emphatically said that “FARC should release the hostages, BUT NOT lay down their arms.”
    He suggestetd that they should look at their strategies and dialectilize them to better gain power, but not to give up the armed struggle.

    2) you missed my critique… it was that FARC has apparently lost their massline, and what is the first principle of massline, from the masses to the masses, no? SO what i’m trying to say, is that a lot of the Colombian masses feel alienated from the actions of farc, whether or not, the actions are justified (as in the numbers of farc fighters colombia and washington have rotting in jails). Obviously, the media and the government use these lack of relations between farc and the masses, but the point is that they are successful at it and whereas farc has lost a lot of the ‘goodwill’ that they might have had…especially after the murders and massacres of UP supporters, and they lost this good will because of their actions, not because of any actions the colombian gov’t has taken. Thus, while i do think secuestrados and drug trade are not the best forms of actions, my critique was more along the lines of the lack of a good realtion between the masses and farc, then about the actions specfically.

    2)The thing is that some of the hostages have been for more then a few years, and some of them are just soliders, not officers. Those are the ones that cost realtions between farc and the people…

    3)about the drug trade, you raise some interesting points, the problem is that the gov’t in this case has successfully portrayed farc and only farc as the narcotrafficers in colombia, so they have the stigma, whether or not its true.

    4)yes, there were anti paraco marches, but the numbers werent the same and as you say, some orginizars were killed off… (my wife is in a union and i’m worried about her life, so yes i’m aware of these facts). Yes, the gov’t shut down the public schools and gov’t jobs and the media pushed these marches…but the people also showed up of their own will. (Give this a gramscian twist: the hegemonic pull of the govt and media is very succesful, even if naked force is also very much present in colombia by the gov’t and paracos, the manufactured consent of the masses to their leaders is also very prevelant).

    5) FARC has yet to make its presence known after a horrible begining in 2008. Between reyes, operation jaque, the farc’s loss of other leaders, the death of marlunada, its been a hard year for them, and living in colombia we have yet to see much beyond their communiques. (a few bombs, but who knows how many were false).

  4. Hey Jeremiah,

    Some of the points you raise are important and correct, such as the point that the FARC has had a rough year. I posted an article about that here. Also, I don’t find what you say in point 4 terribly disagreeable either.

    Regarding the government’s portrayal of “FARC and only FARC as the narcotrafficers”, how successful has this been? With the parapolitics scandal as deep and far-reaching as it is, is it really unclear to people that the drug trafficers are primarily from the class of big landlords, the paramilitaries who serve them, the army and the State?

    Furthermore, there is a question here of the relationship between city and country in what you saw about Gramscian ‘hegemony’. The FARC’s is mainly a rural based revolution. I have never been to Colombia, but I have friends who went to Colombia at different times and spoke to people in the countryside who mostly spoke very highly of the FARC and seemed to understand pretty well what was what. I don’t doubt that many people in the cities where the State is strongest may see things differently. So when we talk about the FARC and the Mass Line, which masses are we talking about?

    Finally, I misspoke regarding what Castro said, you are correct. He said the conflict should come to an end, and that he places the responsibility for ending the conflict upon the FARC. He has no suggestions for Uribe, but yes, he says the FARC should not put down their arms.

    Fidel Castro said, ” I have expressed, very clearly, our position in favour of peace in Colombia; but, we are neither in favour of foreign military intervention nor of the policy of force that the United States intends to impose at all costs on that long-suffering and industrious people. I have honestly and strongly criticised the objectively cruel methods of kidnapping and retaining prisoners under the conditions of the jungle. But I am not suggesting that anyone lay down their arms, when everyone who did so in the last 50 years did not survive to see peace. If I dared suggest anything to the FARC guerrillas, that would simply be that they declare, by any means possible to the International Red Cross, their willingness to release the hostages and prisoners they are still holding, without any preconditions.”

    It is not clear to me how this is supposed to work, and I think it would be a mistake for the FARC to unilaterally release all of their prisoners when the Colombian and U.S. governments still have so many FARC fighters in their jails, including their main prisoner exchange negotiator, Ricardo Palmera (Simon Trinidad). Also, there is a core strategic difference between the protracted people’s war of Mao, Giap, and Marulanda, and the foco strategy of Fidel, Che, and Debray. “He conceived a long and extended struggle; I disagreed with this point of view,” Fidel says. Fidel Castro and Che Guevara’s focoist guerrilla war lasted only a few years, and was absolutely nothing like the protracted people’s war that the FARC has led for more than four decades. The whole of Castro’s rebel army was the size of one batallion of the FARC, of which there are very many. Nor did Castro have to face down a large modern army, equipped and trained by U.S. imperialism. They did not have to deal with the Truman doctrine of ‘containment’ and the size of the FARC controlled territory in Colombia is many times the size of all of Cuba. What is more, the U.S. didn’t mind at all if Fidel won, and that makes a difference. Maybe the nature of the conflict in Colombia is difficult for Fidel to understand based on his revolutionary experience, but certainly every protracted people’s war has involved taking prisoners. It is not terrible, it is fine.

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