As an advocate of freedom for Colombian revolutionary and peace negotiator, Ricardo Palmera (alias: Simon Trinidad), I found these two articles very interesting. They bring forth the prospect of actually recoginizing that a Civil War is taking place in Colombia and that the FARC-EP (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army) is an actual army fighting a war of national liberation. This would be a big step forward in a Colombian peace process, which is something that all progressive people should not hesitate to support.
Of course, revolutionaries don’t get belligerency status, no matter what international law says. The People’s Liberation Army led by Mao Zedong never had recognized belligerency status, and nor did the Bolshevik revolutionaries. The gift of belligerency status from the imperialists has not yet been bestowed upon the New People’s Army in the Philippines or the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The oppressed don’t need the recognition of the oppressor to legitamize them, and of course, they never will. But for Chavez and the Venezuelan government to say they are a belligerent force certainly can’t hurt when it comes to negotiations.
Until this point, the U.S. and Colombian governments have refused to recognize the belligerency of the FARC-EP, insisting rather that the rebels are nothing but “narco-terrorist” criminals. It would be highly unlikely if they ever did. This business about “narco-terrorism” is the Big Lie. It is a story they have found very convenient to avoid the PR pitfalls of direct intervention against Marxist revolutions fighting for social justice, such as with the Nicaraguan Sandinistas and the Iran-Contra scandal. But this charge of “narco-terrorism” is utter nonsense. As the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera has pointed out, “The U.S. government’s Defense Intelligence Agency report from 1991, listed [Colombian President] Uribe among ‘the more important Colombian narco-traffickers contracted by the Colombian narcotic cartels for security, transportation, distribution, collection and enforcement of narcotics operations.’ It is outrageous that President Uribe is the one who signed Ricardo Palmera’s extradition papers. Further 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.'”
Belligerency status would of course help give the lie to the “kidnapping” charge against Palmera in that it would then be reasonable that mercenaries shot down and captured could be considered Prisoners of War, in-so-far as there is a bourgeois legal question for Professor Palmera. It would also help to challenge and call further into question the billions of dollars of U.S. aid that goes to Colombia for its “Plan Colombia“. No longer could this be construed as aid against “narco-terrorism” but as plain and simple neocolonial intervention against the heroic Colombian Revolution, which it certainly is, and as a clear slap in the face to the national sovereignty of the Colombian people.
The FARC’s revolutionary war for national liberation and socialism is absolutely legitamate, rebellion is absolutely justified, and Ricardo Palmera is a hero.
FARC Not a Terrorist Group
by Paul Wolf
Amid the jubilant press reaction to the freeing of Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez has made the surprising announcement, almost immediately ratified by the Venezuelan Congress, that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP) is a legitimate belligerent force, and not a terrorist group. Although I have been criticizing Chávez of late, I have to say that I not only agree with this, but also think that America’s official “terrorist list” and “war on terrorism” have an extremely destructive impact on efforts to resolve conflicts all over the world.
(read the rest of this article: http://www.colombiajournal.org/colombia270.htm)
Venezuelan Legislature Supports Belligerent Status for Colombian Rebels
January 19th 2008, by Kiraz Janicke – Venezuelanalysis.com
Editor’s note: This is a slightly corrected version of the article that appeared earlier today.
Caracas, January 18, 2008 (venezuelanalysis.com) – The Venezuelan National Assembly voted yesterday to support President Chavez’s call for Colombia to recognize the “belligerent status” of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN). It also rejected the “unilateral lists imposed by the government of the United States,” which classifies these groups as “terrorist organizations.”
(read the rest of this article: http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news/3080)