Colombia: Pax Romana
I have honestly and strongly criticized the objectively cruel methods of kidnapping and retaining prisoners under the conditions of the jungle. But I am not suggesting that anyone laid down their arms, when everyone who did so in the last 50 years did not survive to see peace...
I basically drew these data from statements made by William Brownfield, US ambassador to Colombia, from that country's press and television, from the international press, and other sources. It's impressive the show of technology and economic resources at play.
While in Colombia the senior military officers went to great pains to explain that Ingrid Betancourt's rescue had been an entirely Colombian operation, the US authorities were saying that "it was the result of years of intense military cooperation of the Colombian and United States' armies."
"'The truth is that we have been able to get along as we seldom have in the United States, except with our oldest allies, mostly in NATO,' said Brownfield, referring to his country's relationships with the Colombian security forces, which have received over 4 billion USD in military assistance since the year 2000."
"... on various occasions it became necessary for the US Administration to make decisions at the top levels concerning this operation.
"The US spy satellites helped in locating the hostages during a month period starting on May 31st until the rescue action on Wednesday."
"The Colombians installed video surveillance equipment, supplied by the United States. Operated by remote control, these can take close-ups and pan along the rivers which are the only transportation routes through thick forests, said the Colombian and US authorities."
"US surveillance aircraft intercepted the rebels' radio and satellite phone talks and used imaging equipment that can break through the forest foliage."
"'The defector will receive a considerable sum of the close to one- hundred-million-dollars reward offered by the government', stated the Commander General of the Colombian Army."
On Wednesday, July 1st, the London BBC reported that Cesar Mauricio Velasquez, press secretary at Casa de Nariño (Colombian Government House) had informed that delegates from France and Switzerland had met with Alfonso Cano, chief of the FARC.
According to the BBC, that would be the first contact with international delegates accepted by the new chief after the death of Manuel Marulanda. The false information of the meeting of two European envoys with Cano had been released in Bogota.
The deceased leader of the FARC had been born on May 12, 1932, according to his father's testimony. Marulanda, a poor peasant with a liberal thinking and a Gaitan follower, had started his armed resistance 60 years back. He was a guerrilla before us; he had reacted to the carnage of peasants carried out by the oligarchy.
The Communist Party he later joined, the same as every other in Latin America, was under the influence of the Communist Party of the USSR and not of Cuba. They were in solidarity with our Revolution but they were not subordinated to it.
It was the drug-traffickers and not the FARC that unleashed terror in that sister nation as part of their feuds over the United States market. They caused powerful bomb blasts and even blew up trucks loaded with plastic explosives destroying facilities and injuring or killing countless people.
The Colombian Communist Party never contemplated the idea of conquering power through the armed struggle. The guerrilla was a resistance front and not the basic instrument to conquer revolutionary power, as it had been the case in Cuba. In 1993, at the 8th FARC Conference, they decided to break ranks with the Communist Party. Its leader, Manuel Marulanda, took over the leadership of that Party's guerrillas which had always excelled in their narrow sectarianism when admitting combatants as well as in their strong and compartmented commanding methods.
Marulanda, a man with a remarkable natural talent and a leader's gift, did not have the opportunity to study when he was young. It is said that he had only completed the 5th grade of grammar school. He conceived a long and extended struggle; I disagreed with this point of view. But, I never had the chance to talk with him.
The FARC became considerable strong with over 10 thousand combatants. Many had been born during the war and had known nothing else. Other leftist organizations rivaled the FARC in the struggle. By then the Colombian territory had become the largest source of cocaine production in the world. Then, extreme violence, kidnappings, taxes and demands from the drug producers became widespread.
The paramilitary forces, armed by the oligarchy, drew basically from the great amount of men enlisted in the country's armed forces who were discharged from duty every year without a secure job. These created in Colombia a very complex situation with only one way out: real peace, albeit remote and difficult as many other goals Humanity have set itself. This is the option that, for three decades, Cuba has advocated for that nation.
While our journalists meeting in their 8th Congress debated on the new technologies of information, the principles and ethic of social communicators, I meditated on the abovementioned developments.
I have expressed, very clearly, our position in favor of peace in Colombia; but, we are neither in favor 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 criticized the objectively cruel methods of kidnapping and retaining prisoners under the conditions of the jungle. But I am not suggesting that anyone laid 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 precondition. I do not intend to be heard; it is simply my duty to say what I think. Anything else would only serve to reward disloyalty and treason.
I will never support the pax romana that the empire tries to impose on Latin America.
Fidel Castro Ruz
July 5, 2008
Cuba: Thumbs Up for Release of Ingrid Betancourt
HAVANA, Cuba, July 4 (acn) Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque spoke Friday positively of the release of Ingrid Betancourt, a former Colombian presidential candidate kidnapped on February 23, 2002, by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Cuban News Agency
"It is a positive fact that should contribute to the peace process in Colombia, which Cuba fully supports," said the Cuban top diplomat before joining the 29th annual summit of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) concluding Friday in Antigua and Barbuda.
According to Perez Roque, the conflict in Colombia delays and makes the integration of Latin American countries more difficult. Peace must be attained at the negotiation table, he added.
On a news article by Cuban Revolution Leader Fidel Castro published today, he writes that "Out of a basically humanist sentiment, we rejoiced at the news that Ingrid Betancourt, three American citizens and other captives had been released."
"The civilians should have never been kidnapped neither should the militaries have been kept prisoners in jungle conditions. No revolutionary purpose could justify it," writes Fidel.
Ingrid Betancourt was reunited Thursday with her children who arrived from Paris hours after the military operation that freed their mother and 14 other hostages.
Pastors for Peace arrive in Cuba
Representatives from the Pastors for Peace Caravan from the United States reached Havana Saturday, after negotiating obstacles orchestrated by Washington in an effort to prevent their arrival to the island.
Caridad Diego Bello, head of the Communist Party of Cuba's Central Committee religious affairs office, leaders of the Cuban People's Friendship Institute and Cuban religious leaders gathered at José Martí International Airport to welcome the group.
The Reverend Lucius Walker led the delegation which is bringing solidarity aid to Cuba, despite the challenges faced crossing the border into Mexican territory via the Pharr Bridge near Reynosa.
At this border crossing between the states of Tamaulipas and Texas, U.S. agents confiscated 35 computers, part of the 100 ton shipment which included several vehicles.
Members of the 19th U.S.-Cuba Friendship Caravan, in a demonstration of protest, occupied one lane of automobile traffic at the Pharr border crossing station for half an hour, until their entrance into Mexico was authorized.
The group then traveled to the port of Tampico to ship their humanitarian contribution to Cuba and participated, as they do every year, in a solidarity event in the Plaza de la Libertad, within this Mexican city.
Some one hundred participants in the friendship with Cuba movement then flew to Cuba, to deliver the donations.
The Pastors for Peace delegation includes activists from the U.S., Canada, Europe and Mexico, and every year challenges the U.S. blockade against Cuba which prohibits trade and travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens.
In its tour of U.S. and Canadian cities, the caravan collected 100 tons of donations, among them medical, educational, art and sports equipment destined for the Cuban people.
The contribution also includes several busses, five of which carry the names of Gerardo Hernández, Fernando González, Ramón Labañino, René González and Antonio Guerrero, unjustly imprisoned within the U.S. for fighting against terrorism.
The Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO) Pastors for Peace has been working for social justice for more than 40 years and has collected humanitarian aid to support the Cuban nation since 1992, without requesting a U.S. Treasury Department license.
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