Saturday, January 19, 2008

Belligerency: Two Articles on the FARC-EP

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)

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

SDS Days of Action Against the War in Iraq


This March will mark a grim milestone - the fifth anniversary of the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq. Despite the clear mandate from the American people to end the occupation, the U.S. government continues to wage war upon the Iraqi people. Bush’s mocking response to dwindling public support for the war has been the “troop surge,” or simply more of the same, while simultaneously threatening neighboring countries like Iran. For their part, the Democrats refuse to commit to a clear anti-war stance, even as they try to posture as the opposition party. Meanwhile, the threat of domestic recession looms, racist attacks increase, and millions lack decent housing, jobs, education, and health-care.

The war will drag on for many more years–draining billions of dollars and resulting in thousands of more causalities, both American and Iraqi, on top of the hundreds of thousands already killed, injured, and displaced–unless the people stand up and fight for change.Every year, there have been protests marking the anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that was launched on the basis of lies and deceit. Students have historically had an especially important role in the struggles against racism and war, and we continue to do so today. Last March, over 80 high schools and colleges answered the call by chapters of Students for a Democratic Society to come together to send one loud resounding NO to the Bush administration and the Republican agenda, to the Democrats who refuse to carry out the mandate of their constituents, and to the University administrations that so often support war efforts.
This March, SDS is urging all students, as part of the broader community of people of conscience, to voice our opposition to the war in Iraq. As the presidential election nears, candidates need to be sent a clear message: we will not stand for vague time lines and empty promises, we will not tolerate sanctions, threats, and aggression against Iran, and that we will stand in solidarity with the Iraqi people who are struggling to liberate their country.We want as many people as possible to join us in this protest; the larger the protest the stronger the impact we have, and the sooner we can help end this war. We are calling on any and all student and youth based organizations that are opposed to the war in Iraq to mobilize their memberships, their campus, their community and hit the streets for the week of March 17-21, with March 20 as the focal point.* We are calling on students to take action on their own campuses, where we have the power to reach the entire student body with our message and build resistance on our own campuses. We are calling on our fellow students and youth to take the lead and do whatever it takes–from rallies, marches, walk-outs, civil disobedience, and direct action–to send a clear message to the U.S. government: Get out of Iraq Now!


SDS March 20th Working Group
January 4, 2008

Contact march20sds@gmail.com if you would like to sign on to the call.

*This call is flexible so that each campus/community can organize an action that works best for them. For instance, if March 20th is an inconvenient date due to Spring Break, actions can be held in the weeks prior to or after 3/20. We are encouraging those who are on spring break during this week to mobilize their chapters to participate in the anti-war actions being held in D.C. on the 19th; for more information on the actions in DC, email dcsds@riseup.net.

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