Home | About | Donate

Colombia’s Bittersweet Peace Deal


Colombia’s Bittersweet Peace Deal

Andrés Cala

The Colombian government and the continent’s mightiest and longest-surviving guerrilla army, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, are set to finalize a bittersweet peace agreement next spring with no victors, millions of victims, and just enough justice to basically turn a page on decades of unrelenting bloodletting.


"Colombia’s war goes back further though to 1948 when Jorge Eliecer Gaitán, a popular democratic leader, was assassinated, setting off a decade of conflict called La Violencia, in which another 200,000 people were killed. The FARC is rooted in that conflict and the resulting deal brokered by the country’s warring conservative and liberal elites to share power, rather than address gross inequality, which is among the world’s worst.

"It is this inequality that is at the heart of Colombia’s conflicts, including the drug war. Greater income equality and land redistribution are the only ways to bring lasting peace, regardless of the recent negotiations."

I spoke with an older Colombian American friend of mine recently who was a child of a regional Colombian army commander before and into the period of La Violencia. His father, the military man, a supporter of Gaitan (who was a kind of FDR figure, implementing land redistribution of unused land owned by elites so that Colombians starving through the Great Depression might stop starving) refused orders to wipe out a village targeted by the new junta. At that time, the rightwing paramilitaries were doing things like cutting open a pregnant woman and her husband, putting the fetus into the man's body and a dead chicken into hers, and sewing them both back up to send a message. Long story short, my friend's father narrowly escaped death by orders from his own military superiors--and through being protected by the population--arranged a way to save his skin, and later accepted an offer to go fight in the Korean War rather than continue to live in mortal danger of assassination (Colombia sent about 2000 men to join the U.S. "Coalition of the Willing"-type thing that time). Because the U.S. guys liked him in Korea, he ended up getting a job teaching at the School of the Americas--not teaching assassination techniques, there were others who did that. Growing up with such a father, my friend got quite a political education.

If all Colombian armed forces have to admit their crimes or face the music in this deal, then the U.S. should have to do the same. If the U.S. wants to treat funders of terrorists--the terrorists and non-terrorists that the U.S. labels as such, that is--as themselves terrorists, then this rule should be self-applied as well, of course. Now that Clinton and Sanders have both joined Obama on perpetuating endless war in Afghanistan, bombing hospitals included, where is there any chance that this U.S. election season will feature a blip about the widespread evil of imperialist U.S. war?


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


Back to slick Willy? I suppose you take Reagan for a saint?