Fwd: jhurd_dsa-doc: U.S. Plots Colombia Invasion; General Strike Looms (fwd)

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at SPAMhotmail.com
Tue Aug 31 02:41:01 MDT 1999



"My goodness", the sabre rattles, and the theme song is written.....
But what is to be the fate of impending overextension?
Macdonald



> >World 5:32 AM GMT+8, Monday August 30
> >US proposes Latin military intervention in Colombia
> >----------------------------------------------
> >LIMA, Aug 29 (AFP) - US anti-drug czar Barry McCaffrey has informally
> >urged Latin leaders to organize a military intervention force to pacify
> >Colombia, a Peruvian TV newscast reported Sunday. McCaffrey reportedly
> >made the statements in off-the-record personal talks with the presidents
> >of Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and Argentina, according to Frecuencia Latina -
> >Channel 2. Frecuencia Latina -- a station that has close ties with the
> >Peruvian military intelligence service, SIN -- reports that the
> >multinational force would intervene in early 2000 acting on a request by
> >Colombian President Andres Pastrana.
> >At every stop of his recent Latin tour McCaffrey publicly denied plans
> >for any direct US intervention in Colombia. Top US State Department
> >officials have also forcefully denied plans for a US military
> >intervention in Colombia.
> >According to Frecuencia Latina the scenario would develop in the
> >following manner:
> >-- Pastrana would try to reach an agreement with the leftist
> >Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country's leading
> >rebel group.
> >-- If peace is not reached by January, Pastrana would declare a state of
> >internal war in Colombia and call on regional aid to help pacify his
> >country.
> >-- An intervention force of Peruvian, Ecuadoran and Brazilian soldiers
> >would join forces with five Colombian army batallions currently being
> >trained by US advisers to fight the rebels. -- US warships off
> >Colombia's Caribbean and Pacific coasts would support the allied
> >intervention with missile attacks and air strikes. -- The station
> >reported that Peru has already deployed 5,000 soldiers -- all veterans
> >of the war with Peruvian leftist rebels -- on the border with Colombia,
> >as well as four warships with Peruvian Special Forces and Marine units.
> >A Lima newspaper report earlier in the week that 2,000 Peruvian soldiers
> >had been depoloyed to the remote Colombian border. -- The station said
> >that McCaffrey held an off-the-record interview with presidential
> >adviser Vladimiro Montesinos, the controversial head of the SIN widely
> >seen as the second most powerful person in Peru. It did not report
> >Fujimori's stance on the plan.
> >In 1997 Frecuencia Latina aired several controversial reports of torture
> >carried out by SIN members.
> >By mid-year Fujimori stripped Israeli-born station owner Baruch Ivcher
> >of his nationality, and Fujimori supporters took over the station.
> >===============================================
> >
> >Subject: Colombians Prepare General Strike
> >World 5:25 AM GMT+8, Monday August 30
> >Colombians prepare general strike against foreign debt payment
> >----------------------------------------------
> >BOGOTA, Aug 29 (AFP) - Colombian unions geared up Sunday for this week's
> >planned general strike to demand a ban on foreign debt payments in a
> >country facing its worst economic crisis in 70 years. The strike planned
> >for Tuesday is organized labor's response to financial austerity
> >measures announced by President Andres Pastrana in his 2000 budget in
> >July.
> >Among the unions taking part in the nationwide protest are the Central
> >Unit of the Workers and the General Confederation of Democratic Workers.
> >In July, Colombia for the first time in its history asked the
> >International Monetary Fund for a three-billion-dollar loan to help meet
> >its foreign debt obligations estimated at 35 billion dollars. The
> >general strike by some 20 million union workers and largely supported by
> >the poverty-striken population is expected to paralyze the country
> >unless both sides agree on economic measures outlined in the budget
> >proposal.
> >The budget proposed decreases in government salaries, except those at
> >the lowest pay levels, by not making cost-of-living adjustments based on
> >the rate of inflation, which currently stands at nine percent a year.
> >The proposal would also increase the retirement age for men, to 62 from
> >the current 60, and for women to 57 from 55. The budget plan also would
> >decrease the hourly wage.
> >The unions are also demanding greater workplace protection, in a country
> >where 72 union leaders were murdered last year, according to the
> >workers' groups.
> >The nation's growth, which dropped to its lowest level -- 0.6 percent --
> >in 70 years in 1998, is on track to be negative this year. And the
> >crippled economy has already sent 3,675 into bankruptcy in the first
> >seven months of the year.
> >Productivity continues to be weak, and gross domestic product fell 5.85
> >percent in the first quarter compared to the same period in 1998. During
> >the first five months of the year, industrial production dropped 18.4
> >percent compared to last year and exports decreased 8.7 percent despite
> >increased sales of coffee and oil, two of the country's main industries.
> >The country's national debt, which also rose sharply as fewer taxes have
> >been collected, comprises 20 of the 35 billion dollars of foreign debt.
> >In a country where more than one-third of its 38 million people are
> >already in poverty, the depressed economy has compounded their financial
> >difficulties, driving unemployment to its highest level ever, 19.5
> >percent.
> >Colombia's currency, the peso, also has been hard hit by two
> >devaluations of 10 and nine percent in September 1998 and June 1999,
> >respectively.
> >And the country's troubles are not limited to the economy. Colombia's
> >civil war between government forces, right-wing paramilitary groups and
> >leftist guerrillas has raged on for more than 35 years and has killed
> >some 120,000 people.
> >Recent efforts by President Pastrana to seal a peace accord with South
> >America's largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
> >Colombia (FARC), have been stalled.
> >The US government has reiterated its support for Pastrana, but has come
> >under increasing congressional scrutiny for its Colombia policies.
> >Violence continued early Sunday when three people were killed and nine
> >injured in bombs in four cities, including Bogota. The police, who
> >claimed leftist rebels were responsible, did not dismiss the idea that
> >the bombs could be linked to the upcoming strike.
> >
>
>

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