Forwarded from Anthony (reply to Tony)

Tony Abdo aabdo at
Mon Feb 5 17:01:01 MST 2001

Thank you for the invitation, Anthony, though I had an open invitation
to visit Bogota for many a year.     It's definitely an Athens of South
America.       However.....

In an effort to paint Colombia for us as being part of the real world
(which it in fact is), you have gone to the other extreme, and
sugarcoated the reality.

All Colombians know that their country is an extremely dangerous
environment, and what's more, they have the statistics to back
themselves up.     It's not a place for children, for example.     And
Colombian women don't think of their society as being more pro-woman
than that of the US.     And neither do the men.

The question of racism in Colombia is very complex.    In some ways it
has similarities to the Brazilan situation.    And also to the strain of
racism that permeates Mexico.     Because it is not, that better known
(to us), British/ American brand, does not mean that it is any bit less
virulent.     The truth be far from that.

You did not touch on the rigid and hateful class hierarchy of Colombian
society.     This combines with regional and racial divisions, and with
the sexual divide, too.     It is an extremely oppressive aspect of
Colombian society.

In summary once again, the Colombian City of Roses is not as safe as
Rose City USA.     And the land of emeralds is not as tranquil as Oz.
Much of the middle class would like to leave...... desperately.   And
when the middle class wants to stampede, it's like a canary in a coal

You do a service in pointing out the urban nature of Colombia.    Just
like Chiapas is not THE situation in a very urban Mexico, the rural
situation is not near the whole story in Colombia, neither.     The rest
of the world sometimes begins to get a wrong picture of these societies,
based on the repetitive media concentration on the worst areas of social
strife (usually found in the rural areas), in Mexico and Colombia.

There is one HUGE difference with Colombia, though.    That is the
centuries and centuries, of a large part of the economy being based on
smuggling, of some sort, or another.     It didn't just start with
cocaine.     And it's not just that Colombians are born criminals.
It has to do with history and locale.      Arms, emeralds, slaves,
marijuana, heroin, cocaine, rum.......... and so on.

So, there are reasons for the huge differences that make Colombia so
different from even other Latin American societies, let alone

And it is no racial paradise.     Look at the Colombian National team,
and then look at its elites.     I won't even go much into the nature of
Pastuzo jokes (Indigenous are idiots???).      The racism of Colombian
society is pervasive, and often based on regional dominations over other
competing, or dominated, regions.

<Up until now the United States has not
been center stage in this conflict. Center stage are Colombian players:
factions of the
Colombian bourgeoisie and the Colombian left.>

True enough, but yet so strangely false, too.     I believe that the US
was the country that split Panama off....     I also believe that you
have inadvertently adopted the Colombian myopia, somewhat.     They see
themselves as center stage a little too much.    The US has always been
alurking behind in the shadows of the national conflict.

Plus, this is no replay of El Salvador or Nicaragua.      This is a
domino that has already fallen, and knocked several others over, too.
So we should not accept on this interational list, a concept of what
'total war' is, as only currently seen and discussed, within the
Colombian press and society.     It's a much larger issue than Colombia

<I think US imperialism has a different strategy than "mass terrorism".
Their strategy is a
continuation of the one they used so successfully in Central America,
and Southern
Africa. They combine war with peace negotiations. They would love for
Murulanda Velez to sign a peace treaty here that would allow the FARC to
follow in the
footsteps of the ANC, FSLN, FMLN and so on.>

True, the US would prefer 'negotiation'..    But there is the example of
the Union Patriotica.     Both the FARC and ELN are not too eager to
follow this road.   And the US and Colombian governments know it too.
That's why the candy stick will be extended elsewhere than in Colombia.
As in Chiapas and Mexico as a whole, for an example.

In Colombia, the US solution will be a 'total war'.     It already is,
despite the constant blah, blah, blah.      They still believe in the
domino theory, and so do marxists.     It's about much more, than if
Tirofijo or someone else, can be turned or not.     It's about Ecuador,
Venezuela, and Peru, too.

<I am not sure what you mean by "mass terrorism", but one thing you
should be aware of
is that there is no mass fascist movement in Colombia which could be
used to terrorize
the peasantry and the working class. This is a strategic problem for
imperialism, and a strategic advantage for our side.

They do rely heavily on terrorism - but their terorist groups are small
bands of
mercenaries, or soldiers dressed as civilians, not a mass popular
movement of the petty
bourgeoisie against the working class and oppressed.>

Anthony, this is a mass form of terrorism.     The Colombian military
(backed by the US) is no tiny little 'band of mercenaries'.     I don't
know what you are waiting for, to label it as it is?    Swastikas to
become a hit at Medelin discoteques?     You paint a picture of the
Colombian working class and peasantry as not already being terrorized!

Smashed and defeated, yet?    No.     Terrorized?     Most definitely,
YES.... in capital letters.

The terror doesn't come from internal bands alone.    It comes from fear
of the US intervention.     Don't look for the return of pre-war
European fascism.     The dynamics are different.

<So, I am sorry if you are afraid to visit Baranquilla, and sorry that
you do not like to have your life in the USA compared with life in a
third world country.>

I now live in the third world!, Anthony.      Right here in Laredo,
Texas.... home of the Colombia International Solidarity Bridge!
Pretty soon we'll be full swing, into the planet's only full time
celebration of Jorge Washington's a city run by Tejano
Migra.    Combined with the Jalapeno Eating Contest, and Pocohontas

Laredo is a sort of mystical place.  Gabriel Garcia Marquez would have
written about it, if he had been from Coahuila or Tamaulipas, instead of
Colombia.     I believe that Bogota might probably be safer than living
here in Laredo.     At least for the mind.

Best wishes, and keep on informing us about events as they break.     It
is a good discussion, and not a dispute.     PLUS___We both agree that
it looks like the US will continue to go into this conflict....head


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