Forwarded from Anthony (Colombia update)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Mon Dec 16 07:13:38 MST 2002

Sorry I ahven't posted much news about Colombia lately, but things have
been moving too quickly, and in a bad direction.

First, the latest wave of bombs in Bogota is bound to get media
attention in the rest of the world. Three bombs have gone off - a letter
bomb which injured an Uribista Senator (and close relative of a former
President of Colombia), a big car bomb in a shopping center parking lot
(apparently aimed at a small enighborhood police station) which injured
about 60 people, and a big bomb on the 30th floor of the swankest hotel
in town - apparently aimed at a group of important politicos dining there.

These bombs have been attributed to the FARC by the government, which
has formed a new elite task force to hunt down FARC militias in Bogota.
The result is the biggest yet wave of raids on the homes and offices of
people suspected of being related to the FARC - most of those places are
in some way related to the Commmunist Party - which as everyone on this
list should know has no organizational connection with the FARC.

As far as I know the FARC has not taken - nor denied - responsibillity
for the bombs.

But the bombings take place in an atmosphere of a major government
offensive aimed - at least in appearance - at the FARC. This offensive
includes the arrest of the memebers of one town government - Calamar -
for allegedly being secret members of the FARC and of something called
the 'Clandestine Communist Party'. Whether such an organization really
exists, or is a figment of the government's witchhunting imagination, is
anone's guess at this point. One thing that is clear, is that those
arrested in Calamar were loved, respected, and supported by the people
of the town.

Another thing that is clear, is that the town is a strategic riverport
in the Eastern llanos.

Other arrests of elected and appointed government officials for having
alleged linnks to the FARC are taking place in many parts of the country.

Related to this is the recent hijacking of the teacher's union (FECODE)
and the national labor federation (CUT) by the Liberal Party. Until
earlier this year both were led by a left wing alliance centered on the
Communist Party. In recent elections the left was ousted by an alliance
of Uribistas and Serpistas. Those elections were characterised by
demoralization among sectors of the rank and file, voter fraud -
especially in areas controlled by the paramilitaries, and armed
intimidation fo union members, and intervention by the international arm
of the AFL-CIO in support of the Liberal/paramilitray alliance.

The loss by the left of the leadership of the unions here is a major
blow which will - at least in the short run -debiliate any mass
opposition to Uribe's dictatorial agenda.

This is very important in many ways. Union organizational resources can
not be used to moblize mass demonstrations against the serious
violations of legal rights taking place. Nor can they be used to
mobilize against the reactionary referendum slowly winding its way
towards the ballot box. Nor can union legal defense funds be used to
defend left wing union leaders against arrest and prosecution int he
raids now taking place. Not to mention denying union resources from the
physical protection of left wing leaders from assassination.

How closely these events are connected with events in Venezuela is an
interesting question. But the links are close in any case.

The left in the unions here is very Chavista and Bolivariano. People see
Chavez's stand against the mass  movement of the bourgoiesie in
Venezuela as a heroic ray of hope.

What is going to happen next in Venezuela is anybody's guess, but my
guess is that Chavez will win - at least in the short run.

One problem the Venezuelan bourgeoisie (and witht hem the Colombian
bourgeoisie and behind both of them the State DEpartment) has is that
there is no body to replace Chavez. El Tiempo just ran the latest polls
from Venezuela which show Chavez beating any candidate the opposition
runs against him by at least a two to one margin if elections were held

This is bad news for a coup that pretends to be 'democratic.'

All the best, happy holidays (whichever you celebrate - my personal
favorite is the solstice)



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