Forwarded from Anthony (Andy Higginbottom)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun Feb 2 10:41:42 MST 2003

RE: URGENT ACTION: Death threats against Andy

I hope all members and readers of this list will take seriously the recent
anonymous death threats against Andy Higginbottom, a leaders of the
Colombia Solidarity Campaign in London. I urge everyone to give all support
to the campaign to defend Higginbottom and denounce the threats against
him. I urge Andy Higginbottom and others in his committee to take whatever
measures they can to improve their security.

The threats in London come at a moment of escalation of the Uribe Velez
government campaign of terror against the legal left in Colombia.

It's hard to catalogue all of the recent acts of state terrorism that have
occurred here.

Uribe Velez last week announced a 'final military offensive' against the
FARC and ELN. In fact, all evidence points to an offensive against the
legal left more than against the guerrilla.

Since Uribe Velez came to office and broke off the peace process with the
FARC, the governments strategy has had two prongs: establishment of
'special zones' of military rule in broad swaths of lightly populated areas
of the countryside, and massive and continuous military and police raids on
the homes and offices of community activists, union leaders, Communist
Party members, and people who have been fingered for no particular reason
by Uribe Velez' network of informers.

Within this framework, the paramilitary AUC has been given the greenlight
to step up kidnappings, intimidation, threats, assassinations, and
massacres especially in the 'special zones'.

The government has launched a 'peace process' with the AUC that is
something like the puppet master negotiating with the puppet. Uribe Velez
would like to sanitize and legalize the AUC, but is having a hard time
doing it. Apparently the two stumbling blocks are the AUC's deep
involvement with the cocaine biz, and its public record of horrific
massacres of civilians. Practically speaking this boils down to finding
appropriate scapegoats within the paramilitary who can be tried and
sentenced to some sort of punishment, while the rest are 'reintegrated'
into society. Apparently there is a lot of jockeying going on within the
paramilitary over who, and how many, the scapegoats will be. In the
meantime, the AUC is losing battles with the FARC. Both the 'peace process'
and the battlefield losses seem to be fracturing the AUC's organization.

Until now Uribe-Velez' offensive has caused little or no damage to the FARC
and ELN. Both operate with impunity in the countryside of the 'special
zones' and elsewher. The army has been unable or unwilling to locate and
attack any units of the FARC or ELN. Instead, the FARC has sought out
paramilitary bases, and engaged the paramilitary in a number of punishing
battles which have killed hundreds - perhaps more than a thousand - of the
paramilitary's armed thugs.

Instead the army has concentrated on raiding the homes of activists. In
Medellin two large neighborhoods are subject to military occupation, and
hundreds of homes have been raided. At least one hundred people, mostly
activists, were detained last week. In the poor neighborhoods of the south
of Bogota, raids are continuous. Hundreds have been detained. Also the
National University was raided last December, despite its 'autonomy' and
under the pretext that mortar shells had been fired from its campus (almost
certainly one of the increasing number of provocations.)

Alongside of this activity have been unknown numbers of assassinations.
Since the first of the year almost 60 people have been assassinated in and
around the city of Cucuta, which borders on Venezuela and one of the
'special zones.'

In the last few days a campaign of armed harassment and intimidation has
been launched against Carlos Lozano, director of VOZ and the central public
figure of the Communist Party. Four armored vehicles have threatened him as
he arrived home in the evening in his own armored car and with his own body
guards. When his body guards questioned the men in one of the cars, they
said they were from the 'fiscalia' (Attorney General's office) but showed
no ID.

This follows immediately in the wake of a wave of death threats against
Senators and members of Congress from the 'democratic pole'.

An extension of this terror campaign by the Colombian government to the
solidarity movement in other countries is something that should be
expected, and countered.

All the best, Anthony

Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list:

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