Forwarded from Anthony (crisis in Colombia)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Nov 14 06:58:22 MST 2003

Regarding the Crisis in Colombia

Nobody in Colombia thinks there is a crisis here, or
rather nobody who lives in Colombia thinks the crisis
here is significantly worse than it was a month ago,
or a year ago - and everybody here thinks that this
country lives in a permanent state of crisis, so there
is no crisis.

If that makes sense, you understand that the Colombian
bourgeoisie is in a political crisis, but the
Colombian working class, poor petty bourgeoisie and
peasantry are unable to hallenge them for power, so
everyone here knows that there will be no big changes
in the near future.


There are big changes taking place within the ruling
class leadership.

ALL of the cabinet ministers submitted their
resignations after President Uribe-Velez's referndum
failed. So far he has 'accepted' the resignations of
three: the Minister of the Interior and Justice,
Londoño - probably the most corrupt man in the
government, but also the political tactician in
everythiing Uribe-Velz has done; Marta Lucia Ramirez,
the Minster or Defense, the 'anticorruption Minister
given the imposssible job of fighting the corruption
of the military brass; and the Minister of the
environement, a woman nobody knows or cares about -
and I don't remmeber her name- but neverhtelss a key
figure in trade negotiations with the USA who had
angered the big landowners whom Uribe Velez relies on
for political support.

On top of this the key leaders of the military and
police have resigned. Their reasons are two: failure
to win the war against the FARC and ELN, and too many
public corruption scandals.

The two are related. The army brass makes a lot of
money from siphoning off funds from the military
budget. As long as the war continues, the military
budget will be full of cash, and hence siphoning off a
few million dollars here or there is easier. If the
war were to end - through a negotiated settlement,
through military victory, or through military defeat,
the cash flow would end. The military brass has a very
strong financial interest in continuing the war

The rest of the bourgeoisie doesn't like this
situation. They would like to end the war, because
they think peace would be more profitable than war.

However, they failed to negotiate peace because the
militiary blocked former President Pastrana's
negotiations. And now they can not win the war,
because the military is blocking President Uribe's
offensive plans. Probably they could not win it
anyway, but the miiltary is dragging its feet in
Uribe's offensive.

And, to top it off, the paramilitaries are having a
little civil war among themselves.

The FARC and the ELN have both wisely decided to lay
low, although thye have both been hit fairly hard by
Uribe-Velez offensive.

On the other hand, the social democratic left, in the
form of the Polo Democratico Independiente, has taken
advantage of the conjuncture, and is now the main
opposition to the government. Its most important
public figure Lucho Garzon was just elected mayor of
Bogotá, and its second most important figure Senator
Alvaro Navaro wolf - a former M-19 leader - may be the
next president of Colmbia ( if he lives that long).

All the best, Anthony

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