[Marxism] On the so-called FARC "hostages"

Aaron Aarons listsubs at aarons.f-m.fm
Tue Jul 15 05:24:44 MDT 2008

[I sent the first item below a few days ago, but the email address I sent it from was apparently not the one that this list recognizes for me. - Aaron]

>Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2008 10:38:57 -0400
>From: "=?UTF-8?Q?Joaqu=C3=ADn_Bustelo?=" <jbustelo at gmail.com>
>Subject: Re: [Marxism] English translation of FARC statement
>Some things that should be noted about the FARC statement:
>It confirms that there was no FARC decision to release these hostages.
>The FARC's reiteration of a policy of "exchange," and the statement
>that freeing FARC prisoners in the hands of the government, which FARC
>has for a long time sought through exchange, seem to be a promise that
>a) they will keep their current hostages and b) hostage taking will
>continue to be a top priority.

Of the fifteen prisoners lost by FARC to the Colombian state, only one of them, Betancourt, might NOT be considered a prisoner of war. For anybody on the left to call them "hostages" is just doing the propaganda dirty work of imperialism. And since when is one side in a war expected to release its prisoners while the other side doesn't?

>In this sense, the FARC's response to the overwhelming majority of Colombians who want the hostages [sic!] freed,

I'm sure that, if a pro-FARC Colombian gets a phone call from a polltaker asking whether he wants the FARC "hostages" freed, he's going to give an honest answer -- if he's suicidal! Moreover, anybody who really wants FARC-held prisoners to be released but not FARC fighters held by the Colombian state and the United Snakes is not someone whose desires should influence revolutionaries, or even left reformists!

>as well as revolutionary and progressive governments in the region that have called on the FARC to
>release its hostages unconditionally is: drop dead.

So the revolutionary fighters in one country should subordinate themselves to the diplomatic needs of one socialist country and of a few left bourgeois-nationalist governments? It seems that those who tell the FARC to release its prisoners unconditionally are, in a very real sense, telling the FARC fighters and supporters to "drop dead".


Here's another post I drafted a week ago but didn't send:

>Date: Mon, 7 Jul 2008 18:36:49 +1000
>From: "Stuart Munckton" <stuartmunckton at gmail.com>
>Subject: [Marxism] Colombia: Behind the freeing of Betancourt
>Colombia: Behind the freeing of Betancourt
>Stuart Munckton
>5 July 2008
>The liberating of the prisoners was widely celebrated, including by the Venezuelan government of Hugo Chavez, which has been involved in negotiating with the FARC for the release of its prisoners. According to a Venezuelanalysis.com article, Chavez stated: "We share the jubilation Š for the liberation of these persons Š"

According to Venezuelanalysis.com, the Chavez government specifically included the "three United States citizens", i.e., mercenaries, among those whose "joyous liberation" it "joins in the jubilation over"!

DISGUSTING! If Chavez endorsed this statement, his socialist and/or anti-imperialist credentials have gone from ambiguous to dubious.

>Chavez reiterated his call, first made in January, for the FARC to release all of its remaining prisoners, and Venezuela's foreign affairs ministry stated "we wish that this event will open the path to humanitarian accord, the dismantling of war, and the extraordinary achievement of peace".

So FARC is supposed to release all its bargaining chips, including captured military, not in exchange for its own people who are prisoners in Colombia and the U.S., but in exchange for the hope for "the extraordinary achievement of peace" with a vicious landlord/capitalist ruling class that has, going back at least to 1948, slaughtered more leftists, workers and peasants than the rest of the mass-murdering rulers of Latin America put together!

>While the liberation is welcome,

... welcome to people who reject class war, as well as to those who fervently practice class war on the side of the capitalist class.

The release of those prisoners, especially the U.S. mercenaries, however it was accomplished, is a defeat for the anti-imperialist struggle. One can only hope that the FARC can reverse its recent downhill slide, correct its errors, and continue the struggle against U.S. imperialism and the Colombian oligarchy.

More information about the Marxism mailing list