[Marxism] Colombia: Uribe’s Farewell Spectacle

Greg McDonald gregmc59 at gmail.com
Wed Jul 28 02:49:24 MDT 2010

Colombia: Uribe’s Farewell Spectacle - español

Atilio A. Boron

Translation: Machetera and Manuel Talens

Álvaro Uribe, the empire’s unconditional pawn, took his leave from the
Colombian presidency with a new provocation: the denunciation of FARC
camps which he claimed to be established on Venezuelan territory.
Being neither dimwitted nor lazy, the U.S. State Department came out
in unconditional support of the accusation put forth by Bogotá at the
Organization of American States (OAS), encouraged by the supposed
“resounding” proof presented by Uribe, denouncing the government of
Hugo Chávez for allowing the FARC camps to be set up and for carrying
out various military training programs for some 1,500 guerrillas on
Venezuelan soil.  With amazing insolence, Philip Crowley, the State
Department spokesperson declared that Venezuela’s response [in
terminating diplomatic relations with Colombia] was “unfortunate” and
“petulant” and threatened that “if Venezuela fails to cooperate in
whatever follow-on steps are made, the United States and other
countries will obviously take account of that.”  It must be remembered
that since 2006, the United States has included Venezuela in the list
of countries that are unwilling to cooperate in the struggle against
terrorism.  Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere
Affairs Arturo Valenzuela issued a declaration along the same lines,
saying that Uribe’s denunciation was “very serious.”  Both statements
cast a heavy shadow of doubt about the intellectual capabilities of
both officials and, what’s worse, feed the suspicion that with their
fondness for lies, the moral caliber of both is not all that different
from that of Álvaro Uribe.

It’s obvious that for imperial administrators, they will try to make
anything that is convenient to their interests appear before public
opinion as something “serious and overwhelming.”  And these were the
interests that moved the White House to ask for one last “proof of
love” from the Colombian leader just a few days before leaving his

Manuel Noriega

As is commonly known, the file that the DEA, the CIA and the FBI have
been building on Uribe for his intimate and prolonged links with the
drug cartels keeps the Colombian leader from disobeying any kind of
order coming from Washington, for fear of meeting the same fate as the
former Panamanian president Manuel A. Noriega, and ending his days in
a maximum security cell in the United States. [i]

The absurd claim from Uribe, an inveterate liar, comes like manna from
heaven in Washington’s push to destabilize the Chávez government
before the crucial Venezuelan elections scheduled for September 26th
and at the same time, it legitimizes the impressive program of U.S.
militarization that is being imposed on Latin America; one of whose
leading examples has been the signed Obama-Uribe treaty through which
Colombia is ceding at least seven military bases for the use of U.S.
armed forces.  This is why those in the U.S. government pretend to
consider the proof behind Uribe’s denunciation as “serious and
overwhelming,” knowing that it is completely unfounded and nothing
more than pure verbiage backed up with photographic montages.  But
lies are part of official U.S. discourse, essential elements in
granting an aura of legitimacy to U.S. imperial designs, for a variety
of reasons.

These are lies because, in the first place, if the FARC controls
around 30% of Colombian territory (something that is well known in
Colombia) it’s impossible to make sense of partitioning no less than
1,500 men from the theatre of operations, sending their leaders to
vacation in Venezuela, and organizing 85 guerrilla camps in a
neighboring country.  If there is a politician who systematically lies
in our region – and there are plenty! – Uribe is the crowning example:
it’s in Colombia itself where the rotting oligarchic state in crisis
allows for wide swathes of its territory, particularly in the jungle
zones, to be controlled by guerrillas, narco-traffickers and

After the attack that Colombian forces carried out on its territory,
various Ecuadoran authorities commented that Ecuador’s northern border
with Colombia is marked by nothing so much as a no-man’s land
controlled by the organizations listed above.  With boundless
ignorance, Uribe accuses his neighbors of not doing what he has amply
proven unable to do himself: control his own territory.  Closing its
eyes to this reality, the United States is using this false claim to
hound the Bolivarian government for its lack of collaboration in the
struggle against drug-trafficking, using the “free press” to hide the
bothersome fact from the public that the greatest worldwide exporter
of cocaine (as well as drug traffickers) is Colombia, militarized by
Uribe and thanks to his invaluable collaboration, converted into a
U.S. protectorate.  Given this picture of political decay, the
complaint that the FARC have taken up residence in Venezuela – with
the support and complicity of Hugo Chávez’s government of all things!
– is nothing more than a vulgar deceit in the service of empire; an
accusation that is so completely lacking on any basis as to be taken
even slightly seriously.  It’s a lie that exposes someone as
completely unscrupulous as Uribe.[ii]

In the second place, how can it be forgotten that Uribe was the man
who lied so treacherously when his military forces, supported by those
of the United States, made their incursion onto Ecuadoran territory,
alleging that they were going after a column of the FARC?

Executions at Santa Rosa de Sucumbios, March 1, 2008

Forensic evidence showed that the guerrillas who they were supposedly
chasing after a confrontation that took place on Colombian territory
were sleeping – dressed in pajamas, even – when the attack took place,
and therefore, what took place at Santa Rosa de Sucumbíos was not a
battle but a plain and simple slaughter.  This operation, carried out
shortly after midnight on March 1st, 2008, occurred with the logistic
and material support of  U.S. Americans housed at the Manta airbase in
Ecuador, the only people with the aircraft and technology capable of
the astonishingly accurate bombing of the jungle in the absolute dead
of night.

One more example of Uribe’s unhealthy fondness for the lie was the
story put forth about the famous laptop belonging to Raúl Reyes, which
with unprecedented technological prowess survived unscathed from a
bombing that destroyed everything in its path and whose hard drive
would go on to produce extremely valuable information about the
extensive contacts of Reyes and the FARC with all of the enemies of
Uribe and the United States.[iii]

Third, how can a man be believed, who from the presidency of Colombia
validated the actions of paramilitaries and state terrorism?  On
February 16th of this year, the “Justice and Peace” unit of the
Colombian Attorney General’s office published a report in which it was
revealed that more than 4,000 paramilitaries from the United Self
Defense Forces of Columbia (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia – AUC)
said that they had perpetrated 30,470 murders in the period beginning
in the 1980’s, until their “demobilization” in 2003-2006.  Not only
that: the Colombian Attorney General also took statements from
paramilitaries accounting for 1,085 murders, 1,438 forced recruitments
of minors, 2,530 forced disappearances, 2,326 forced displacements and
1,642 extortions, as well as 1,033 kidnappings.

Despite this woeful record, Uribe is considered by his bosses in
Washington to be a champion in the struggle for human rights.[iv] In
this regard, if the long-awaited Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between
Colombia and the United States has still not been ratified by the U.S.
Congress, it’s because, as the conservative Colombian newspaper El
Tiempo points out, in 2009 alone, the paramilitaries and “security
forces” killed 40 trade union leaders, turning Colombia into the most
dangerous country in the world for this kind of activity.  Out of a
total of 76 union leaders killed worldwide, 52% of these murders took
place in a country that the United States considers a paradigmatic
example of the struggle for human rights and the struggle against
terrorism.  The United Central of Colombian Workers (Central Única de
Trabajadores de Colombia) reported just a few months ago that 2,721
activists and leaders of that organization were killed by “security
forces” since its founding in 1986.[v] Despite this, Colombia’s
democratic credentials have never been in doubt in Washington. [vi]

The False Positives are State crimes

Fourth, the denouncer is no less than the person intellectually and
politically responsible for the serial murders known as “false
positives.”  As pointed out in a series of notes published in Colombia
by Crónicon: The Latin American Observer, during these last three
years of the Uribe government, the balance sheet is dismal.  It proved
that in response to the government’s pressure to show concrete results
in the struggle against guerrillas, the Colombian Army designed and
carried out a criminal plan: moving through the country’s poorest
villages and towns with offers of work among the huge masses of
unemployed, the Army recruited a high number of poor, defenseless
peasants and marginalized youth, who were later killed in cold blood,
with their bodies dressed up afterwards as guerrillas killed in
combat, in order to charge the bounty set up by the government and
obtain bonuses or military career advancement.

According to very conservative estimates, these State crimes,
perpetrated while the future Colombian president, Juan M. Santos, was
the Defense Minister, surpassed 1,700 cases. [vii] Another facet of
this criminal policy under the misnomer of democratic security, is
provided in the discovery which came to light on February 16, 2010, of
 “the largest mass grave in modern history of the American continent,
a horrendous discovery that has been made practically completely
invisible” by the mainstream press in Colombia and around the world.
“The mass grave, in La Macarena, in the Department of Meta, contains
the remains of at least 2,000 people, (and was discovered) thanks to
the perseverance of the family members of the disappeared and the
visit of a delegation of union members and members of the British
parliament who came to Colombia in December of 2009 to investigate the
human rights situation.” It’s worth adding that this area had been an
object of close attention by the Colombian armed forces since 2005,
with the awful results that were recently revealed.[viii]

As with all the state terrorism that struck the region during the
1970’s, the crimes against humanity committed by their perpetrators
also had a financial basis.  In the case of Uribe’s Colombia, with his
troupe of bloodthirsty freaks, millions of hectares left behind by the
campesinos in their desperate exodus from the bombings and
indiscriminate slaughters they faced were parceled out between the
corrupt armed forces, the paramilitaries and the drug-traffickers.  As
Jomary Orteon Osorio, from the Colombian Lawyers Collective stated at
a conference of the U.N. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights (OHCHR) convened in Geneva at the beginning of May this year,
the figure for displaced peasants would reach 4,500,000, and their
lands would later be transferred, to the great benefit of those
charged with their displacement: to the landowners and agribusiness,
the sponsors and financers of the paramilitaries.  At this same
conference it was established that despite these “successes” of the
Uribe government, the number of displaced persons continues to grow at
the rate of 150,000 people per year.  The Colombian Planning Minister,
Esteban Piedrahita Uribe, head of the Colombian delegation at the
conference, did not deny the allegations and limited himself to saying
that “we have confiscated 2,000,000 hectares from criminal groups who
illegally seized these lands and now justice will decide their return
to their rightful owners.” [ix] In any case, it must be emphasized
that the calculation of the number of expropriated hectares in this
savage remaking of the process of primitive accumulation of capital
that Marx described in his famous Chapter 24 of the first volume of
Capital is subject to heated controversy.  There are those who
maintain that the number of hectares transferred in this manner
reaches 6 million, but there are others who put the figure at around
10 million.  In any case, whatever the number finally established
beyond any doubt, it’s certain that if the policy of democratic
security did anything at all, it was to secure the expropriation of
the peasant masses and their holdings in favor of capitalist
agribusiness. [x]

This is the man who now raises his accusing finger against the
Bolivarian revolution.  It’s obvious that it is just one more
maneuver, dictated by the empire’s strategists, to harass the
government of Hugo Chávez and legitimize the policy of “hard power” of
which it seems Obama has become even more enamored than his
ignominious predecessor, despite the official declarations and
writings of certain analysts close to the White House such as Joseph
Nye, who insistently speak of the advantages of “soft power”
(traditional diplomacy) or “smart power,” (intelligent power, new
diplomacy) over the high cost and brutality of the former.  However,
the empire insists on the hard power at its impressive military
disposition: therefore, the bases in Colombia; in Aruba and Curaçao
only a few kilometers away from the Venezuelan coast; those in both El
Salvador and Honduras and, now, the authorization to introduce no less
than 7,000 Marines and all kinds of weapons as well as aircraft
carriers, helicopters, amphibious ships and latest generation
airplanes in neighboring Costa Rica.

USS Makin Island headed for Costa Rica

That’s also the reason for the Fourth Fleet’s presence. In this way,
Uribe’s government performs a service of extraordinary importance in
the facilitation of imperialism’s destabilizing, counter-constituent
plans: unable to protect its 586 kilometer border with Ecuador, where
it has dedicated barely 8 tiny military detachments, and even less
unable to do so along the 2,216 kilometers of the Colombian-Venezuelan
border – transformed into a free-for-all zone for drug dealers and
paramilitary – it is trying by all possible means to create the
conditions that would justify U.S. military intervention in South
America; for the moment, the tension between Colombia and Venezuela
following the presidential succession remains, preventing Santos from
modifying the agenda of permanent confrontation instituted by Uribe
against the Bolivarian revolution and muddying the waters so that
Chávez will arrive at the September elections totally worn out and
internationally harassed.

Worried about his personal future and burdened by the specter of
Noriega rotting away in a Yankee jail cell, or being sued before the
International Criminal Court, Uribe is making every effort until his
last day in office to show his total submission to the dictates of
imperialism. For that reason two things are of utmost importance:
exposure of the man who is reporting the crime and demanding the
UNASUR’s immediate intervention to deactivate Washington’s plans for
Our America. This is not a case for the OAS (an organization that
failed to defuse Uribe’s provocation) but for UNASUR, which with this
incident, will be put to the test. Hopefully this newborn organization
of South American countries will act immediately – right away –
otherwise, it may be too late to avoid the serious consequences of all
kinds that could result if the warmongering U.S. project implemented
by Washington and its Latin American proxies is carried to its

[i] See the following declassified document at the U.S. National

[ii] At a border more than 2,000 kilometers long with few natural
demarcations like great rivers, lakes or mountain ranges, many people
(not just ordinary ones but also drug dealers, paramilitary,
smugglers, criminals) can cross back and forth as many times as they
please. But to assume that the Chávez government endorses the
establishment of sanctuaries for guerrilla training camps in Venezuela
 only speaks of the absolute dishonesty and lack of moral scruples of
Uribe and his bosses in Washington.

[iii] See the compelling evidence contributed by Margarita Vallejo and
Horacio López in , El ataque de Colombia en territorio ecuatoriano :
detrás de las palabras y los hechos (Buenos Aires: Ediciones del
Centro Cultural de la Cooperación, 2009)

[iv] See  http://www.telesurtv.net/noticias/

[v] Cf. http://www.eltiempo.com/colombia/justicia/asesinados-40-sindicalistas-el-ano-pasado-en-colombia-denuncia-organizacion-de-trabajadores_7120268-1

[vi]  To the previous should be added the 27 journalists killed for
exercising their profession during the eight years of Uribe`s rule.
Other sources claim a much larger number.

[vii] Cf. Fernando Arellano’s Cronicón

[viii]  Cf. http://www.publico.es/internacional/288773/aparece/colombia/fosa/comun/cadáveres;
and also


[ix] See the website of the conservative radio and television network
Cadena Caracol, May 4th, 2010

[x] See the data provided by the MOVICE, Movimiento Nacional de
Víctimas de Crímenes de Estado: 4.5 million displaced peasants as of


Expropriated agricultural surface, 2009:


Argentinean sociologist and author Atilio Boron is a friend of Tlaxcala.

Machetera and Manuel Talens are members of Tlaxcala, the network of
translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be
reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source,
author, and translators are cited.

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