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Feliz Año Nuevo, Mi Colombia Querida
By Andrew L. Jaffee, January 1, 2005
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Leftist “militants” ushered in the new year in Colombia in true form: Members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) murdered 17 peasants, including 6 women and 4 children, who were gathered to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

When I say “true form,” I mean FARC was practicing the art that the extreme left has mastered, perhaps invented: terrorism. On this New Year’s Eve, the FARC was proving it believes the “end justifies the means,” as it is the grotesque, disfigured child of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and, yes, even Hitler -- remember, he was a National Socialist (Nazi). FARC is the cousin of Pol Pot, Milosevic, Castro, Arafat, Nasser, and Mengistu. Such wonderful company to be in.

Sadly, the world court of opinion has been preoccupied mostly with bringing “right-wing” murderers to justice. But this New Year’s Eve, Colombians received a gift that may give some comfort to the families of those innocent peasants slaughtered by FARC’s terrorists.

In a little-reported yet important event, Ricardo Palmera, aka Simon Trinidad, a high-ranking FARC leader, was extradited to the U.S. to face charges of “drug-trafficking and abduction.”

Palmera was arrested last year in a joint Colombian/U.S. military operation. This will certainly be a blow to FARC, Colombia's most powerful "rebel" group. The ELN (National Liberation Army) ranks second among Colombia's left-wing murderers. To balance off the left-wing extremists, Colombia has its share of right-wing murderers, like the AUC (United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia). According to the Council on Foreign Relations,

Today, the FARC, the ELN, and the AUC--motivated by a mix of ideology, hunger for drug money, and desire for power--engage in terrorism and the narcotics trade...

Maybe there was a time when the FARC had something legitimate to fight for. They claim to stand up for the rural peasants, but I don't believe for a second they do anymore. All's they do now is kill innocent civilians in random acts of terror.

My G#d, what a total mess Colombia is now:

...Colombia’s ongoing civil war, feeble central government, powerful guerrillas and paramilitary groups, and wealthy drug lords have made the country a sanctuary for homegrown terrorist groups that carry out bombings, extortion, kidnapping, and assassination.

I am hopeful that President Uribe can bring stability and peace to Colombia. Educated at Harvard and Oxford, former governor of the Antioquia province, and one-time mayor of Medellin, he was elected Colombia's president by a landslide in May 2002. Uribe has been accused of having links to drug traffickers and right-wing paramilitaries, but no one has substantiated the charges. His 2002 campaign platform promised to get tough on the Marxist FARC and ELN. Colombia's voters obviously liked his message -- and disdained his predecessor, Andres Pastrana.

The idiota Pastrana thought placating the Marxists would bring peace to Colombia. He gave them control over 1/3 of the country. The FARC wasn't satisfied and thanked Pastrana with ultra-violence (terrorism).

Uribe has been pretty tough on the Marxist murderers. Let's hope he's just as tough on the right-wing paramilitaries. The U.S. is backing Uribe with $600 million per year in aid through 2005. I'm not sure how effective this aid will be, as it is mostly aimed at stopping Colombia's illicit drug production and trafficking. With North America and Europe's voracious drug demands, it is likely that some Colombians will find ways to provide supply.

On December 18, President Uribe issued an ultimatum to FARC: release its political hostages or see Palmera extradited to the U.S. Obviously FARC half-blinked first, as Palmera is now in an American cell, but its hostages are still in captivity. According to the BBC,

The Farc have been collecting hostages - politicians, security operatives, and three intelligence contractors.

The rebels have said they will not be released until hundreds of Farc guerrillas in prison are freed.

But in an unprecedented move, President Alvaro Uribe has turned the tables on the guerrillas, using their own tactics against them.

He holds in prison Simon Trinidad, one of the Farc negotiators during a failed peace process with the last government.

The president has given the Farc until 30 December to release the 63 political hostages they hold, or else Trinidad will be extradited to the US to face kidnapping and drugs trafficking charges.

Has Uribe indeed “turned the tables on the guerrillas?” I hope so. There are positive signs beyond Palmera's extradition. On December 19, about 550 members of Colombia’s right-wing terrorist group, AUC, surrendered their weapons to government authorities. In all of 2004, some 3,000 of AUC’s members have disarmed. Will FARC follow suit? I’m not getting my hopes up… yet.

Feliz año nuevo, mi Colombia querida.


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