A woman from the Embera group. Due to violence and murders, more than a thousand members were expelled from the Choco region in October 2017. According to NRG, indigenous people are particularly affected by violence in the country. Evictions and murders have increased even more in January 2019. Photo: Ana Karina Delgado Diaz
A Look Behind the Democratized Facade of Colombia’s Killer Capitalism
An entire party in Colombia is being assassinated by "drawn", reported the New York Times (NYT) in April 1990, after the leftist presidential candidate of the Patriotic Union (UP), Bernardo Jaramillo Ossa, was shot during the election campaign. Shortly thereafter, Carlos Pizarro Leongomez was assassinated, also a former guerrilla of the M-19 movement, who wanted to transform the armed struggle into a nonviolent political confrontation. Three years earlier, Jaime Pardo Leal, the first presidential candidate to be elected in 1985, had been killed by ex-guerrillas in the context of a "Peace Process" founded UP.
Thousands of left-wing activists who wanted to fight for social improvements within the political-parliamentary system were murdered by the Colombian right, where drug cartels, extreme right-wing death squads and state repressive organs are interwoven in a corrupt web of power. The UP alone lost between 3,000 and 5,000 members until the party, co-founded by former FARC rebels in the early 1990s, was literally "wiped out" (NYT). Since members of the FARC abandoned the armed struggle and were integrated into the Patriotic Union, political participation has proved to be "political participation has proven to be more dangerous than the armed struggle", it hewed in a human rights report quoted by the NYT in 1990.
This experience of the literal extinction of a left-wing political party contributed significantly to the fact that the civil war in Colombia raged on for another three and a half decades – until it came to a formal end at the end of 2016 after protracted negotiations and setbacks in the form of a peace treaty and the demobilization of the FARC.
During the longest civil war in Latin American history, the 220.000 lives, initial investigations indicate that 80 percent of the mass murders and massacres of civilians were committed by right-wing paramilitaries, the army was responsible for about eight percent of all civilian deaths, the left-wing insurgency movements for 12 percent.
In the meantime, however, these figures are being challenged, as the Colombian army is said to have killed far more civilians than was initially amed. The armed forces of capitalist Colombia are said to have killed more than 10,000 people.000 people uninvolved in the conflict and declared them to be rebels in order to improve their record in the fight against the guerrillas. Colombian militars implicated in the mass killings of the civil war era continue to make unimpeded careers within the armed forces.
History repeats itself?
Meanwhile, many former FARC guerrillas are experiencing bloody deja vu. Largely ignored by the German public, which focuses on what happened in the "socialist" Venezuela, an outright mass murder of political activists and former guerrillas is taking place in capitalist Colombia, threatening to reignite the civil war in the impoverished country, which is being disrupted by the advancing disintegration of the state.
Since 2016, therefore, since the "peace treaty" between the Colombian state and the FARC, at least 423 activists have been killed by paramilitaries, state organs and drug cartels in the very Colombia whose government is trying to present itself as a democracy in the face of tensions in Venezuela.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in December 2018 called on Colombia to finally take action to stop the mass killings of human rights activists. The leftist activists have been labeled as "Guerrilla", as "the internal enemy", as "anti-progress", stigmatized. In rural regions, where "absence of the state is coupled with the presence of organized illegal groups" murders were carried out for about 100 US dollars against all activists who stood in the way of the interests of these groups.
Among the hundreds of trade unionists, indigenous peoples, human rights and land activists murdered so far are 85 former FARC members. The Washington Post also reports that the ailing capitalist state in Colombia has failed to fulfill key agreements of the peace process, including "Health care, education and potable water".
The killings are not random actions, but a systematic campaign of mass murder to prevent rural communities from any significant form of self-organization, according to the Washington Post, citing a study by Colombian lawyers.
Threat of a new civil war?
The "organized illegal groups", which is now the legal left in Colombia "to be extinguished" (Guardian), are largely made up of hit squads from the drug cartels and paramilitaries that remain active, as the New York Times reported in a September 2018 report from Colombia’s former guerrilla areas.
Following the demobilization of the guerrillas, it said, a "cold shower has descended on the region" as hit squads from a drug cartel moved in and threatened anyone who stood in the way of the drug lords’ takeover of power. This was "all over the country" country, according to the NYT, leaving "hundreds of local activists were killed" have been killed. Many of the former FARC guerrillas had taken up arms again in response to broken government promises and the rapidly swelling wave of right-wing violence, and had once again cursed their way into the mountains, the newspaper reported in its coverage from a camp of these new guerrillas.
The "Times" quoted estimates that there are about 2800 opposition FARC fighters in Colombia who refuse to sign the peace treaty. In conversations with the new rebels, a dominant strand of argument had emerged that the government was offering them a "new civilian life" but after the peace agreement they suddenly felt threatened and attacked by a multitude of paramilitary groups "and attacked by a multitude of paramilitary groups" who invaded the regions abandoned by the rebels.
The new rebellion was not as well financed as the old FARC, which, according to the NYT, financed itself through a tax on coca plantations in the areas it controlled. The fighters in each region have had problems with food and equipment and can no longer draw on resources from a nationwide organization. In addition, rebel efforts to reestablish a national command structure appear to have suffered a setback after a prominent FARC dissident was killed in a military operation in early February.
There were also fears that the individual guerrilla groups now forming were joining cartels or mafia groups because of their poor supply, the NYT explained: One day could "The rebels look more like an organized criminal gang than the Marxist revolutionary army founded in the 1960s".
The goals of the new generation of guerrillas had changed. They were "hungry" and were "suffer from a lack of everything", a guerrilla told the paper, but it was absolutely clear to the group what had to be done. It was no longer about overthrowing the government and bringing about a national revolution, but about protecting the region from the paramilitaries and drug cartels that had infiltrated the regions abandoned by the FARC. This is a fight for the control of a limited territory, rather than the revolution that had been envisioned.
There are countless paramilitary groups and criminal gangs that have penetrated the areas abandoned by the FARC, The Guardian also reported last August. One activist threatened by these far-right hit squads made it clear that they were the same structures that had emerged from the infamous AUC and were responsible for the bulk of the mass killings during the Civil War. Their names had "changed", but they were "the same people who had committed massacres years ago".
The United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), built up by the military, landlords, and drug cartels during the civil war, has done much of the mass murderous "dirty work" of the Colombian regime – and after a bogus disbandment (Huma Rights Watch calls it a deeply flawed demobilization), the AUC has "deeply flawed demobilization") between 2006 and 2008, they continue to be active in a variety of far-right groups.
The former killers of the AUC continued to "terrorize", according to the Guardian, and make their money from extortion, drug trafficking and other illegal activities – such as contract killings. How the operations of the "Self-Defense Forces" during the civil war was described by a survivor to the British weekly newspaper. In April 2001, AUC units entered his village, which was accused of supporting the guerrillas. Ten villagers were killed with machetes and chain sages "slaughtered", two others shot dead.
The victims of these countless right-wing massacres had hoped that after the demobilization of the FARC this violence would end, but this is not the case. The killing does not stop. On average, every third day in Colombia, which shares a border with Venezuela, there are "Aid concerts" the leader of a social movement murdered in order to prevent the emergence of reliable democratic structures. Many of the victims were abducted and tortured before being killed (s.a. View Colombia).
"We hoped that with the peace treaty the mood would change", said one activist to the Guardian, "but everything has gone the other way. Some people just don’t want peace."