By Marcos Roitman Rosenmann – May 29, 2021
While union leaders, human rights defenders, peasant and Indigenous leaders are assassinated, the Colombian state has completely surrendered to the counterinsurgency strategy designed by the United States for the region.
There is no truce. The peace agreements have not been respected, nor have the monitoring commissions been allowed to carry out their work. The threats and impunity with which the paramilitary groups act, in addition to the violence perpetrated by the armed forces and the police, have left a trail of death in their wake. According to Indepaz (Institute for Development and Peace Studies), 66 social leaders, human rights defenders and signatories of the peace agreement have been assassinated in 2021 alone. According to the same institution, 40 massacres have been carried out with 149 victims including children, men and women. And in the framework of the National Strike, from April 28 to May 23, 61 fatalities have been recorded. The objective: to shatter and dismantle social movements and popular organizations.
Under the cloak of democratic security, political rights are denied, habeas corpus guarantees are suspended and illegal detentions are widespread. False positives, which were supposed to be relegated to the past, have re-emerged with great intensity. It is not only Iván Duque or his mentor Álvaro Uribe who define the strategies and support the genocidal actions. They are straw men, their decisions are not their own. Colombia has renounced the exercise of sovereignty over its territory, be it in the aspects of security, justice or international relations. The master guidelines are designated by the Pentagon, the White House, the transnational corporations, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the US ambassador and the arms lobby.
In the last two decades, 107,573 Colombian military personnel have been trained on US soil. Their armed forces speak the language of death and dirty war.
Technologically and ideologically dependent on US imperialism, it also plays an active role in the policy of destabilizing Venezuela. It suffices to recall the fiasco of the so-called Venezuela Aid Live concert, held in February 2019, in order to support the entry of trucks with alleged humanitarian aid from Cúcuta, under the eyes of the Lima group, with the presence of Juan Guaidó, and the support of the presidents of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, of the Paraguayan Mario Abdó, and Iván Duque, who was carrying out the orders of Elliot Abrams and Mike Pompeo. In this scenario, the sitting president is relegated to being a second-rate figure. His role is reduced to preventing the success of any democratic and participatory process that would alter his role as gendarme in the region. Washington has in Colombia its most prized colony. Although formally there are no military installations on its property, the presence of contractors and enclaves with US personnel is achieved through the use of air bases—Palanquero, Apiay and Malambo, the Tres Esquinas and Tolemaica forts, among others—and the naval bases of Cartagena and Bahía Málaga, all, of course, under a cooperation agreement labeled as a battle against drug cartels and drug trafficking.
In Colombia, we do not refer simply to militarism, but to necro-politics and the militarization of the State. The armed forces has increased its troops 100% so far in the 21st century, now exceeding 480,000 troops, with military spending equivalent to 16% of the total budget, second only to the United States for the entire continent.
Likewise, in 2020, Washington’s military aid [to Colombia] reached $244.4 million. Colombia has become a country in which repression is exercised according to the formula of extreme violence, employing state terrorism as the preferred method to subjugate popular movements and democratic struggles. Never in Latin America has there been a government so lacking in judicial controls or political limits to its repression of its social movements, of the youth, and the native peoples, except those that were put in place by a coup d’état. However, Colombia carries out this genocide under a democratic façade. In Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay or Paraguay, the policies of extermination and political assassination were carried out under the doctrine of national security, with dictatorships and outside the rule of law. At the height of the Cold War, they achieved regional coordination thanks to the support of then US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. Thus was born Operation Condor. Their actions, illegal detention, torture and forced disappearance were carried out clandestinely. However, Colombia does not need a formal dictatorship, it is a de facto dictatorship. Under a so-called democratic Constitution, political assassinations are endorsed, permitted, defended and encouraged, criminalizing social protest, denying its people the right to live in peace.
The tragedy of seeing Colombia’s youth and its best sons and daughters riddled with bullets, tortured, and raped, exposes the contempt for the lives of others, for democratic values, and the indignity of an elite that has decided to sell their country in exchange for a few crumbs.
They deserve only contempt. Dignity is found where it has always been: with the people of the towns and cities of Colombia who take to the streets and fight to recover their independence and sovereignty, kidnapped by a plutocracy at the service of foreign forces.
Featured image: Demonstrators clash with riot police during recent anti-government protests in Medellin, Colombia. Photo: AFP
Translation: Orinoco Tribune