Hands Off Colombia!

On August 30, Bill Clinton visited Colombia to underscore U.S. support for the Colombian's government's counter-insurgency war. Earlier this year, the Clinton administration began providing Colombia with $1.3 billion in military aid and sending hundreds of U.S. military "trainers and advisers" to the country. In the words of one of Colombia's trade union leaders, Clinton visited the country "to fire the starting gun of war."

For the sake of public opinion, the U.S. government tries to pretend that it is sending helicopter gunships and U.S. military personnel to Colombia in order to fight a "war on drugs" and strengthen the Colombian government's "commitment to democracy and human rights." But this is a transparent fraud. The Clinton administration itself has repeatedly admitted that the high command of the Colombian army is directly tied to the drug trade and that the very counter-insurgency units already trained by the U.S. military have repeatedly tortured and massacred Colombian workers, peasants and political activists. In fact, on August 23, Clinton signed a special "national security finding" enabling him to send military aid to Colombia despite the fact that the government's human rights record makes it ineligible for such aid under current U.S. law.

No, the Clinton administration is not fighting a "war on drugs" or "promoting human rights" in Colombia. Its real aims are to protect the economic and strategic interests of U.S. imperialism. U.S. monopolies are the biggest foreign investors in Colombia and U.S. companies dominate the country's export and import trade. Recent explorations have uncovered large oil deposits in the country and U.S. monopolies are already grabbing for this new wealth. Colombia is also viewed as a strategic area for maintaining U.S. domination throughout the Andes region with its natural resources and access to the Panama Canal.

Already, U.S. intervention is destabilizing the entire region. The Clinton administration is setting up new military outposts in Ecuador and Peru and pressuring other governments in the region to join a "multinational force" to intervene in Colombia.

In fact for more than 100 years, U.S. imperialism has imposed a colonial and neo-colonial system on the peoples of Colombia and throughout Latin America. U.S. monopolies have plundered the wealth of the continent and super-exploited the peoples. Following the U.S. dollar, are the gunboats of the U.S. military which have invaded and intervened hundreds of times to suppress the popular movements of the peoples for national liberation and social emancipation.

The real war that the U.S. government is waging is a war against the Colombian people -- against the peasants who are fighting for land and a livelihood against the landed oligarchy and U.S. agric-business interests, against the Colombian workers who are fighting against their exploitation at the hands of U.S. and local capitalists, against the whole Colombian people who are fighting against the economic and political dictates of the U.S. bankers and the IMF.

U.S. Imperialism, Hands Off Colombia!