Escalating Counter-Insurgency War in Colombia

(February 25, 2002)

On February 20, Colombian President Andres Pastrana unilaterally declared an end to 3 and 1/2 years of peace talks between the government and insurgent forces led by FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia).

Pastrana has launched an all-out counter-insurgency war. On 2/21 warplanes, including U.S.-supplied Black Hawk helicopters, bombed 85 strategic points in FARC-controlled territory. The next day, elite Colombian army units, trained and equipped by U.S. advisers, retook the city of San Vicente. 13,000 Colombian troops are surrounding the formerly demilitarized zone in preparation for invasion.

The responsibility for this escalating war falls squarely on the shoulders of the U.S. government. Secretary of State Powell has officially announced support for Pastrana's military offensive; the Pentagon is already speeding up its supply of equipment and spare parts to the Colombian military and U.S. forces are carrying out intelligence operations on behalf of the Colombian army. Over the last year, the Bush administration has sent $1 billion in military aid to Colombia and several hundred U.S. army advisers are already stationed in the country, directing the counter-insurgency war. The Bush administration recently condemned FARC as a "terrorist organization," and repeatedly declared its intention to extent its "international war against terrorism" to Colombia.

But once again the facts show that the real terrorists in Colombia are the Colombian army and its unofficial paramilitary death squads and that these fascists have been spawned by U.S. imperialism itself which trains, finances and commands them. Once again, under the facade of a "war against terrorism," U.S. imperialism is waging war against the people of Colombia.

For decades the Colombian workers, peasants and broad masses of people have been struggling against the fascist government, for democratization, in defense of the sovereignty of the country and against U.S. dictate and domination, and for broad social and economic reforms. The FARC is part of this struggle.

And the U.S.-organized counter-insurgency war is directed not only against FARC and other armed liberation organizations but against the whole Colombian people. The Colombian army and paramilitary squads regularly assassinate trade union leaders, peace activists and oppositional political figures, trying to suppress any and every manifestation of the popular struggle. The government's brutal war has displaced millions of Colombians and claimed the lives of tens of thousands of noncombatants.

Today, U.S. imperialism is using the war in Colombia to militarize the entire Andes region - to establish military bases and dispatch U.S. advisers to Peru, to Ecuador and other countries. The U.S. is also interfering in the affairs of Venezuela, plotting to overthrow the Chavez government. Throughout the region, the contradictions of the capitalist-imperialist system are sharpening and broad masses of people are coming out in struggle against U.S. imperialist exploitation and domination.

By militarizing the region, the U.S. is preparing to suppress the deepening struggles of the peoples for national independence and social emancipation. As the worldwide crisis of capitalism deepens, U.S. imperialism wants to tighten its control over its strategic "backyard" in Latin America as a key component of its strategy for world domination.