Friday, October 19, 2012


During my holidays in Cuba (2008) I stayed a few days in Vinales. We decided to try to visit the community of Los Acuaticos. One of the basic rules of this religious community is not to involve in any state institution. Because of repression by the state in 1943 gthey fled into the Sierra del Infierno not far from Vinales. The community is very small. We found a guide who wanted us to bring to one of these families. We were very surprised to learn to know a young Colombian couple hihg up in the mountains staying with a poor farmer's family. They explained that they had come from Bogota because the mother of the women once had nice holidays in the same area. I must say that it became inmediately to my mind that they have something to do with FARC or some other Colombian revolutionary group like for example ELN, but of course I did not mention this. In stead I asked them if it was permitted to take a photograph.

Do the state of Colombia and the FARC really want peace? For the State of Colombia that depends above all from the army that is winning the war against the FARC and at the same time is gaining a lot. I believe that the Colombian army is the best-trained and best-armed army of Latin America. Thanks to the USA. They always have supported the Colombian army with know how, special training and weapons especially when the FARC developed into a narco-terrorist brigade.

A few years ago the Venezuelan president Chavez tried to use the FARC for its own political purpose: to show his anti-americanism and solidarity with a leftist struggle, to become a peacemaker and to put Colombia under attack. The USA inmediately expanded their military bases in Colombia. After having sought advice from his generals, president Chavez had to back down. The Colombian army is too strong for the Venezuelan army.

Has the Colombian Government control over their military? I do not know, but you can say that the Americans have. If they want peace in Colombia they will force the Colombian military to follow that path. We can expect from US president Obama that he wants peace. If presidential candidate Romney also wants peace in Colombia is more difficult to say. Maybe he prefers to go on with the war, with the advantage that the Colombian army remains alert and the Venezuelan president Chavez can be kept in check.

Does the FARC want peace? It is generally assumed that they want so because they have become military weak and lost a lot of their leaders. However, there is still plenty of jungle in Colombia to continue guerrilla warfare. Indeed, it will be difficult for FARC to get new weapons but even with fewer weapons you can continue to control the peasants, the coca production and the marketing of coca and at the same time make life difficult for the Colombian army. But the FARC is internationally more isolated than ever. Its closest friend Cuba is now too poor to do anything of importance. On the contrary Cuba needs Venezuelan oil to survive so it is not in favour of political and/or military adventures.

Maybe the goal of these peace negotiations for FARC is to break through their international isolation? What we have seen so far from the FARC is a lot of show. Suddenly the FARC is talking about social justice for peasants while for years they forced peasants to produce drugs, forced their sons to enter in the FARC and massacred villagers who did not wish to cooperate with them.  According to the FARC peace will come when the Colombian government will distribute land to the peasants. As if that will be a solution to rural poverty. How do these poor farmers get the necessary agricultural knowledge, good seeds, financial credits, agricultural techniques, fertilizers and other necessary products, transport and marketing of their crops, etc.? Such projects require decades and FARC knows. Why else they themselves did never start such reforms in their controlled areas? But with the peace negotiations, they get the chance polishing their image of drugs gang into revolutionaries with a noble causes like social justice for poor farmers. 


  1. The important thing is that the Colombian population wants peace; the employees want peace.
    A peace treaty between the FARC and the government is far from peace in Columbia.
    The violence of the landlords and the tiny wealthy upper classes against the ordinary people, the ordinary employees and the ordinary workers should also stop, then there really is peace in Columbia!

  2. Let's hope that the Colombian Government as well as the FARC understand that the vast majority of Colombian people want peace.

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