The Civil War in Columbia and Perceived American Imperialism

Loosing touch with your constituency is a danger that all in power run the risk of bringing upon themselves. And that’s exactly the place the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, or the FARC, has found themselves. The kidnapping of popular presidential candidate, Ingrid Betancourt, has placed them far on the other side of popular opinion. Ms. Betancourt comes from a family influential in the politics of the South American nation. She was an outspoken critic of the FARC and their civil war that has strayed from the initial target, the government, and has moved to intimidating those who are supporting the government. That sounds like terrorism to us.

For the first part of their 38-year struggle, the FARC was a populist group with the Marxist leanings that made for a good grassroots revolution. In a movement that once was a purely political revolt, the FARC has moved into the arena of cold hard terrorism. Their attacks on the business and political infrastructure has only hurt the Columbian people. It has demoralized the people to the point that they accept civil war, domestic terrorism, and endless kidnapping as a way of life. We were told by a business leader in our December 2000 trip to the country, “Peace has passed us by”; this a statement reflected in the hearts of a people so longing for a real and lasting peace.

The people of Columbia have repeatedly asked for the help of the United States and the outside world in the fight against the FARC. The world says this is Monroe Doctrine imperialism, as we interfere and project power within our hemisphere of influence. That’s right. The FARC is happily aligned with the drug industry and it’s our country that is funding the drug industry, so it is our opinion that the United States has the right to enter the fray, especially when invited, either monetarily or militarily, by the struggling democratic government of Columbia.

In the drive for money, the FARC picked up the causes of the local drug lords and found that to be a reliable source for funding. The change of course was hardly unnoticed by the Columbian people, who in the urban areas of the country see the coca production and trade for what it is, a deadly greed-driven industry with its own army. The FARC. The Marxist founding of the FARC has degenerated into war for Anarchy, the perfect environment for the drug trade.

Ms. Betancourt's kidnapping is one of many recent kidnappings that have swayed public opinion against the FARC. The FARC now holds an estimated 800 people hostage in their plan to split the Columbian people from the government. At the time we were in Columbia there were at times, twelve kidnappings a day. It looks like the abduction of Ms. Betancourt has further moved the people in support of Columbian President Andres Pastrana. Mr. Pastrana has ordered federal troops to retake the central safe zone currently held by the drug lord- defending rebels. The battle is ongoing.

The FARC’s allegiance to the drug industry is open knowledge. The connection between the drug trade and Islamic radicals is just coming to light. From the earliest days of the war on terror, intelligence sources have said that if you want to find bin Laden, shake up the drug cartels in Columbia. The cartels are responsible for moving most of the opium that the “idealistic” Taliban used to fund Al Qaeda terror operations around the planet.

Any premise that the FARC is a populist movement was blown out of the water when they were busted by the Columbian government seeking the cooperation of the Irish Republican Army. On the innocent end of matters, the IRA was merely teaching the FARC how to make bombs, and on the sinister end, they had already sold rocket launchers to the rebel group and were training them in their use.

It is correct and morally right to help the Columbian people with their battle on domestic terror. Rhetoric is cheap. The actions of the Good Samaritan were ore powerful than those who only analyzed the issue. The nations of the world are attacking both the United States and Columbia, the prior for the “imperialistic strong arm” and the latter for accepting the “imperialistic strong arm”. If the liberal nations of Europe who shudder at the rantings of the Islamic world want to see success (sometimes we doubt they do) in the war on terror, they need to accept the fact that the FARC are terrorists and need to be treated as such.

Support freedom and democracy by supporting Columbia’s fight against domestic civil war and terrorism.

Stephen A. McDonald

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