Hooray for Uribe

Two cheers—but only two—for Colombia's president

In December 1996, the Peruvian Marxist guerrilla group Tupac Amaru (MRTA) occupied the Japanese embassy in Lima, taking hostage a group assembled to celebrate the birthday of Emperor Akihito. Four months later, Peru’s strongman president, the now-imprisoned Alberto Fujimori, ordered a team of elite Peruvian soldiers to retake the building. The handful of rebels who managed to survive the initial assault, witnesses later reported, were bound, dragged into a courtyard, and executed by members of the Peruvian army. Not a single member of the MRTA made it out alive.

A rather different tactic was employed by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, whose special forces freed 15 hostages held by the Marxist terror group FARC on Wednesday. The hostages included three American contractors and former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt. Dressed like a group of slightly menacing Berkeley baristas, the army infiltrators disguised themselves in Che Guevara t-shirts (seriously) and camouflaged uniforms, easily convincing the FARC that they too were fist-clenching, Lenin-reading members of the jungle politburo. It was an elaborate, cleverly plotted ruse—one that was guaranteed to fool a platoon of knuckle-dragging, forest-dwelling communist revolutionaries.

And it was a stunning—and, to Latin America watchers, unexpected—success. While it is tempting to indulge in the reflexive optimism that follows such a victory, the war against the FARC isn’t over yet. Nevertheless, it is also difficult to disagree with The Economist’s immediate post-raid assessment. The operation, said the magazine, was “a disaster for the FARC and its sympathizers in Latin America who hoped to use the hostage issue to weaken Mr Uribe.” In other words, it was a disaster for not only the FARC, but also for Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, all of whom have expressed some degree of sympathy or ideological affinity for the group.

While outwardly congratulatory, many in Latin America and Europe could muster only lukewarm praise for the Uribe government, which is viewed by many as ideologically suspect and too friendly with the Bush administration. As one blogger at The Economist noticed, more than a few European newspapers were more interested in criticizing Uribe’s policies than they were in discussing the rescue of Betancourt. The French paper Libération championed Betancourt’s cause, The Economist noted, but “could barely bring itself to congratulate Mr Uribe and the Colombians this morning,” choosing instead to upbraid the government’s “implacable” war against the guerrillas.

In the fever swamps of the far left, the reaction was predictably full of non sequiturs about Uribe’s dubious past associations and rumor-mongering about the fortuitous timing of the operation. The left-wing radio station Pacifica devoted a significant chunk of its coverage following the raid to questioning both the “timing” of the operation (more on this in a moment) and the institutional corruption of the Uribe administration—but nothing on the FARC’s unspeakably brutal crimes against the Colombian peasantry.

A Huffington Post writer dismissed as fake the evidence gleaned from laptops captured in the raid that killed FARC commander Raul Reyes in March. The material, which was verified by Interpol and suggested connections between FARC and officials in Venezuela and Ecuador, was most likely ginned up by the “death squad President Alvaro Uribe.” (The same author recently praised Evo Morales for “turn[ing] over the tortilla of our consciousness about Indians, race and power.”)

There is an understandable desire to bludgeon Uribe’s credibility by citing, for instance, his shady family and political connections. And there is quite a bit to unpack here. While it’s unfair to compare President Uribe to the buffoonish President Chavez, his critics are indeed justified in expressing skepticism of the timing of the raid, which they claim is designed to distract the public from a very Chavista-like scandal. Uribe’s second term election victory was secured after Congress lifted a ban on the serving of consecutive terms—a victory secured through good old-fashioned bribery, say his critics. The court recently ruled against the president on this very issue, forcing Uribe to issue a furious denial.

And his accusers are also correct to criticize the positively Bolivarian attempt to hold on to power for a third term, with party activists collecting signatures to force a referendum on the issue. While not directly involved in the campaign to extend his rule, Uribe has thus far refused to eliminate the possibility of yet another presidential mandate.

And then there is “Plan Colombia”—the wasteful, destructive, and counterproductive drug war operation inaugurated by former U.S. President Bill Clinton (and expanded by President George W. Bush) and former Colombian President Andres Pastrana. Drugs and the FARC are deeply intertwined, but it is optimistic to think that an end to the Colombian drug war would precipitate the end of the guerrilla war.

So yes, the Uribe government is far from perfect—it is Latin America after all, so we must judge on a steep curve—but as even the left-leaning Guardian acknowledged this week, Uribe is indeed a "skilled politician" who "has been able to bring a degree of order, security and prosperity to the country that was scarcely believed possible when he took office in 2002."

So what to do now? With FARC against the ropes and Uribe’s popularity at all time highs, former KGB “agent of influence” Richard Gott, author of a hagiographic biography of Hugo Chavez and a pro-Castro history of Cuba, advised that a “new Democratic government in the United States in January should put pressure on Uribe to engage in negotiation.” The New York Times said much the same: “President Álvaro Uribe should now capitalize on that disarray and offer the rebels, who long ago traded the business of political liberation for drug trafficking, a political settlement.”

During his press conference with the freed hostages, Uribe himself made a vague offer to FARC, one quickly endorsed by Betancourt: “This is an invitation to the FARC to make peace, to start releasing the hostages they still hold captive.” It is rather important to note that this was not the first in a new round of negations, but a stern demand for peace, offering no reciprocal action by the government.

So let’s bring this back around to where we started. Looking at the Peruvian example of fighting a war against left-wing guerrillas, we see a protracted, bloody war that the government ultimately won, crushing both the Shining Path and Tupac Amaru, two Maoist terror organizations who demanded nothing less than the restructuring of civilization according to the Chairman’s book of insane aphorisms. And there could, of course, be little political negotiations when there was almost nothing to negotiate. That was a situation understood by the rebels, and one that prompted them to enter into the business of kidnap and assassination.

There is an important distinction that must be made between the Fujimori tactics noted above—which routinely involved extrajudicial executions and the torture and disappearance of detainees—and those of Uribe, who claims to have insisted that the FARC hostage takers not be harmed during the raid. And while his critics rail against waging war against the FARC, it is only now, with the organization in full retreat, that the government can start making demands and "negotiate." This is, in other words, fast becoming the type of "negotiation" we saw aboard the battleship USS Missouri in 1945.

All of this is good news for Colombia, President Uribe, the families of the released, and the country’s economy (the Colombian peso surged the following day). But last word must go to Betancourt, who after years in captivity wisely warned both the Latin American left and her captors to let Colombia choose its own destiny: "I think (Chavez and Correa) are important allies in this process—but on the condition of respect for Colombian democracy. Colombians elected Alvaro Uribe. Colombians did not elect the FARC.”

And with President Uribe's approval rating hovering around 80 percent, don't expect Colombians to elect the FARC anytime soon.

Michael C. Moynihan is an associate editor at reason.

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  • SIV||

    It is always nice when the US has allies who kick Commie ass. Even better when they are more or less democratically elected.

  • ||

    What I like most about this story is the way the raid was conducted. Not only were the hostages recovered with no injuries on either side, but as a bonus the FARCs were show to the world for the myopic ideologues that they are.

    This is the way the US should be conducting anti-terrorist activities. Infiltrate, understand, undermine. Make them so paranoid about who's working for whom that they can't get anything done.

  • ||

    yeah, the he is pretty cool. And Colombians did a good job.

    But really they can´t win that war unless they legalize drugs.

  • ||

    "It is rather important to note that this was not the first in a new round of negations, but a stern demand for peace, offering no reciprocal action by the government."

    hmmm, Michael. I dont know. It seems that Uribe's government, by not going back and employing some Fujimori tactics, already took the first step towards a peaceful resolution. The reciprocal action must now be taken by FARC.
    As I understand, only the two FARC militants who boarded the helicopter were arrested. Uribe did not take further military action, which at that point, he easily could have, showing restraint and an attempt, at least this time, at not resolving matters with violence.

  • ||

    I have yet to read an account of this raid/rescue that makes any sense. I'll reserve judgement for now, but I'd be surprised if this "rescue" didn't involve a large payment to FARC leaders.

  • classwarrior||

    It might be helpful, in the light of two US-sponsored coup attempts against Chavez, to respect Venezuelan democracy as well.

  • Raționalitate||

    Sooo, I take it you don't buy into the rumor that a $20 million ransom was paid for her release?

    http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hrtoMw97SlVA2m-B0SfinVDaE1vg

  • Raționalitate||

    Make them so paranoid about who's working for whom that they can't get anything done.

    Yeah, 'cause I mean, that couldn't possibly backfire, could it? Oh, wait...

  • SIV||

    Where did all these commies come from?

    So FARC issued a press release that says "We meant to do that"?

  • Mr. Biggles||

    MARX SUX COX

  • ||

    My whole family is Colombian and this has just been a great few days.

    Anybody want to join me over at the Huff Post as I browbeat them over their deafening silence and anemic coverage of this story. You see ... they're disappointed because the marxist rebels took one in the keister. What good is a Latin American country if it can't be patronized as a symbol of poverty and oppression, right?

    Heh heh ...

  • ||

    to ClassWarrior: Venezuelan *democracy*? Please.

    War is peace? Freedom is slavery? Ignorance is strength?

    Is your Che t-shirt fitting you well today, comrade?

  • TheEnforcer||

    This is in response to "Rationalitate"

    As much as anybody may want to dampen the heroic rescue of the 15 hostages, I do not think that with such a high profile hostage as Ingrid Betancourt, the FARC would want only a "$20 million" ransom.

    From what I've seen in the direct reports from Colombia, it was quite a rescue.

  • jkp||

    It might be helpful, in light of Hugo Chavez's attempt to overthrow the Venezuelan government in a coup attempt in the '90s, for leftists like "classwarrior" offering trendy anti-U.S. critiques to read a fucking book and respect the truth a little bit.

  • ||

    Great article. It is amazing how many leftists continue to make excueses for the murderous FARC.

  • ||

    Yeah, right. The FARC guys took $20 million under the table to let Uribe fake a rescue and make them look like damn fools, when they could have gotten ten times more from Chávez, who would love to appear in the news with Ingrid Bettancourt under his arm...

    Not to mention, of course, that being bribed to release hostages would make the FARC look even worse. "They weren't outmanoeuvered, they were just bought off." What sort of defense is that?

    The fact is the FARC - and with them the mezozoic Latin-American Left who openly or sub-reptitiously support them, including the presidents of several countries (the Ecuatorian president even regretted the rescue, arguing that "the release should have been negotiated"), took one on the chin and are now scurrying to save face. Even Fidel Castro has said that it is wrong to kidnap civilians or keep militarymen hostage. Of course, old man, one should just shoot them on the spot as you used to do.

    This has been a fun week in Latin America.

  • aleph||

    Oh, I forgot to add: they were so grateful for the $20 million that they even included two of their own leaders in the package as a bonus. Or, according to another version, the money was paid not to the FARC but directly to the top hostage controller - yep, the same guy who got himself arrested during the operation and is now facing extradiction to the US.

    There's a more promising new version on the works: the hostages were already being released by the FARC as a gesture of good will and Uribe's troops in fact seized an ongoing humanitarian operation. That could fly, provided they sort out a few loose ends. For instance, released to whom exactly?

    Oh boy, this is fun!

  • Vapor||

    While we wait for the facts to sift through the filters, it's a nice PR poke in the eye to Hugo Chavez who wants so badly to repress democracy anywhere he can.

  • ||

    have yet to read an account of this raid/rescue that makes any sense. I'll reserve judgement for now, but I'd be surprised if this "rescue" didn't involve a large payment to FARC leaders.



    This makes zero sense. The FARC have been thoroughly embarrassed by this rescue operation. They got (in Internet parlance) absolutely PWNED. You mean to tell me they were willing to endure this humiliation for some money from the government? Uh huh. If thats the case, why not go all the way and get paid out of existence?

  • ||

    Here's video of the actual operation.

    http://www.semana.com/wf_InfoArticulo.aspx?idArt=113271

    Watch at 2:58 when they tell the hostages (including Betancourt) that they are now free. And listen to one of the hostages yell "I waited for more than 10 years! Thank God!

    Amazing.

  • ||

    I call you, my dear....

    Like a magical
    fear, in my heart,
    there's always
    a footprint that
    now disappears in
    the light of a pathway,
    and there my
    desire gives an
    attention to some
    beautiful birds.

    Francesco Sinibaldi

  • ||

    There is one aspect of this story that is bugging me. The reporting of this amazing story (at least here in the US) is overwhelmingly focussed on Ingrid Betancourt. The three American hostages get what media attention is left over. The eleven other Colombian hostages who were rescued in this operation? Zilch. They are not even named.

    I can see that Betancourt is the celebrity. And Americans, like every other nationality, will give priority to news of their own.

    But couldn't a big paper like the NYT spare a couple of column inches to list the other eleven and how long they had been held captive? Or get a reaction from one of their families?

    Altogether, this is a classic demonstration of the incurious, narrow minded provincialism of the MSM.

  • ||

    I agree John. Some of the other 11 hostages had been held captive for more than a decade. I can't even imagine surviving that.

  • ||

    Uribe's bloodless rescue was brilliant. But it was one incident in a long, bloody war. Fujimori's bloody rescue crushed the guerrillas and we haven't heard from them since then. So it was more successful even than Uribe's rescue operation, and in its way, brilliant too.
    Actually, it is not fair to compare the two incidents. In Peru's case, the whole guerrilla leadership was in the building, surrounded. The FARC has not presented themselves in such a manner.

  • ||

    Here's Rafael Correa (President of Ecuador) on the FARC and this rescue operation.

    "Que mal que han quedado las Farc!"
    "The FARC really look bad!"

    "..con todas las tonterías que hacen cuánta popularidad le dan a Uribe."
    "With all the foolish things they do, how much popularity they give Uribe."

    "si el Che Guevara estuviera vivo se moriría de vergüenza. Qué revolucionario secuestra gente inocente, supuestamente para (conseguir) sus fines, por nobles que sean?"
    "If Che Guevara were alive he'd die of shame. What type of revolutionary kidnaps innocent people, supposedly to reach his ends, no matter how noble they may be?"



    Source: www.eltiempo.com
    Translation mine.

    Seriously, watching these guys squirm is way too much fun. He's still not renewing talks with Colombia by the way.

  • ||

    In the fever swamps of the far left, the reaction was predictably full of non sequiturs about Uribe's dubious past associations and rumor-mongering about the fortuitous timing of the operation.

    And in the fever swamps of the far right, the reaction was predictably full of non sequiturs about French newspapers and rumor mongering about the emotional state of politicians from other South American countries.

    You sure did stick it to those political writers who were more interested in some kind of ideological proxy than in the details about the hostages. In paragraph after paragraph after paragraph.

  • ||

    rumor mongering about the emotional state of politicians from other South American countries.



    No need for rumors when their statements are available (see Correa's above for example).

  • Gringo||

    (The same author recently praised Evo Morales for "turn[ing] over the tortilla of our consciousness about Indians, race and power.")
    Once again the lefties show their tin ear, thinking it is ALL ABOUT US. Tortillas are not a common Bolivian food item: think papas (potatoes) and wheat. Bolivian empanadas use wheat flour, not corn.

  • ||

    Looks like I screwed up the link above. Let's try it again.

    Correa on FARC, Uribe

  • ||

    Am I the only one freaked out by this Francesco Sinibaldi guy?

  • aleph||

    Still in the department of pathetic statements, the Brazilian government managed to issue an official note without a single mention to Uribe and without condemning the FARC, just urging "the reconciliation of all Colombians" - as if there were two legitimate sides to this, not a democratically elected government trying to put an end to 40 years of mayhem by a group of deranged criminals.

    And Joe, even if one accepts the highly questionable assumption that murder, kidnapping and drug traffic, the FARC's core businesses, are what the "left" is about, not being on the far left does not put one automatically on the far right.

  • ||

    "This makes zero sense. The FARC have been thoroughly embarrassed by this rescue operation. They got (in Internet parlance) absolutely PWNED. You mean to tell me they were willing to endure this humiliation for some money from the government? Uh huh. If thats the case, why not go all the way and get paid out of existence?"

    Yeah, what sort of person would suffer the horrors of embarassment for a meager $20 mil? Because eveyone in the world is a political true believer, and no one cares about things like money.

  • ||

    Some more statements. This one is particularly breathtaking. There's a Baghdad Bob level of denial in it that is embarrassing.

    Javier Ponce (Minister of Defense, Ecuador) says:

    "Es algo que el mundo estaba esperando (...)
    Lástima que no se haya dado en el marco de un proceso de paz, sino por un rescate violento por parte de las Fuerzas Armadas colombianas. Pero de todas maneras, la liberación de un ser humano de esas características, evidentemente que emociona".

    "It's something the world was waiting for (...) Its a shame it did not come about within a framework of a peace process, but instead via a violent rescue by the Colombian Armed Forces. But in any event, the liberation of a human being with those attributes, is obviously touching/exciting."



    Source: www.eltiempo.com
    Translation mine.

    Violent rescue??? Not one shot was fired, WTF?

    By the way, the link above compiles reactions from leaders in South America and the world. It's in Spanish though.

  • ||

    Yeah, what sort of person would suffer the horrors of embarassment for a meager $20 mil? Because eveyone in the world is a political true believer, and no one cares about things like money.



    Sorry, Dogzilla. I thought the conspiracy theory had the FARC head honchos involved. Which didnt make sense to me.

    A single bribery is more plausible as you point out. The lone receiver would not be embarrassed at all, he would just take the money and run.

    One thing though. The Colombian government had already offered rewards for hostages, deserters etc. Some of the offers for deserters have been accepted. The reward for Betancourt alone was pretty high if I recall (there was a $100 million dollar fund for her and others). Paying a bribe and denying it seems weird. You could create chaos within the FARC if you had public proof of FARC members being bribed. Not to mention FARC's cachet would decrease in the far left. Granted, embarrassing them is productive too.

    In any event, I misunderstood the theory put forth. It would be given credence if "Alias Cesar" misteriously disappeared. We'll see.

  • ||

    Scratch the "deserters" part of my statement above. Rewards are for hostages or leaders turned in.

  • aleph||

    One more for the collection. The leader of president Lula's Workers' Party (PT) in Brazil, astonishingly, wrote an article criticizing the FARC. According to him, "kidnapping non-combating civilians and keeping them arrested without trial is a deeply incorrect and politically negative option". ("Seqüestrar civis, não-combatentes, mantê-los presos, sem julgamento, é uma opção profundamente incorreta e politicamente negativa.") Rumour has it that the FARC have been sent to bed without dessert.

  • ||

    "keeping then arrested without trial?"

    How about not keeping them at all? Considering that no one elected the FARC for anything nor were they appointed by any elected officials.

    Crazy.

  • ||

    What skills of civil administration have the leaders of FARC learned in the trade of narco trafficking and kidnapping? It is not surprising that they have little support; it is surprising that they have any support. Still there are those in this country who would support the Latin Kings over the Republicans. No leftist would ever think it worthy to protest the way FARC treats its prisoners.

  • ||

    WRONG! The MRTA didn't take over the Japanese embassy in Lima. Instead, they took over the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima. I wonder what other facts are wrong in this article?

  • ||

    I wonder what other facts are wrong in this article?



    Instead of wondering, why don't you just tell us? Did Moynihan get the important facts wrong? You know, the ones dealing with the core of the article? Colombia, Uribe, FARC etc.?

    By the way, good job on that "gotcha" considering that even though the MRTA took over the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima (as you correctly point out) the crisis is still commonly referred to as the "Japanese Embassy Hostage crisis." Yeah, mistakenly so, nevertheless that's how it's known. Even the BBC gets it wrong. Correcting Moynihan on this is fair enough. But then passive-agressively implying other facts are wrong seems like a stretch.

  • ||

    high fives cosmos...I love it when a plan comes together! (cigar dangling from mouth)


    Sure, the 60 billion dollar Plan Columbia has not been a rousing succcess, but now we have COMPLETELY CHANGED our plan and we are really kicking ass A-team style now. It is optimistic to think anything good would come from ending the drug war and putting a halt to airbombing peasants fields, I'm sure this has nothing to do with FARC supporters coming from the masses...nope this is a battle of good vs evil....Capitalist vs Marxists and us capitalist can win this the old fashioned way BIG BIG GOVERNMENT...COSMOTARIANS OF THE WORLD UNITE.... MOYNIHAN has seen the future!

  • ||

    I'm sure this has nothing to do with FARC supporters coming from the masses...



    Which masses?

  • ||

    There is no doubt that FARC is intellectually pure marxism in action...marxist love traffic and sell their drugs...making deals, buying up police protection and flying it into industrialized countries ...yep those marxist sure are good at getting around the DEA and avoiding the intelligence agencies....I guess we are just lucky that the terrorist aren't as smart about evading our national security as these genius Marxist drug traffickers.

    Molech bless the CIA and lets all celebrate the international ramifications of our glorious drug war. Anyone who doesn't must be a lefty.

  • ||

    google: NY Times
    "U.S. to Step Up Spraying to Kill Colombia Coca" Published: September 4, 2002

    yes we kill millions of acres of cropland every year there...a portion of it is coca and oops some of it isn't...oh well we destroyed a maize field tough shit for those starving idiot farmers...they were probably marxists or terrorists. I love America so I know I am right about this.

    no group of dissidents can militaristically fight the government for years on end without a decent degree of support from the population at large. We just need to kill enough of the peasants supporting FARC and we will have our victory.

    If you disagree you are a lefty...everyone knows that it is ok to kill things if we can get the press to call them marxists.

    Now if we could just figure out a way to call paleos marxists then we'd be having a awesome week.

  • ||

    no group of dissidents can militaristically fight the government for years on end without a decent degree of support from the population at large.



    Define "decent." 1%? 10%? 50%?

    Perhaps that's why M-19 and the EPL are gone? They didn't have support?

    everyone knows that it is ok to kill things if we can get the press to call them marxists.



    The FARC call themselves Marxist. What do you want the press to call them?

  • ||

    :Define "decent." 1%? 10%? 50%?

    it depends on the nature of the support but ...yes any of the above

    :The FARC call themselves Marxist. What do you want the press to call them?

    I want them to call them marxist so we can continue the war, in fact I propose that we pay for agent provacatuers should we run out of real FARC folks who will call themselves marxists. As long as we can keep up the conflict I'm happy...we are accomplishing many things with the neverending conflict...1)dragging the title of "capitalism" through the mud by destroying american capitalism under the weight of taxes and inflation used to fund the conflict...2)destroying the international reputation of capitalism by associating capitalism with firebombing peasants fields and using black hawks to gun down peasants and torturing dissident groups AND increasing sympathy for anti-property rights marxist ideaology on the left....all these things are great we should keep it up.

    This works almsot as well as bombing the hell out of Iraq to promote AL Qaeda membership throughout the mid-east...if only we could be so lucky as to get some nuclear devices into the hands of the FARC then we could prove that these guys are direct threat to us and we could go in with more firepower!

    Wouldn't it be great if we had some kind of pearl harbor event take place down there so we could scale up this massively successful new strategy we are employing, Soda?

  • ||

    It's difficult to tell where the sarcasm is coming from so although this might be a waste of time I'll explain what my view is here.

    1. The Drug War should end.
    1a. Fumigations should stop.
    1b. US Drug War contractors should leave Colombian soil.

    2. FARC are 10,000 strong in a country of 40 million (do the math). They are extremely unpopular and feared amongst the masses. I believe the reason they've survived this long is a direct result of the Drug War. The reason they've lasted this long WITHOUT succeeding in taking over the country is because they lack the support of the masses you imply.

    Bombing innocent farmers and destroying crops are horrid strategies and should stop.

    Kicking the crap out of the FARC (an organization with the explicitly stated goal of taking over the country by force) should not.

    The current Colombian Civil War predates the Drug War. I think we agree the Drug War should end. But your flippant tone tells me you know jack about this subject.

  • ||

    By the way, to makes things clear. When I say "kicking the crap out of the FARC" I mean the Colombian army should do that, not the US army. I'm Colombian so I took that for granted when I wrote the sentence.

    The US should at most provide intelligence with satellite technology.

  • ||

    oh your colombian...then you shall kneel down and thank us for our help. We will continue to help you in the way that we see fit and you will like it. We will continue the drug war and we will periodically have positive stories about our great progress in the drug war against Marxists drug tradesmen. The average american will not hear or care anything about you or Columbia.

    We will continue to have the columbian government run big budget deficits borrowing billions on columbian taxpaying slaves backs so that we can have more bigger contracts for american arms dealers. We will call those opposed to this leftists/marxists and will shout them down by saying they are FARC sympathyzers. Columbia will continue to be destabilized because this is in the American interests. We need to maintain a "balance of power" in South America, we do not need a stable prospering Columbia. We also need to maintain or strong military presence in Columbia and allowing Columbia to handle this on their own would send the wrong message, it would make the little columbians think they own themselves. Kissinger writes about this, he is a genius and we should continue this policy.

  • ||

    :The US should at most provide intelligence with satellite technology.

    we don't just supply intelligence and satellite technology, we need to implement the whole system, you might need our secret police training as well...have you seen our IRS? well that is nothing compared to the gift we will give your country...your gonna need that just to pay the interest on all this help we have been giving you. We might also need some other favors....perhaps 50,000 troops stationed in Iran and come to think of it we are going to need to have this continually funded, do you guys have any cash crops handy....that one FARC guy was good at production, maybe just keep him on and give him a cabinet position to have his boys keep supplying us. Can we interest you in some carbon credits...we have some really good prices for the 2010 season...after that it is gonna cost a little more(but ours are the best!).

  • aleph||

    This is getting surrealistic and a bit ridiculous. Like it or not, there is a legitimate government in Colombia (not Columbia). This government is trying to deal with a 40-year-old insurgency that eventually turned into a profitable commercial enterprise - think Mafia with Che Guevara t-shirts, charging protection taxes from coca producers, helping with distribution, kidnapping people for ramsom and murdering people who oppose their activities.

    As far as I know, the Colombians forces are getting help from the US and also from the British SAS and the Israelis. I don't see anything wrong with that. They asked for this help and got it. Why not ask their neighbours? Because they were too busy helping the FARC, openly or under the table, and undermining Uribe. He may be the devil, but I think holding him responsible for the hostage problem and criticizing him both for not rescuing and for rescuing them is a bit unreasonable.

    So now he deals a hard blow on the FARC and a wave of regret seems to sweep people who, at a safe distance from the bloodshed, like to think of them as the last remnants of a heroic and romantic Left and not as deranged criminals. The Colombians themselves beg to disagree, but what do they know of geopolitics?

    So let's make it clear: kidnapping people is BAD. Rescuing kidnapped people by any means available is GOOD. Whether Uribe is evil is up to the Colombian people decide it after the problem at hand is taken care of. Mourning the FARC on the grounds that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" is just one more shameful chapter in the history of the Left. Is that clear enough or shall I draw a picture?

  • ||

    It is cute that some of the colombians think they can get rid of our puppet leaders whenever they want....you really think all those secret police weapons and black helicopters we give Uribe are to fight the FARC? they are to strike down the Columbians if they try to throw off the regime(not neccesarily the man, but the system) that we have in place. Colombians have had their country destroyed in our little war and they have been pawns for the military industrial drug complex.

    Al Qaeda and the Taliban is bad too...yet we have paid/supported them regularly for the last three decades....the FARC, Al Qaeda,Greenpeace....we fund dopey puppets and agent provacatuers to help us accumulate our desired political goals all the time. It is statecraft right out of the Kissinger, Brezinski playbook.


    Who on here is mourning the FARC? no one.
    Colombia is a tragedy and the tragedy continues...one good day every decade doesn't mean the tragedy is ending and it is sad to see that some here seem to think that the strategy has meaningfully changed since Plan Columbia or the years before it.

    It is so funny to see you repeatedly call anyone critical of what is going on a "leftists" even after being openly mocked for the idiotic mental framework you are locked in.

    "They asked for this help and got it." right the farmers getting fields destroyed asked for the help. okey dokey

  • ||

    Hooooooray!!!!!!!!!!

    Maybe the NSA can remove Dr. Varito #84 from the drug list!

    Hey....hey .....horay...bring in the cocaine!

  • ||

    John F. MacMichael wrote:

    There is one aspect of this story that is bugging me. The reporting of this story is overwhelmingly focussed on Ingrid Betancourt.

    Ingrid belongs to the rancid rich oligarqui that rules Colombia and being a presidential candidate the best that could have happen to her future political life is thanks to the FARC-EP, regarding your fellow Americans, they don't deserve recognition, these are hired assessins the FBI lend to the DEA to fly over Colombia to bomb and kill innocent people, they are criminals like your president and AIPAC ruled government!

    Ingrid id starting to learn reality and today praised Chavez while telling Uribe to be less agressive.

    If it wasn't for Chavez and Piedad Cordoba Ingrid would still be in the jungle, eating and well care for as we have all witnessed

  • ||

    You are full of shit palomudo.

    Ingrid id starting to learn reality and today praised Chavez



    Where did she praise Chavez and for what?

    Are you referring to this article?

    Yeah, why don't you read it again and tell us what she says about Chavez? :)

    She does say Uribe should be "more serene" about certain subjects.

    If it wasn't for Chavez and Piedad Cordoba Ingrid would still be in the jungle,



    The hostages were extracted. What did Chavez and Cordoba do? Prove it.

    eating and well care for as we have all witnessed



    Wow. Eating and well cared for with chains around their necks. Seriously, fuck off.

  • ||

    So are cosmos just naive? or are they well placed assets who like to subtely spew pro-interventionist foreign policy?

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/021891.html

    This whole deal was a propaganda campaign and Moynihan was out there being a useful idiot or a purposely misleading people who have natural inclinations to be against teh drug war and against interventionism.

  • ||

    From lewrockwell:

    Speaking of FARC, Colombia, and the eternal human comedy, here we have what has to be the ultimate apologia for tyranny



    Ah, yes. A democratically elected government with 80% approval ratings = tyranny. Yep.

    Who's the useful idiot then? Is lewrockwell a useful idiot for FARC?

  • ||

    soda...air bombing farmers fields with vegetation killer is tyranny...the US and Columbian governments cooperate to do this. Wrapping up tyrant shit in a box adn calling it democracy does not make it freedom...throwing ad hominems at those critical of it by saying they are "leftists" is a poor substitute for arguing why it is justified.

    Arguing that "Plan Colombia was just a unfortunate strategy that was tried and now we are on the right track" is absurd.

    Arguing that Plan Colombia and the drug war are ok because Colombia and the US are democracies is aburd.

    Arguing that the only alternative to Uribe is a FARC style marxism is as absurd as arguing that Hitler was the only alternative to Lenin...it is a false paradigm that gets really tiresome.

  • ||

    air bombing farmers fields with vegetation killer is tyranny...



    It's immoral and a horrible idea. Does that mean the government is a tyranny? Not really. Unless you want to call any democratically elected government that does something bad a "tyranny."

    Maybe "tyranny" in English means something slightly different than in Spanish? (honest question)

    Arguing that "Plan Colombia was just a unfortunate strategy that was tried and now we are on the right track" is absurd.



    Who said this? Certainly not me. I can't find it in Moynihan's article either. Being happy about this rescue means you forgive everything Uribe and Bush have done and now think everything will be ok? Not to me.

    Arguing that Plan Colombia and the drug war are ok because Colombia and the US are democracies is aburd.



    Nice strawman considering I've made it clear that I think the drug war and Plan Colombia are collosaly bad ideas. Even Moynihan in his article writes: "And then there is "Plan Colombia"-the wasteful, destructive, and counterproductive drug war."

    Not sure who you are arguing against there.

    Arguing that the only alternative to Uribe is a FARC style marxism is as absurd as arguing that Hitler was the only alternative to Lenin...it is a false paradigm that gets really tiresome.



    Holy hell, who is proposing this false dichotomy?? What I am saying is that Uribe is the legal representative of the Colombian people. The FARC are not. They are not on equal footing. This isn't a symmetric issue.

    Crappy analogy too (and way to Godwinize the thread). A better analogy would be Bush (Uribe) and Stalin (FARC).

    Sorry you're tired about "false paradigms." But trust me that Colombians are far more tired of the murder and mayhem the FARC have caused for 40 years.

  • ||

    well I am also happy for the freed hostages. However, it is silly to pretend this is the beginning of the end of the tunnel for Colombia. A civil war type environment and economic stagnation will persist in Colombia until the drug war ends and the US government stops propping up assholes with billions in militarized police state assistance to execute the drug war. Any us puppet who rules Colombia is going to be using a good portion of his police state assistance to quash internal political rivals....absent police state assistance and US backing a leader would need to deliver a better economy and more individual freedom. Continued military "assistance" and drug war propaganda is a mere existension of Plan Colombia...it doesn't matter if the NAME of the program has changed...the underlying actions are the same. The CIA ships drugs into this country and it is a joke that people like you seem to believe they are making good faith efforts to improve the lives of Colombians or really stop drug flows into the US...although I do think they want to stop the "wrong people" from shipping drugs.


    sure moynihan says plan columbia was a mistake then acts like something diffeent is going on now?! that is bs

    and then he says it is optimistic to think things would improve without the drug war?! as if that means we should just assume it wouldn't help and that means we should sing the praises of Uribe and keep pouring billions of military aid his way.

  • ||

    sure moynihan says plan columbia was a mistake then acts like something diffeent is going on now?! that is bs



    "acts?" What, you know him? Tell me what he WROTE. Show me in the article where he said Plan Colombia is over or different. Otherwise, you are the one BSing.

    it is a joke that people like you seem to believe they are making good faith efforts to improve the lives of Colombians



    I have no illusions about the US government's motives with respect to Colombia. As I've said REPEATEDLY, the Drug War has exarcebated the Colombian Civil War. Nice try though. Keep on with your dumbass strawmen.

    and then he says it is optimistic to think things would improve without the drug war?!



    Uh, no. He wrote: "but it is optimistic to think that an end to the Colombian drug war would precipitate the end of the guerrilla war."

    Obviously a writer in a libertarian magazine would believe things would get better if the Drug War ended (as do I). But it is optimistic to think the guerrillas would disappear. I happen to be that optimistic myself, Moynihan disagrees. Fair enough.

    Read carefully. English is your first language right?

    The CIA ships drugs into this country



    Okaaaaaay. *backs away slowly*

  • ||

    US government stops propping up assholes with billions in militarized police state assistance to execute the drug war.



    The above quote is the one that most shows how little you know about Colombia. Or that whatever you know about Colombia is through the hazy filter of conspiracy theorists and leftist whack jobs.

    Indeed, the US government is providing billions in dollars to the Colombian government for the Drug War. We both agree this is a bad thing.

    But Uribe was not "propped up" and set in place to rule Colombia by the US. The Colombian people actually voted for him... twice... (yes, we have ballots and everything!). Both times he won by landslides.

    If you, like Cosmotarian, think that's cute of me to believe then you can take that gringo condescencion and shove it up your ass (that goes for you too Cosmo). If Uribe is really a CIA/US government puppet or whatever, prove it, otherwise STFU and start talking sense.

  • ||

    That should have read:

    "STFU then start talking sense."

    You cant do both at the same time. :P

  • Air Jordan 15 XV Retro||

    perfect

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