Colombia's Crisis

Colombia's Crisis
Posted by FoM on March 14, 2000 at 06:17:27 PT
Letters To The Editor
Source: Washington Post
Ralph Peters "The U.S. Is Setting a Trap for Itself in Colombia," Outlook, March 5 refers to a democratically elected government--elected, I should add, by the largest voter turnout in Colombia's history--as "a corrupt, feudal regime." This gives an indication of where Mr. Peters is heading, and how illogical is his assessment of Colombia's history and its state of affairs.
We are offended by his belief that because many of those who have given their lives for their country were not university-educated, that therefore their sacrifice is somehow lessened. Are we to feel the same of the many thousands of U.S. soldiers from similar circumstances, who fought at Saratoga, Gettysburg and Iwo Jima or in the Mekong Delta? Mr. Peters welcomes the collapse of Colombia's democratic government, yet offers no alternative. Colombians from all walks of life strive to build a better, stronger, more responsible government. They march by the millions in the name of peace and are committed to bringing an end to the violence that has left no one unharmed. We welcome the input and support of the international community. What we have no need for are baseless insults aimed at belittling our society.Luis Alberto MorenoAmbassadorEmbassy of ColombiaWashingtonI am dismayed that Ralph Peters could state that "the best result of the conflict there might be the collapse of the Colombian government." The collapse of the Andres Pastrana government would bring about either anarchy or a hostile leftist government controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. It also would allow the Armed Forces and the smaller National Liberation Army, which now control large swaths of cocaine and heroin cultivating areas, to step up the flow of illegal drugs into the United States, unimpeded on the ground. An Armed Forces-dominated government also would add to human rights abuses in the country. Further, a government collapse would unleash the vicious right-wing paramilitaries, the result of which would be only more bloodshed for Colombians.Mr. Peters's notion of a regional consensus for intervention is magical thinking. None of Colombia's neighbors would be prepared to take such a step. The new Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, is sympathetic to the guerrillas, a friend of Fidel Castro and distrustful of the United States. Ecuador is experiencing an economic recession and still is reeling from an attempted coup. Panama has a small police force, no army and no ability to intervene militarily. Brazil historically is non-interventionist. Peru has its own insurgency to deal with as well as presidential elections this year. Mr. Peters is right about the need to think carefully about our aid to Colombia, but that does not mean we should ignore our vital interests. Randolph MarcusRockville Tuesday, March 14, 2000; Page A16  Copyright 2000 The Washington Post CompanyRelated Article:The U.S. Is Setting A Trap for Itself In Colombia Articles On Colombia:
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on March 14, 2000 at 07:12:02 PT:
Trying to push disconnected buttons
With all due respect to the Ambassador from Colombia - who is no doubt genuinely interested in the welfare of his people - what he and his fellow lobbyists request of the US is not in the best interests of *our* people.For decades, all any undemocratic regime had to do in order to receive US aid was to scream "I am an anti-Communist and I need US aid!" They pushed our buttons, and just like Pavlov's dog, instead of salivating at the stimulus, we poured out immense amounts of resources. That stuff costs money - our money. Our taxes. And when it wasn't enough, we went into debt (The National Debt is created by the government turning to banks and asking for loans; the banks usually agree, and the US taxpayer gets saddled with the burden of paying it off.) to support the likes of Thieu, Marcos, Sukarno, Pinochet, Galtieri and sundry other butchers who in turn killed thousands of their own people to keep the rest in line. Does anyone here, knowing that the Colombian military has such close ties with Rightist militias, believe the aid they ask for will be used for anything different?The Cold War is over; the buttons the Colombian government is trying to push have no power to them, anymore. So now they are trying to use new buttons, labelled 'anti-drugs!'. But it is the same old game: ring the bell and make the big dumb American dog drool. Or in this case, s**t money. It's long past time to put a stop to it.
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