The son of a landlord narco-trafficker, friend of dodgy businessmen and a long time promoter of right-wing paramilitary death squads, Uribe was elected by less than a quarter of all Colombians. He is doubling the size of the armed forces, recruiting hundreds of thousands of village guards and aims to build a network of one million informers to defeat the social movements and the guerrillas, the FARC and the ELN. At the same time, US military involvement is rapidly expanding, with the planned insertion of US troops creating the very real possibility of a Latin American front to the so-called War on Terror.
Militarisation goes hand in hand with authoritarian rule. Government ministers openly state that they must curtail democratic rights. Uribe immediately declared a ‘State of Internal Unrest’ allowing him to rule by presidential decree, by passing Congress. All the social movements live in fear for their lives. Armed police raid international NGOs accusing them of being guerrillas. Uribe’s government clearly regards trade unionists as legitimate targets for assassination. He has brought Colombia to the brink of fascism.
There is continued grass roots resistance, but it needs a sea change in international solidarity if it is to survive Uribe’s offensive. While Bush has given Uribe the green light for state terrorism, who will stand by the Colombian people?
A ray of hope has come from the Polo Democrát-ico, a group of independent and socialist Senators and Congress representatives who managed to get elected despite the intimidation. At this juncture they have pivotal role in expressing the needs of the excluded majority. These deputies live under constant threat of assassination. Should their voice be silenced then fascism will have not only arrived but taken over.
Just as Latin America is seeking a way out of neo-liberal capitalism, Uribe throws Colombia further into its depths. Uribe is plunging into debt to finance military expansion. Before long the Colombian people will have to pay, right now it means that Uribe does whatever Bush wants.
As in the Middle East and Asia, Bush has made clear his readiness to go to war. While most of Latin America is shaping resistance to US domination, and its peoples struggle for a new economic model that is oriented to their needs, the Colombian government is ever more in Bush’s pocket. Uribe is not only selling off his own country, but threatens to betray a whole continent.
Nor is Uribe just Bush’s man in Latin America, he is a favourite of the Blair government too. The multinationals are the driving force behind Blair’s love-in with Uribe. That famous revolving door with BP has been in full swing.
On 10 December David Taylor MP asked government minister Bill Rammell to "make a statement on the political situation in Colombia." Rammell’s response? "The new democratically elected Colombian Government face enormous challenges, particularly in their fight against terrorism and the illegal drugs trade, as well as over human rights and Colombia’s humanitarian crisis. We support their effortsto tackle all those issues."
Nowhere does Rammell acknowledge the Colombian government and state’s own responsibility for terrorism, drugs and human rights violations.
A broad political campaign is needed to tackle the British government’s shameful position, which is a cover-up for fascism.
Our challenge is to mobilise international solidarity delegations, to unmask the multinationals’ agenda, to tell the public what is really going on in Colombia and to defend human rights.
The Colombia Solidarity Campaign supports Colombians who are in danger of persecution. We support humanitarian efforts to assist Colombians seeking temporary refuge, or full asylum should they require it.
We call for a common front based on action to defeat fascism and imperialist intervention in Colombia.
Unite to Stop Uribe Fascism!
Mobilise Against Imperialist Intervention!