With every passing week opposition to Plan Colombia is growing as news of its terrible effects spreads around the globe.
International Seminar for Agrarian Reform
The recent "International Seminar of Agrarian Reform for Peace in Colombia" organised by VIA Campesina and Fian International issued a declaration against the Plan signed by representatives from Colombia, Spain, Germany, Holland, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, members of the International Campesino Movement and representatives from campesino, negro, displaced and women’s groups from every department of Colombia.
The declaration affirms that Plan Colombia is a "political, economic and military strategy of transnationals in order to orientate and maintain the domination of the USA in Latin America so as to guarantee the interests and investments under the pretext of a war on drugs."
The document outlines the historical inequality in Colombia in relation to property, access to resources, human rights and so on and that Plan Colombia is an attempt to further consolidate the hegemony of the ruling classes at the expense of the poor.
"The so called "destruction of illicit crops"Ö is only a pretext by which the campesino is displaced further into the jungle so that the illegal crops continue growing at the cost of the forests and the business of narcotraffic continues expanding." As we suspect, the fumigations only shift production elsewhere and, through limiting supply somewhat, keep the drug industry buoyant. Meanwhile the land vacated by displacement is annexed by prospectors and land owners for future plantations of crops such as African Palm for the mass production of cooking oil or other crops.
"This puts the land of campesinos, indigenous and afro-colombians at the service of transnationals!" The mechanisation of agriculture, development of GM crops such as a new GM strain of coffee that can be harvested mechanically and the fall in prices for legal commodities means that the traditional crops of the campesino are becoming viable only to the big operator. The peasants of Colombia and other countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Guyana and many others are those that suffer.
The international seminar for Agrarian Reform singles out neo-liberal economics or globalisation as being the policies behind Plan Colombia and that they are only achievable with the use of military force. The regional "Andean Initiative" is now being put into action.
The unity of campesinos and their declaration to fight is an indication of a growing worldwide acknowledgement of the threat that the USA and its neo liberal allies pose to the rural and urban poor around the planet and to the planet itself. The recognition of a common problem and a common cause is essential. As the declaration concludes; "We need to globalise the fight." El Salvador International Meeting From the 20th-22nd July in San Salvador, El Salvador the first international meeting of "International Solidarity for Peace in Colombia and Latin America will take place. (further info’: email@example.com). It is being organised by a number of solidarity groups in El Salvador and from other countries. In accord with this a declaration has been released with the support of various international political and intellectual figures, among them Noam Chomsky. Similarly to that previously mentioned, the interventionist policies of Plan Colombia, under the pretext of the drug war, are outlined as being driven by the neo-liberal agenda of the USA and the latest in a long line of intervention into the internal affairs of Latin American countries.
The declaration states that this is "a flagrant violation of international rights and the right to self determination," and that furthermore, Plan Colombia is the biggest obstacle to peace in the region. International solidarity with the Colombian people in opposition to the intervention is again cited as being of primary importance. The wider the message spreads the better. Campesinos and Indigenous The group Campesinos e Indigenas Unidos de Colombia (CIUC) have said in a recent article that;
"Plan Colombia is not, fundamentally an anti-drug plan. That is its justification but this is exposed when we look at the conditions of narco-capitalism and the immense global drug marketÖnarco-capitalism is functional to the project of global domination in which the hegemonic pretensions of the USA are intent on the control of the strategic economic resources of the world through the exercise of a role as world policeman."
The attack on drugs in Colombia is, furthermore, aimed at less than 2% of the drug chain and as CIUC continue; "The financial circuits of the narco-capital, the massive laundering of money and institutional corruption lie outside the radius of action [of Plan Colombia]."
This is no coincidence as Plan Colombia is an anti-insurgency plan, aimed not at the drug trade itself but only that part of it that is a source of finance for the guerilla. This is supported by "the idea that the insurgency has little political support and that its danger is in its military power, which in turn depends on its ability for self financing."
The USA is creating all the infrastructure it needs for a more direct intervention with a new base at Manta in Ecuador, the establishment of an air corridor between Manta and the islands of Aruba and Curacao, near to Venezuela and under Dutch rule, bases in El Salvador, Honduras and Peru. Within Colombia they have reinforced the capacity of Tresesquinas in Caqueta and extended the runway at Larandia, also in Caqueta. All this will allow a more direct intervention and is being guided by US Southern Command.
"This conflict," affirm the CIUC, "doesn’t have a military solution, much less if it is covered up as a drug war. To pretend this is to trick the people of the USA into the tolerance of military ‘help’."
"We need to act together againstÖ the military treatment of sociopolitical problems under humanitarian pretexts for the neocolonial annexation represented by the ALCA.
We ask especially for the support of a political solution through dialogue and negotiation for a socially just peace in Colombia. The basic conditions are, above all, no military intervention from the USA and international support from the peoples of the world, especially the people of the USA itself. We should achieve this because it is just. If we find a democratic solution it will be the first step toward the modification of a course of action that threatens the whole hemisphere and so frustrate the interventionist plans of the imperialists."
For further info from Campesinos e Indigenas Unidos de Colombia email firstname.lastname@example.org