Narco News '02
Narco News Commentary: Authentic Journalism requires
that all voices be heard. The overwhelming collective and undisclosed
bias of the commercial English-language news agencies in their
coverage of the Colombian conflict can be readily observed by
which parties are heard in their own words, and which are not
allowed to be heard.
Much has been said in
recent days about the FARC-EP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia - Popular Army), but very little has been heard from
the rebel group. Yet on February 21, the FARC-EP issued a communique,
on the Internet in Spanish by the New Colombia News Agency, offering its reaction to the
U.S. and Colombian government-ordered declaration of war.
Ángel and Manuel Marulanda of the FARC-EP
Our first mission at Narco News is that Latin
American voices be heard, in English, in their own words. Our
editorial position today and forever is that we refuse to censor
those voices. Condoleeza Rice and the State Department may have
had success making deals with corrupted major media organizations
to censor the voices of parties in conflict, as occured last
autumn in the Afghanistan war. But they will have no such success
with us. For we are Authentic Journalists who understand that
peace and true democracy are impossible unless all voices are
heard; unless journalists break the information blockade.
from somewhere in a country
Al Giordano, Publisher
The Narco News Bulletin
by The Narco News Bulletin
February 21, 2002
Spokesmen of the FARC-EP national dialogue
and negotiating committee inform:
President Andrés Pastrana Arango, in his speech of February
20, 2002, made a unilateral decision to end the peace talks with
the FARC-EP in moments when we were ready to continue the talks
for a ceasefire and end to hostilities.
Utilizing the pretext of noncompliance by the FARC-EP with inexistent
deals, he accuses us of connections with narco-trafficking when
the country and the international community know, from events
like the public and international meetings about illicit crops
and the environment, and from discussions in the same peace talks,
that those crops belong to poor peasant farmers who have been
historically forgotten by the State. They have had to recur to
this activity as a means of subsistence. The proposal by the
FARC-EP for substitution of illicit crops, presented to the international
public, was deliberately ignored.
"Good conduct" and "gestures for peace" were
demanded of the FARC while the State escalated the confrontation
by strengthening the military and police forces, augmenting the
terrorism of the paramilitary gangs with the open participation
of some military chiefs and the development of Plan Colombia
as demanded by the United States.
To accuse the FARC-EP of violating agreements by having constructed
bridges and roads to serve the community, obviously, only seeks
to hide the true reasons for his decision. In the three years
of the demilitarized zone in five municipalities, the FARC-EP
constructed bridges and roads, with its own resources, that the
State did not want to build for 36 years. More than a thousand
kilometers of road with respective bridges and drainage systems
were constructed in the routes from La Sombra to Macarena; from
Macarena to Vistahermosa; from La Julia to La Uribe; from Llanos
de Yarí to Cartagena del Chairá; from Las Delicias
Guayabero and the paving of the majority of the streets of the
urban center of San Vicente del Caguán with the support
of the community. These are not terrorist actions as the President,
echoing the military chiefs, claimed on television.
The repair of airfields that already existed and that were licensed
by the Aeronautic authorities, and the construction of communal
buildings neither can be used as an argument to end the desire
of the Colombian people for peace.
President Pastrana justified his decision utilizing old images
like the destroyed building of the DAS, whose true destroyer
was known by the entire country. The rupture had been demanded
by the Armed Forces, the business organizations, the large media
companies, some of the presidential candidates from the two major
parties and the U.S. Embassy in its penchant of never enacting
change at the moment that it is demanded.
on TV last week, waving images of roads and bridges
Once more, the Colombian Oligarchy impedes the path of dialogue
from constructing the structural, economic, political, social
and military changes that Colombia requires to exit the profound
crisis in which governments of the Liberal and Conservative parties
have historically caused.
For three years we sought solutions through the path of dialogue
and negotiation for the grave problems that 30 million Colombians
have protested, while the government did not respond to the needs
of the people. It always fell on deaf ears. The presence of more
than 30,000 compatriots who participated in the public aspects
of the peace talks, the roundtables, and with proposals sent
to the table for changes to democratize the economic and political
life of the country, as well as the participation of the Secretary
General of the United Nations and the President of the Colombian
Council of Bishops, corroborate the need for these transformations
to achieve peace with social justice in our country.
It is clear that the true objective of the Government in making
the decision to rupture the peace process is to disappear from
public view the discussion of the fundamental themes contained
in the talks' agenda to build the path, through the talks, toward
a new Colombia.
As proof of our commitment to peace, which remains in the hands
of the people and the advocates of a political solution, the
common agenda for change toward a new Colombia, and the platform
of national reconstruction and reconciliation, are proposals
that we are disposed to exchange with a future government that
shows interest in retaking the path to a political solution of
a social and armed conflict.
We exhort the international community, and in particular the
group of countries that calls itself "friends of Colombia,"
to continue supporting the search for a political solution to
the social and armed conflict on our country, and distance ourselves
from the warmaking chorus that in these moments wants to impose
war on Colombia with the pretext of combatting terrorism.
To the Colombian people, we bring our voice of support so that
the struggle continues and the organized mobilization for solution
to the problems of unemployment, lack of education, health, housing
and land for the peasant farmers. For political liberties, democracy
and national sovereignty, for a new government that reconstructs
and reconciles the Nation.
FARC-EP will continue holding high the political and ideological
flags that have characterized this struggle for more than 37
years on behalf of the interests of the people, and let our class
enemies call us whatever they want.
Raúl Reyes, Joaquín Gómez,
Carlos Antonio Losada, Simón Trinidad, Andrés París
Mountains of Colombia
February 21, 2002
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