June 15, 2001
We Agree to Publish:
Not Cry Later"
Armed Forces of Colombia
Narco News 2001
Ángel with FARC Commander Manuel Farulanda Vélez
Publisher's Note: We received an email in the Narco
Newsroom last night. This is what it said:
I have read your pages
in Spanish and they seem very interesting. I am a guerrilla soldier
in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - Popular Army,
FARC-EP. In my country we are victims, perhaps like no one else
in the world, of the arbitrary policies of the government of
the United States, particularly in recent times, with the implementation
of Plan Colombia.
I would like to humbly
send you an attached article that I have written about the issue
of the war on drugs in Colombia, and I would be honored if you
decide to publish it.
We decided to investigate whether Mr. Ángel was,
in fact, an insurgent with the FARC, the largest guerrilla army
in the world. We also wrote to Mr. Ángel, who wrote us
back, in response to various questions we posed to him, saying:
I infinitely appreciate
your attention. I am a member of the Issues Commission (Comisión
Temática) of the FARC-EP (Armed Revolutionary Forces of
Colombia-Popular Army) that is in charge of the public appearances
in the zone of distension. You can find that at the direction:
www.resistencianacional.org, which is the magazine of the
National Secretariat of the FARC-EP. There, in the most recent
issue, are two of my articles.
I understand perfectly
your prudence in verifying this communication
With this email I'm sending
you an exclusive photograph taken with Comandante Manuel Marulanda
Vélez during the 37th anniversary celebration of the FARC,
last May 28th.
At the Narco News Bulletin, we believe that robust speech
and dialogue is a necessary component of democracy, peace with
justice, liberty and human rights. We have often published the
communiqués of Zapatista Subcomandante Marcos from Mexico.
Today, we are very honored
to translate and publish for you this exclusive column by Gabriel
Ángel, issues commissioner for the FARC, so that our English-speaking
readers may hear from the insurgent movement in Colombia, in
its own words, without distortion or censorship from the commercial
media, on the very important public policy issue of the war on
From somewhere in a country
Al Giordano, Publisher
The Narco News Bulletin
Not Cry Later"
Nefarious Effects of Repressive
and the War on Drugs
The Narco News Bulletin
with the criminological conceptions
of North American Congressmen, crimes are committed by people
who decide on their own initiative to be outlaws, led by their
morbid inclination to do evil, consciously assuming the role
of the bad guys. Consequently, they must be punished, as examples,
so that the rest of the good citizens are warned and learn that
they can't live like that. That's why the punishments are so
severe: to prison, life sentence or death, according to the estimated
seriousness of the laws.
The gringos surely identify themselves
with the Christian God of the Old Testament, a barbaric, cruel
and despotic God who brutally punishes those who oppose his will.
Rains of fire, infernal plagues, genocides
dedication of U.S. citizens to the Bible is not by coincidence.
It seems more like identity. We see them on TV or in the movies
listening attentively to the pastor, swallowing, as absolute
truths, the history of the prophets, the chosen people. It fits
their character well. We've even seen presidents with pastors
in cultlike-trance on the news.
All these visions of the world are poisoned
by dogmatism. The Anglo-Saxon thinking persona is openly reactionary
and his legal, judicial and penal doctrines are no exception,
ill fated when they relate to us. With the Colombian people,
with the Latin American people, with the inhabitants of the Third
World, or the Fourth of that world they recently invented. So
it is in the case of drugs. The North Americans pass judgment
that the phenomenon of drug trafficking begins and ends in the
sphere of criminality and criminal laws. It's just a crime, an
illicit act that must be combated with all the weight of the
State, with all its force, with all its power.
For some reason that cannot be explained,
the bad guys dedicated to drug trafficking are experiencing a
notable growth, an authentic rise. They are a true challenge
for the champions of justice. As bounty hunters, they must search
the entire planet for them, reduce them, imprison them and annihilate
them. There are poisoning the youth, destroying the tranquility
of their homes, inducing sin in every form. Disgracefully for
us, they have concluded that the hideout of the rogues is in
Colombia, that on the sidewalks, the farms and the jungles of
this strategic South American country the ones responsible for
their grand social defects can be found.
the Latin American people, have very
different positions in almost all things related to them. Our
cultural and historical traditions lead us to think in another
way. In the end, the role of the losers, of the subordinated,
of the simple dominoes of foreign domination always corresponds
to us. We have seen ourselves obligated by the circumstances
to look to all sides, to doubt all powers, to drink from the
most multiple fountains of consciousness. All of our presumed
benefactors have ended up escaping after sinking their claws
in our backs. That's why we are so distrusting. Our inclination
is to inquire more, to investigate more, to examine more together
and observe all the sides of the coin. We prefer to place ourselves
in reality, however hard it may be.
Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, one
of the most brilliant and recognized minds that Colombian genius
has produced, joined the positive school of civil rights founded
by Enrico Ferri in Italy with such enthusiasm. And our criminal
codes made, as their own, the idea that the delinquent is, in
a certain way, an ill person, a product of the conjunction of
innumerable economic and social causes that must be taken into
account at the hour of thinking about imposing a penalty. This
could not be understood as a punishment, but rather as a method
of rehabilitating the prisoner, of recuperating him for society.
Many aggravating and extenuating circumstances of a conduct had
to be looked at, including the danger posed by the subject. Acting
justly was much more complicated than applying an ironclad sole
criteria with orthodoxy. It was about human beings.
Since the end of the 1970s, the efforts
by the Colombian oligarchy to adopt the inspiring philosophy
of the gringos began to be sustained. Above all because they
were interested in initiating a frontal assault against drug
trafficking and imposed it upon our country, that since then
is no longer just a folkloric producer of marijuana without grand
crime bosses and international mafias. There were various attempts
to adopt the judicial system of the prosecutors and their semi-secret
trials, as well as the Anglo-Saxon penal conceptions in the legal
code. Today, absurd penalties of 60 years and more in prison
are spoken of, in time to propose, without blushing, the death
penalty as the best method to fight crime: the secret witnesses,
the judicial deals, the pardon for sloth and the entire gamut
of corruption and legal blackmail that is now its daily bread.
Any sociological vision of reality has
completely disappeared. The repressive logic, the wrath of God,
has become dogma. A man of the size of Alberto Lleras Camargo,
liberal patriarch of other epochs, had come to write in 1979
in the daily El Tiempo of Bogotá, as the magazine Elmalpensante
reminded us recently, of secret services, those that elevated
the price of drugs so high that they fed the creation of a mafia
disposed to obtain them in any part of the world to bring them
to the United States and make their grand business. And he warned
how our country would become the scapegoat for a responsibility
that the gringo government has alone. "The war on drugs
will stain the reputation of our countrymen in the future,"
he prophesied. The spheres of power completely disappeared this
kind of analysis. The subjection to the empire was total.
Presidents Turbay, Betancur, Barco, Gaviria,
Samper and Pastrana, in succession, increased the legal, police
and military methods against drug trafficking, turning their
governments into mere executors of the erratic North American
policies. If all the dilapidated efforts by the recent Colombian
governments had been better dedicated to solve the problems of
rural property, economic development and social justice in the
countryside, it is absolutely certain that our peasant farmers
would never have recurred to the cultivation of illicit crops.
It would not have been necessary. They would have enough to live,
and live well. And if instead of similarly undertaking a crusade
against drug trafficking, the North Americans had adopted the
legalization of drugs with all their educative, preventative
and medical ability, the narco-trafficking mafias would have
disappeared a long time ago. The problem would not exist.
satanization of the drug problem has
turned anyone who demonstrates a point of view opposed to the
logic of the North Americans into a drug trafficker, to face
repressive and brutal solution. This is the case of the FARC.
Very much in the historical tradition of the Latin American people,
the FARC have sustained that the solution to the drug problem
cannot be military, but must be social. And they have proposed
legalization to the gringos. The revolutionary fight in Colombia
has the peculiar quality of being tangled up in a social reality
marked by illicit crops, something that has never occurred in
any of the revolutionary processes of other homelands. But the
FARC have demonstrated on repeated occasions, over and over again,
its condemnation of drug trafficking. It's just that the solution
proposed by our organization doesn't fit under the lens of the
United States. That's why they stigmatize us as a narco-guerrilla.
And that's why Plan Colombia, designed in the Pentagon, forwards
a warlike solution.
The North Americans employ immeasurable
efforts to prove connections by the FARC with drug trafficking.
It is barely an excuse to give legitimacy to its propositions
of domination and control over factors it considers strategic
for its economic interest, like Venezuelan petroleum and the
Amazonian bio-diversity. And they cover it up with their absurd
war on drugs, a war that only succeeds in aggravating the problem.
It raises the prices, stimulates conformity with the mafias,
generates widespread corruption, and increases addiction. Worst
of all it drowns the Colombian people in a sea of blood, destruction
and horror. How can it be that the leading classes of the country
betray the interests of the country in this manner? The way things
are, we believe that it's not going to last for long. Those who
believe that Plan Colombia will flatten the struggle of the Colombian
people will see. They should not cry later.
A War of Words
Against the War on Drugs