Issue # 19 Sign Up for Free Mailing List

April 1, 2002

Narco News '02

Switzerland: FARC

not "Terrorist Org"

Refuses U.S. Order to Freeze

Colombian Rebel Bank Accounts

Narco News Commentary: Bush administration attempts to use the "war on terrorism" as a Trojan horse to conduct other policy agendas hit a marble wall last week in Switzerland.

As the Swiss government froze bank accounts related to the Taliban organizations of Central Asia and the Middle East, it at the same time refused a U.S. request to freeze funds belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the Colombian rebel organization.

In the days after the attacks of September 11th, Narco News warned ("Washington's Terrorist List: The Road Through Afghanistan Leads to Colombia," October 1, 2001) that Washington's list of so-called "terrorist" organizations "fails to distinguish between groups that cross international borders to do violence and those that do not."

According to today's El Tiempo of Bogotá, the Swiss government -- in a nation with many of the most important banking institutions in the world -- has just taken a courageous step in turning the tide against the cynical policy of Washington to make national liberation movements targets in the so-called "war on terrorism." The diplomatic policy of Switzerland reveals the continued rift between the European Community and the U.S.-imposed "Plan Colombia" military intervention.

Here is a translation of the report in today's El Tiempo (so far, no English-language wire service or media has reported the story).

In a move that places distance between Swiss diplomacy and that of the United States, the Swiss State Department refused to automatically block the bank accounts of the FARC, according to Jacques de Watteville, chief of the economic and financial affairs division of this department.

"We have ordered the freezing of 69 accounts of the Taliban or its accomplices, identified as criminals by the Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council, but we don't subscribe to the recommendations of certain countries about supposedly terrorist organizations," he explained.

The U.S. Justice Department had sent the Swiss government a list of terrorist organizations against which it asked for the freezing of their bank accounts.

To explain the decision by his government, Jacques de Watteville gave examples of the Lebanese Hezbollah party and the FARC, insisting that "we don't define them as terrorist organizations."

The policy of neutrality and good works that characterizes Switzerland illustrates a relative clemency for the FARC, since Switzerland together with France, Cuba, Spain and Norway is part of the "Group of Friendly Countries" that is attempting to consolidate a peace process between the Colombian government and the ELN (National Liberation Army).

By Juan Gasparini
El Tiempo correspondent

for more Narco News, click here

Refusing to Freeze the Facts