The Narco News Bulletin

"The name of our country is América"

-- Simón Bolívar


European Union Turning Against US Plan Colombia

Interview with Paul Emile Dupret of the European Parliament

From the daily El Espectador
Bogotá, Colombia
Sunday, June 11, 2000

Translated by The Narco News Bulletin

"Plan Colombia is a Dracula"

By Olga Gayón
Reporting from Alcalá de Henares, Spain

Special guest at the International Conference on the Colombian Peace Process that is happening here, Paul Emile Dupret, delegate of the European Parliament for Latin America, strongly criticized Plan Colombia.

According to him, the plan has little clarity, doesn't contemplate true social solutions, offers a different answer in each scenario that is presented, and is backed only by one of the parties in the peace talks. Because of that it will not receive unanimous support in the European Union.

Q. Why doesn't Plan Colombia contribute in offering solutions to the peace process?

A. Because it has a military component that is debated in the U.S. Many of we Europeans believe that it is directed only at one country, in that it doesn't speak of the strong advances by paramilitary organizations in the North of Colombia that grow together with drug trafficking.

Q. And the part of the Plan that concerns Europe?

A. There's no clarity as to what concerns Europe. It fails to speak in a true respect of human rights and the practical role of the Human Rights agreement. A plan of this magnitude doesn't mention agrarian reform, when those most affected by the conflict are the small farmers.

Q. What are the European Union's criteria in the talks over funding?

What I can say is that Europe cannot support a plan that is 63% military and lacks many things. The aims of it are questioned for being an essentially military project.

Q. Will the European Union support Plan Colombia financially?

A. There's not much money here and we are in an economic policy of restriction. In this moment it would be difficult to find money for Colombia, and more so when one takes into account that there's no consensus behind the Plan. There are various nations, between them Italy, Holland and Belgium, that are asking very serious questions about it. We believe that Plan Colombia is, in part, imposed by the U.S.

Q. What are Plan Colombia's inconsistencies?

A. All of them! Plan Colombia is like Dracula, it doesn't stand up to light. If you shine a light on it with only five questions it quickly falls down. I'm almost certain that the European Union will not budget money for it. It might be that England gives something, but as the European Union there is not going to be a unanimous position.

Q. So the financial talks will fail?

A. The discussion broke the initial enthusiasm, because the people in the European Parliament were asked how this plan would contribute to the peace when it doesn't consider one of the parties in the peace talks. Inside the nations many questions are also being asked. They are asked, for example, why isn't there a proposal to change the tax system? They already cannot be called financial talks, because no country will make economic contributions. That is owed to the mass of contradictions and the discussions that have generated inside the countries of the European Parliament. This meeting is at a very low level.

Q. What is the European Union's proposal to contribute to the peace process?

A. To generate real cooperation. That there won't be investments that lead to robbery. That we pursue another type of cooperation at the economic level and with advances in the application of the Human Rights agreement. It's that Europe is at a crossroads: Accept the proposed Plan Colombia -- here it's called militarized humanism -- and the consequences could be similar to those of Kosovo. Or that an alternative is constructed, that would be a system of cooperation for development, to invest in the reconstruction of Colombia.


The interview is then followed by this story, also by Olga Gayón:


Government negotiator Fabio Valencia and the spokesman for the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), Raúl Reyes, voiced their satisfaction over the beginning of peace talks with the ELN (Popular Liberation Army).

Reyes less it as positive that the ELN "is able to express itself, because they are an important Colombian insurgent movement."

Valencia publicly challenged Reyes to help the process logistically "since the FARC has a presence in part of the (meeting) zone."

These two participants in the meeting in Alcalá de Henares agreed that, once a peace agreement is agreed upon, Colombia must open a space for the democratic process. Reyes recalled the assassination of 4,000 militants of the UP and said that this explains why the Bolivarian Movement is clandestine.

Valencia recognized that the far-right assassinated the members of the UP: "We are fighting so that Raúl and I can live freely: him with his ideology and me with mine. If tomorrow the Bolivarian Movement wins the elections, we will accept it if the fight is democratic."

América Calling