Tuesday, September 18, 2012

From Instigators to Pacifists

From Instigators to Pacifists / Miriam Celaya
Miriam Celaya, Translator: Norma Whiting

Last Tuesday, September 4th, the Cuban media aired a video in which
Rodrigo Londoño (alias Timochenko), Commander of the General Staff of
the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) declared the armed
group's interest in participating in a peace and reconciliation
dialogue, with the participation of all Colombians.

Mauricio Jaramillo, FARC commander, confirmed at a press conference held
at Havana's Palacio de Convenciones that the empirical meetings mediated
by the Cuban government since February 23, 2012 at the Cuban capital had
come to a close, and that a negotiation table with the government of
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos had begun.

Needless to say, the peace process in Colombia must be viewed very
positively, since it could bring to a close the long decades of armed
conflict in that country, at a high human and economic cost, with all
the implications this has for the region.

Nevertheless, the time seems propitious for a pause, primarily addressed
to Cubans on the island, who today get their information as a fait
accompli, with most of them having no clue of the nature of the process,
the conflict, its evolution and the reasons their government, incapable
of having a dialogue with its own people or of solving the acute
internal problems, and lacking any political will to drive the necessary
changes, turns out to be the mediator and guarantor of a dialogue
between the Colombian narco-guerrillas and the president of that country.

Many Cubans are unaware that an armed FARC emerged decades ago inspired
by the ideas of a Castro-style chimeric Latin-American Marxist
revolution, that this army was trained, supported and financed by the
Cuban government, and that, after the collapse of socialism in Eastern
Europe, it became focused on terrorism, a nest of kidnappers and
extortionists, and an armed institution of Colombian drug trafficking,
spreading violence and insecurity in Colombia and the region, the
remains of a failed strategy. From Marxists to leaders of the Colombian
cartel. From trafficking in communist ideology to trafficking in
cocaine. Nothing short of that.

Those Cubans who wonder about the basis of the government mediation in
the Colombian conflict probably ignore the close historical ties that
link it with the narco-guerrillas, and that the so-called Colombian
guerrilla is the last remaining shred of the exportation of the Cuban
revolution in this hemisphere, launched by Fidel Castro in his golden years.

That is to say, Cuban mediation in the Colombia-FARC issue, far from
being a novelty, is long-standing: the Cuban government is not mediator
for prestige, but for its complicity and responsibility in the conflict.
And though even now the function of the Cuban authorities in this case
is quite different, and now the olive-green dome dresses as the dove of
peace, we must not forget that it was the supporter of the violence in
Colombia and many other Latin American nations in the past.

Throughout these years, Cuba has also been a safe haven for many
narco-guerrillas who have been forced to leave their country before the
onslaught of the Colombian constitutional army under President Álvaro
Uribe, who had the crucial support of the U.S. government, and whose
actions dealt crushing blows to the FARC, narrowing its parameters. Each
whack delivered to FARC has also meant an effective blow against the
influence of the Cuban revolution in Latin America.

It becomes clear that the Cuban government had sufficient means of
communication with the FARC leaders to now act as a negotiator of the
conflicting parties. Naturally, in the official media in charge of
disinformation in Cuba, the government -historical ally of the
narco-guerrillas -is mediator, while the U.S. government –collaborator
of the constitutional government of Colombia- is interventionist. In
Cuba, that same media has always presented the FARC, and not the
governments of Colombia, as the legitimate representative of the
aspirations to social justice of the Colombian people

Yesterday, instigators; today, peacemakers. The Cuban dictatorship's
imitative capacity seems endless. Many interests must hide behind this
move by the cunning and long-lived revolutionary caste, but there's no
question that, when the last page of the history of the FARC is turned,
another piece of the black history of the Castro revolution will be
entombed, the one that encouraged violence and death in order to
perpetuate the megalomania of a failed messiah, who today has definitely
disappeared from the scene.

Translated by Norma Whiting

Originally appeared in Diario de Cuba, 10 September 2012


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