Socialist Worker

Colombia: Rebels' resistance is strong

Issue No. 1790

A top Colombian general resigned last week, along with several other senior military officers. It was the clearest sign yet that the war launched by the US-backed regime against rebel forces is not going to plan.

The Colombian government plunged the South American country into a new round of bloody fighting last month when it ended peace talks with left wing FARC guerrillas. The regime boasted it would seize back territory it had previously ceded to the FARC forces within 48 hours.

The government bombed rebel positions, and government troops took key towns in the Switzerland-sized area of the country that had been under FARC control. But the guerrillas have hit back.

General Gustavo Porras was in charge of a key part of the army's offensive. He and four of his top officers were forced to resign their positions last week after FARC forces blew up a bridge vital for supplying the main town of San Vicente del Caguan.

Meanwhile BBC correspondent Peter Greste reported from inside the war zone. In San Vicente del Caguan, he said, 'The troops are only on the streets during daylight. At night they retreat into barracks. The roads to San Vicente are all under guerrilla control. The only relatively safe way to travel there is by helicopter, and the FARC has cut all electricity and phone lines.'

The BBC man also adds that the FARC has 'a significant core of support' in Colombia. That honest admission stands in stark contrast to the lies peddled by the Colombian and US governments, and by New Labour, whose pet multinational, BP, is the biggest foreign operator in Colombia.

They all say the Colombian government is fighting 'terrorism' and waging a 'war on drugs'. The real terror in Colombia comes from the government and right wing paramilitaries linked to it.

They are responsible for the vast majority of the thousands of deaths in Colombia, as even the US State Department accepts. The US has been urging on the Colombian government's war plans and has pumped in over $1 billion in mostly military aid under its Plan Colombia.

But the US is also nervous about getting drawn directly into a full scale civil war, and getting bogged down as it did in its war in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s. So last week George W Bush turned down Colombian president Andreas Pastrana's request for more military aid.

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Sat 9 Mar 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1790
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