Last Updated:3/24/00
Letter from the FARC to the U.S. Congress, March 14, 2000
Honorable Congressman or Congresswoman:

The U.S. Congress is currently studying a request from President Bill Clinton regarding a 1.6 billion dollar increase in military aid to Colombia to finance what the Colombian government is calling, "The Colombia Plan". This plan is being presented as a plan for social investment, for the fight against narcotics traffic and for building peace.

We wish to inform you that the "Colombia Plan" is a plan for war. Its funds are destined to improve the combat capabilities of the armed forces for their repressive use against the social movements and protests of those Colombians who are demanding solutions for the basic needs of their lives: employment, housing, health care, education, agrarian reform, and concrete action by the government against the army's paramilitary forces. The fight against narcotics is just a facade and the plan contains only nominal elements for social development in a country in which 20% of the population (6 million people) are unemployed and more than 18 million people live in terrible poverty.

We are part of the majority of Colombians who have a real sense of love for our country, and do not share the objectives of "The Colombia Plan". We see this plan as going against needed social investment and against peace. It is another resource for an encouragement of war among Colombians and only increases the interference of the U.S. government in our internal affairs.

Regarding illicit crops, it has been shown that the problem of these crops, such as those grown in the coca growing regions, can not be eradicated with violence and fumigation. These measures only aggravate the problem because the peasantry, who are forced by poverty to subsist from the sale of illicit crops, react to these measures by increasingly moving into the Amazonian jungle. This is creating a serious ecological problem in the principal reserve for water and oxygen production for humanity. This region is being destroyed while the real narco-trafficers, those who benefit from the millions of dollars in profits from this terrible activity, are living in luxury in the bigest cities and their money is circulating in the international financial markets.

Narcotics traffic is an activity inherent of the system that found favorable conditions for this activity by the impunity and corruption of the government. It is a very serious problem, but it is not the main problem for Colombians, nor is it the cause of the war with which we have suffered for nearly 40 years in its current phase. We have presented a plan for development, a pilot plan for the eradication and substitution of illicit crops in the municipality of Cartagena del Chaira, based on creating the necessary conditions, including subsidies for production and for the market, for the development of alternative crops which can guarantee survival for the peasantry. This proposal is on the table for discussion, but it does not depend on the FARC-EP, or on the peasantry, and so far there has been no response to the proposal. We ask if the U.S. Congress is familiar with this proposal?

The proposed aid and Colombia Plan is directed even less at building peace, because what it does is strengthen the official armed forces to develop state terrorism as an official policy. It strengthens the so-called paramilitary, which is, in fact, an arm of the army in its dirty war that follows the lessons taught in the School of the Americas on "drying the ocean in which the fish swim". In other words, massacring the civilian population in the areas with guerrilla presence and then describing those civilians as if they were guerrillas soldiers.

Furthermore, this plan is an attack against the fragile and complex peace process which is being developed between the government of Andres Pastrana and the FARC-EP, giving in to the pressures of the enemies of peace who still believe that it is possible to militarily defeat the guerrilla forces and then force them to sign a surrender. From the moment of our origin and in all our history, we have maintained on high the banner of peace with social justice. We propose to find a different solution to the war, a solution to the social and armed conflict under which we live. The definition of this is the responsibility of interlocutors represented in the government, who must, in the name of the state, choose more war or peace with a fair distribution of the wealth. There is an internal war in Colombia, but it is the result of policies imposed by the state and the establishment which have generated enormous economic inequalities, an absolute lack of political democracy, the destruction of the social network, social disenfranchisement and exclusion, and the loss of cultural values and political liberties.

For these reasons we maintain our proposals for the construction of a New Colombia in peace, with social justice, dignity, and sovereignty. This is only possible to the degree that the necessary changes are made to resolve the causes of the problems, which have led to war.

Some brief history is needed in order to understand something of the complexity of the Colombian problem

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - Army of the People (FARC-EP), arose in May of 1964 as a response by a group of peasants to governmental aggression by both the traditional political parties, (Liberal and Conservative), which in the name of democracy have plundered the country and appropriated the national wealth ever since Independence. The government organized a military operation planned and led by the U.S. Pentagon, the so called Latin American Security Operation (LASO), also known as Operation Marquetalia. This operation was carried out against 48 Colombian peasants (46 men and 2 women) who had been victims of the violence of the previous decade, led by Commander Manuel Marulanda Velez, dedicated to working the land, they were accused of being "the shock force of international communism" and this made them a military target. That was the pretext used in that epoch, just as at present, the pretext of the fight against narcotics traffic is used for the same kind of operations.

In the intervening time, the FARC-EP has consolidated itself as a political and military organization, as the people in arms it is an essential and integral part of the Colombian people, with 60 fronts, urban organization in the principal cities, and a Secretariat guard. It has a presence throughout the country, with its fronts organized in seven blocks.

We are a belligerent force exercising the right to rebel and the right to self-determination. All the conditions exist for our recognition as such an official belligerant force; in fact and in practice this recognition has been given, including by the government and Colombian state, not only in the most recent phase of negotiations and conversations, but since 1984 when we signed the Uribe accords.

Even if is true that we have not specifically signed all the provisions related to international humanitarian rights contained in the Geneva Agrements of August 12, 1949 and in special the additional protocols, we have our own normativity adjust to the IHR because we are a revolutionary movement that has one of its pillars in humanism. Furthermore, we defend the respect for the human rights of the people that most be garanted by power's state and their governements.

We invite you to broaden this exchange of information. Our e-mail address is: elbarcino@laneta.apc.org , you can also find our website http://burn.ucsd.edu/farc-ep/


International Commission Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia- Army of the People (FARC-EP) 14 march, 2000

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