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The U.S. press has been watching the Colombian presidential elections very closely, and is ecstatic that Bush's pick won as planned. Uribe is touted in an AP story as halting the South American swing to the left (horrors!)...

...In typical Bush fashion, Uribe is a rich landowner, educated at Oxford and Harvard, son of a wealthy cattle rancher who was to be extradited to the U.S. for drug trafficking, but was allegedly killed by F.A.R.C. (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). Alvaro Uribe grew up with the three children of Fabio Ochoa, three of whom became leading members of the Medellin Cocaine cartel of Pablo Escobar.
This man is being hailed as a solution to S.A.'s "problem" of shifting to the left, proving that what the U.S. want's is not democracy, human rights, or even and end to terrorism, but coke dealing fascist juntas that will crush the people of the region and send the cocaine profits to the U.S.
link: http://www.colombiajournal.org/...
link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

Now we know where the Bushes get their yayo from!

Originally posted to Cartoon Messiah on Tue May 30, 2006 at 05:06 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If the Colombian govt weren't (0+ / 0-)

    so scarcely in control of about half of its own national territory, I think Bush would use Uribe as his willing proxy to invade Venezuela.

  •  Colombia -- Where Democrats get it wrong (0+ / 0-)

    Colombia is a topic where U.S. progressives unfortunately get it consistently wrong -- or at least, have a huge blind spot.  It pains me because I am a true believer in progressive politics and yet I see my fellow Democrats missing the boat on this topic. Sometimes I wonder if the people writing about Colombia have talked to the average Colombian in the past 20 years.  I have relatives that live in both the cities, the suburbs, and the rural coffee-growing region.  This diary borders on idiotic (although the writer is clearly not an idiot).

    First, some facts.  To imply that Uribe is currently associated with the drug cartels ignores his recent family history (father killed by traffickers) or his policies.  

    Second, Uribe was re-elected in a landslide in a fair and peaceful democratic election in the longest-running (however corrupt) democracy in South America.  In what was hailed as the most peaceful and orderly election in the past 10 years, Uribe won 62% of the vote.  The closest competitor, Gaviria, won 22%.  This is not "Bush's pick".  This was Colombia's pick.  

    Third, Colombia's guerrilla left is not some sort of romantic, Che Guevara-like idealistic revolutionaries seeking more power for the people of Colombia.  That may have been true 35 years ago, but not any more.  The closest equivalent to the modern-day FARC and ELN is the Khmer Rouge.  They are just as guilty, and frequently more so, in drug trafficking, kidnapping, assassination, and human rights abuses than any paramilitary unit or Colombian military that Democrats like to harp on while keeping a huge blind spot on 50% of the problem.  Many of the paramilitary units would have no reason to exist if the guerillas were not operating in the first place.

    Fouth, it is ignoring Uribe's immediate predecessors, who were utter disasters.  Ernesto Semper DID have connections with drug traffickers.  Andres Pastrana attempted to settle the matter of the ongoing guerrilla insurgency in a well-intentioned but disastrous attempt at appeasement.  Pastrana sectioned off a huge part of the country as a safe haven for FARC and invited them to the bargaining table.  FARC, given the best opportunity they ever had to get exactly what they claimed to want, instead exposed themselves as complete thugs and frauds.  They stalled the peace process, fleecing the Colombian government for European junkets to "study" foreign democracies, while using the newly-created "Farclandia" to ramp up Cocaine production and launch a military offensive.  

    It was these defining actions of the FARC that made Uribe's election (and popular support) possible, since Uribe has pushed a crack-down on the guerillas -- who are now one and the same as the drug traffickers -- while dis-arming and re-patriating former paramilitaries.  

    There is very, very little popular support left for the Guerilla movement -- it's about time that Democrats picked up on this, since they are years behind the latest news.

    Uribe's re-election has nothing to do with Bush, it has everything to do with what is pragmatically best for Colombia at this point.  Trust me, I don't like to be on Bush's side on any issue.  His politics disgust me.  But any U.S. president would recognize
    that Uribe's approach is what is best for Colombia
    at this time, and would be supporting him.  It's currently the least-worst option out of solely bad options at this point.

    "Coke-dealing fascist juntas"?  Please.  That's the opposite of what Uribe is trying to do.  Pay attention to what is actually happening in Colombia, not what some well-intentioned left-leaning reporters write.  They have a blind spot the size of 62% of the country, and their articles are almost never correctly balanced, I'm sad to say.

    •  http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB131/ind (0+ / 0-)

      A) I hardly consider myself a U.S. progressive. My political views are more Spanish anarchist-libertarian (not the U.S. variety of libertarian). I had a Colombian girlfriend in Spain and got to know a bit about the country.
      B) Your points are well taken, but calling the diary "idiotic" is not. Although hastily written, the point of the diary is not whether Uribe will be good for Colombia, but rather that the U.S. State Dept., Bush Administration, and MSM think he will be good for the U.S. and South America and that his re-election has somehow magically halted Latin America's shift to the right.
      C) I'm no supporter of FARC, ever since I saw evidence of the "collar bombs" that they use to blow peoples heads off with. I think you are absolutely right about Uribe's predecessors and opponents. However, this does not automatically make him a saint. He may very well be the best thing for Colombia, and I may have exagerrated when I called him Bush's pick. But the facts remain that the man has a questionable past and comes from the (white) landowning sector of Colombia.
      D) Would you cite some concrete examples of how Uribes policies are right for Colombia? I am honestly curious to know.

      •  We're closer in thought than at first glance (0+ / 0-)

        We actually agree on a number of things.  For instance, that Uribe's election has nothing to do with halting the leftward shift of South American politics.  But the Bush administration has never shied away from taking credit for something that they had little to do with -- or, for that matter, trumpeting a failure as if it were a success.

        I also wouldn't call Uribe a saint.  Unfortunately, a rational approach at negotiation cannot work, since the FARC have totally discredited themselves (except in the minds of some reporters, who somehow can't see this).  I don't consider myself an expert at all, but the Colombians I know are so fed up with the never-ending conflict that they would rather play out a major fight, however awful, so that they could see the light at the end of the tunnel when it was all over.  That's a lousy solution, but they consider it to be better than the never-ending despair that has dominated the last 25 years.

        Specifically, Uribe's main insight was to take a three-party war and simplify it into a two-party war by attempting to disband the paramilitaries.  It's yet to be seen whether he will truly be successful, but the idea was noteworthy -- provide an incentive for paramilitaries to disarm and return to civilian life (general amnesty, job training), and only have the Colombian military do the fighting.  The period of appeasement is over -- instead, a major assault is re-claiming a lot of FARC-controlled territory, which was getting dangerously close to a number of major cities.  In theory, this should help human-rights abuses and some of the narco trafficking, as the paramilitiaries were unaccountable and always needed funding to operate.  

        Will it work?  Maybe, and that's a lot better than the alternative approaches, which haven't worked at all. There has been some progress, and his strong re-election is evidence that Colombians feel there is wisdom to the approach.  At least there is also a chance to see if this idea works in the long-term, since they changed the rule to allow for Presidents to serve consecutive terms.  Previous to this election, there was no way to provide for any continuity.

        As for Uribe's white, landowning background being a concern -- yeah, probably so, but reclaiming government control is the only way to reverse the migration trend of the past 20 years. The cities are being choked with homeless former farmers abandoning the rural areas, and it was destabilizing the Colombian economy.  Having a growing urban underclass does nothing to help the plight of the average Colombian.  Of course, another great help would be to develop another crop that is profitable.  Sugar ethanol, maybe?

        Anyway, Uribe merely is the right person at the right time.  Another time, another place, he could be dead wrong.  But for now, restoring sanity to the country is the most urgent need, and Uribe has appeared (thus far) to possess a certain "untouchable" integrity -- galvanized by the loss of his father.  Colombia is stil a democracy, not a dictatorship. I believe that if Uribe is truly successful, he will actually make himself obsolete, and the political left coalition of Gaviria / Malthus followers will regain power.  

        But as I said, I'm not an expert.  I just don't like how Colombia is typcially portrayed by left-of-center thinkers in the U.S.  I don't think their view of things is realistic or up-to-date.

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