No, not in Iraq…Colombia…

The “insurgency” in Colombia has been going on since the 1950’s, and has killed over a hundred thousand people. The war predates Bush, predates Clinton, and even predates the war on drugs (although this hasn’t stopped commentators on all sides from using it to bash their favorite targets). It’s still alive for the same reason the NPA is still active here, years after land reform and the fall of the Berlin wall: Because poor people don’t see opportunities to improve their lives and see these groups as a way to get back at the rich who exploit them, because the utopian ideas of the left are still popular in academic and Catholic circles, and because there are a lot of young men without jobs who prefer to run around playing a heroic soldier to sitting around bored.

Kidnapping for ransom is a money making proposition in Colombia. One of those kidnapped some years ago was a dual Colombian/French citizen. Recently, the French government decided to pressure Colombia to release some FARC prisoners in hopes that she would be released…., so  President Uribe di this, and got nothing in return.

So now FARC instead has killed 11 politicians. They whine it was during a “failed rescue attempt”, which the government denies.

So was there a rescue attempt? Who knows, but it is beside the point.
There may have been a covert rescue attempt either by the Colombian Army or by a private militia. But the story that the politicians were killed in the crossfire is nonsense.
Let’s face it: there is no way in hell that friendly fire or crossfire will end up killing only these eleven people. If the cross fire was that bad, there would be dozens of FARC casualties, not to mention dead rescuers. You can’t hide that many bodies, and rumors of a major battle would be rampant.
In other words, the politicians were executed. Period. The execution was probably done to prevent their rescue but it also sent a message to the families and government to stop trying to rescue hostages and pay ransom instead.

The dirty little secret is that they need the money to pay the troops.
Of course, maybe it wasn’t a resuce attempt, but merely that a Colombian army patrol or some innocent civilians accidentally stumbled on the camp, and in their panic FARC executed both the innocent trespassers and the politicians in their panic, and are using the story to cover up their mistake.

A third scenerio also comes to mind: simple execution. Maybe because one of them tried to escape, or because the recent escape of a policeman hostage put them in danger of rescue.
Why would FARC execute eleven fairly prominent politicians? StrategyPage reports they are on the run:

June 29, 2007:  In the past week, over thirty rebels have been killed in air and ground attacks by government forces. The pressure on the drug gangs leftist rebels is relentless…The leftists have evolved into drug gangs, and most of the members want little to do with leftist ideology. It’s a job, but as the leftist lose territory and income, they can no longer meet the payroll, and more of their armed followers lose enthusiasm. Popular opinion has turned against the drug gangs and leftists. These guys have over 30,000 gunmen controlling about a third of rural Colombia, and few people want that to continue anymore. The leftists are under pressure to drop the ideology and concentrate on being drug gangsters.

Since the US left is trying to spin evil US companies associated with right wing militias, I suspect this mass murder by left wing “insurgents” will not get much attention in the press.
The idea that “insurgents” might be murderous thugs, and that a country like Colombia (or the Philippines for that matter) can manage to keep up the fight for years and still have some resemblence to a democracy and continue to function and take care of the needs for many of their people just isn’t something that the US congress or much of the MSM seem to recognize.


Nancy Reyes is a physician living in the Philippines. Her adopted son is a Colombian citizen and runs a restaurant in rural Colombia. Her webpage is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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