The International Criminal Court’s visit “Everytime they killed someone, they played drums”
Aug 292008
  • Good video on the Washington Post website about relatives of disappeared Colombians and their efforts to find out what happened to their loved ones.
  • We are very concerned about threats received by the Inter-Ecclesial Commission of Justice and Peace, one of Colombia’s pre-eminent human-rights defense groups, from “new” paramilitary groups in the department of Chocó.
  • Semana magazine’s website provides a useful map of zones in Colombia where guerrillas and “new” paramilitaries are believed to be doing narco business with each other.
  • Barack Obama’s campaign denied that the candidate has decided to visit Colombia or Mexico before the election, as had been rumored.
  • washingtonpost.com columnist Marcela Sánchez gives a thumbs-down to Obama’s choice of Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate, characterizing Biden’s tone toward Latin America as sometimes “condescending.”
  • Colombian Vice-President Francisco Santos yesterday asked his boss, President Álvaro Uribe, and others to lower the tone of the worsening feud between Uribe and his country’s justice system.
  • In today’s Wall Street Journal Arthur Herman seeks to revive neocons’ flagging spirits by proposing a new “axis of evil”: “Russia, Iran and Venezuela are acting very much as Japan, Italy and Germany did in the 1930s.” The new battlegrounds in this proposed struggle? … wait for it … “Iraq, Georgia and Colombia are battlegrounds in a new kind of international conflict that will define our geopolitical future.”
  • Did Jimmy Carter voice support for the Colombia Free Trade Agreement when he met with Álvaro Uribe two weeks ago? The Steelworkers’ Dan Kovalik reports that Carter has not adopted any position on the FTA.
  • Wealth captured from extradited narcotrafficker “Chupeta” (the scary-looking gentleman pictured in last Friday’s links post) has passed to the control of the Colombian state. The amount is staggering, as El Espectador reports: “the treasure is US$81.5 million, 2 million euros, 25 million pesos, 307 gold ingots, 1 kilo each, 180 gold coins, eight houses and a vehicle.”
  • Writing in El Espectador, Daniel Pacheco offers some electoral advice to fellow members of Colombia’s peaceful leftist opposition: “I propose starting by eliminating the following words from the Democratic Pole Party’s vocabulary: “struggle, empire, narco-paramilitarism, tyranny, resistance, oligarchy, lackey, fascist, masses, doctrine, comrade and messiah.”
  • Dozens of artists and intellectuals have signed an excellent letter defending Nicaraguan poet Ernesto Cardenal, who is facing judicial harassment and the possibility of jail at the hands of his erstwhile Sandinista colleague, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. “Ernesto Cardenal is the most recent victim of the systematic harassment orchestrated against all who have raised their voice to denounce the lack of transparency, authoritarian style, unscrupulous behavior and lack of ethics of Daniel Ortega upon his return to power.”
  • Colombian pop star Juanes has thrown his support behind a march against violence scheduled for Saturday in Mexico, which the opposition-party mayor of Mexico City has declined to attend. For his part, renowned ranchera singer Vicente “El Rey” Fernández, whose son was kidnapped a few years ago, argued that the best way to fight Mexico’s rising crime is to increase police and teachers’ salaries.
  • Honduras, whose government had not been viewed as aligned with Venezuela’s, joined the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), a political forum of like-minded states promoted by Venezuela’s government.
  • Paraguay’s new president, Fernando Lugo, tearfully begged citizens’ forgiveness for the abuses committed by the state during the 1954-1989 dictatorship of Gen. Alfredo Stroessner. Lugo’s plea coincided with the release of a report from a governmental Truth and Justice Commission.
  • Cuban authorities have arrested Gorki Aguila, member of the popular local punk band Pr0no para Ricardo, on charges of “dangerousness,” which in Cuba can mean four years in prison. But what is punk rock without “dangerousness”? (Green Day, perhaps?)

13 Responses to “Friday links”

  1. Jaime Bustos Says:

    Relating the ranchera singer Vicente “El Rey” Fernández, whose son was kidnapped a few years ago, and that argued that the best way to fight Mexico’s rising crime is to increase police and teachers’ salaries ….

    In Colombia there are some chaps who have pronounced maxims of similar insight, as the old pugilist Pambele who once said “It’s better to be rich than to be poor”. Or a miss Colombia that when asked if she was going steady, said “I think I already have that little hole filled out”, or a football team coach that said “Losing is winning a little too” :lol:

  2. Camilla Says:

    Good roundup.

    Re: Inter-Ecclesial Commission of Justice and Peace – I would like to know how cozy and trusted they are with FARC. Just asking.

    As for Bambi not wanting to go to Colombia or Mexico, what did I tell you? I knew the guy was scared. More still, what does he have to offer those places except broken treaties and reneged alliances? The guy’s plan for Latin America is to f them over, taking advantage of the fact that Americans just don’t care about the region. Latin America is Obama’s garbage can for everything he can blame on globalization. China doesn’t get half the blame for lost jobs that Latam does, yet Latam bears very little relationship to any lost jobs over free trade. Meanwhile, until recently, Obama did not realize that China neither has nor wants a free trade treaty. They’ll take the tariffs so they can continue to employ child and slave labor in peace and screw their Latin rivals who obey the rules and pay living wages.

    I agree with Marcela Sanchez that Plagiary Joe is condescending to Latam – it’s probably why Obama likes him. The two of them can blame this region for every ill of globalization and screw them all over on free trade to please their Big Labor buddies.

    Vice President Santos is right, Uribe is being a baby by screaming at the Supreme Court.

    Arthur Herman is no neocon, Adam. That was an ignorant claim, and probably designed to enflame. That’s not you!

    Meanwhile, Dan Kovalik doesn’t say Carter hasn’t adopted a position, he explicitly says that Uribe lied. I don’t think Uribe lied. I suspect Carter lied, telling Uribe one thing, and then when Uribe put it on his site, now refuses to admit anything. For the record, Carter has a long record of supporting free trade, as do all US presidents, with the single exception of Herbert Hoover, and Barack Obama if he gets elected. Everyone else was pro-free trade, but Obama is too tightly in hock to his union masters. He won’t change.

    Re: struggle, empire, narco-paramilitarism, tyranny, resistance, oligarchy, lackey, fascist, masses, doctrine, comrade and messiah – what a creepy group! I am amazed they’ve gotten as far as they have – nobody but a Castroite talks and thinks in such terms. If they drop those dinosaur terms – and dinosaur thinking, they might have a fighting chance of winning more power. They ought to do it, just to ensure a two-party system. But dinosaurs who think they have the absolute truth already are very hard to change.

    I don’t think there is anything like-minded about Honduras and Venezuela being in the ALBA union. Quite simply, Honduras needs money. As long as Venezuela can pay it, Honduras will stay in the union. There is no serious benefit otherwise because the only thing of value being produced by the Marxist states is oil. I wonder how that ALBA thing affects Honduras’ CAFTA relationship? Does anyone know? I suspect Chavez made a deal with Honduras saying they could stay in CAFTA so long as they kowtowed to Chavez’s leadership in ALBA.

    Prono para Ricardo is a hot group that makes good music. No wonder the Castroites can’t stand them. Every Castroite from Che on down has had a thing against rock music. Yet the international left continues to adore them and consider them romantic. It is gross. No wonder groups like Prono para Ricardo evolve out of Cuban soil.

  3. Sergio Méndez Says:

    Camilla:

    Herman may not be a neocon, but concerning exterior policy he clearly thinks like that. Neverthless, we can say his foreign policy recomendation are not only worthless, but extremely dangerous and misguised…

  4. Jaime Bustos Says:

    How about neocon chaps dropping the terrorist-war on terrorcommy-lefty-bad guys half witted jargon too, Mrs O’reilly, excuse me O’Grady? And if the chap from WSJ is not a estranged neocon what are you then? A fair and balanced extremist? :lol:

  5. Camilla Says:

    I’ve said over and over that I am not a neocon and I have done unpleasant things to some of them. I suppose it has to do with one’s definition of neocon, to me it defines that itchiness to defend Israel at all costs, reward your little personal clique with government contracts & jobs, and declare it all defending America. To some extent it also may involves the idea of spreading democracy and sidling up to certain local westernized elites and trying to empower them as puppets without the natural course of democracy – and on the cheap and promising more than one can deliver, but it might not be utterly specific to neocon-ism. That is how I see it. Recognizing the obvious about Chavez, Iran and Russia is a fairly serious thought that ought to be considered wisely – and in more than the context of just Iran threatening Israel. It’s a problem for everyone and resources should be allocated to more than just the Israel side of things. But knowing the neocons, that’s what will happen – it will be all about Iran and defending Israel – and the Russia and Venezuela side of things will go ignored. That’s what always happens. It’s why I can’t stand neocons.

  6. GS Says:

    On the issue of dropping certain words, I think there is much value in that. For example, the US military’s position, as voiced through Southcom, regarding some human rights related issues are remarkably close to the positions of many human rights groups. But often the words used to express the opinions or just to communicate get in the way. I’ve often thought that if both groups would just use the same language there would be less distrust amongst them. Not complete trust, but just better working relations.

  7. Jaime Bustos Says:

    The previous comment before this one, is just another example of how ignorant and stupid disinformed people may turn out to be. See you on the flip side chum ;-)

  8. Jaime Bustos Says:

    Sorry GS, I did not mean you :-(

  9. Camilla Says:

    Thank you for your fine debate, Jaime Bustos. My what a deep thinker you are! Do you get such depth from reading slogans off your Che tshirt?

  10. MZR Says:

    “Iran threatening Israel”…

    That one made me laugh. Everyday, the United States of America, the most aggressive state on the face of the planet, which owns a huge stockpile of nuclear weapons and is currently the only country to have used a nuclear weapon, threatens Iran on a daily basis. Moreover, it’s best buddy, Israel, which has been given hundreds of nuclear weapons by the USA and is the second most aggressive state in the world, also threatens Iran everyday (including a recent “mock air-strike”). To add to this, Israel still will not fully admit to owning these nuclear weapons (wasn’t this the “reason” – or rather, lie – which was used by the US to invade Iraq?) nor will Israel sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Finally, US intelligence services have told the US administration numerous times that there is little evidence that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons programme. Still, Bush and his friends persist on telling us that it is (again, we only need the example of Iraq to understand how Bush will lie to get what he wants… At a cost of thousands, probably millions, of lives). But, even if Iran was developing WMDs, exactly how can the US tell any other country that it can’t develop nuclear weapons?

    The same is true with Venezuela. On a daily basis US commentators and politicians talk about getting rid of Chávez and helped fund an illegal coup against a democratically elected government in 2002 (largely through USAID). But Chávez is the threat? I think not…

    So, it would seem, the real problem is US threats to global peace.

  11. Kyle Says:

    Just a note, though probably quite important for regional-level analysis of the war. Choco sees really no cooperation whatsoever between the groups there. There is some ELN fighters out there, countless FARC members and some new para groups out there as well. Also, it is one of the largest trafficking centers in Colombia by far, from outgoing cocaine to incoming weapons to base-to-be-processed and so on. Also, this year has been an incredibly violent year (and so was last year) for the department. Perhaps this suggests that where trafficking is strong enough, groups want it all for themselves (perhaps profitable enough as well), while where difficulties abound, cooperation is a viable option. Narino and Cauca, I think, further strengthen this.
    Despite that the authorities are saying the groups are acting together, other evidence shows the opposite.
    Really, it kind of looks like some shotty methodology to an extent, because it seems that the authorities may have just added up all of the groups they believe are involved in narcotrafficking and the war and said they must be working together. Notice how #2 of the BACRIM is all alone in Choco. Who exactly is that group working with? The same goes for the FARC’s 63rd front. All alone in Putumayo suggests regionally they aren’t allied with anyone. (Geography, for me, plays a huge role in trafficking and alliances) The lack of other fronts suggests and the map’s point suggest that these two groups are not working in cahoots with another group. Violence, as stated earlier, in Choco and the FARC’s stronghold over southeast Putumayo provides some evidence for this. Also, that ELN/FARC conflict is still raging on, yet they provide no evidence that this has stopped in some areas for narco related reasons. In fact, in Arauca they just list the major guerrilla fronts. We know they are not working together. The displacement of 2,000 people in Arauca in January showed us that and the continued recent violence in the name of the guerrilla-guerrilla conflict shows us it is still the case. Maybe these groups are involved in narcotrafficking, but united? I’m not so sure. I will still assume that fronts not on the list are undoubtedly not acting united with other groups and not that those fronts exercise no control or influence in their respective regions. (Choco, for example, has plenty of FARC fronts that control territory in a “zone 5″ way to use Kalyvas’ designation.)

  12. Plan Colombia and Beyond » Friday links Says:

    [...] against the Colombian human-rights group Justicia y Paz, mentioned in last Friday’s links post, grew more serious this week. Members of the group, which works with displaced communities in [...]

  13. Lou Says:

    That map in Semana is really telling, for anyone who is still holding out for the FARC. I wonder where the data for the map came from?

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