The Guardian March 13, 2002


Colombia: Call to continue struggle

Just prior to the elections in Colombia, spokespersons of the 
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP), issued the 
following Communique:

1. The month of February 2002 concludes with President Pastrana's 
declaration of war that put an end to the talks with the FARC-EP, giving 
rise to a new stage of state violence in national political life, the end 
result of which no one knows.

2. The presidential decision was taken to satisfy the interests and demands 
of the liberal-conservative political caste, the business organisations, 
the paramilitarism under the command of a sector of the police and military 
high command, the big information media and the US embassy.

3. Hundreds of bombs with 250 and 500 kilos of explosives have been dropped 
on the area of five municipalities, causing forest fires, destroying 
highways, bridges, community centres, campesino homes and the murder of 
three civilians, two of them children, and wounding another four including 
a pregnant woman.

This is a clear expression of the state terrorism being unleashed against 
the populace and the infrastructure serving the communities, while the 
insurgency is taken to task for its action in response to the state 
violence.

4. Now that President Pastrana has unilaterally ruptured the peace process 
the FARC-EP does not recognise any authority representing the state in 
these five municipalities, as is the case throughout national territory.

5. We have listened to the declarations of presidential candidates Serpa 
Uribe, Juan Camilo Restrepo, Uribe Velez and Noemi Sanin speaking as 
warmongers disguised behind talk of peace. While they take off their hats 
to hail the presidential decision to rupture the peace process, they talk 
of imposing conditions on the insurgency for reinitiating the talks under a 
subsequent government.

6.The proposals made by the candidates to impose conditions on the 
insurgency, demanding unilateral gestures from it, are a repetition of the 
formula that brought President Pastrana to rupture the talks. They do not 
mention at all the need for changes that would benefit the people 
economically, politically, socially and in defence of national sovereignty.

The candidates of liberal-conservative bipartyism are not an alternative 
since they offer the same thing as always.

This is why we are calling on the people not to vote for them or for any of 
the aspirants to the House of Representatives and the Senate of the 
Republic throughout the country.

None of them is going to legislate in favour of the interests of the people 
and anyone who tries to will be assassinated, as the recent history of the 
Patriotic Union demonstrates.

7. For electoral purposes, the same old dirty politicians, with the 
President at their head, visited San Vicente del Caguan three days after 
the rupture, offering to resolve problems and construct projects they had 
not acted on after three-and-a-half years in government.

8. Included in the presidential entourage in San Vicente del Caguan were US 
military personnel, leaving no doubt about who is giving the orders 
Pastrana submissively carries out to unfold the anti-patriotic "Plan 
Colombia".

9. Now, eight days after the rupture of the peace process, it is clear the 
Colombian people do not want war. War has always been imposed upon it from 
above by the liberal-conservative oligarchy as a way to perpetuate its 
class privileges, to guarantee economic measures favouring the rich and to 
swell the profits of the military-industrial complex, while they drown 33 
million of our compatriots in poverty.

10. We call upon the Colombian people to continue the struggle in an 
organised manner to win peace with social justice and full sovereignty, as 
we propose in the Platform for a Government of National Reconciliation and 
Reconstruction.

Raul Reyes
Joaquin Gomez
Carlos Antonio Lozada
Simon Trinidad
Andres Paris

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