Government violence aggravates Colombian impasse
The declaration of a State of Internal Commotion in Colombia by the Government of President Alvaro Uribe, who recently took office, is a fact of extreme gravity that reveals the possibility of the Colombian conflict developing into an irreversible spiral of violence. The arbitrary measures grant vast powers to the President of the Republic, who will rule by decree for a period of 90 days, suspending constitutional rights, limiting the right of gathering and mobilisation, restricting union, student and farm workers' demonstrations and even demonstrations related to the struggle for peace, sovereignty and human rights that the Government, in an extreme act of hypocrisy, claims to stand for. The emergency measures were accompanied by the creation of a special tax designed to finance the fight against guerilla forces. From now on the State will impose a 1.2 percent tax on people and companies with assets over US$60,000, representing an increase of US$780 million in the defence budget that will be used to create two new elite brigades of fast mobility. At the same time Uribe has championed the creation of an army of informers with more than one million people. The new Colombian Government tries to legitimate those authoritarian and repressive measures under the pretext of providing a response to guerilla groups, especially after their recent actions that have shocked both national and international public opinion. This is a false judgement, since restricting liberties obviously is innocuous as far as impeding violent action is concerned. In fact, the Colombian people face now a new anti-democratic threat. The State of Internal Commotion follows decades of restrictions regarding political liberties and civil rights. It is another turn to the right taken by the reactionary oligarchies of a State that makes violence against the people its main governing method. In the meantime Uribe has started full-scale military actions with massive bombings undertaken by the Air force against guerilla camps. Therefore he makes clear his option for raw power which can only result in total war. The Colombian Government — as well as its US allies and financiers — knows that there is no military solution to the Colombian conflict. Restrictions of democratic liberties and militarisation will only aggravate the Colombian impasse. Either dialogue is restarted — for it was ended in the last days of the previous government due to US pressure — or Colombia will be plunged into widening conflict. The Colombian people have the right to peace and want to live in peace. Peace with national sovereignty, social rights and full democracy. The evolution of events has shown that this peace will not come as a result of making the revolutionary movement surrender nor from crushing the guerilla in the battlefield. It can only be the result of understanding, of serious negotiations and viable agreements that establish conditions necessary to allow the country to overcome social inequalities and develop a political regime that grants authentic democracy to the people and true national independence to the country. The country's oligarchies are deaf to these calls. They are not willing to waive privileges. And US imperialism pursues another strategy — the full domination of the Latin American continent. That is what the Colombia Plan and the so-called Andean Regional Initiative are for. Due to the gravity of the situation in Colombia the solidarity of the Latin-American peoples with the democratic and popular movement in this country is indispensable, as well as an intense participation in favour of dialogue and peace.
* * *Jose Reinaldo Carvalho, Vice-President of the Communist Party of Brazil, responsible for international relations.