Raúl Reyes, chief spokesman for the FARC, second in command
Photo: Jason P.Howe, 2002 .

Raúl Reyes, chief spokesman for the FARC, second in command. Photo: Jason P.Howe, 2002 .

Colombia shaken by the crisis

(Raúl Reyes)

Colombia is being shaken by the worst crisis of the last 50 years in the structures of state and its regime of governance, with a marked accent on political, economic and social aspects. This crisis is producing ungovernablility, economic instability and social upheaval given the evident inability shown by Mr. Pastrana’s government to offer viable, convincing and real solutions to each feature of this crisis that is shaking the institutions and stirring Colombian politics.

The results of the House of Representatives and Senate elections confirm the illegality and fragility of the principal underpinnings of the state. This begins with the legislative power, due to the shameless buying of votes, false promises, influence peddling, and the ease with which several hundred dead and disappeared victims of the repression against the people by the governments of the liberal and conservative oligarchy in power were voted for those winning seats.

The limited number of votes cast in favour of the Conservative Party’s candidates, the absence of leadership and lack of cohesion in the conservative camp, forced its leadership, with Pastrana at the head, to withdraw the party’s candidature for the Presidency of the Republic and give its total support to the dissident Liberal Party candidate, Álvaro Uribe Vélez. His inspiration was the mad dreams of total war without talks, and he was supported by the paramilitaries.

The presidential elections that gave victory to Uribe manifest the defeat and rejection of Mr. Horacio Serpa, the official Liberal Party candidate. It stands out that for these elections the most reactionary elements of the liberal-conservative oligarchy pooled their economic, intimidation, publicity and propaganda resources for the strategy of making Uribe Velez their president representing the interests of the class to blame for the crisis of ungovernability.

The abundantly financed electoral campaign of the candidate of the current and traditional big landowners, big ranchers, impresarios and business groupings, the narcotics traffickers and the uniformed and civilian militarists, with the main communications media at his service and having the mission of fabricating opinion polls giving victory to Uribe Velez ahead of time, only produced 25 % of the votes in his favour in a country with more than 24 million who qualify to vote. This is indisputable evidence of a lack of legitimacy.

Grim faced, Camilo Gomez, the Governments High Commissioner for Peace and Raúl Reyes during negotiations at Los Posos, 
Caquetá in the last days of the peace process
Photo: Jason P.Howe, 2002 .

Grim faced, Camilo Gomez, the Governments High Commissioner for Peace and Raúl Reyes during negotiations at Los Posos, Caquetá in the last days of the peace process Photo: Jason P.Howe, 2002 .

The leaders of the Liberal and Conservative parties lost the confidence and control of their old electoral fiefdoms in various departments, municipalities and marginalized localities of the country due mainly to state abandonment of the promises never fulfilled by the party chiefs and the barefaced robbery of the accounts and budgets by venal politicians, corruption and the shameless use they make of what is needed by the suffering population that votes for them.

The deepening of the crisis expresses itself strongly in the citizenry’s lack of confidence in the state because of the high levels of corruption, impunity and open and shameless appropriation of funds from the national treasury on the part of various functionaries of the three branches of public power. What stands out in this regard is the acts of embezzlement perpetrated by officials of the executive, legislature, security forces, army and police, and in social security, among other decentralized institutions.

While the whole of Colombia is being touched by all these crises, the unprecedented loss of purchasing power by more than 30 million compatriots who live in poverty with low wages or a complete lack of work, the growing deficiencies of the health care services, education and housing, among others, Pastrana’s government made the decision to cancel the dialogue with the FARC-EP and for that purpose allocated immense national budgetary resources for the war against the people.

Four months after the government’s declaration of war, they have still not achieved the blows they hoped to strike at the leadership of the FARC-EP in the short term. On the contrary, they have gotten an increase of political and military action over the whole country in response from the guerrilla movement. They have serious difficulties due to the guerrilla movement’s call to mayors, councilors, police officials, judges and prosecutors to abandon their positions since they are the direct representatives of the state in those localities.

In Colombia we have a combination of political, economic, social and structural crisis, confirming the grave problems affecting our society constitute the generators of the internal conflict. Their solution lies not in the dictatorial measures of coercion treacherously promulgated by the president of the Republic and his discredited government team.

In the face of the failed illusions of imposing unreasonableness and intolerance, it is the pursuit of solutions through dialogue that ever more forcefully commands respect.

The FARC-EP shall continue to develop their permanent policy of combining all forms of revolutionary struggle until political power is taken in order to constitute a new state together with the dispossessed and excluded of our nation, with a political order of government that guarantees the rights and freedoms of Colombians, making of Colombia an independent and sovereign nation, free of hunger, with jobs and wages adjusted to the costs of the necessities of life and where the state guarantees free health care and education.

Translation on English by: elbarcino@laneta.apc.org  

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