Colombia

The second round of the presidential election in Colombia on 17 June delivered a victory for the right-wing, reactionary candidate, Ivan Duque (backed from behind-the-scenes by former-president, Alvaro Uribe), who received 54 percent of the vote (10m votes). However this was the first time in history that a candidate attacked by the ruling class as a dangerous “Communist”, Gustavo Petro, made it to the second round, and he received a very respectable 42 percent (8m votes).

Este año Colombia elige Presidente de la República, Vicepresidente, Senadores y Representantes a la Cámara: prácticamente  dos tercios del poder político oficial que rige al país. Llama la atención de todos los sectores de la política nacional el ascenso en encuestas de Gustavo Petro. El país que una vez fue llamado “el Israel de Suramérica” ahora parece buscar un giro a la izquierda que atemoriza a la burguesía.

El pasado 5 de octubre, entre las 10:00 y las 11:00 a.m., unidades de la Policía Nacional de Colombia movilizadas a la vereda el Tandil de Tumaco, un municipio portuario limítrofe con Ecuador, abrieron fuego contra un grupo de campesinos cultivadores de coca procedentes de diferentes veredas. Los campesinos inermes adelantaban una protesta pacífica en oposición a la erradicación forzada de los cultivos de coca como parte de una serie de acciones políticas que adelantaban desde el 28 de septiembre.

On Sunday, October 2, Colombian voters rejected the agreement between the government and the FARC guerrillas “for the end of the conflict and the building of a stable and lasting peace.” Jorge Martín explains the process leading up to the referendum and what this will mean for the future of the class struggle in Colombia.


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A powerful general strike took place in Colombia yesterday, involving half a million workers with rallies ion more than 40 cities around the country. The regime is facing growing opposition in spite of the brutal methods that it uses to crush any form of militancy.

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Yesterday we reported on the repression of the indigenous in Colombia and the strike wave of workers in the juridical and sugar cane sectors. Today, we have received reports of further repression and a call for a national strike on 23 October against the state of emergency. We call for solidarity with the Colombian workers and peasants that are facing repression.

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We have received news of a stand-off between the Colombian police and a 9,000 strong assembly of workers and peasants in Colombia in the region of Cauca. The workers and peasants are in grave danger as the state is moving in to dislodge them from the Pan-American highway that they have blockaded in the South-West of the country.

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In spite of the heroism of the guerrilla fighters, what they have lacked is an understanding of the role of the working class in the process of socialist revolution. What is required is a party based on the working class in the cities that can lead the peasantry. In this struggle the guerrillas would still have a role but as auxiliary to the working class, not as its substitute.

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On more than one occasion the Colombian ruling class has entered into "peace talks" with the guerrillas, only to use these as a means of buying time and preparing even greater bloodshed. They used this situation also to conveniently cut across repeated waves of mass mobilisations.

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We start today a three part article, written in June, which looks at how the various guerrilla organisations emerged in Colombia. The bourgeois media present them as merely a bunch of criminals, conveniently ignoring the fact that they arose historically as an answer to the brutal repressive Colombian state at the service of the local oligarchy and imperialism.

The death of Manuel Marulanda, the legendary leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), reopens a debate over the perspectives for the FARC and for the class struggle in Colombia. In recent months the FARC has received hard blows with the assassination of two of its principal leaders, Raul Reyes and Ivan Rios, numbers 2 and 4 respectively in the leadership of the organisation. Nevertheless, the FARC still control a good part of Colombian territory (mainly in the jungles) and maintain an active presence with more than 15,000 combatants.


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The assassination of Raúl Reyes and 18 other FARC guerrillas exposes the real intentions of the Colombian state and the US government. With this massacre, the Uribe government and American imperialism aim to derail the negotiations over the release of hostages and thus deny any peace in Colombia, and at the same time prepare for more acts of aggression against the unfolding revolution in Venezuela and Ecuador.

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February 15 marked the 40th anniversary of the death of Camilo Torres, that outstanding Catholic priest who broke with the Church hierarchy and actively took part in the struggle to overthrow capitalism.

Ramon Samblas interviewed Juan Carlos Galvis from SINALTRAINAL, the Colombian food processing and beverages trade union. Juan Carlos spoke today at one of the recent G8 Alternative meetings.


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A vicious attack on the Peace Community in San Jose de Apartado left 8 people dead, including women and children. Witnesses reported that armed men who identified themselves as part of the 11th Brigade of the Colombian army were involved. The brutal actions of the army, and the government's denial of any involvment has led many to demand an enquiry into the matter. It is clear, no matter the outcome of any investigation, that the workers and peasants of Colombia can only rely on themselves for defence.

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During the last month the Colombian army and the paramilitaries have increased their campaign of threats and assassinations against trade union leaders. The offensive is particulary sever in the Arauca region, on the Venezuelan border.

Interview with Diego Escobar, a Colombian Trade Unionist, a local representative of ASONAL-Judicial. Diego knows very well what it means to be persecuted by the vicious Colombian ruling class. We interviewed him while he was attending the UNISON Delegate Conference 2004.

On September 16, there was a massive general strike of Colombian workers and peasants. Below is an interview with Javier Correa, president of the National Union of Food Industry Workers of Columbia (SINALTRAINAL), while he was on a speaking tour of Europe. He is appealing for the solidarity of workers and youth in other countries with his union’s struggle against the Colombian government’s brutal campaign of repression and to seek justice for the murders of trade unionists in the company in which he works: Coca Cola. (Interview by the Asturian supporters of El Militantein Spain, September 26, 2002). The original Spanish text is available

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This is a letter we have received from Colombia on the recent breakdown in the peace process in Colombia and the army offensive in the demilitarised zone.

"When the peacemakers aim their guns, of course they shoot to pacify, and sometimes they pacify two birds in one shot." (Mario Benedeti, Ode to pacification)


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A review of the situation in Ecuador, Nicaragua, Colombia, Venezuela and Argentina. From the Mexican Marxist paper Militante.