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Colombia: Outrage and Anger at FARC for the Death of 11 Lawmakers

Colombians woke up Thursday morning (June 28th) with some very bad news, even for such a troubled country. The ANNCOL news agency, known for publishing articles related to left-wing FARC rebels, posted a statement by the “Joint Western Command” where they claimed that on June 18th, 11 of 12 “deputies of the Valle assembly, who were taken in April 2002, died in the crossfire when an unidentified military group attacked the camp where they were located”. The 7:00 a.m. television newscasts started one hour earlier, devoting all their airtime to the story. Both ANNCOL and FARC websites were unaccessible all day long and remained that way until Friday morning.

Almost all Colombian bloggers and blog readers agree, despite FARC claims, that the lawmakers were murdered or executed, in order to blackmail the right-wing government into providing a safehaven in Florida and Pradera, Valle del Cauca department, and a “humanitarian exchange” of 60-high-profile hostages, including former presidential candidate Íngrid Betancourt and three Americans. At noon, President Uribe accused the FARC of killing the deputies, because according to him, “no rescue mission was underway. They were deliberately assassinated”. Quoted by Reuters, a local analyst for a pro-Uribe think tank said the most likely scenario is the camp was being attacked by an illegal paramilitary group and that the FARC executed the hostages”.

Camilo Mosquera “congratulates” FARC [ES]:

Felicidades a las FARC, les liberan a 180 guerrilleros y a su cónsul […] Granda y responden secuestrando al comandante de policía de Pradera. Felicitaciones a las FARC por matar a 3 personas y amedrentar a las población de Buenaventura. Felicitaciones por matar a los 11 diputados. Felicitaciones por que cada día los odiamos más. SON UNOS HIJOS DE PUTAS TERRORISTAS.

Congratulations to the FARC, 180 of their guerrillas and their consul [Rodrigo] Granda are freed and they respond by kidnapping Pradera's police commander. Congratulations to the FARC for killing 3 and intimidating the people of Buenaventura. Congratulations for killing the 11 deputies. Congratulations because everyday we hate you even more. YOU'RE TERRORIST S.O.B.'s

Thilo Hanisch Luque [ES] slams France's government (Sarkozy asked Uribe late May to free Rodrigo Granda and other guerrillas) and praises one of Uribe's proposals in order to clarify this crime:

Lamentable e infame la actitud del gobierno francés, que madrugó el día de hoy a pedir que no se intentara el rescate militar del resto de sobrevivientes secuestrados. […] La propuesta de que sea una comisión internacional de médicos y técnicos forenses la que investigue los graves delitos, muy seguramente servirá para establecer lo que los colombianos ya intuimos por experiencia, pero algunos de los “demócratas” europeos se niegan a aceptar: las Farc son un grupo terrorista, punto. Y con terroristas no se negocia, ¿o sí?

It's deplorable and vile the attitude of the French government, which hurriedly asked the [Colombian government] not to try the military rescue of the rest of the surviving hostages […] The proposal of a international doctors and forensics commission to investigate these grave crimes will surely be useful to show what we Colombians already know by intuition, but some European “democrats” refuse to accept: FARC is a terrorist group, period. And you don't negociate with terrorists, do you?

Junior Junior [ES] express his feelings to the families of the murdered hostages, but insists in a tough policy with FARC:

reitero, mi mas sentido pesame en este momento tan triste para las familias […], pero no acusen al presidente de algo que el no hizo, él no fue quien secuestro y no disparo a nadie, no permitamos que los errores del pasado los colombianos tengamos que soportarlo y no mas! a los malparidos de las Farc PLOMO y PLOMO! no hay consesiones con esas ratas que desangran al pais , es que acaso no se dan cuenta que los estan manipulando? porque hay que hacerle caso a unos malditos terroristas?

I insist, [I express] in this moment my deepest sympathies to the families [of the hostages], but don't accuse the president of doing something he didn't do, he wasn't the one who kidnapped [them] and he didn't shoot anyone, let's not allow that [because] the errors of the past we Colombians must stand this and enough! And SHOOT SHOOT the f***ing FARC! No concessions with those rats who bleed our country, don't you realize they're manipulating you? why should we take heed on some damned terrorists?

Julián Ortega Martínez angrily criticizes [ES] a press release by leftist Alternative Democratic Pole, intended to condemn the massacre:

[R]epugnante la tibia “condena” del Polo Democrático Alternativo de los hechos. ¿Por qué ni siquiera mencionan a los hijos de puta de las FARC? Después quieren que la ultraderecha fanática de la rata Fernando Londoño […] no los llame “brazo armado” de las escorias, con esa maldita posición ambigua y estúpida. Pero eso sí, al “sociólogo” Jhonson Bastidas le publican ligerito una basura de apología al delito y al terrorismo, en el que se le recrimina al PDA (o al menos a un sector del mismo) el rechazar a Tirofijo y sus asesinos. Este hampón, que no es ningún “fulano”, debería estar tras las rejas.

It's disgusting the half-hearted Alternative Democratic Pole's “condemnation” of what happened. Why they didn't even mention FARC S.O.B.'s? And then they want the ultra-right-wingers fans of Fernando Londoño (a controversial politician and columnist) to call them the “armed branch” of the FARC. But they quickly publish a trashy apology of the crime and terrorism by “sociologist” Jhonson Bastidas, where he reproaches PDA (or at least one of its factions) for rejecting Tirofijo and their killers. That criminal, who's not an unknown, should be behind bars.

In centre-left equinoXio digital magazine [ES], Marsares casts several doubts about the FARC statement and the circumstances in which the lawmakers may have been murdered. In a comment, Mornatur [ES] slams the relatives of the hostages for serving the FARC's unknowingly dark intentions:

El comunicado sale, aún sin confirmar, y de inmediato salen los familiares de los diputados presuntamente – en ese momento – muertos – lanza en ristre contra el gobierno a EXIGIR (se les reconoce la angustia, pero no se justifica la imbecilidad) el despeje de Florida y Pradera. Aparte del famoso correo electrónico, ¿qué otra comunicación tuvieron dichas personas con los terroristas? Parece claro que los criminales de las FARC no desaprovechan oportunidad para presionar el famoso despeje a través de las víctimas, mismas cuya posición ya parece a todas luces la misma de los guerrilleros, sin una luz de pensamiento ni de lógica hacia la verdadera naturaleza de los hechos, sin tener en cuenta que, como lo afirma Anmistía Internacional en su más reciente comunicado, la seguridad física de los retenidos es responsabilidad exclusiva de quien los retiene. Casi, casi pareciera que personas como Yolanda Pulecio están más interesadas en un puesto dentro del Secretariado que en un auténtico proceso de paz.

The statement is published, without a confirmation, and the relatives of the -then- allegedly dead deputies come out and instantly attack the government to DEMAND (you can understand the anguish, but you can't justify such a stupidity) the Florida and Pradera safehaven. Besides the famous e-mail, what other communication did those persons have with the terrorists? It seems clear that the FARC criminals can't waste any chance to press for the famous safehaven through their victims, the same whose position is clearly becoming the same of the guerrillas, without any rational thinking or logic through the true nature of the facts, without taking into account that, as Amnesty International claims on its most recent press release, “their physical security remains the responsibility of the group holding them”. It almost seems that people as Yolanda Pulecio (Íngrid Betancourt's mother) are more interested in a post inside [FARC's] Secretariat that a true peace process.

Italian blogger Doppiafila compares [IT] Betancourt with the murdered deputies:

In Colombia i “Diputados del Valle” sono ancora più carichi di significato di Ingrid Betancourt come simbolo del sequestro. Un po’ perché in molti dicono che Ingrid “se l'è cercata”, andando a visitare San Vicente del Caguán mentre la zona era sotto controllo guerrigliero (e nonostante questi avessero pre-annunciato la loro intenzione di rapirla se fosse andata), mentre i 12 sono stati davvero portati via dal loro mondo; un po’ perché l'operazione militare del rapimento fu un tale smacco per le Forze dell'Ordine colombiane da motivarle ancora di più a dare un happy ending alla vicenda; un po’ perché i familiari dei sequestrati (ora: delle vittime) erano riusciti a mobilizzare i media e l'opinione pubblica nazionale. Vedremo cosa succederà.

In Colombia the “Valle deputies” are even more meaningful than Íngrid Betancourt as a symbol for kidnapping. It may be a little because a lot of people say Íngrid “asked for it” by visiting San Vicente del Caguán when that area was under guerrilla control (and even though they had announced their intentions of kidnapping her if she went), while the 12 were actually taken away from their own world; a little because the military operative for the abduction was such a failure for Colombian Forces of Order that it motivated them even more to give the incident a happy ending; a little because the relatives of the hostages (now: of the victims) were able to mobilize national media and public opinion. We'll see what happens.

Finally, Adriana [ES] blames us Colombians all owing our indolence:

Si Usted es colombiano tambien es complice de la muerte de los 11 diputados asesinados en vida hace 5 anos por las farc. Del señor Uribe por no tener la inteligencia, nobleza y humanidad para salvarlos. Somos complices por acomodarnos, por quejarnos sin hacer nada, por irnos, por quedarnos y aguantar con estoicismo hipocrita y deshumanizante. Que hacemos?

If you're a Colombian, you're also an accomplice of the death of the 11 deputies already murdered in life 5 years ago by FARC. Of Mr. Uribe for not having the intelligence, generosity and humanity to save them. We all are accomplices for adapting, for complaining without doing anything, for leaving, for staying and for tolerating with hypocritical and dehumanizing stoicism. What do we do now?

May Uribe's democratic security policy be revamped, despite of the announced cut by Democrat congresspeople on Plan Colombia? What about the parapolitical scandal? Meanwhile, Colombians live another bloody episode of the 40-year-long internal war which claims more and more victims everyday. This time, we seem united in rejecting FARC criminal actions but… will it be really useful?

  • Liberación de Clara y Emmanuel

    Estas tragedias no pueden continuar. Ayudemos a un bebé inocente y a una madre adolorida, antes de que sea demasiado tarde:

    ¡ Por la liberación de EMMANUEL !

    Por favor, imprima este cartel y distribúyalo entre sus amistades con niños. Póngalo en su bitácora y página de internet y haga la misma invitación.

    Si tiene preguntas o sugerencias, por favor, envíelas a:

    ¡ Los niños de Colombia piden la libertad de Emmanuel !

  • Me

    I’m sick of foreign governments and NGOs that see FARC as a legitimate opposition group. They’re terrorists, and during the last decade they have proved to have no interest other than profiting from drug traffic.

    I would kindly ask people in foreign countries to take a deep insight of the background of the current situation in Colombia before stating their opinions. The country is clearly against FARC, and this is not just a outrageous position. This is the consequence of living several years under their menace, crime, and terrorism. There are a number of reasons to understand that FARC are not interested in humanitarian actions of prisoners exchange.

  • Pingback: Colombians protest against kidnappings « The Colombia Herald()

  • Pingback: Global Voices Online » Colombia: Protests Against Kidnappings()

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