FARC submits proposals to reduce intensity of conflict

As renewed peace talks in Colombia continue, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) has submitted its proposals for reducing the intensity of the conflict.

FARC urged the government to drop the “national security doctrine” imported from the United States. FARC said it has led the government into a war against the people, which is using up one-third of the national budget. It called for an end to Plan Colombia, for which the U.S. is providing $1.3 billion, as well as U.S. advisors.

FARC pointed out that the intervention of U.S. advisors contravenes Colombia’s national sovereignty, and said the related phenomenon of right-wing paramilitary squads should be ended and the paramilitaries brought to justice.

FARC also called on the government to respect the human, civil and political rights of the Colombian people, citing the deaths of over 4,500 participants in the Patriotic Union electoral alliance as proof these rights do not exist in Colombia.

Neoliberal economic and social policies, including privatization, imposed by the International Monetary Fund are anti-democratic, and have produced the worst economic crisis in recent times, FARC said. This has brought ruin to peasants and small to medium businesses, rising costs of public services, concentration and monopolization of wealth, more social inequality and unemployment and mass layoffs, FARC said.

FARC also urged that prisoners of war should be freed, extradition of Colombian citizens should be stopped and herbicide spraying of coca leaf should be stopped because it has caused hundreds of deaths and untold environmental damage.

The plight of the unemployed received special attention, with FARC calling for one year of financial help for the unemployed while the peace negotiations are going on, with funding coming out of the money spent by the Colombian government on Plan Colombia, plus taxes on the wealthy and international aid.

FARC said the national group negotiating the peace accords should administer this fund, and the country’s unions, peasant and indigenous organizations should meet with the peace negotiators to work out details.

Also last week, the Communist Party of Colombia (CPC) provided additional details on the new wave of repression against its members and supporters. The CPC said that military intelligence is making false claims about the giving of a small amount of survival economic aid to party members forced to leave their home regions under threat of attack, and meetings in Bogota with these members.

The survival aid results from a suit about genocide that is moving through the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States, but the government claims it is a regrouping of guerrilla militias and is financed by the insurgency.

In the wake of the Feb. 4 witch-hunt searches that targeted current or former party members in the Bogota neighborhoods of Policarpa Salvatierra and El Porvenir, threats against members and leaders of the Party are continuing in various parts of the country, the CPC said. The Feb. 4 home searches were marked by crude interrogations of residents over possession of Marxist literature and copies of the Party’s newspaper, Voz.

Protests can be sent to Colombia’s ambassador to the U.S., H.E. Luis Alberto Moreno, 2118 Leroy Place NW,

Washington DC 20002; phone (202) 387-8338; fax: (202) 232-8643; e-mail emwas@colombia.emb.org.