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U.S. War Heats Up in Colombia

by Tom Burke |
March 1, 2002
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The Colombia Action Network, coordinating with the Comite por la Nueva Colombia and the International Action Center, called for emergency demonstrations against U.S. war in Colombia in late February. Protest slogans included, "Stop bombing Colombia's Zone for Dialogue!"; "Protest President Pastrana breaking off peace talks!" and "Stop Plan Colombia!" Protesters in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Portland, and on various college campuses rallied at Colombian consulates and at federal buildings to get their anti-war message heard.

Thursday, Feb. 21, President Pastrana and the Colombian government broke off peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP). Pastrana and the U.S. generals who direct Colombia's military began attacking the demilitarized zone - an area about the size of Switzerland controled by the FARC-EP.

Pilots bombed 85 locations within the "Zone for Dialogue." This Zone, established to facilitate peace talks, has been the most peaceful part of Colombia because the Colombian army and their paramilitary death squads have not operated there. No longer. A few days later, President Pastrana, protected by U.S. Special Forces, showed up in the Zone for Dialogue. Plan Colombia has come to the Zone.

The U.S.-directed Plan Colombia spends $2.1 billion of U.S. taxpayer money on deadly fumigations and a dirty war against the people's movements. The U.S. fumigation campaign has only pushed more poor peasants to support the FARC and their demands for economic and social justice. The paramilitary death squads now kill a trade unionist every other day for demanding better wages, work conditions, and a just society.

The demilitarized zone has been threatened numerous times in the last few months as the U.S. "war on terrorism" has been directed at the people's struggle in Colombia. The U.S. State Department announced a new counter-insurgency plan costing $98 million last month. Now U.S. corporate oil interests, like Occidental Oil, are protected by Plan Colombia. Bush and Cheney, following the Plan Colombia created by Clinton and Gore, want war, war, and more war. Under Bush's plan, the Colombian people's blood will flow to guarantee U.S. oil profits.