Piedad Córdoba and her battle for peace

THREE days ago the news was made public that the Attorney General of Colombia, Alejandro Ordóñez Maldonado, had removed the eminent Colombian Senator Piedad Córdoba from her post and barred her from political office for 18 years, because of her alleged promotion of and collaboration with the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). Faced with such an unusual and drastic measure against the holder of an elected post in the highest institution of the state, she has no alternative other than to have recourse to the very attorney general who engendered the measure.

It was logical that such an arbitrary act would provoke strong condemnation, expressed by the most diverse political figures, among them, ex-prisoners of the FARC and relatives of those liberated on account of the senator’s efforts, former presidential candidates, people who held that high office, and others who were, or are, senators or members of the legislative power.

Piedad Córdoba is an intelligent and courageous person, a brilliant speaker, whose thinking is well articulated. A few weeks ago she visited us in the company of other outstanding figures, among them a Jesuit priest of notable honesty. They came inspired by a profound desire to seek peace for their country and asked for the cooperation of Cuba, recalling that, for years, and at the request of the Colombian government itself, we offered our territory and our cooperation for meetings between representatives of the Colombian government and the ELN that took place in the capital of our country.

However, the decision taken by the attorney general, which obeys the official policy of that country virtually occupied by yanki troops, does not surprise me.

I do not like to beat around the bush, and I will say what I think. Just one week ago, the general debates of the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly were about to begin. For three days, the painful objectives of the Millennium Development Goals had been discussed, and on Thursday, September 23, the General Assembly session opened, with the participation of heads of state or high-ranking representatives from each member country. The first to speak, as customary, would be the UN Secretary General and, immediately after, the president of the United States, the host country of the organization and apparent master of the world. The session began at 9:00 a.m. Logically, I was interested in what the illustrious Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize winner, would have to say, as soon as Ban Ki-moon had concluded. I ingenuously imagined that CNN en español or in English would broadcast Obama’s generally brief speech. It was in that way that I heard the debates among aspirants to that office two years ago in Las Vegas.

The hour arrived, the minutes passed and CNN was presenting apparently spectacular news of the death of a Colombian guerrilla chief. This was important, but not of special significance. I remained interested to find out what Obama was saying about the extremely grave problems that the world is confronting.

Is the situation of the planet one that both of them are taking us for fools and making the Assembly wait? I asked for CNN in English to be put on the other television and, not a word about the Assembly. So, what was CNN talking about? A news roundup was on and I waited until what it was broadcasting about Colombia was over. But 10, 20, 30 minutes went by and it continued with the same thing. It reported incidents of a colossal battle being waged, or that had been waged, in Colombia, the future of the continent was going to depend on it, according to what one could deduce from the words and style of the newscaster’s story. Full-color footage of the death of Víctor Julio Suárez Rojas, alias Jorge Briceño Suárez o “Mono Jojoy.” It is the fiercest blow received by the FARC, the speaker confirmed, exceeding the death of Manuel Marulanda and of Raúl Reyes put together. A devastating action, he affirmed. What could be deduced was that a spectacular battle had taken place involving 30 fighter planes, 27 helicopters, and complete battalions of select troops engaged in fierce fighting.

Really, something more than the battles of Carabobo, Pichincha and Ayacucho rolled together. With my old experience in these kinds of combat, I could not imagine such a battle in a forested and remote region of Colombia. The out-of-the-ordinary action was spiced up with images of all kinds, old and new, of the rebel comandante. For the CNN newscaster, Alfonso Cano, who replaced Marulanda, was a university intellectual who did not enjoy the support of the combatants; the real chief had died. The FARC would have to surrender.

Let’s speak clearly. The news referring to the famous battle that resulted in the death of the comandante of the FARC – a Colombian revolutionary movement that emerged more than 50 years ago after the death of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, assassinated by the oligarchy – and the removal from office of Piedad Córdoba, are very far from bringing peace to Colombia; on the contrary, they could accelerate revolutionary changes in that country.

I imagine that more than a few Colombian soldiers are embarrassed about the grotesque versions of the alleged battle in which Comandante Jorge Briceño Suárez died. In the first place, there was no fighting whatsoever. It was a crude and disgraceful assassination. Admiral Edgar Cely, perhaps embarrassed at the war report with which the official authority announced the news and other obscure versions, stated: “Jorge Briceño, alias ‘Mono Jojoy’, died from being crushed when… the building in which he was hidden in the selva fell in on him.” “’What we know is that he died from being crushed, his bunker fell in on him,’ […] ‘it is not true that he was shot in the head.’” That is what he informed the Caracol Radio station, according to the U.S. AP news agency.

The operation was given the biblical name “Sodom,” one of the two cities castigated because of its sinners, a deluge of fire and sulfur rained down on it.

The most serious part is what has not been told, and which everyone already knows, because the yankis themselves have made it public.

The government of the United States supplied its ally with more than 30 smart bombs. A GPS was installed in the boots that they gave the guerrilla chief. Guided by that instrument, the programmed bombs exploded in the camp where Jorge Briceño was located.

Why not explain the truth to the world? Why did they suggest a battle that never took place?

I have observed other shameful events via television. The president of the United States gave Uribe an effusive welcome in Washington, and supported him by offering classes on “democracy” in a U.S. university.

Uribe was one of the principal creators of the paramilitary structure, whose members are responsible for the increase in drug trafficking and the death of tens of thousands of people. It was with Barack Obama that Uribe signed the handover of seven military bases and, virtually, in any part of Colombian territory, for the installation of the men and equipment of the yanki armed forces. The country is full of clandestine cemeteries. Through Ban Ki-Moon, Obama granted Uribe immunity by appointing him no less than vice president of the commission investigating the attack on the flotilla transporting aid to the blockaded Palestinians in Gaza.

In the final days of his presidency, the operation utilizing the GPS in the new boots that the Colombian guerrilla needed was already prepared.

When the new president of Colombia traveled to the United States to speak in the General Assembly, he knew that the operation was underway, and when Obama heard of the news of the guerrilla’s assassination, he effusively embraced Santos.

I ask myself if, on that occasion, something was said about the implementation of the decision by the Colombian Senate to declare illegal Uribe’s authorization for establishing yanki military bases there. The gross assassination was supported by them.

I have criticized the FARC. In a Reflection I publicly stated my disagreement with the holding of prisoners of war and the sacrifice for them implied by the harsh conditions of life in the selva. I explained the reasons and the experience acquired in our struggle.

I was critical of the strategic concepts of the Colombian guerrilla movement. But I never refuted the revolutionary nature of the FARC.

I considered and consider that Marulanda was one of the most outstanding Colombian and Latin American guerrillas. When the names of many mediocre politicians have been forgotten, the name of Marulanda will be acknowledged as one of the most dignified and worthy fighters for the wellbeing of the campesinos, the workers and the poor of Latin America.

The prestige and moral authority of Piedad Córdoba has multiplied.
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Fidel Castro Ruz
September 30, 2010
11:36 a.m.