Today received very disturbing images of children exploited - and murdered - by the FARC. I'm curious about how the Hubpages community feels about the FARC. For some, they may seem poetically inspired, but for me, they practice the most extreme forms of cruelty. Please weigh in.
I agree with you totally, that kids should not be exploited.
However if I was a guerilla living in the jungles of Columbia with my family, believing as they do, to be there, I might do as they do.
woe, i don't know what FARK is, but fu** those A-hole! Dude, I wish I could go up to each and everyone of those bastards and punch um right in the friggin face.
Thank you for responding!
My husband and I both have family in Colombia and Venezuela, so we monitor Latin American news sources extensively. The FARC are terrorists. The acts they commit are acts of terror. There is nothing utopian about them. They are funded by some of the meanest folks on earth.
Let's say that some of their foot soldiers are motivated by righteous indignation, which is a very understandable catalyst for change. I believe they are therefore exploited by the leadership which is mainly motivated by greed.
There is no good reason anywhere for mistreating children the way they do.
I also heard that the FARC has been financially supported by Chavez of Venezuela and that they are also in the drug trades with notorious cartels of the region. The US contends to be, and I hope is supportive of the government of Colombia that is trying to be a good democracy for her people. I would not like to see a negative socialism and communism take hold any further across South America. I do keep SA and protection of her people in my prayers.
I'm with you on the FARC. My family lived in Colombia--Barrancabermeja and Bogota 1952-1962 or thereabouts. If my memory serves, the antecedent of the FARC was the assassination of the Liberal Party candidate for president, Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, in 1948. The conservative candidate, Laureano Gomez was elected and he took stern measures against the Liberals, forcing some from their land and political offices. They retreated to the countryside and the "violencia" began. In 1953, a general, Gustavo Rojas Pinilla, engineered a coup and declared himself head of the governing military junta. His slogan was Paz, Justicia y Libertad (peace, justice and liberty).
These events ended the the longest democracy of all the countries in Latin America. Rojas was successful in calming the country and greatly reducing the violence. His presidency ended with the a pact between the Liberal Party and the Conservative party which provided for alternating the presidency between the two parties for a specified period. Alberto Lleras Camargo, a Liberal, became president after the ouster of Rojas Pinilla. He was followed by a conservative, Guillermo Leon Valencia. The Liberal Party and the Conservative Party in Colombia are relatively middle of the road, the Liberals slightly to the left of the Conservatives. In the meantime some of the guerillas who started operating in 1948 had gotten into the habit of kidnapping and drugs later on and the FARC (Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia). They grew in strength to the point where the now control a significant part of the country through guerilla and quasi military operations, raising money through kidnapping for ransom and drug sales. They claim to have a radical political program, but the truth is they are mostly a bunch of terrorists without any coherent political agenda other than seizing land from ranchers and farmers and claiming to bring more social justice and equality for the poor. What they are actually doing is destroying what once was a prosperous and beautiful country. At least that is my impression, without pretending to have any real first-hand knowledge since the last time I visited Colombia 15 years or so ago when I went there on business and was advised to take precautions to avoid being kidnapped on the streets of Bogota.
Dear Sparkling Jewel:
I totally agree with what you're saying. I've spent time in Colombia and it is very notable that there seem to be two worlds existing in one space. with the FARC edging in and somehow capturing the disenfranchised. It can be very seductive when you think your government isn't doing anything for you and a group comes in promising the stars and the sky. And yes, Chávez of Venezuela is very much entrenched with the FARC, as his goal is to destabilize the region and install, as you say, negative socialism.
I am not anti-socialist at all. I think socialism in its philosophical form is utopian, and in the hands of an enlightened government is a way of ensuring equality. But that's not the kind of socialism that's being practiced in Latin America. There what's branded as socialism is more totalitarian and actually right wing in its practice.
Many blessings to you,
Only to say that if one does not understand that America is an
empire, and does not understand the nature of empire, they will not understand what is really going on in the world.
Thank you very much, Mr. Deeds, for your account of the history of how the FARC came to be. I find it particularly objective and insightful. So often, people will blame the existence of the FARC on imperialism or capitalism, or any other ism when in fact, it grew out of the political climate within Colombia in the twentieth century. Now, with the help of Hugo Chávez, the destabilizing force of guerilla insurgency can reach far across the western hemisphere.
I first visited Medellín, Colombia in 1999, to escort my mom and keep my precious aunt Becky company after her husband died. It so happened that the taxi driver who took us to my aunt's home was a lawyer moonlighting because of the economy. He became our guide and our angel. On the weekend, he took us on a tour of the city and the surrounding countryside. We stopped in a very charming village called "El Refugio" and just as we were about to sit down and drink a soda, he rounded us up and told us we had to get out of town fast - literally. He had just received a tip that the FARC were marching in. That was my first taste of the reality in Colombia. You could be in the most beautiful, idyllic location and have it instantly turned into a war zone. I can't imagine that that is what anyone would want for the world.
I had a summer job in Medellin in 1959 working for Shellmar de Colombia which was a subsidiary of Continental Can Company. What a beautiful city it was then. And it has a perfect year-round climate. I haven't been back since, but between the drug lords and the terrorists I'm sure it's nothing like it was when I was there.
Your story is so interesting! I would imagine that as an executive of a multi-national corporation in the 1950's, you must have been invited to some incredibly beautiful estates while you were there... and seen every extreme of social strata...
Believe it or not, Medellín is still a picture postcard beautiful city, surrounded by verdant mountains, hosting charming festivals all year long. People throng the city by day and gather in cafés in the evening. You can still feed the pigeons in the park across from the Botero Museum. By the look and feeling, Medellín would make the perfect city, if only it weren't for the sub-rosa events taking place at any given turn.
Whoa, I'm not that old! I was a summer trainee or intern between my first and second years in an MBA program. It was a very enjoyable summer. I spent time in Cali in Bogota also. I don't recall being invited to many beautiful estates, but I was invited to several parties at the homes of people who worked at Shellmar. At one I can remember having one two many shots of aguardiiente! All the Colombians I met were very nice to me. I'm glad to hear that Medellin is still beautiful.
My name is Ximena, and I just ran into this conversation while searching for some stuff from work.
I live in Cali, Colombia and just wanted to tell Ralph that Medellin is still very beautiful. It has grown incredibly and transformed into a very cultural city. I was backpacking with an American friend just 6 months ago. We were touring the city with a map, I felt inlove with the city.
Also, much has changed regarding the security in Colombia. You are now able to travel into the countryside without fearing any FARC atack. Of course there are some forbidden areas in the country where tourism or regular life is not in the menu, but in those areas, the Colombian Military forces are doing a Fantastic job in diminishing the FARC.
I hope you get to read this message.
A happy Colombian woman..... Ximena.
Oh, but of course, Ralph. I didn't do the math.
Sounds like a great way to begin your career.
Did you see any news about the huge concert that took place on the Colombian/Venezuelan border at the bridge in Cúcuta. All these huge stars in Latin America such as Juanes and Carlos Vives joined forces in an incredibly inspiring performance in the name of peace.
While the concert took place, the FARC was launching attacks in small towns in Colombia.
No. I missed that. It sounds like a great idea. As I recall Paul Robeson sang peace songs between the lines of the two sides in the Spanish civil war in the late 1930s. It would have been very foolish for Chavez to attack Colombia. My impression is that the Venezuelan army is a joke. They should have gotten Shakira to sing and dance. She could have taken their minds off war!
Yes, Shakira would have made all the difference, I think. Instead of attacking villages, the FARC would have stayed home to watch her on TV.
What is scariest about Chávez is that his actions don't seem to be based in logic. It wouldn't make sense for him to attack Colombia, but he might have, anyway. There is no transparency to his administration (if you can call it that), so one never knows the reasons for his actions.
Unfortunatley, Venezuela has a history of two-bit military dictators, until Chaves, right-wing dictators. I remember seeing the Club Militar in Caracas many years ago--what a marble palace. Colombia's political history is much more democratic although neither the Liberal Party nor the Conservative party showed a lot of interest doing much for the poor. I remember being at a party with some young people at the home of some well-off and socially prominent Colombians in Bogota. My recollection that the family were coffee farmers in Bucaramanga and there was a grandfather who had been president of the country. I was majoring in economics in college at the time, and I brought up the topic of economic development and was stunned by the reply from a young, wealthy, well-educated Colombian. He said, "We like things the way we are. We aren't interested in economic development." I was shocked by his attitude and assumed he was not the only one who felt that way, although not many would come right out and express such an opinion.
On one of my visits to Colombia someone of a more liberal bent taught me an old Colombian expression which went like this if I recall correctly:
"La ley es un perro rabioso que no muerde sino a los de ruana." [The law is a mad dog that bites only the poor.]
When I was down in Aruba and Curacao back in March of '07 the police and government there was banning pro Chavez and anti Chavez demonstrations.
Chavez imo is definitely bad news all around.
As far as FARC, they are obviously terrorists of the worst sort (as in they rationalize their actions but really do not have sufficient cause for them). The government in Columbia sucks from what I have heard, which makes FARC recruitment all the more easier for the FARC people I would imagine.
It makes me think that there are parts of the world where poverty is institutionalized: the societies where a servile class is needed in order to maintain a standard of living that requires full time household help, maids, cooks, chauffeurs, gardeners... I suppose that would be the reason to discourage upward mobility, not that I can understand it.
A lot of the Venezuelan exiles that I know in Miami, many of them intellectuals, say they started out pro-Chávez. He entered with a highly inspiring message, especially after centuries in the political climate you describe. I am talking about upper middle class, college educated professionals, a group who enjoyed the benefits of a government that spent heavily in education, awarding scholarships abroad to thousands of university students. They saw Chávez as a leader who would make the one change that no other president had prioritized: ending poverty. Chávez had run as a liberal, not a left-wing dictator. Has he eradicated poverty? Not nearly... Add to that food shortages. Everyone talks about how hard it is to find milk. Crumbling roadways... Spending millions and millions of dollars abroad while millions of Venezuelans still live on the edge - literally, in ramshackle dwellings clinging to the edges of mountains. His close friendship with Castro...
(Feeling a tug back to Tibet....)
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