From Instigators to Pacifists / Miriam Celaya

Marco Leon Calarcá, FARC Spokesperson. Photo from AP, La Habana, 7 de septiembre de 2012.

Last Tuesday, September 4th, the Cuban media aired a video in which Rodrigo Londoño (alias Timochenko), Commander of the General Staff of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) declared the armed group’s interest in participating in a peace and reconciliation dialogue, with the participation of all Colombians.

Mauricio Jaramillo, FARC commander, confirmed at a press conference held at Havana’s Palacio de Convenciones that the empirical meetings mediated by the Cuban government since February 23, 2012 at the Cuban capital had come to a close, and that a negotiation table with the government of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos had begun.

Needless to say, the peace process in Colombia must be viewed very positively, since it could bring to a close the long decades of armed conflict in that country, at a high human and economic cost, with all the implications this has for the region.

Nevertheless, the time seems propitious for a pause, primarily addressed to Cubans on the island, who today get their  information as a fait accompli, with most of them having no clue of the nature of the process, the conflict, its evolution and the reasons their government, incapable of having a dialogue with its own people or of solving the acute internal problems, and lacking any political will to drive the necessary changes, turns out to be the mediator and guarantor of a dialogue between the Colombian narco-guerrillas and the president of that country.

Many Cubans are unaware that an armed FARC emerged decades ago inspired by the ideas of a Castro-style chimeric Latin-American Marxist revolution, that this army was trained, supported and financed by the Cuban government, and that, after the collapse of socialism in Eastern Europe, it became focused on terrorism, a nest of kidnappers and extortionists, and an armed institution of Colombian drug trafficking,  spreading violence and insecurity in Colombia and the region, the remains of a failed strategy. From Marxists to leaders of the Colombian cartel.  From trafficking in communist ideology to trafficking in cocaine. Nothing short of that.

Those Cubans who wonder about the basis of the government mediation in the Colombian conflict probably ignore the close historical ties that link it with the narco-guerrillas, and that the so-called Colombian guerrilla is the last remaining shred of the exportation of the Cuban revolution in this hemisphere, launched by Fidel Castro in his golden years.

That is to say, Cuban mediation in the Colombia-FARC issue, far from being a novelty, is long-standing: the Cuban government is not mediator for prestige, but for its complicity and responsibility in the conflict. And though even now the function of the Cuban authorities in this case is quite different, and now the olive-green dome dresses as the dove of peace, we must not forget that it was the supporter of the violence in Colombia and many other Latin American nations in the past.

Throughout these years, Cuba has also been a safe haven for many narco-guerrillas who have been forced to leave their country before the onslaught of the Colombian constitutional army under President Álvaro Uribe, who had the crucial support of the U.S. government, and whose actions dealt crushing blows to the FARC, narrowing its parameters. Each whack delivered to FARC has also meant an effective blow against the influence of the Cuban revolution in Latin America.

It becomes clear that the Cuban government had sufficient means of communication with the FARC leaders to now act as a negotiator of the conflicting parties. Naturally, in the official media in charge of disinformation in Cuba, the government -historical ally of the narco-guerrillas -is mediator, while the U.S. government –collaborator of the constitutional government of Colombia- is interventionist. In Cuba, that same media has always presented the FARC, and not the governments of Colombia, as the legitimate representative of the aspirations to social justice of the Colombian people

Yesterday, instigators; today, peacemakers. The Cuban dictatorship’s imitative capacity seems endless. Many interests must hide behind this move by the cunning and long-lived revolutionary caste, but there’s no question that, when the last page of the history of the FARC is turned, another piece of the black history of the Castro revolution will be entombed, the one that encouraged violence and death in order to perpetuate the megalomania of a failed messiah, who today has definitely disappeared from the scene.

Translated by Norma Whiting

Originally appeared in Diario de Cuba, 10 September 2012