Colombia:Leftist Legalizer Elected Mayor of Bogota *UPDATE*

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    Här är goda nyheter från mitt älskade land Colombia, världens hjärta – där kärleken och glädjen, hatet och sorgen står sida vid sida.

    Newshawk: See you at ?
    Pubdate: Fri, 31 Oct 2003
    Source: Drug War Chronicle (US Web)
    Contact: [email protected]
    Author: Phillip S. Smith, Editor


    Voter Rebuke of Colombian President

    In a stunning rebuke to Washington and administration ally Colombian
    President Alvaro Uribe, voters in Bogota, Colombia’s capital and
    largest city, elected former communist union leader, harsh critic of
    US policy toward Colombia, and avowed drug legalization advocate Luis
    Eduardo ”Lucho” Garzon as their mayor. The Sunday vote came a day
    after voters nationwide handed Uribe another defeat by rejecting his
    referendum on a package of ”reforms” — which initially included
    re-criminalization of drug possession until that provision was struck
    by the Supreme Court — and austerity measures designed to raise money
    to further prosecute his policy of unrelenting war against guerrilla
    armies, drug traffickers, and coca-growing farmers.

    Garzon, the son of a cleaning woman who climbed through the ranks of
    the leftist trade unions to come in third in the 2001 election that
    brought Uribe to power, garnered 46% of the vote against 40% for his
    chief rival, Uribe ally Juan Lozano. Running as head of the
    Independent Democratic Pole (PDI — Polo Democratico Independiente),
    Garzon has orchestrated the most significant political victory for the
    Colombian left ever; this is the first time the Colombian left has
    controlled the capital city. As mayor of Bogota, a city of seven
    million, Garzon is now uniquely poised to challenge Uribe politically
    — and has vowed to do just that.

    But Garzon’s victory was part of a broader rejection of traditional
    parties, as voters in most of Colombia’s largest cities voted for the
    PDI and its allies or for other independent political formations. In
    Barrancabermeja, PDI candidate Edgar Cote won the mayoralty, while in
    Bucarmaranga, PDI-linked candidate Honorio Galvis won. In Medellin,
    the mayoralty went to Sergio Fajardo, candidate of the Indigenous
    Social Alliance, while in Cali, Apolinar Salcedo of the Yes Colombia
    movement won city hall. Likewise, in Barranquilla, Guillermo
    Hoenigsberg of the Civic Movement won the mayoralty. Uribe’s Liberals
    and the opposition Conservatives were shut out.

    As a presidential candidate in 2001, Garzon openly called for drug
    legalization as the only means of ending the bloodshed in Colombia.
    ”The best way to end this problem and the war it has brought us is to
    legalize drugs,” he said at the time
    While Garzon did not talk openly about legalization in the mayor’s
    race, the focus of his campaign was a scathing attack on Uribe’s
    overall approach to Colombia’s 40-year-old civil war — inextricably
    intertwined with the country’s multi-billion dollar black market
    cocaine industry — and his increasingly authoritarian security
    measures designed to defeat the leftist FARC and the drug

    The message resonated with voters. One man, a 35-year-old
    anthropologist, told Canada’s National Post he voted for Garzon to to
    give Uribe a slap in the face. ”With Uribe you’re either on his side
    or you’re a terrorist,” he said. ”Lucho represents a new

    ”We do not like the economic direction that has been given to the
    country,” Garzon told a cheering crowd on Saturday, referring to
    Uribe’s reducing social welfare and infrastructure spending to finance
    more war. ”We believe that security policies must be based on the
    premise that the citizens are above the military.” Garzon also
    appealed to the millions of impoverished Colombians living in the
    slums of the capital. ”We have places here that look like Versailles,”
    he said. ”But many people in Bogota still live in conditions that
    resemble those in Calcutta.”

    Garzon’s platform calls above all for negotiating an end to the civil
    war — the path resolutely not taken by Uribe and his US backers —
    fighting corruption, more democratic and transparent government, and
    improvements in public health and education services. And then there
    is drugs. Garzon is blunt: ”Until now, Colombia has not had a national
    drug policy, but has been limited to accepting in an uncritical and
    automatic fashion the American prohibitionist policy, which equally
    criminalizes production, traffic, and use. No other country in the
    world is a better witness to its stupendous failure and its human,
    institutional, and environmental costs,” says the platform.

    Garzon calls for a new, national drug policy that would:

    * Suspend the fumigation of coca crops immediately and replace it with
    a gradual process of alternative development until farmers can be
    weaned from the illicit but profitable crop. Any eradication programs
    in the future would be manual, not chemical. Small coca plots would be
    decriminalized, and Garzon would work with the FARC and local
    communities to find ”a solution to the problem of drugs in our

    * Call on the international community to ”rethink the concepts and
    practice of ’international corresponsibility’ regarding the drug trade
    and overcome the current distortion that makes the weight of the
    solution fall on the weakest link in the chain, the Colombian and
    Andean peasantry.” Garzon’s list of international tasks includes
    dealing with money laundering, gun running, precursor exports,
    international organized crime, and asset forfeiture. ”The national
    drug policy promoted by the Democratic Pole is a policy against
    terrorism,” the platform notes.

    * Drug use would be a public health matter, not a matter for the
    ”repressive apparatus.” Personal drug use and possession would
    continue to be decriminalized ”based on the constitutional principles
    of personal autonomy and free development of the personality.”

    A widely-distributed photo Sunday showed President Uribe glumly voting
    in Bogota, surrounded by rifle-toting soldiers in the rain. Perhaps he
    had just seen the ghost of Colombia’s future.

    Spanish-speaking readers can learn more about Garzon and his platform
    at and
    Distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest
    receiving the included information for research and educational

    MAP posted-by: Richard Lake


    Mycket spännande. Håll oss gärna underrättade om det händer något speciellt där.


    Colombia — From Invincibility To Panic
    By Alvaro Vargas Llosa*

    The United States would do well to take heed of recent developments in
    Colombia that call into question its Andean strategy. A hugely popular
    President, Alvaro Uribe, Washington’s key ally in the war on drugs, has
    suffered massive defeat in a referendum that sought approval for fiscal
    and political reform, as well as in local elections. The turnout in the
    referendum failed to reach the legal threshold, so the wage and pension
    freezes put to the vote, as well as reform aimed at reducing the powers
    of the political parties, were thrown out. Furthermore, the new left-wing
    Democratic Pole won local elections in the three major cities —
    Bogotá, Medellín and Cali — despite the official contention that they were
    soft on drug-financed Marxist terrorist organizations.

    Days before, the government’s confidence was such that its security
    branch organized an international gathering of intelligence analysts and
    intellectuals in Cartagena to discuss its successful strategy. Now, the
    key people in Uribe’s Cabinet have resigned and the military hierarchy has been fired. The Administration’s aura of invincibility has turned into

    The U.S. had staked its Andean strategy on the Colombian government’s
    Under Plan Colombia, Clinton provided $1.3 billion to Uribe’s
    predecessor, and President Bush raised the commitment with a fresh $2 billion when Uribe took over, intensifying military aid. Washington was convinced that Uribe, a no-nonsense conservative, would restore the prestige of the war on drugs after the debacle of the 1990s, when coca leaves popped back up in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia despite indiscriminate fumigation with glyphosate and crop-substitution schemes, and when relentless interdiction failed to stop smugglers from keeping up the supply (street prices in the U.S. have stayed around $150 dollars per gram — a testament to the policy’s failure).

    This time, everything seemed to be going well for Uribe’s war until the
    people were asked to pay for its consequences in the referendum.

    The fiscal deficit reached 6 per cent last year, and the 3 percent
    target for this year depended on the proposed cuts. The debt amounts to more than 50 percent of GDP and has triggered rumors of a possible default. Taxes have gone up since Uribe took over in order to fund the military effort. It is against this backdrop that the Colombian government was asking the people to make new sacrifices of up to $1 billion to fund an effort that is in good part a domestic U.S. interest.

    Whenever there is significant demand for a particular product, the
    effect of prohibition will be the creation of black-market empires. These will sometimes engage in turf wars with other underworld organizations, but, when it is in their interest, they will also enter into alliances with
    them. The government will then be forced to raise the stakes in trying
    to put down its own creation. That is what happened during the Prohibition
    years in the U.S. — and the same has happened in Colombia, where drugs and terrorism have become powerfully intertwined, and where the government calls for endless sacrifices to fight what is partly a creation of the war on drugs.

    If a police state were suddenly to eradicate coca and kill every
    smuggler in Colombia, other countries would supply cocaine. And suppose the Andean region were to become a coca-free area (imagine what that would cost American tax-payers, who are currently spending $609 per second to fund the federal anti-drug effort and the Drug Enforcement Agency, which employs 9,000 people). Within minutes, coca would pop up in other corners of the world.

    The havoc created by this conflict in Latin America already goes beyond
    the Andean region. In the 90s, thanks to the war on drugs, the point of
    entry into the U.S. was diverted from Florida to California and Texas. As
    happens with any market, opportunity engendered enterprise — Mexican smugglers took up cross-border trafficking and Mexico was suddenly brought into the problem, which added to its law and order crisis, its corruption and its shaky relations with the U.S.

    Do Colombians approve of left-wing terrorist who kill, maim and kidnap
    innocent civilians day in and day out? No, and that is why they
    continue to give Uribe high approval ratings. Do they also want to finance a campaign whose magnitude is a consequence of the anti-drug war? No, and that is why Uribe’s package has been defeated at the polls.

    Colombians have not rejected political reform as such, but the hidden
    causes of the crisis in which the political system finds itself. This
    must be the conclusion stemming from a referendum that said ”No” to
    political reform while 70 per cent of the country keep telling pollsters they
    agree with Uribe’s instinct to clean house.

    Colombia is one of the few countries that preserved its democracy
    during the decades of dictatorship in Latin America, and it is famous for its
    jurists. The authoritarian elements that are starting to show in this
    war (including a failed attempt to redraw the Constitution and pave the way for the President’s reelection) have scared ordinary Colombians, as
    resolute as they are in fighting terrorists. And they have now spoken in defense of their civil liberties.

    Will Washington take heed of what has happened there?

    *Based in Latin America, Alvaro Vargas Llosa is a research fellow for
    The Independent Institute in Oakland, California, for which he is currently
    working on a new book about Latin American economic and political
    reforms in the 1990s.

    Parlamentet hade möjlighet att köra över folkets röst, men även de sa NEJ till Uribes förslag.

    Uribe ville höja skatter, dra ner på pensioner, frysa löner mm. allt för att få mer pengar att använda i USAs intresse.

    Colombia, med tre gånger Sveriges yta, är en av de mest läckra bytena för rovgiriga USA. Olja, platina, smaragder, Amazonas med dess värdefulla träslag mm, otroligt bördiga marker som mycket väl skulle kunna förse hela Colombias 40 miljonersbefolkning – och fler än så – med gott om mat, det finns mycket mycket där. Och självklart ska folket betala USA för dess erövring av Colombia. FARC är en stor käpp i hjulet, så militära aktioner mot FARC stöds av Bush som skickar fler och fler amerikanska trupper till USA för att utbilda Colombias armé.

    USA stöder all form av teknologisk utbildning i Colombia, men ekologi, biologi och kultur får inget. Vad skulle hända om folket i Colombia utbildades att uppskatta sina rikedomar, att inse att Colombia är ett av världens rikaste länder. Kanske skulle det bli svårare att ta över då… Bättre att utbilda dem till arbetskraft som kan teknologisera och effektivisera resursflödet från Colombia till USA. För vart tar pengarna annars vägen, varför har folket inget? Varför är det utländska företag som äger allt? Är Colombia Colombianskt territorium? Våra kartor är baserade på uråldrig metod, nationsgränser ser inte ut som de gjorde förr….

    Ytterligare ett effektivt sätt att ta över är att arbeta i skymundan. Få saker hörs om Colombia, få människor får veta något om vad som händer där, skulle folk veta, då skulle de reagera – skulle fler svenskar veta, då skulle de reagera. Istället riktas fokus mot, t.ex. Israel och Palestina – en konflikt som närs av USA.


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