Article by Gearoid O'Loingsigh
The start of the peace process with the FARC was announced with great fanfare and the press, governments, NGOs and the UN etc. were all convened to an event in Oslo which would begin the process. It was a glorified press conference where each one tried to come out better than the other.
As with all peace processes there was an attempt made to set down the basis of public discourse around the process itself. The FARC commander, Iván Márquez gave a speech which got it right on many points about the reality of Colombia. The government would have great difficulty denying reality. Márquez stated that “In Colombia there is no national economy. Those who export oil, coal, iron nickel and gold and benefit from them are the multinationals. The prosperity belongs to them and the turncoats in government and not the country.” But anyone can describe the reality and the government doesn’t get upset about it, but trying to imply that the FARC were going to negotiate those points is another matter entirely. The head of the governmental delegation Humberto de la Calle was emphatic, the model was not up for discussion. The Colombian State is made up of liars, criminals and the corrupt. When one reads the reports it presents to international bodies such as the UN, one can clearly see that a lie falls from the lips of a representative of the State with greater ease than the truth. But it is not about their lack of honesty. We can believe De la Calle for one simple reason: the State has not been defeated and there is nothing which indicates that the bourgeoisie feel the need to make major concessions as would be the case with the mining-energy policy. If they wanted, they could make such changes without any need to negotiate with the guerrillas, but they have done the exact opposite, deepening the state policies in the area of mining, agriculture, human rights etc. We saw just such a spectacle in Ireland where the IRA and Sinn Féin made hardline declarations, practically declaring victory and we now know that the undefeated British state was right; they weren’t going to leave.
Márquez also stated that the “mining-energy motor of the economy is like a social-environmental demon that, if the people do not stop it, will in less than a decade turn Colombia into an unviable country”. This is true, but the question arises as to why in exchange for money, do various FARC fronts allow mining machinery to enter the peasant communities and the territories of the afro and indigenous communities? If they trying to build a new Colombia they must be coherent and consequent. Although the ELN is not currently in negotiations with the State, the same question can be put to them, as several of their fronts do exactly the same as the FARC in relation to the mining.
Article by Gearoid O'Loingsigh
The peace process with the FARC in Havana, Cuba has been going on now for a year and a half. It is time to take a critical look at the process and the support it has received. Where is the process going? What are the real perspectives? Are they really negotiating the future of a new Colombia? Or, on the contrary, are they negotiating the same Colombia with some retouching?
This process has lacked any critical analysis. The NGOs, thinking of their post conflict projects are salivating and dreaming of the money and the chance to raise their profile. The politicians have little or nothing to add and the so called left intellectuals lie prostrated without the slightest chance or desire to make any critique. Their intellectual capacity (which shouldn’t be exaggerated) is suspended, as they will also be winners in the process, with projects, analysis for the new bodies that will require their “talent”. This can be seen with Alejo Vargas, an intellectual, who claims to be on the left. In the magazine Semana, Vargas wrote an article titled Talks in Havana: pointing to a better society. Although he cites some communiqués he did so without the slightest critique. His article was more a rallying call to a people who in their daily lives are largely apathetic regarding the talks. According to him, there is something fundamental:
“[and] that is the contribution of the citizens, we must give clear political support to these Talks and the Agreements reached in them and all of us must in a pedagogical fashion seek out more compatriots who support peace – because many Colombians are still confused, doubtful or possibly ill informed. So that the Agreements and the efforts made by all become irreversible.
He is not the only acritical intellectual and we will deal with others in the second part. In his case, his surrender is so abject that he demands clear support for a process which is secret and he demands that we seek out, with a certain pedagogy, more friends of a process of which we don’t have sufficient data to be pedagogical about. It is not a mistake on his part. As a distinguished university lecturer he knows well that one requires information in order to be pedagogical. It is laughable that he says that some Colombians are ill-informed as that is the point, in order that there not be any discussion on the aims or reach of the process.
Nor are there any reflections on the past, nor a real look at processes in other countries, such as El Salvador and Guatemala. This article is divided in two, the first part will take a brief look at other processes and the second will look at the current process.
One has to look at other processes as they are waved about as successful cases of negotiation and of the road to take. Members of Sinn Féin, the URNG from Guatemala and the FMLN from El Salvador have arrived and continue to arrive in Colombia with the same message, peace is achievable. The atmosphere is a bit like the mass meetings of TV Evangelists in the US “you too can also be successful if you accept the Lord in your heart” and just like the evangelical preachers, they brook no criticism. He who is against us has no heart or is an agent of Satan. This may be the case, and this agent of Satan would like to reflect and make some criticisms.
Summary and Translation by Mr. Mairtin MacMaolain
The continuing serious violations of human rights, the lack of guarantees to political and social opposition and the lack of international standards of the Colombian government were denounced yet again and continued to generate great concern among international NGOs and the participants who made up the 25th session of the Human Rights Council UN in Geneva, Switzerland. These violations compare negatively with other states of the world that perpetually kill torture, imprison, displace, exile and physically and legally pursue their countrymen who make up a peaceful opposition.
This was demonstrated in the various interventions that took place on Thursday 19 March during the "Criminalization of Social Protest " panel that had as exhibitors delegates from Colombia , the Philippines and the Western Sahara and was organized by France Libertés: Danielle Mitterrand Foundation headed by Christian Viret and Bandettini Oretta in collaboration with the ON Y VA Association "Globalize Solidarity".
The Rev. Jerome Channels Baris of the United Christian Church of the Philippines , former political prisoner Colombian Fredy Julian Cortez and a representative of the human rights defenders of Western Sahara, reported to those present the difficult and dramatic instances of murder, torture, persecution and imprisonment of thousands of the opposition in each of their countries. The event organizers stressed the necessity to join forces with as many NGO human rights defenders, to make visible to the world these serious events and continue to make representations to the UN itself so that governments around the world interested in the subject can call to attention the Philippine and Colombian governments to respect human rights and democracy.
Former Colombian political prisoner Professor Fredy Julian Cortes Urquijo, who is in exile in Belgium, during his exposition showed several posters of political, social and cultural leaders of the Patriotic March, Patriotic Union, Communist Party and others who are in various Colombian prisons such as Huber Ballesteros, Francisco Toloza, David Ravelo, Joaquín Pérez and university singer Carlos Lugo, among ten thousand Colombian political prisoners. He made a gritty story about the way the leaders of the political and social opposition in Colombia have been being hounded, no matter if they are peasants, students, intellectuals, journalists, academics, songwriters, etc. . . .
Dear LASC Friends and Members,
This year the AGM is taking place right after the Latin America Week Dublin talk on Saturday the 12th April.
The plan of the day is as follows:
- 14:00 - 15:45 - LAW speakers talk as part of the Anarchist Book Fair
- 16:15 - 16.45 - informal meetings with speakers in the Wynn's Hotel
- 16:45 - 17:45 - World Café activity with speakers in the Wynn's Hotel
- 17:45 - 19:00 - AGM in the Wynn's Hotel
The 15th Irish Latin American Film Festival 2014
Cuba is the Country Focus for the 15th Irish Latin American Film Festival 2014.
The programme will be screened in Dublin, Galway and Limerick (City of Culture 2014).Screenings will start at times stated and admission to all screenings is free.
The festival will also travel to Birr, where only Cuban-focused films will be screened for one day.
Despite a brutal and ongoing embargo imposed by the US, Cuba continues to fulfil its social, environmental and cultural obligations. Its filmmakers and its indigenous film production continue to be supported, examples of which are selected for this Festival. It cannot be said for most other countries, burdened by a global indebtedness including Ireland. As a consequence of this odious and permanent debt imposed on the Irish people, the cutbacks include the Arts and its film industry. Of course, the small grant that this Festival gets was also cut back. [www.nodebt.ie]
The 34th Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano each December [www.habanafilmfestival.com] has proved a rich source this year for a diverse range of shorts from Latin America (most of which make up the LATIN [HAVANA] SHORTS programme). This programme was acquired by Rosalind and Derek Fanning on a visit to Cuba in 2013. In gratitude, the Havana shorts and its succeeding programme about Cuba will screen at The Tin Jug Studio, Birr, Co Offaly on Tuesday 29th April. The newly appointed Cuban Ambassador to Ireland, Dr. Hermes Herrera will introduce the Cuban Focus in Dublin (Wednesday 9th at 6.00 pm) and in Birr (Tuesday 29th at 6.00 pm). We are very lucky to accompany the shorts with two recent Irish films focussing on Cuba. These screenings are dedicated to filmmaker, Bernie O Dwyer, who passed away last July, and was an assertive supporter of the sustainable survival of Cuba. Garvey, Trócaire will be present in Limerick to introduce FOOD NOT FUEL on Monday 14th in Limerick.
Once again, this bilingual Festival features indigenous languages (Aymara in Seeds of Resilience, Creole in Kenbe La Ayiti and Quechua in Food not Fuel).
For filmmakers in attendance at the Festival, they will be welcomed in Irish and English.
Once again, The Festival sincerely thanks the goodwill of all the filmmakers and the honour to screen their films in this Festival.
Tá Cúba mar théama den 15ú Féile Scannán Mheiriceá Laidineach. Beidh sé ar siúl i Baile Átha Cliath, Gaillimh, Luimneach (Cathair Culturtha 2014). Beidh na gearrscannáin faoi Chúba ar siúl i mBiorra, Uíbh Fháilí ar an Mairt, 29 Aibreán.
Beidh na taispeántais mar a fógraíodh agus tá saorchead isteach chuig gach taispeántas.
In ainneoin embargo dian agus leanúnach na Stáit-Aontaithe, leanann Cúba ar aghaidh lena gcuid oibre shóisialta, chomhshaoil agus cultúrtha. Tugtar tacaíocht i gCúba do lucht déanta agus leiriú scannán dúchasach, a bhfuil samplaí dá gcuid oibre roghnaithe don Fhéile seo. Ní féidir an rud céanna a rá faoi thíortha eile atá faoi uallach fiacha domhanda, Éire san áireamh. Mar thoradh ar na dubh-fhiacha buana atá gearrtha ar mhuintir na Éireann, tá ciorruithe ar na hEalaíon agus tionscal na scannán. Dár ndóigh, gearradh siar ar an deontas beag a bhí á fháil ag an Fhéile seo chomh maith. [www.nodebt.ie]
Arís i mbliana is foinse íontach scannáin atá sa 34ú Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano a reachtáiltear gach Nollaig (www.habanafilmfestival.com). Tá réimse leathan de ghearrscannáin ó Mheiriceá Laidineach (an chuid is mó sa Chlár Gearrscannáin Latino [Havana]). Fuair Rosalind agus Derek Fanning an clár seo agus iad ar cuairt ar Chúba i 2013. Mar bhuíochas dóibh, beidh na gearrscannáin faoi Chúba ar siúl sa Stiúdeo Tin Jug, i mBiorra, Uíbh Fháilí ar an Mairt, 29 Aibreán. Beidh an t-Ambasadóir Chúba. Dr Hermes Herrera i láthair I Baile Átha Cliath (Céadaíon 9ú Aibreán ag 6.00 i.n.) agus i Biorra (Mairt 29ú ag 6.00 i.n). Tá an t-ádh linn dhá scannán Eireannacha, ar théama Chúba, a thaispeáint chomh maith. Beidh na scannáin seo in omós do Bhernie Dwyer, a d'éag mí Iúil seo caite, bean a thug tacaíocht íontach do inmharthanacht Chúba.
Beidh teangacha dúchasacha mar chuid den Fhéile dátheangach seo arís (Aymara i "Seeds of Resilience", Creole i "Kenbe La Ayiti" agus Quechua i "Food not Fuel").
Cuirfear fáilte roimh déantóiri scannán atá i láthair ag an Fhéile trí Ghaeilge agus Béarla.
Arís eile, gabhann an Fhéile buíochas le na déantóirí scannán; is onóir dúinn a gcuid scannáin a thaispeáint ag an Fhéile seo.
Go raibh mile maith agaibh.
Tadhg Ó Cruadhlaoich,
Sinaltrainal is inviting people to join them in a peace caravan in April-May in Colombia!
Along the roads of Colombia, April 21st- May 3rd 2014. We will be visiting several regions in the country, supporting the struggle of the people of Colombia, and contributing to the quest for peace and the achievement of democracy. As members of important social movements and popular organizations, we continue to oppose the war being waged by multinational corporations and the Colombian State against the people of Colombia.
The year 2013 saw major opposition to State politics, as well as peace talks and discussions on achieving rights for the people.
LASC announces its annual Latin America Week that will take place in Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Leitrim from 7th April until 12th April .
- Carrick-on-Shannon, 7th April - 8pm, Bush Hotel, Main Street.
- Galway, 8th April - 7 pm, Áras na nGael, Dominique Street.
- Limerick, 10th April- 1pm, University of Limerick [Postgraduate Room -near the Stables]
- 7pm, Doctor John's The Blind Pig (Upstairs) Thomas Street.
- Dublin, 12th April - 2pm, Anarchist Book Fair, Liberty Hall, Eden Quay.
Click here to see the Calendar of all the events related to LAW 2014.
Click here to see the LAW 2014 Flyer!
Priceless land: Resisting Displacement in Colombia.
After 65 years of armed and social conflict, peace negotiations that actually address many of the core issues at stake – and above all, the problem of land – are finally taking place. Colombia is a fertile country, with all of the necessary natural conditions for food sovereignty. Nevertheless it has one of the world’s highest concentrations of land ownership (67% of the land in the hands of 0.64% of the owners), and instead of producing food, vast tracts are used for mega-mining and agribusiness. In the midst of the ongoing conflict, land is being expropriated from small peasants at a massive scale (over 6 million hectares in two decades). Today, Colombia is the country with the most forcefully displaced people in the world: 6 million.
Photo by Ms. Niamh Aine Ni Bhriain
Once again we feel angry and snubbed. It touches our hearts deeply. We are the MOTHERS OF SOACHA, whose sons were torn from us, kidnapping them and disappearing them after offering them jobs, just to massacre them in cold blood. These actions took place by the thousands over the length and breadth of the land, in incidents of barbarism that are misnamed “false positives”. These acts were committed by soldiers against impoverished men, women and children in the countryside and in cities. Today we are raising our voices of protest because we see links of corruption that involve the highest military commanders, buying the silence of those who murdered our children.