a Reply to the FARC)
a November 9, 2006, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-Peoples Army,
(FARC-EP) sent an â€œOpen Letter to the People of the United Statesâ€. It was specifically addressed to several
Hollywood producers and actors (Michael Moore, Denzel Washington and Oliver
Stone) as well as three leftist academics (James Petras, Noam Chomsky and
Angela Davis) and a progressive politician (Jessie Jackson). The purpose of the open letter was to solicit
our support in facilitating an agreement between the US and Colombian
governments and the FARC-EP on exchanging 600 imprisoned guerrillas (including
2 on trial in the US) for 60 rebel-held prisoners including 3 US counter-insurgency
FARC-EP: Terrorist Band or Resistance Movement?
to the US government position characterizing the FARC-EP as a â€˜terrorist
organizationâ€™, it is the longest standing, largest peasant-based guerrilla
movement in the world today. Founded in
1964 by two dozen peasant activists, as a means for defending autonomous rural
communities from the violent depredations of the Colombian military and
paramilitary, the FARC-EP has grown into a highly organized 20,000 member
guerrilla army with several hundred thousand local militia and supporters,
highly influential in over 40% of the country.
Up until September 11, 2001, the FARC-EP was recognized as a legitimate
resistance movement by most of the countries of the European Union, Latin
America and for several years was in peace negotiations with the Colombian
government headed by President AndrÃ©s Pastrana.
Prior to 9/11 FARC leaders met with European heads of state to exchange
ideas on the peace process. Numerous
prominent business leaders from Wall Street, City of London and BogotÃ¡ and
notables like Queen Noor of Jordan met with FARC leaders in the demilitarized
zone during the aborted peace negotiations (1999-2002).
heavy pressure from the White House, particularly its leading spokespersons,
the right-wing extremists like the notorious Otto Reich, Roger Noriega and,
John Bolton, the Pastrana regime abruptly broke off negotiations and in less
than 24 hours sent the Colombian Army into the demilitarized area, in an
attempt to capture the FARC leaders engaged in negotiations. The â€˜surpriseâ€™ attack failed but did set the
stage for the escalation of the conflict.