user preferences

The Military's Human Rights Record and the Peace Process in Colombia

category venezuela / colombia | imperialism / war | non-anarchist press author Monday November 05, 2012 23:13author by Nazih Richani Report this post to the editors

On November 15, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) and the delegates of the Colombian state will begin to tackle the first issue on their agenda: the agrarian question. My previous blog addressed the diametrically opposed narratives and positions on the agrarian question posed by the two contending forces and how this could unfold in the immediate future. In this blog I discuss the potential role of the Colombian military as spoilers to the peace process.

Since 1958 the military has enjoyed a wide margin of autonomy in managing security policy (policing, counterinsurgency, and budgeting) with the founding of the National Front that ended a ten-year long civil war between the Liberal and Conservative parties. Granting the military autonomy was based on the agreement between the two mentioned parties barred the use of military officers as political pawns, as was the case during the civil war. This autonomy remained effective until 2002 when former president Alvaro Uribe Velez (2002-2006 and 2006-2010) introduced a national security doctrine (Democratic Security) that called for the militarization of society through a counterinsurgency strategy involving a million of informants and the so-called peasant-soldiers.

Since then, the civil-military relationship witnessed a shift in terms of determining military strategy in which civilian authority played a more active role. The military went along since this new strategy was not only influenced by the United States, but was also designed and funded through Plan Colombia. This $7 billion plan of mostly military aid boosted the political and economic role of the military. The result was the creation of a behemoth institution with an almost 500,000 soldiers and policemen, the second largest in Latin America after Brazil.

Now, with prospects of peace looming, the military has a number of worries. One is its human rights record and its organic links with the paramilitaries since the 1980s. The military is concerned that if a peace agreement is reached and amnesty is decreed this could be reversed, as were the cases of Chile and Argentina. In these two cases, the amnesties that were decreed in the 1980s eased the transition to electoral democracies, but years later the military was persecuted for crimes committed during their rule. In Colombia, the military committed more human rights crimes than all Latin America dictatorships combined; therefore the specter of a future prosecution is very real. This was illustrated by the retired Colonel Hugo Bahamon who the BBC quoted on October 24saying: look to what happened in Chile and Argentina where former soldiers 70 and 80 years old are imprisoned after reversing their amnesties. A noteworthy demand raised by Bahamon is his call to allow the military personnel to vote. If this were achieved, the military will exercise immense political power far exceeding any other political party or social force considering its size, organizational capacity, and relative ideological cohesion. Consequently, this will provide a further security guarantee to avoid the path of its Latin American counterparts. Ironically, however, is that while in 1958 the dominant parties agreed not to use the military in their infighting, now the military wants to meddle in party politics.

By airing these sentiments and desires, the Colombian military is openly expressing its concern and pressing for political guarantees that may go beyond what Chile and Argentina offered their respective soldiers. The coming months will reveal how these issues play out and whether the unmet sentiments will lead the military leviathan to spoil the peace process.

Related Link:
This page can be viewed in
English Italiano Deutsch

Front page

Cajamarca, Tolima: consulta popular y disputa por el territorio

Statement on the Schmidt Case and Proposed Commission of Inquiry

Aodhan Ó Ríordáin: Playing The Big Man in America

Nós anarquistas saudamos o 8 de março: dia internacional de luta e resistência das mulheres!

Özgürlüğümüz Mücadelemizdedir

IWD 2017: Celebrating a new revolution

Solidarité avec Théo et toutes les victimes des violences policières ! Non à la loi « Sécurité Publique » !

Solidaridad y Defensa de las Comunidades Frente al Avance del Paramilitarismo en el Cauca

A Conservative Threat Offers New Opportunities for Working Class Feminism

De las colectivizaciones al 15M: 80 años de lucha por la autogestión en España

False hope, broken promises: Obama’s belligerent legacy

Primer encuentro feminista Solidaridad – Federación Comunista Libertaria

Devrimci Anarşist Tutsak Umut Fırat Süvarioğulları Açlık Grevinin 39 Gününde

The Fall of Aleppo

Italia - Ricostruire opposizione sociale organizzata dal basso. Costruire un progetto collettivo per l’alternativa libertaria.

Recordando a César Roa, luchador de la caña

Prison Sentence to Managing Editor of Anarchist Meydan Newspaper in Turkey

Liberación de la Uma Kiwe, autonomía y territorio: una mirada libertaria para la comprensión de la lucha nasa

Misunderstanding syndicalism

American Anarchist and Wobbly killed by Turkey while fighting ISIS in Rojava

Devlet Tecavüzdür

Attaque fasciste sur la Croix Rousse et contre la librairie libertaire la Plume Noire

Red November, Black November – An Anarchist Response to the Election

Resistance at Standing Rock

Venezuela / Colombia | Imperialism / War | en

Fri 31 Mar, 08:36

browse text browse image

venezuelasedepsuvincendiada.jpg imageNo more coups in Latin America! 20:39 Mon 22 Apr by Frente de Estudiantes Libertarios 0 comments

We can be sure that the young people of Latin America will be on the side of the Venezuelan people, because we will never accept a repitition of what happened in Honduras and Paraguay, because we will never accept death as a tool in the hands of the powerful for putting an end to the changes which the poor need. [Castellano]

enero_9_2009_06_jpgmid_2.jpg imageSolidarity action with the people of Gaza and Greece (Colombia) 21:32 Sat 10 Jan by Cruz Negra Anarquista 0 comments

Today, January 9, about 100 demonstrators gathered in the Greek embassy to show our solidarity with the people of Gaza and with the Greek Insurrection.

imageHabemus pacem? Challenges on the road from Havana to Colombia Sep 08 by José Antonio Gutiérrez D. 0 comments

After three years of negotiations, a peace accord was signed in Havana, Cuba, between the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC-EP, while the process with ELN is bogged down and that with the EPL is not even on the political agenda. The forecasts that had feared the possibility of a breakdown in the negotiations have been proved groundless, and it completes the cycle of a struggle that should necessarily open new scenarios and possibilities. [Castellano] [Türkçe]

imageColombia… is peace in the air? Sep 06 by José Antonio Gutiérrez D. 0 comments

Once again talks of peace have been placed on the political agenda in Colombia, with the goodwill of a significant section of the establishment. This development in not a free gift nor does it come from the good will of the president: it is obvious that the thesis of “the end of the ending” lacked substance, and that the “Plan Colombia” has reached its limit. Although this agreement is a positive development, we cannot be excessively optimistic, even less so, triumphalist, considering that “peace”, in itself, would represent a triumph for the popular classes and their historic demands, blocked by fire and blood for more than half a century, by the State. We must bear in mind that the road towards an eventual negotiating process is full of difficulties, since there are substantial and basic differences between what the different parties expect from the negotiations and what the understand by the word “peace”. [Castellano] [Português]

imageThe significance of the killing of Alfonso Cano Nov 07 by José Antonio Gutiérrez D. 0 comments

With the assassination of Cano, the Colombian government has closed the doors to dialogue. How will the insurgency react? It is difficult to predict, but whatever the exact form its response assumes, in all likelihood it will involve a period of deepening and intensification of conflict - standing idly by or reiterating calls for dialogue and peace that fall on deaf ears doesn't seem to be an option now for the FARC-EP. If the Colombian government demonstrates its willingness and intent to pursue the military option, then this is what will happen, and we know what it is that this route has to offer Colombia...

image200 years of independence in Colombia? There is nothing to celebrate! Jul 21 by Grupo Antorcha Libertaria 0 comments

Today, 200 years after the cry of “independence”, we live under slavery and despotism well disguised in various masquerades in our lives. One of the main achievements of the “liberators” was indeed to expel the Spanish empire, what ended up being nothing more than a distraction, not only for the creation of a new local ruling elite, but also to allow other empires to step in against the interests of our own people: while in 1500 they talked about civilisation, on 2001 they came to talk about the “war on terror”.

imageNo more coups in Latin America! Apr 22 Chile 0 comments

We can be sure that the young people of Latin America will be on the side of the Venezuelan people, because we will never accept a repitition of what happened in Honduras and Paraguay, because we will never accept death as a tool in the hands of the powerful for putting an end to the changes which the poor need. [Castellano]

© 2005-2017 Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by [ Disclaimer | Privacy ]