Colombia’s bloodthirsty ruling class has murdered thousands of people who oppose its policies of hunger, war and oppression. It’s even killed many who foolishly tried to change the system through elections. It has also forced over four million rural workers and their families, many indigenous and union activists, to flee their homes, losing everything.
According to a report of 400 human rights organizations presented to the UN High Commissioner in Colombia, over 13,600 people have been “murdered, executed or disappeared in the six years of the President Uribe administration” (“Página12”, 9/24). Meanwhile, bodies of 45 youth have been found in Bogotá’s southern suburbs and in the poor coffee region of Central Colombia. The cops and army executed the youth, including a minor with mental problems, under the guise that they were all “common criminals.”
Also, “Página12” (9/26) reported that death-squad chief Salvatore Mancuso, extradited to the U.S. in May, testified via video in a trial of two Senators of Uribe’s Party that the AUC (the death-squad organization) influenced the local 2002 Presidential elections.
Uribe, a Bush lapdog in South America, was one of the “world leaders” Sarah Palin spoke to briefly at the U.N. in mid-September. (The others included the U.S. puppet President of Afghanistan and war criminal Henry Kissinger.)
But now, to avoid more national and international outcries, instead of the past mass massacres, people are killed daily in ones and twos. Militant students are some of the victims of this “new” style of repression, ones like Johnny Silva, Nicolas Neira, Oscar Salas and many more who’ve been murdered. They’ve been part of the militant fight against plans to privatize public universities. For this the government and the bosses’ media have branded them “subversive guerrillas.”
So in addition to the usual brutal repression of young protestors during the annual mass May Day marches in Bogota, the rulers have now put a price on the heads of the more militant H.S. and college youth to try to quell the growing protest movement against the Uribe government.
As part of the struggle to give political leadership to angry workers and youth, two PLP comrades in Ciudad Bolívar are trying to bring communist ideas to some of the million people in this poorest section of Bogotá. Many of these residents are refugees from the murderous war waged by the rich landowners’ death squads and the army in rural Colombia.
The refugees face a lot of contradictions coming to Ciudad Bolívar. Instead of a countryside of trees and rivers, they now live in a boss-created urban jungle filled with unemployment, racist and sexist discrimination, alcoholism, police persecution and rejection by the bourgeois society. Their hard lives are made even more oppressive.
Many different groups are out to influence these refugees, some with pro-government ideas, others opposed to the government. We’re involved in some of them that are trying to bring the few available but limited resources available in this area. But we’re also struggling to fight for unity in action as the best way to fight for improvements for the residents of the area. We want to win some of the movement’s most active leaders into a political school, no easy task amid mass terror carried out by the bosses’ paramilitary goons, aimed at preventing us from organizing ourselves.
Our goal is not building a better reform movement begging for more crumbs from the government, but winning masses of workers and youth to PLP to fight for the only real solution to this capitalist hell: communism. DESAFIO is a key ideological weapon in accomplishing this long but vital process for our class.