Pubdate: Sun, 03 Mar 2002
Source: Register-Guard, The (OR)
Copyright: 2002 The Register-Guard
Author: Christopher Raydon-Feeney


The Feb. 24 editorial "Chaos in Colombia" incorrectly assumes that 
"Colombia will have to endure more violence before it can again hope for 
peace." President Andres Pastrana may have ended the peace process out of 
frustration with the endless violence, but there are other factors.

The peace process had recently started to be mediated by third parties - 
the United Nations, faith organizations and European diplomats - who would 
have held the Colombian government and the FARC rebel group accountable. It 
is likely that the Colombian government does not want the process to reveal 
the true points of contention.

The government's own military, with U.S.-trained troops and equipment, has 
only recently gained the ability to confront the FARC. An unfamiliar reader 
could conclude from the editorial that this is a two-sided civil war with 
the FARC being the side the reader should oppose. But there are a couple of 
rebel groups, the government and the paramilitary, all of whom are armed 
and involved in narcotrafficking and human rights violations. The AUC 
paramilitary group is on the U.S. State Department's list of terrorist 
organizations, but the Colombian army supplies this group, and its 
hard-line members perpetuate fear in the people.

Colombians know where the support comes from, where the planes that 
fumigate their land are from, and why they are being displaced from their 
lands. It is time the people of the United States knew their government's 
policies. President Bush should stop the flow of weapons, training and 
intelligence that allows the war to continue. The best help the United 
States could offer is to build roads, schools and socio-economic 
institutions. Let our charity be less narcissistic and more creative than war.


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