Tag Archives: Columbia

As Media Amplifies Unrest in Venezuela and Beyond, Millions Are Quietly Revolting in Colombia, by Alan Macleod and Whitney Webb

Any two-bit demonstration agains the government in a leftist Latin America will probably get picked up by the US mainstream media, but it ignores substantial and long-running protests against governments that are friends of the US government. From Alan Macleod and Whitney Webb at mintpressnews.com:

Despite protests of historic proportions fueled by anger over corruption and a brutal right-wing crackdown, the unrest in Colombia has garnered remarkably little international media attention compared to Venezuela.

Many of the massive anti-neoliberal protest movements that exploded across the globe last year have pressed on into 2020, especially those that rose up throughout Latin America. Many of those demonstrations — clearly newsworthy due to their enormous size, composition, and motives — were and continue to be ignored by prominent English language news outlets, essentially creating a media blackout of these movements.

This trend has been particularly magnified in Latin American countries whose current governments are closely allied with the United States, with Colombia, in particular, standing out. Despite being faced with protests from hundreds of thousands of people fueled by anger over state corruption, proposed neoliberal reforms and a spike in murders of social leaders, the unrest in Colombia has garnered remarkably little international media attention.

In contrast, U.S.-supported right-wing movements attempting to topple socialist governments like those in Venezuela and Bolivia have received a great deal of coverage and open support from both the media and the political class.

It is certainly telling that international media outlets largely ignored the protests of Colombia’s teachers, who were motivated to act largely due to a dangerous wave of violence targeting them incited by the government itself, leading to several murders and hundreds of death threats in the span of just a few months. Colombia’s President Iván Duque’s political mentor Álvaro Uribe, himself president between 2002 and 2010, accused the country’s teachers of brainwashing the youth: “Teachers only teach them to yell and to insult, not how to debate, warping their minds,” he said.

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The rise of Socialism: Standing on the shoulders of morons, by Simon Black

Moron is an apt characterization of people who believe in a system that’s failed everywhere it’s been tried. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

I’ve spent the last several days in this quaint Colombian city near the Venezuelan border (though I’m presently at the airport, en route to Chile for a board meeting).

As I’ve discussed several times in the past, Colombia is great. It’s naturally gorgeous, incredibly cheap, and full of interesting opportunities.

The country has recently emerged from decades of civil war. And the rebuilding efforts will have a profound impact on the economy… most notably with the national infrastructure.

Colombia’s highways are pitiful.

The distance from here to Bogota is barely 400 kilometers– it shouldn’t be more than a 3-4 hour drive. But it takes almost nine hours thanks to the terrible highways.

Railways, ports, even digital infrastructure are all lacking in Colombia, in large part because of the decades-long war against the FARC. For years the government didn’t want to build more railways if the guerrillas were just going to destroy them.

With the war over, they’re dumping an enormous amount of money into modernizing the country, which invariably brings interesting opportunities.

Colombia is still cheap today.

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To Ted Cruz: Further Militarizing Mexico’s Drug War Is a Horrible Idea, by Brain Saady

Ted Cruz proposes spending billions more on the futile drug war, sending the US military down to Mexico to help its government. At least now you’re not considering a flaming crazy if you suggest legalizing various drugs. The needle moves, but slowly. From Brian Saady at antiwar.com:

Ted Cruz recently provided an exclusive interview to Breitbart News. He asserted that the U.S. military should be working in conjunction with the Mexican government to fight the cartels. He didn’t suggest a full-scale invasion, but he did propose something similar to our program, “Plan Colombia.”

If you’re not familiar, Plan Colombia is officially the U.S. foreign military aid program for Colombia aimed at preventing drug trafficking. The U.S. has provided the Colombian government with $10 billion of military aid over the last 15 years.

Senator Cruz said of Plan Colombia, “It was treated less as a law enforcement matter than as a military matter. Where our military went into Colombia and helped destroy the cartels.” His assessment was partially accurate because Plan Colombia isn’t purely an anti-drug strategy. Instead, it is essentially part of a broader U.S. geopolitical strategy in which our country uses the pretense of the drug war to resurrect Cold-War-style intervention.

However, Cruz’s belief that Plan Colombia helped defeat the cartels is completely wrong. First of all, that gives the impression that the program effectively reduced drug production. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The White House released a report in March stating that cocaine production in Colombia had reached record levels last year, roughly 710 metric tons.

Secondly, the program went into effect in 1999, which was many years after the Medellin Cartel had fallen and not long after the leadership of the Cali Cartel had been captured. Plan Colombia was first implemented when the most powerful drug trafficking organizations weren’t traditional crime organizations. Instead, the drug trade was fueling the country’s civil war between the right-wing paramilitary group, the AUC, and the communist rebels, the FARC.

Proponents of Plan Colombia believe that U.S. military support was a factor that led to the eventual disarmament of the FARC and the end of Colombia’s 52-year civil war. That point is debatable. But, even if you concede it, “peace” was reached at what cost?

To continue reading: To Ted Cruz: Further Militarizing Mexico’s Drug War Is a Horrible Idea