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The Narco News Bulletin
Name of Our Country is América"
Colombia TV Ad Hides Behind Drug War Opponent
Mentions "Gabo" -- Author Gabriel García
Marquéz -- in defending Plan Colombia. Gabo says
legalization is the only solution.
US President also
admits: "Profits from the drug trade fund civil conflict.
Powerful forces make their own law, and you face danger every
Peace Prize winner and former Costa Rica president -- also an
advocate of legalization -- Oscar Arias condemns Plan
of Clinton's TV Speech Tonight in Colombia
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Muy buenas noches. Tomorrow morning
I will travel to your country to bring a message of friendship
and solidarity from the people of the United States to the people
of Colombia, and a message of support for President Pastrana
and for Plan Colombia.
I will be joined on my
trip by the Speaker of our House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert,
and other distinguished members of our Congress. We come from
different political parties, but we have a common commitment
to support our friend, Colombia. As you struggle, with courage,
to make peace, to build your economy, to fight drugs, and to
deepen democracy, the United States will be on your side.
Some of the earliest stirrings
of liberty in Latin America came in
Colombia, as the proud people of Cartagena, of Cali, of Bogota
rose up one after the other to fight for independence. Now, nearly
two centuries later, Colombia's democracy is under attack. Profits
from the drug trade fund civil conflict. Powerful forces make
their own law, and you face danger every day, whether you're
sending your children to school, taking your family on vacation,
or returning to your village to visit your mother or your father.
The literary genius you
call Gabo, your Nobel Laureate, painted a portrait of this struggle
in his book, "News of a Kidnapping." He presented me
with a copy, and his book has touched my heart. Now I know why
he said writing it was the saddest, most difficult task of his
life. And yet, all across Colombia there are daily profiles in
courage -- mayors, judges, journalists, prosecutors, politicians,
policemen, soldiers, and citizens like you -- all have stood
up to defend your democracy.
risk their lives daily to report the news so that powerful people
feel the pressure of public opinion. Their courage is matched
by the bravery of peace activists and human rights defenders;
by reform-minded military leaders whose forces are bound by law,
but who must do battle with thugs who subvert the law. There
is also uncommon courage among the Colombian National Police.
They face mortal danger every moment, as they battle against
Tomorrow in Cartagena
I will meet with members of the police and the military and also
with widows of their fallen comrades. The people of Colombia
are well-known for their resilience, their ability to adapt.
But, my friends, enough is enough. We now see millions rising
up, declaring no mas, and marching for peace, for justice, for
the quiet miracle of a normal life.
That desire for peace
and justice led to the election of President Pastrana. In the
United States, we see in President Pastrana a man who has risked
his life to take on the drug traffickers; who was kidnapped by
the Medellin, but who kept speaking out. As President, he has
continued to risk his life to help heal his country. He has built
support across party lines for a new approach in Colombia. The
United States supports President Pastrana, supports Plan Colombia,
and supports the people of Colombia.
Let me be clear about
the role of the United States. First, it is not for us to propose
a plan. We are supporting the Colombian plan. You are leading;
we are providing assistance as a friend and a neighbor.
Second, this is a plan
about making life better for people. Our assistance includes
a tenfold increase in our support for economic development, good
governance, judicial reform, and human rights. Economic development
is essential. The farmers who grow coca and poppy must have a
way to make an honest living if they are to rejoin the national
economy. Our assistance will help offer farmers credit and identify
new products and new markets.
We will also help to build
schoolrooms, water systems and roads for people who have lost
their homes and their communities. Our assistance will do more
to protect human rights. As President Pastrana said at the White
House, there is no such thing as democracy without respect for
human rights. Today's world has no place and no patience for
any group that attacks defenseless citizens or resorts to kidnapping
and extortion. Those who seek legitimacy in Colombian society
must meet the standards of those who confer legitimacy, the good
and decent people of Colombia.
Our package provides human
rights training for the Colombian military and police, and denies
U.S. assistance to any units of the Colombian security forces
involved in human rights abuses or linked to abuses by paramilitary
forces. It will fund human rights programs, help protect human
rights workers, help reform the judicial system and improve prosecution
Of course, Plan Colombia
will also bolster our common efforts to fight drugs and the traffickers
who terrorize both our countries. But please do not misunderstand
our purpose. We have no military objective. We do not believe
your conflict has a military solution. We support the peace process.
Our approach is both pro-peace and anti-drug.
The concern over illegal
drugs is deeply felt around the world. In my own country, every
year more than 50,000 people lose their lives and many more ruin
their lives because of drug abuse. Still the devastation of illegal
drugs in Colombia is worse. Drug trafficking and civil conflict
have led together to more than 2,500 kidnappings last year; 35,000
Colombians have been killed, and a million more made homeless
in the past decade alone.
Drug trafficking is a
plague both our nations suffer, and neither nation can solve
on its own. Our assistance will help train and equip Colombia's
counterdrug battalions to protect the National Police as they
eradicate illicit drug crops and destroy drug labs. We will help
the Colombian military improve their ability to intercept traffickers
before they leave Colombia. We will target illegal airstrips,
money- laundering and criminal organizations.
This approach can succeed.
Over the last five years, the governments of Peru and Bolivia,
working with U.S. support, have reduced coca cultivation by more
than half in their own countries, and cultivation fell by almost
one-fifth in the region as a whole.
Of course, supply is only
one side of the problem. The other is demand. I want the people
of Colombia to know that the United States is working hard to
reduce demand here, and cocaine use in our country has dropped
dramatically over the last 15 years. We must continue our efforts
to cut demand, and we will help Colombia fight the problems aggravated
by our demand.
We can, and we must, do
this together. As we begin the new century, Colombia must face
not 100 years of solitude, but 100 years of partnership for peace
Last year I met some of
the most talented and adorable children in the world, from the
village of Valledupar. Ten of them, some as young as six years
old, came thousands of miles with their accordions and their
drums, their bright-colored scarves and their beautiful voices,
to perform for us here at the White House. They sang "El
Mejoral." They sang "La Gota Fria." Everyone who
heard them was touched. Those precious children come from humble
families. They live surrounded by violence. They don't want to
grow up to be narco traffickers, to be guerrillas, to be paramilitaries.
They want to be kings of Vallenato. And we should help them live
Thousands of courageous
Colombians have given their lives to give us all this chance.
Now is the moment to make their sacrifice matter. It will take
vision; it will take courage; it will take desire. You have all
three. In the midst of great difficulty, be strong of heart.
En surcos de dolores, el bien germina ya.
Viva Colombia. Que Dios
Arias Statement Opposing Plan Colombia
"The United States has apparently
learned nothing from the horrors
of El Salvador and Nicaragua, where vast amounts of military
only served to intensify conflicts that neither side was going
win. Now, Congress and President Clinton have confirmed that
they will make the same error in Colombia by sending $1.3 billion,
almost all in military aid.
"Haven't the last
20 years shown us that as long as there is a
market for drugs in the United States, somebody will find a way
get them there? Cutting down on the demand side in the United
States would do much more to curtail drug production than a
bloody military campaign. By providing military aid rather than
substantial social and economic assistance, the United States
missing an opportunity to address the real roots of insurgency
drug production in Colombia. "
He reports on
this week's massacres by Colombian paramilitary squads that Narco
News brought to the world's attention
updates later tonight
Countdown to Clinton
Colombia: US Gift to Arms Traffickers and Mercenaries
of Plan Colombia's Covert CIA Operation
now rejected by Chile, is likely to Receive "Logistical
Support" from Argentina, according to counter-intelligence
Special to The Narco News
by Al Giordano
A covert operation, presumably by
the US Central Intelligence Agency, that has recruited Brazilian,
Central American and US soldiers-of-fortune to fight clandestinely
in Colombia was dealt a severe blow last week, The Narco News
Bulletin has learned.
The covert operation,
first reported in October 1999 by the respected Brazilian newsweekly
Istoé, originally had planned to use Chilean airfields
to ship smuggled arms and mercenary soldiers into Colombia.
During US Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright's recent lobbying trip to Santiago de
Chile, the government of that nation announced, privately and
publicly: Chile will not lend "logistical support"
for that or any other military part of Plan Colombia, covert
Albright, in her five-day,
five-country, tour, went to Argentina where President Fernando
de la Rua broke with all of Latin America by pledging "logistical
support" for the $1.3 billion US-imposed Plan Colombia.
In the analysis of top
investigators in the field of counter-intelligence consulted
by Narco News, this signals that the covert mercenary flights
originally slated to leave from Chilean airstrips, are now likely
to utilize Argentina's territory instead.
This development -- one
of many recent setbacks for Plan Colombia -- is due to the change
in government in Chile. In elections early this year, the Chilean
people ousted the party of General Augusto Pinochet and chose
Ricardo Lagos -- former official in the government of assassinated
president Salvador Allende -- as president. Allende had been
deposed and assassinated in 1973 by a US-backed military coup.
This story contains the
facts about the illegal covert mercenary operation now underway
as part of Plan Colombia. This project, hidden from the American
people, must also be understood in its geo-political context.
Geo-Political Context Provoked by "Plan Colombia"
Latin American leaders and members of Civil Society
across the hemisphere -- with the exception of Argentina's government
and Colombia's increasingly isolated President Andrés
Pastrana -- have rejected US government pressures to offer military
and "logistical" support to the military plan to defeat
the Colombian guerrilla movements. US officials continue to deny
that the goal is counter-insurgency and have thinly disguised
their intervention as an "anti-drug" plan.
Indeed, as Narco News
reported in our July
31 interview with exiled Colombian journalist Alfredo Molano, Plan Colombia has hidden, more
regional, agendas, among them to decentralize cocaine trafficking
throughout South and Central America, thus bringing more pretexts
to intervene in the affairs of the fledgling Latin American union.
Lagos, in an interview
yesterday with the Brazilian daily El Globo, threw down
the gauntlet to other Latin American leaders: "One day soon,
Latin America must speak with one voice," Lago told the
Brasilia daily. "We are betting on continential integration."
On the eve of US President
Bill Clinton's August 30th visit to Cartagena, Colombia, Chilean
President Lagos set his sites on more significant events that
will take place in the following days:
-- On August 31 and September
1, the leaders of 12 Latin American countries will meet in Brasilia.
And Lagos has placed a European Union-style alliance at the top
of the Summit docket.
-- On September 6, Venezuelan
President Hugo Chávez will address the United Nations
in New York City. He will arrive in New York on September 4 with
high-profile media appearances and, according to today's edition
of the Caracas daily El Norte, place two themes back on
the American agenda: the marginalization of the poor, and the
sovereignty of American nations.
Chávez has increasingly
frustrated efforts by Washington and official US media outlets
to marginalize him: According to Human Rights Watch, Venezuela
under Chávez was the only American nation to improve human
rights within its borders in 1999, and drastically so.
Chávez, this year,
became the first American head-of-state ever to cancel an election
he was bound to win handily because fair election safeguards
were not yet in place. The system was corrected, a new election
was held, and Chávez won a six-year term by a punishing
In a recent foreign policy
speech, US Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush, pointed
out the source of the worry among both Washington political parties:
"America is right to be concerned about Kuwait -- but more
of our oil comes from Venezuela."
The entrance of Chile's
Lagos into the fray creates distinct problems for Washington.
The high visibility of the judicial proceedings against former
dictator Pinochet, coupled with Lagos' image as a democratic
leader strongly identified with the former Allende government,
give Lagos more elbow room to organize the hemisphere into a
new geopolitical power. Lagos also has many friends and contacts
among US members of Congress. As a known quantity, he cannot
be easily marginalized.
But before Lagos took
office, US officials in Washington and Langley had a different
plan for Chile regarding the long-plotted Plan Colombia intervention.
Made in Brazil"
Here is the text of last October's
investigative report by Istoé magazine, translated
from the original Portuguese to English by The Narco News
from the Brazilian newsweekly
Istoé, October 20, 1999
Original article in Portuguese
can be found on the internet:
"Pilots and combatants
are being contracted in Rio de Janeiro
to fight against the FARC and/or drug trafficking in Colombia"
by Mário Chimanovitch
Istoé magazine, October 20, 1999
A secret operation to
recruit Brazilian mercenaries -- pilots
and combatants -- to fight against the guerrilla and/or drug
traffic in the jungles of Colombia is now underway in Brazil.
Military aviators (reserve
officers) and unemployed civil
pilots who like a lot of adventure and a lot of money are being
contacted in Rio de Janeiro. The pilots can make from $10,000
to $12,000 US dollars per mission. The recruitment demands
references: the candidate must have known contacts and be
willing to furnish them. In the past, he must have participated
in risky missions, such as those that occured in Angola between
1992 and 1994, when the socialist government of the Popular
Liberation Movement (MPLA) fought, and now fights again,
a bloody war against the UNITA of Jonas Savimbi, strongly
armed by South Africa.
It is not known exactly
who is behind this recruitment
operation but there exist strong indications that it is
being conducted by the Division of Clandestine Operations
of the CIA, the US intelligence service. Istoé was able
to interview two enlistees.
A professional of civil
aviation, currently unemployed,
revealed that pilots who don't have experience flying the
Hercules C-130 transport plane -- that will be used in
missions bringing men, arms and supplies to forces that
combat against the FARC (Colombian Revolutionary Armed
Forces) and against drug trafficking -- receive a kit
that includes a computer simulation program about this
With or without the computer
program, a pilot trains
for four to six hours a day. Next, or upon enlistment, he
participates in missions as co-pilot of the Hercules C-130
and as pilot of a DC-8. Once familiar with the plane, the
mercenaries travel to Chile, from where they will carry out
missions to Colombia, from a military base not revealed to
he must sign a contract that obliges
him, in case of death or accident, not to claim financial
compensation. "The contract doesn't include life insurance.
Each one goes into combat at his own risk. His family must
sign a document that promises not to demand financial
compensation in case of death or accident and neither to
reclaim the recruit's body in case of death," he revealed.
The pilot, who says he
doesn't like to be called
a mercenary, told Istoé that in the past he participated
in Angola operatinos, the majority of times under extreme
adverse conditions. "We would arrive with arms and equipment
under close fire. We would land and take-off very rapidly,
staying only a few minutes. We would arrive with a Hercules
on airstrips that were many times precarious and under
machine-gun and mortar fire. We would land and take-off
immediately," he said, admitting that if he had died in
an accident, his name would not be revealed.
The pilot affirmed that
the group being recruited now
for missions in Colombia is practically the same that
operated in Angola. He acknowledged that a recent by the
representative of UNITA in Portugal, from where Brazilian
mercenary pilots combatted against the guerrilla of
Savimbi on the side of the Angolan armed forces, could
be true. This fact was denied by Brazil's
ambassador to (the Angolan capital of) Luanda, Jorge
Taunay, when last week the UNITA began to attack
Brazilian interests in Angola.
According to UNITA, "Vietnam
sold Tucano aircraft
to Brazil for Angola, used by pilots of the government
of (Angolan) President José Eduardo dos Santos, that
always survives thanks to the support of foreign
mercenaries who attack defenseless populations."
Taunay acknowledged that
Brazil, in fact, sold
planes to Angola, "with the goal of training pilots
and making reconaissance missions."
The pilot said that "the
group that is going to
operate in Colombia includes Vietnam veterans who will
work with others from Central America (principally
Nicaragua, on the side of the Contras, and also El
Salvador)." He revealed that the planes that will be used
in missions against the FARC or drug traffic (C-130 and
DC-8) belong to an American who executes missions for
the CIA and are stored in hangars located in South Africa.
"I am informed that there are ten planes, no more than
six of which will be used for the Colombian operation,"
he said, insisting that he could not give more details
or he would risk being killed.
The take-offs in Chile
and entrance over Colombian
airspace will be "unofficial," which is to say: with
the knowledge of the Colombian authorities but not
Meanwhile, on the eve
of Clinton's Colombian visit, US officials continue their efforts
to pressure other Latin American governments to participate in
Plan Colombia. Note the veiled threats inherent in the US Ambassador's
statements regarding US anti-narcotics certification and Panama's
participation in Plan Colombia.
From El Universal of Panamá
Monday, August 28, 2000:
Participation Would Improve its Qualification"
By Darsy Santamaría
US Ambassador to Panamá,
Simón Ferro, said that Panama's participation in Plan
Colombia can only improve its position among the nations of the
continent that lead the efforts against drug trafficking and
"We trust that it
will improve the position and already exceptional qualification
that Panama has at a regional and international level in the
anti-drug fight," he said.
Ferro indicated that "if
the decision were mine, I would say that the chances are very
good and Panama has not lost terrain in the anti-drug fight,
because it has always demonstrated that is is fighting shoulder
to shoulder with its neighbor countries."
The diplomat indicated
that Panama has always cooperated enormously with teh United
States and other countries in the anti-drug fight, in a manner
that is should be maintained with the certification that his
country delivers every year. In recent days, Ambassador Ferro
announced that soon his government will meet with Panamanian
authorities to determine the use of $5 million dollars that the
US will deliver to Panama as part of Plan Colombia.
At the same time, Ferro
indicated that Panama must decide what type of cooperation it
will solicit from the US in the area of security and if that
will include training of troops, it must negotiate an agreement
to give special status to US personnel that travel to our country.
The diplomat detailed
that the list delivered by Panamanian minister of government
Winston Spadafora in which he solicited $30 million was very
ambitious for the capacity of Panama's infrastructure. He said,
"This is a pie of $30 million that must be shared with all
the countries that border Colombia, and the $5 million that Panama
is going to receive will be much more than what the rest of the
countries will receive."
from the daily El Espectador,
Sunday, July 27, 2000:
Arsenal of the FARC and the ELN"
By Julian Ríos Rojas
The guerrillias of the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National
Liberation Army (ELN) have in their possession 45,208 weapons.
This was claimed by reports of State security agencies that also
warned that every month, for maritime routes from Ecuador, no
less than a ton of arms and explosives enter the country for
The report, obtained by
El Espectador, was elaborated this week after last Monday's scandal
propitiated by the president of Perú. Alberto Fujimori
said that Jordanian arms traffickers, working with low ranking
military members of his country, intruduced 10,000 weapons into
Colombia for the FARC (see graphic).
According to the documents,
the FARC have 31,813 arms and the ELN 13,395. But how do these
weapons enter Colombia? By land, sea and air the smugglers send
the war materials from Panamá (the most active route),
Nicaragua, Honduras and Ecuador. The reports also include as
sources Perú, Brazil, Venezuela, Surinam, the United States,
Guatemala and El Salvador.
From Perú come
FAL and G-3 rifles and MAK machine guns into Colombia. On some
of these weapons shields and symbols of the Republican Guard
of Perú have appeared. In some cases the arms are tossed
from the air onto Colombian territory. Still, the majority of
times the arms are sent from Perú and Ecuador by land.
From Venezuela, say the
intelligence reports, enter arms and munitions from the Company
Anónima Venezolana Industrial de Municiones (CAVIN). From
Brazil come armaments of the Tauros pistol and cartridge factory.
In this route, as middlement, appear arms traffickers of Surinam.
From the United States,
the reports say that semi-automatic rifles come to Colombia.
US arms traffickers have succeeded in smuggling Egyptian rifles
of the Maladi Company and Norninco rifles, made in China.
According to the reports,
in the Colombian black market these are the prices of the arms
most utlized in the war:
AK-47 rifle $3 million
R-15 rifle $4,5 million
G'3 $3,5 million pesos
FAL $4.2 million pesos
UZI and Mini-Uzi submachine
guns $2.5 million pesos
In exchange for the arms,
according to the reports, the guerrilla or paramilitary groups
offer cash or drugs. Also common in recent times is that ranchers
or businessmen are kidnapped and arms are demanded to return
them to liberty.
Another press report from
today shows a different method of arms smuggling -- contraband
as "ant's work" -- being brought in very small shipments,
this time by sea, utilizing underwater storage facilities.
The price here of an AK-47
rifle is listed in dollars: $1,200.
San Andrés is a
small island in the Caribbean that is part of Colombian territory.
The demand for these arms
and the existence of large sums of money to purchase them is
a direct consequence of US-imposed drug prohibition.
Monday, August 28, 2000
from El Tiempo, Bogotá,
Underwater Storage Box Found on the Island
rifles seized in San Andrés
Nine Russian-made AK-47
rifles, that form part of an arsenal that must have been shipped
with a guerrilla group as its destination, were siezed yesterday
by agents of the National Police in San Andrés.
The arms, hidden in an
underwater box, 40 feet deep near the famous Hoyo Soplador, was
guarded from a boat by two men that were shot at by police and
According to the commander
of the National Police in San Andrés, Colonel Jairo Agudelo,
the rifles entered the island by sea, where an illegal transaction
was made to transport them later to the Atlantic coast. Each
rifle costs some $1,200 in the black market.
Sunday, August 27, 2000
From El Espectador, Bogotá,
Is the "national interest" of the United States legitimate
to give impunity to the paramilitaries and support the illegal
activities of the military?
...In the 1980s, some
70% of human rights violations were committed by Public Forces;
20 percent by the guerrilla and 10% by the paramilitaries. Today,
the guerrilla preserves its quota, the military has reduced its
by about 10% or less, and the paramilitaries have increased their
share by 70% or more.
...while the victims --
that are of greater numbers every day -- say: What does it matter
to us if we are killed by official weapons, or those of the paramilitaries
that enjoy impunity, or those of the guerrilla forces that the
State has not succeeded in reducing? It's reality, a cruel and
hard reality: the partial certification that the Colombian government
received from Clinton is equivalent to a patent endorsement delivered
below the table to the paramilitary groups, the prinicipal responsible
party of the violation of human rights.
...It cannot be explained
that the US State Department, that has an assistant secretary
for human rights , backs the Military Forces with $960 million
dollars that has assassinated in front of the world only a week
beforehand six children? How can they accept the explanation
of the Colombian military, that what happened was that the guerrilla
shot from behind the line of schoolchildren? ...How can they
believe those generals that lied in a calculated and cynical
manner in the case of the necklace bomb?...
It is certain, as the State Department justifies, that criminal
practices so common are not ended in a couple of months . But
it is less certain that to certify them for the future -- based
on the promises that the high command makes and the unquestionable
good will of the president -- knowing their long and sinister
history, is simply, and plainly, to certify a dirty war.
Monday, August 28, 2000
From El Tiempo, Bogotá
PARAMILITARIES MASSACRE TEN PEOPLE IN CIENAGA
the victims were three brothers, a nurse, to workers and two
people were kidnapped by unknown persons
By Tonny Pérez
El Tiempo Caribbean Bureau
During two hours, 70 men of the Peasant Self-Defense of Colombia
(AUC, the leading paramilitary group) put four blocks of the
neighborhood of El Polvorín, a residential zone in the
south of Ciénega, under siege. After taking more than
20 people from their homes they assassinated ten with gunshots
and kidnapped four more.
According to the townspeople,
some victims had been warned that a "social cleansing"
would happen in the area. However, this report was not officially
At 2:30 a.m. yesterday,
the paramilitaries came to the neighborhood in five vehicles,
including two trucks... Minutes later began the worst massacre
committed in this urban area of 70,000 inhabitants...
The armed group escaped
two hours later and brought four persons whose identities are
Monday, August 28, 2000
from El Colombiano, Medellín,
According to authorities,
the AUC paramilitaries entered Ciénaga and Buenaventura
Ciénaga, Magdalena; Buenaventura, Valle del Cauca; Barrancabermeja,
Santander, and Remedios, Antioquia, were shaken yesterday by
violence after armed groups in summary judgements killed 28 people
during various incursions into popular neighborhoods...
...Direct witnesses said
that the killers accused the victims of collaborating and helping
the guerrilla groups that operate in the zone.
on the Defensive
Pickering, Berger, failed to convince, so the White House has
trotted out the big gun to defend Plan Colombia
Photo from El
Colombiano: Security Forces Take their Positions over Cartagena
for Clinton's Wednesday Visit
(includes Q. and
A. session after briefing)
the Latin Américan press of what is really happening with
the US-imposed Plan Colombia
these stories go largely unreported in the English-language press
Today's Reports from:
and Carácas, Venezuela.
Today's Summary: US Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright, assistant secretary Thomas Pickering and National Security
Advisor Sandy Berger have made such a mess of "The Selling
of Plan Colombia" that the White House brought out the big
Bill Clinton gave an interview
with the Colombian magazine Cambio (of Gabriel García
Marquéz, an opponent of drug prohibition but also friend
of the US president) in which he insisted that Plan Colombia
was not a military plan, and was a Colombian plan.
On the same day, he was
contradicted by Plan supporter and ex-Colombian president César
Gaviria, who Washington placed as director of the Organization
of American States. Gaviria says it is a military plan.
And the Venezuelan government
drew its sharpest distinction yet: It supports the Colombian
Plan Colombia and its social programs and crop substitution efforts,
but Venezuela now officially opposes the US-imposed military
portion of the Plan.
Sunday, August 27, 2000
From the Colprensa News
Will Not Be Military Intervention"
Clinton says that support for Colombia is exclusively for the
US President Bill Clinton
denied the possibility that his country would intervene militarily
in the Colombian conflict and said that the support for Colombia
is exclusively for the anti-drug fight.
That's what he said in
an interview with Cambio magazine, to which he also said, "I
don't believe that the Colombian internal conflict has the propensity
to expand to other countries in the region."
According to Clinton,
"this is a Colombian internal conflict and there will not
be military intervention by the United States. Our support is
strictly limited to anti-narcotics activities and is not aimed
to support the counter-insurgent fight. What we support is the
peace process. In sum, our focus is pro-peace and anti-drugs."
As for the human rights
situation in the country, he said the he believes in the efforts
of the national government to protect them, and that one example
of that is the presidential directive last week (predicted by
Colprensa) "that orders that those members of the Military
Forces that have been accused of commiting abuses of human rights
in the country will be processed in civil trials."
The US leader, who will
make an eight hour visit to Cartagena next Wednesday, also said
that the United States supports, "Plan Colombia, designed
Sunday, August 27, 2000
Official Doesn't Believe Clinton:
are Two Plan Colombias"
CARACAS (AP, ANSA and
AFP news agencies).- The Venezuelan foreign minister José
Rangel said that Plan Colombia, an ambitious program of development
and anti-drug fighting that seeks to erradicate some 120,000
hectares of coca and poppy, has two versions.
"The Plan Colombia,
the version designed by Colombians, is a social plan, a plan
of crop substitution, a plan to improve the infrastructure. We
don't have any objection to that plan. From our point of view
it seems excellent," said Rangel. "But there is also
the US version of the plan, that is very accented toward the
military, and this worries us, because an armed escalation can
have truly nefarious implications for Ecuador, Panamá,
Brazil and Venezuela, we, the countries that share borders with
The Brazilian government
also expressed its worry over the risks of the probably transfer
of the armed Colombian conflict into its territory because of
the entrance of Plan Colombia....
For its part, a coalition
of humanitarian organizations that has called for a Colombia
peace conference in Costa Rica in October, said on Satuday that
the application of the anti-drug plan designed by Bogotá
will aggravate the crisis of basic guarantees in the Andean country.
"We agree to refuse the plan of anti-drug combat, considering
it a political and economic strategy that increases the armed
conflict and aggravates the humanitarian crisis," they expressed
in a communiqué by Paz Colombia... which will present
at its conference in San José, Costa Rica, October 17-19,
"proposals for integral and multilateral social solutions
to the problem of illicit crops; that they consult the communities
involved in this illegal economy without criminalizing the small
producers (of coca and poppy)." This coalition includes
Non Governmental Organizations of the jungle state of Putumayo
(on the southern border with Ecuador and Perú)....
Sunday, August 27, 2000
Protests in Cartagena Grow Against the Clinton Visit
Combined wire reports
of Afp, Dpa, Ap y Reuters, Santafé de Bogotá: The
security operation has deployed 5,000 troops as well as 200 to
400 US officials and security agents, supported by the robot
"Andrews II", designed to detect explosives in cars,
buildings, public plazas and other strategic sites.
Yesterday afternoon dozens
of union, community and student leaders protested in Cartagena
in rejection of the Clinton visit, with slogans against "US
imperialism," and "vivas" for Colombia, for liberty
and sovereignty in the South American country. Their protests
were peaceful and against the US military anti-drug aid.
In fact, the US anti-drug
program of $1.3 billion is provoking a strong refusal not only
among wide sectors of Colombian civil society and the insurgent
forces, but also worry on the part of the countries of the region,
principally Venezuela, Brazil, Perú and Panamá.
Sunday, August 27, 2000
from the daily El Tiempo,
Colombia: "A Military Strategy"
César Gaviria Responds to the FARC's Questions
Exclusive interview by
El Tiempo with the ex-president and Secretary General of the
Organization of American States (OAS) who decided to respond
to the FARC's accusations. Last Sunday this daily published an
article about the charges by the guerrilla against Gavarismo
By Hernando Corral G.
Political Editor of EL TIEMPO
...the ex-president would
have preferred to remain silent so as not to appear to be interfering
in domestic political afairs, but the persistant criticisms and
accusations by the FARC obliged Gaviria to respond....
Q. Mr. Ex-President: How do you explain the... accusations
of the FARC against you and what could be called Gavarismo?
A. As I have publicly expressed at other times, there
is no political sector that follows my directions. The connection
between my collaborators now in charge of the Pastrana administration
has been freely decided by the President without making any pact
or negotiation with me....
FARC say privately that Gavarismo took over from Camilo Gómez,
the peace commissioner. What relation do you have with Mr. Gómez?
Did they co-opt him into Gavarismo?
A. I have not talked three minutes in my entire life
with Camilo Gómez. He hasn't the slightest idea what I
think of the peace process. I have not listened, not from his
mouth nor that of any collaborator of the government, to a report
on the state of these negotiations....
I can't imagine how the
FARC has come to the conclusion without lacking respect for its
adversary, President Pastrana, who, I have no doubt, will accept
all the responsibility for the conduction of the peace policy.
I have tended to think that there are some people close to the
government and to the FARC that are stupidly trying to relieve
the president of this responsibility...
do you think of Plan Colombia? Do you believe that it is basically
a military strategy?
A. Colombia has had the fatal luck of a surge in
the connections between some guerrilla fronts and drugs or between
paramilitaries and the activity of drug trafficking. The problem
of the guerrillas is a problem of the Colombian people and we
must resolve it by seeking military preeminence and for the path
of negotiation. But the drug trafficking problem is of an international
character and because of this we have demanded cooperation from
the community of nations. The president has succeeded in attracting
an exceptionally large volume of support to detain an uncontrolled
process of coca leaf farming....
I hope the FARC also has
the intelligence not to interfere in the erradication process
and instead cooperates in the alternative development programs.
Plan Colombia would disappear as soon as that would happen.
The degree to which, yes,
Plan Colombia is only a military strategy is because the military
part is without a doubt its principal component, above all in
its relation to aerial transport of equipment.
...in our organization (OAS), there is not unity, there are countries
that have distanced themselves from Plan Colombia, as can be
verified in some news stories... I'm a simple spectator.
August 26, 2000
Saturday's Press Briefing:
Burnings, on Eve of Clinton in Colombia
Saturday's Press Reports
from: Cartagena, Medellín
and Bogotá, Colombia; Quito, Ecuador, Mexico City and
Saturday's Summary: President Bill Clinton's planned
visit to Colombia on Wednesday has provoked:
-- Complete impunity by
the right-wing paramilitaries, who conducted three different
massacres in the past two days, with the smug knowledge that
Plan Colombia won't touch them. The paramilitaries are of fiesta.
They know that Plan Colombia will, instead, go after left-wing
guerrillas and peasant farmers. Not a word, so far, in the US press about the massacres.
-- Marches and US Flag
Burnings continue in Cartagena, the city that Clinton will visit
on Wednesday; wide social rejection of his visit and of Plan
Colombia. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) also
declared Clinton "persona non grata." Again, nothing
in the US media.
-- Assistant US Secretary
of State Thomas Pickering lost his cool in response to critiques
by neighbor countries and warned them to silence their criticisms.
His embarrassing statements were not published on the US State
Department web site.
-- A bi-national front
of local and state officials from the Ecuador-Colombia border
have united in opposition to herbicide spraying, citing the damage
that will be done to the fragile Amazon ecosystem.
Massacre 25 peasants in Meta"
more assassinated in the State of Sucre"
From "El Tiempo"
of Bogotá/GDA y Agencias
BOGOTÁ.- A paramilitary
squad of the ultra-right assassinated 25 peasants in a rural
Colombian area called Puerto Concordia, in the eastern state
of Meta, inhabitants and authorities of the area denounced yesterday.
The public defendor of
Puerto Concordia, Jorge Franco, said that according to versions
of workers present, presumed members of United Self-Defense of
Colombia (AUC) killed 25 inhabitants of the rural zone called
El Pororio. The official indicated that the authorities have
not been able to reach the place to verify the facts that allegedly
happened 300 kilometers to the southeast of Bogotá, because
they run the risk of being attacked by armed groups. He asked
for assistance from the Red Cross to enter the zone.
Franco reminded that the
police vigilance in this area was retired, a zone were the guerrilla
and the paramilitaries are in combat.
The public defender of
the state of Meta, Rocío López, said that the officials
of Puerto Concordia are more likely repeating rumors, because
due to the fact that a majority of inhabitants of El Pororio
fled, the facts cannot be confirmed.
...It is also known that
presumed paramilitaries of the AUC, armed with rifles, executed
five peasants yesterday after violently dragging them from a
vehicle in the North of the country. The police confirmed that
the massacre occured near the town of Colosó, in the Caribbean
state of Sucre, a zone with a strong AUC (paramilitary) presence,
say the authorities...
from El Colombiano of
people massacred in three regions"
yesterday the massacre of 15 peasants, allegedly perpetrated
by commandos of the United Self Defense of Colombia (AUC) in
parts of Meta, Sucre and Antioquia states.
...The police of Sucre
informed that another brigade of the AUC broke into the town
of Colosó and assassinated six peasants that they accused
of supporting the guerrilla.
...In La Piedra, town of Vegachí in the northeast of Antioquia
state, a group of paramilitaries assassinated the peasants Juan
Henes Martínez, 25, Oscar de Jesús Moreno Tamayo,
27, and Ramiro de Jesús Arango Arias, 44.
from El Universal of Cartagena
Workers March Against the Arrival of Bill Clinton"
Burned a United States Flag"
Participant in the March: Cartagena Mayoral Candidate"
The members of the Workers
Centers reiterated that the protests will continue until August
30th, the day that Clinton lands on Cartagenara soil, in spite
of the official ban on protests
By ANÍBAL THERÁN TOM; El Universal: The burning
of a United States flag marked the message of the first protest
march against the visit of President Bill Clinton to this country
on August 30th. "Down with Yankee Imperialism! For a Sovereign
Colombia, Out Gringos! No to Plan Colombia!" were the slogans
of combat used yesterday by the members of dozens of unions,
affiliates of worker centers, who marched yesterday afternoon
from San Felipe Castle to near the Peace Plaza, in front of the
legendary Watch Tower.
Although joining the march
were students, civic leaders and common people and currents,
the surprise of the day was given by Cartegena mayoral candidate
Javier Bustillo Pertuz , who said that the visit of Clinton should
not be an excuse to harrass street sellers and the citizenry,
prohibiting them to open their stores and walk in the City's
...The action called the
attention of the Marine infantry that guarded the historic city
center, and they closed the pass to the marchers. Later came
the speeches of union leaders, who demonstrated their opposition
to the so-called Plan Colombia.
From Bogota - EL TIEMPO
Saturday, August 26, 2000
"Plan Colombia is Precisely to Avoid a Regional Problem"
Scolds Our Neighbors"
by SERGIO GÓMEZ
Washington Correspondent of EL TIEMPO
"The most efffective
way to lead with this problem, which is of great relevance to
the region, is to confront it together. Those that have expressed
their criticisms don't seem to understand that the goal of Plan
Colombia is precisely to avoid that the Colombian situation becomes
a greater problem for the entire region. Also, those that speak
against it are not offering alternatives, except to let the problems
destroy Colombia with the hope that they don't arrive in the
other countries. If they believe that this is the case they must
also believe in fairy tales."
With these declarations
the US assistant secretary of state for political affairs Thomas
Pickering confronted yesterday the agitated controversy that
has surged after some neighbor countries expressed their fears
that Plan Colombia will end up pushing drug trafficking towards
the borders and cause the exodus of thousands of peasants....
"It's not possible
to guarantee that the plan will not have effects (on neighbor
countries," said Pickering. It is possible that people will
cross over into other countries. From the Putumayo to Ecuador,
for example. Because of this the Plan contemplates alternatives
so that these people have other options than illicit crops,"
From EL COMERCIO, Quito,
Wednesday August 23, 2000
the Border: There is no money for possible refugees"
Sucumbíos nocturnal surveillance flights are heard"
The assembly of this province
and the mayors of three towns of Putumayo, Colombia, have formed
a bi-national front to oppose the fumigations
In the region, the populace
asks about the true nature, execution and impact of Plan Colombia
but nobody or very few have received any response.
The UN High Commission
for Refugees (ACNUR) has met on six occassions with the authorities
of the province.
This organization will
construct four centers for possible refugees of the conflict...
There will be accepted... 5,000 refugees.
(The bi-national assembly)
"refuses the execution of Plan Colombia "because it
is considered an interference by the US in themes that are strictly
From La Jornada, Mexico
City, from wire reports
August 25, 2000:
Declares Clinton 'persona non grata' in Colombia"
FARC warns of the Vietnamization of the Conflict"
From wire reports of Ap,
Dpa, Afp and Reuters, Santafé de Bogotá, August
Declaring Clinton as "persona
non grata" in his visit to Cartagena on August 20th, the
FARC said that the US leader "does not come with a song
of peace. He does not come to back efforts for a political solution
to the conflict, nor to suspend the soulless policies of the
International Monetary Fund."...(A FARC communique said)
Beyond being a counter-insurgency plan, Plan Colombia is "a
program against Colombia that serves the geopolitical empire."
Today's Press Reports
Colombia; Washington, DC and Amman, Jordan (with continued inexplicable
policy at the Miami Herald to publish key stories in its Spanish
language edition while withholding the news from US readers)
Today's Summary: With Colombia's President Pastrana
increasingly isolated from other Latin American leaders, and
lashing out at them, plans proceed for US President Bill Clinton's
visit to Colombia on August 30th with 70 US officals and more
than 400 security, communications and support staff.
The Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia -- the FARC -- are armed and ready to shoot
down US helicopters, reports El Nuevo Herald.
Meanwhile, from Amman,
Jordan, the Jordanian government admits having sold arms to Perú
that were seized en route to the Colombian guerrilla.
From the daily El Tiempo,
Friday, August 25, 2000
Harsh Refusal of Criticisms by Neighbor Countries"
Demands that they Respect Plan"
hope that Venezuela doesn't return to diplomacy by microphone,"
said Colombian foreign minister Guillermo Fernández
Warns about the negative effects of fumigations on the Amazon
The government of President Andrés Pastrana yesterday
broke with the criticisms made by Venezuelan foreign minister
José Vicente Rangel against Plan Colombia, and at the
same time tried to dissipate the fears that exist by the governments
of neighbor countries on the same theme.
In the first place, President
Pastrana said that it would be bad for a government to leave
the border zones in complete abandonment because "yes, in
fact, the drug trafficking would cross into the neighbor countries."
"If we were to do
nothing we would run the risk that drug trafficking takes over
the entire continent," said the President.
On his part, foreign minister
Gullermo Fernández de Soto, in response to his Venezualan
counterpart José Vicente Rangel -- who yesterday afternoon
expressed is worry over possible massive displacements of Colombians
as a consequence of the Plan -- demanded not only of Venezuela
but of the international community, respect for the Plan.
"The Colombian government
has delivered all the information relating to Plan Colombia.
What the government cannot accept is that the Plan would be stigmatized
by any country or that they speak badly of Plan Colombia. This
is a lack of respect for Colombia. Colombia doesn't accept it
from anyone because it is a Plan of the Colombians and for the
Colombians," said Fernández de Soto yesterday in
the Casa de Nariño.
Hours later, in Caracas,
foreign minister Rangel explained that his government has been
very moderate, but it cannot stop expressing its concern over
the theme of the displaced people. "We are friends with
the government of Colombia and very soon we're going to Brasilia
in the Summit of Latin American Presidents and there we will
dance the samba," he said to journalists.
...Yesterday, the new
Ambassador of the United States in Colombia, Anne Patterson,
after presenting her credentials, referred to the issue.
"There is a budget
in Plan Colombia to help other countries, the neighbor countries,
to confront the challenges. I believe it is a little exaggerated,
this thing of the effect of the Plan in the neighbor countries,
but we are very conscious of the fears of the neighbor countries
and we are going to do what we can to help them," she said.
In the middle of all this,
the president of Ecuador, Gustavo Noboa, before ending his official
visit to Colombia reiterated that his country respects Plan Colombia
because it is about an internal program of the Colombian government.
"What we don't want
is that any effect becomes amplified. For this we have created
an executive agency of social and sustainable development in
the border with Colombia, but we don't predict at this moment
any tragic consequence for the Ecuadorians and the country,"
Last night, Brazilian
foreign minister Luiz Felipe Lampreia expressed that his country
fears the the use of chemical agents to erradicate the illicit
crops in Colombia will have a nefarious environmental impact
on the Amazon.
Meanwhile, the Panamanian
minister of government and justice, Winston Spadafora, said "it
would not be be convenient" that Plan Colombia goes forward,
owing to the fact that Panama is obligated to invest more in
security at the Colombian border.
"Although we are
not in conditions to decide if this Plan will happen or not,
I personally believe that it would be better if it didn't happen,"
there is no plan, there will be collapse"
..."It is difficult
to sustain a democracy in the middle of an insurgency and the
corrosive power of drug trafficking. It is very difficult to
imagine that Colombian democracy would survive with these problems.
Colombia is a difficult place, for this I believe that we either
help this country in an effort to solve its problems or we will
see the collapse of democracy," said White House National
Security Advisor of the Clinton administration, Sandy Berger.
"This is the vital
moment. With moral and financial support I believe we can make
the difference," said the advisor in a press briefing yesterday...
Not Dialogue with the FARC"
"The policy of the
United States toward the FARC is very clear: We're not going
to have, on the part of our government, contact with the FARC
until they deliver to justice the assassins of the American workers,"
the new Ambassador of the US in Colombia, Anne Patterson, said
in her first official declarations to the Colombian press yesterday.
In effect, since the FARC
assassinated the US indigenous workers Ingrid Washinawatok, Larry
Gay Lahe'ena'e and Terence Freitas, in the beginning of last
year, the US froze any possibility of compromise with the guerrilla....
Patterson, in a brief
speech read in the Casa de Nariñó, said that both
countries confront grave challenges related to the war on drugs....
From El Nuevo Herald
Friday, August 25, 2000
(Again today, like yesterday,
the Miami Herald published a report from Bogotá in its
Spanish edition that was withheld from its English language readers.
Again, we ask: Why?)
FARC is Ready for the Anti-Air War"
By Gonzalo Guillen, Bogotá
The Colombian Revolutionary
Armed Forces (FARC) possess an anti-aerial arsenal of Soviet-made
RPG and SA missiles, accumulated in recent years and could be
used in the coming anti-guerrilla and anti-drug war that Colombia
will begin soon in the south of the country with the support
and direction of the United States.
These weapons, similar
to US Stinger missiles, were acquired in exchange for "hundreds
of thousands of tons of cocaine" paid in a complex international
network that included diplomats and crime syndicates of Russia,
Paraguay, Ecuador, Perú, Spain, Jordan and Brazil, according
to a military intelligence report cited last April by the online
Colombian military intelligence
sources, for their part, told El Nuevo Herald that they have
not confirmed the possession of any type of anti-air arms in
the hands of the guerrillas, although they have received imprecise
reports from informants who say the FARC has those rockets, but
until now has not used them, if it does have them.
The RPG (Grenade Propulsed
Rockets) and the SA (Surface to Air missiles), of greater power,
were used in Somalia, where they downed Blackhawk helicopters,
which Colombia will recieve in a package of 18.
The Somalia experience demonstrated the the RPG don't need to
hit the target. It's enough that they pass near the tail of the
helicopter to down it. Also, these projectiles can be managed
by people without major training over their use, as was the case
with Somalian guerrillas.
The flow of Soviet arms
to the FARC, discovered in April by MSNBC.com and in June widened
by El Nuevo Herald, today causes discord between Peruvian President
Alberto Fujimori and the Colombian defense minister. Two days
ago Fujimori described in a press conference a small part of
this arms-trafficking operation and later alleged that Colombian
authorities lied when they say they collaborated in the investigation.
In addition to the rockets,
US intelligence sources consulted by MSNBC.com said that the
international network also has sold AK-47 rifles and munitions
among other war materials to the FARC.
The arms were brought
to Colombia in flights made by Soviet IL-76 cargo planes that
left Russia and Ukraine, made stops in the Jordanian capital
of Amman and continued on to South America.
This type of plane can
carry up to 90,000 pounds, enough for 5,400 rifles and 360,000
rounds of munitions plus various RPG missiles.
The director of the Colombian
Secret Police, Colonel Germán Jaramillo, said last June
to El Nuevo Herald that in October 1999 they confirmed that the
FARC had received 11,500 AK-47 rifles that were dropped from
the air with parachutes, and 800 were damaged when they hit land.
US Intelligence sources
sustain that this process, called "bombardment", was
employed on diverse occassions.
They also said that the
FARC's 16th Front, led by Tomás Medina Caracas, who operates
under the alias of Negro Acasio, was charged with receiving the
shipments. The US military investigations indicate that the IL-76
planes that made stops in Amman had the help of diplomats who
speak Spanish, probably from Spain, key figures from that city
and local corrupt military officials.
The IL-76 planes of this
operation in Amman received land assistance by teams of the Royal
Jordanian Airlines. These stops were made behind the back of
the Jordanian government, say US military sources.
After unloading the arms
over different points in Colombia, the planes returned with shipments
of up to 40,000 kilos of cocaine that later were distributed
in Russia, other European countries and the Persian Gulf, where
each kilogram has a price of about $50,000.
Some of the arrivals of
the planes in South America were coordinated by an ex Peruvian
official unidentified by the sources and by Fernando Beira Mar
(alias, Luis Fernando Da Costa), one of the most wanted drug
traffickers in Brazil, whose base of operations is the city of
Pedro Juan Caballero in Paraguay.
According to US sources, Da Costa received arms from Fuad Jamil,
a Lebanese businessman who operates in the same Paraguayan city
and who uses a legitimate foreign business company.
If it's certain that the
major part of the arms go directly to the FARC, minor quantities
are detoured to other guerrilla groups liek the Hezbolla, that
operates in the south of Lebanon with the backing of Iran, according
to US military sources.
Last June, the Colombian
Secret Police (DAS) in cooperation with the Secret Service of
the US Treasury Department and the Israeli police, discovered
an operation to buy 50,000 AK-47 rifles by the FARC, that was
coordinated by Israeli citizens located in Cali, Colombia, Quito,
Guayaquil and Tulcán Ecuador and Tel Aviv.
Among the smugglers detected
by the DAS in this operation figure the Israeli mercenary Yair
Klein, who trained the armies of the disappeared Medellín
Cartel, that later formed today's Paramilitary groups of the
The investigation, that
began by pursuing the path of counterfeit dollars in Colombia,
ended up in the discovery that is today considered the largest
network of arms traffic in the world.
Update: Four hours after we
published the story from Brazil below, Associated Press picked
up on the story out of its Rio de Janeiro bureau. The Narco News opening
defines that part of our mission is to "force these stories
onto the dockets of the English language press."
August 24, 2000
Reports from: Bogotá, Colombia;
Quito, Ecuador; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Caracás, Venezuela;
and even Miami and Washington DC, that remain unreported in the
English-language press. Translations
from Spanish and Portuguese by Al Giordano.
Thursday, August 24, 2000
War on Coca Begins with the Visit of Clinton"
From EL NUEVO HERALD
language newspaper is published by the Miami Herald and yet many
of its most important stories do not reach the English-language
By GONZALO GUILLEN / El
TRES ESQUINAS, COLOMBIA: "The military operations of the
so-called War of the South that will unchain the first phase
of Plan Colombia will be tacitly timed with the coming visit
of President Bill Clinton to this nation.
The plan will be financed
mainly by $1.3 billion that the United States will aportion and
Colombian military authorities hope that Clinton comes to the
country on August 30th with the first check...
General Mario Montoya
Uribe, comandante of the Southern Regional Task Force confirmed
this fact to El Nuevo Herald. He said that beginning in September
the zone will be the stage of the anti-drug war and counter-guerrilla
...The first phase of
Plan Colombia, under Montoya's charge, will be deployed from
south to north, over a territory of 192,000 square kilometers
that ends at the border with Ecuador and contains the entire
Amazon states of Caquetá and Putomayo. This is equal to
one-tenth of all Colombia....
Beyond the money destined
by Washington expressly for Plan Colombia, that received the
yesterday the final green light with the certification of the
country, the Clinton administration has sent resources to form
and train two or three anti-drug battallions, with 1,000 men
in each, that will lead the initial offensive with the support
of 10,000 police, Air Force, Marine and Army troops.
...The first battallion
will have at is disposition 18 UHN helicopters that are already
in Colombia and the second will have 15 that are stationed in
a military base near Miami.... these will only begin to fly when
Washington sends the first parts of the $1.3 billion that General
Montoya is awaiting to begin the action.
Also, the United States
will deliver... 18 Black Hawk and 42 Huey helicopters that will
begin to arrive in the country at the end of 2001. Their manufacture
has just been ordered and production will flow at the rate of
two per month, said Montoya.
... The potential enemies
of the first phase, titled "New Horizon," are some
1,500 FARC troops in ten divisions and two groups of paramilitaries
of the extreme right with 240 combatants... Montoya explains
that these forces will be confronted while they fight between
themselves... "Every day there are battles between them,"
Narco News commentary:
Notice how the Nuevo Herald here conflicts with the August
20th claim of Miami Herald correspondent Tim Johnson who wrote
that the guerrilla and paramilitaries "cowardly" don't
confront each other. See Narco
News Fact-Check on Tim Johnson:
From EL COMERCIO of Quito
August 24, 2000
Keeps its Distance from Plan Colombia"
Noboa placed expressed his distance with the application of Plan
Colombia. Upon his arrival in Bogotá, during the reception
act with president Andrés Pastrana, he said that Ecuador
will not involve itself militarily in this plan pushed by the
US and that will begin shortly. He will only support the policy
that the Colombian president applies...."
From INFORME, Quito, Ecuador
Yes to political support, no to military"
by Dimitri Barreto
...The speeches continued
until noon when Noboa -- after placing a floral wreath in Plaza
Bolívar -- broke protocol and said that Ecuador will not
intervene militarily in Plan Colombia....
Narco News commentary:
Despite US Secretary
of State Madeline Albright's desparate mission throughout South
America last week in an 11th hour attempt to recruit Américan
countries to support Plan Colombia, she was met by almost total
rejection (the exception was Argentina, which gave the plan its
Today's Christian Science
Monitor column by Plan Colombia hawk Peter Hakim, of the
cynically titled Washington organization "Inter-American
Dialogue" -- one of the groups that lobbied for Plan Colombia
with a committee of leading US figures many of whom are personally
and corporately invested financially in the Colombia war
-- explains, from the point of view of the powerful, why Washington
needs the backing of other Américan nations:
"When President Clinton
travels to Cartagena, Colombia, next week,
it will be the most important of his half-dozen or so visits
America during his two terms.... Countries in Latin America and
Europe will be closely watching what Clinton says in Colombia.
The support of these countries is needed to help Colombia settle
its conflicts. Many of the countries are suspicious of US motives
and troubled by the US focus on military aid and antidrug rhetoric.
Like US opponents of the administration's policy, some fear a
Vietnam-type debacle. Their political support and financial assistance,
which is considered essential to supplement US and Colombian
resources, has been lagging."
The regional rejection
of Plan Colombia has near daily outbursts, most of which are
not covered in the United States media.
from Folha de Sao Paulo,
Sunday, August 20, 2000
Nation will Send More Soldiers and Arms to the Border with Colombia
to Try and Avoid Invasion by Guerrillas and Drug Traffickers"
By Thomas Traumann, special
"Brazil enters a
state of alert to evade that the civil war in Colombia crosses
the border. It will reinforce security of the 1,640 kilometers
that border the two countries, re-equip the Armed Forces and
monitor by sattelite the lands that could be used to prepare
obtains by La Folha demonstrate that the Brazilian government
fears the immigration of drug trafficking leaders and the Colombian
guerrilla. In Tabatinga, the dry border with Colombia, a "crisis
command post" will be installed with representatives of
the ministers of Defense, Foreign Relations, the Army, the Brazil
Intelligence Agency and the Federal Police. "We are worried,
more than panicked. We are going to reinforce the vigilance of
the border so that we don't receive any type of problem,"
said Defense Minister Geraldo Quintao. The government rejected
the possibility of sending soldiers for a hypothetical international
force to support the Colombian government, an idea defended by
some who are behind the United States. Logistical support was
also rejected, such as using airbases and Brazilian radar...
Under the constitution, this would have to be authorized by Congress.
the most recent Brazilian refusal to intervene directly in the
Colombian crisis occured last week, during the visit of US Sec.
of State Madeleine Albright. She hastened to tell Folha that
the US would insist. A report by the US Secret Service demonstrates
that it would be almost impossible to control the Colombian Amazon
without the support of Brazilian airbases and radar."
In a conference realized
on August 10th between the Commission of Foreign Relations and
National Defense, minister Geraldo Quintao affirmed that the
most worrisome consequence of the Colombian conflict is the use
of biological arms.... The US pressures the Colombian government
to test the fungus Fusarium Oxysporum to destroy coca crops.
The problem is that it has never been tested for its possible
mutations nor in the Amazonic environment.... "This worries
me alot, because there's no way to monitor the entrance of the
fungus," said the defense minister.
Editorial in LA FOLHA
Over Amazon Revived"
by the Editorial Board
There is a second question
that borthers many Brazilians with the beginning of a major North
American intervention in Colombia: the possibility that it is
a curtain of smoke to appropriate the Amazon.... Chancellor Luiz
Felipe Lampreia was the first to divulge that there is a "deliberate
plan" by the North American government to intervene in the
Amazon region... referring to the worry over the environment
and the international interest over the minerals and hardwoods
of the Amazon.
Michael May, of the Center
of Strategic International Studies, also denied that there is
any North American attempt to make the Amazon its own, saying:
"There are environmental groups that say that the borders
could be violated in the name of environmental preservation.
This does not reflect any serious point of view within the United
States. And for Peter Hakim (of the Inter-American Dialogue,
this is about "pure nonsense." He added, "If the
US wants any influence over the use of the Amazon it is because
Washington is pressured by environmental groups and many members
of Congress influenced by those groups. The US government has
no strategic interest to pursue the Amazon."
Kenneth Maxwell (of the
US Council on Foreign Relations) said: "This suspicion is
From the Colombian daily
El Tiempo in Bogotá:
STATE DEPARTMENT ADMITS"
Colombia Will Have Effects on the Borders"
SERGIO GÓMEZ MASERI
Corresponsal de EL TIEMPO
Asked about the root of
the worries that diverse Latin American governments have recently
expressed, high US administration officials conceded yesterday
that the application of Plan Colombia will inevitably generate
consequences for other neighbor countries.
"It's a matter of
common sense to recognize that in the means that the Plan is
applied and makes progress in combatting drug trafficking and
in the search for peace it is inevitable to suppose that there
will be an impact on Colombia's border countries," said
William Brownfield, assistant secretary of state for the Western
Hemisphere to El Tiempo.
..."It's a positive
sign that there is a regional reaction to avoid the spill over
of the Colombian conflict. Each day more countries in the region
recognize that the Colombian crisis represents a hemispheric
problem in that has a direct and immediate interest," said
Richard Boucher, spokesman for the State Dept.
also from El Tiempo
August 24, 2000
Theme in the Brasilia Summit"
by María Victoria
El Tiempo correspondent
CARACAS, VENEZUELA: The
fear of neighboring countries that Plan Colombia will be an "obligatory
theme" of the Summit of South American Presidents that will
be held on August 31 in Brasilia by invitation of Brazil President
Fernando Henrique Cardoso, said José Vicente Rangel, the
Venezuelan foreign minister yesterday.
He also said that "it's
almost certain" that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez
Frías will hold a bilateral meeting with his counterpart
Andrés Pastrana and with other regional leaders about
"The fears of Venezuela
and other neighbor nations before the possibility that large
displacements of Colombian citizens toward border zones will
occur are certain and documented," said Rangel. "We've
already had unpleasant experiences in this sense: months ago
there was a displacement of about 20,000 people from the population
of Guabarra near the border of Venezuela due to the violence
of paramilitary action... and a few days ago there was an intent
to displace about 100 people... Without a doubt the violence
in Colombia is a latent threat."
In response to the petition
of high Colombian military spokesmen that the neighbor countries
reinforce their borders, the Venezuelan minister said: that "is
a job of the Colombian state to predict the consequences because
it's not enough that the neighbors take action when the country
that is producing the phenomenon does not take them."
Now, we open the
Press Briefing to Questions:
the US Media Won't Report About the War it Created