March 11, 2002
Narco News '02
Senate and the
By Al Giordano
Colombian voters went to the polls yesterday
to elect a new Congress, they massively rejected the candidates
of the traditional ruling two-party system of the Conservative
and Liberal parties.
The results also strongly suggested a
rejection of the U.S.-imposed strategy of "frontal war"
upon the Colombian rebels.
This is a story, so far, untold by the
President Andrés Pastrana -- the
U.S. government's delivery man for the $2 billion dollar military
intervention known as "Plan Colombia" -- saw his Conservatve
party shrink to just 21 members of the 166 member House of Representatives,
and to just 13 seats in the 99 member Senate.
The Liberal Party -- the other side of
the oligarchy's political coin -- lost it's near-majority in
the Senate (losing 19 of its seats, thus cutting its bloc from
48 to 29 senators) -- and suffered a loss of 31 seats in the
House -- from 84 members previously to just 53 in the new Congress.
Smaller independent parties gained, collectively,
an absolute majority in both Houses: 92 of the 166 seats in the
House of Representatives, and 57 of 99 seats in the Senate.
With the exception of the European press
agency EFE, the coverage by the U.S. and Colombian press has
been dreadful. Nobody seems to want to report a story that, at
its heart, reveals big trouble for Plan Colombia.
Associated Press "reporter"
Jared Kotler -- taken to task last week by Narco News
for his false and invented report
of the assassination of Senator Martha Daniels -- seemed to have
written his story before election day and filed it last night.
"Colombians ignored threats of rebel violence" to go
to the polls, was Kotler's lead. He failed to note the 62 percent
abstention rate in yesterday's election. AP's Kotler described
voters as "fed up with the FARC," and even repeated
is boldfaced lie of last week referring to "a Senator slain
last week by suspected FARC rebels." (Not even Colombia's
notoriously anti-rebel press, nor Colombian prosecutors, have
repeated this fiction -- denied by the FARC rebels, who do take
credit for their bellicose actions -- since the nation's top
prosecutor revealed last week that the investigation could be
leading toward "common criminals" and not a political
But Kotler continues taking dictation
from the U.S. Embassy's propaganda machine instead of doing his
job. For any authentic journalist would have noted the big news
of yesterday's vote: the largest vote-getters in the country
were two former members of the M-19 armed guerrilla movement,
both of whom favor a negotiated peace settlement over the Washington
orchestrated bloodbath backed by Pastrana.
Heading the votation in the Senate was
former guerrilla Antonio Navarro. In the lower House, his colleague
and ally of two decades, Gustavo Petro, won the day. Both are
leaders of the independent political movement called Vía
Alterna, or Alternate Path.
"A new hypothesis about the electoral
success of Vía Alterna," reported the online
daily El Espectador this morning in a reference to Navarro
and Petro's ticket-topping triumph, "is the rejection, by
a large part of the population, of the idea of a 'frontal war'
against subversion which the electorate identifies with the political
figure of (presidential candidate) Alvaro Uribe."
The chief of Pastrana's Conservative Party,
Carlos Holguín, resigned last night in disgrace after
his party's drubbing at the polls.
The only foreign news agency to report
the results accurately was the Spain-based news agency EFE, which
led its story with these words: "Colombia's two traditional
political parties, the Liberals and the ruling Conservatives,
both lost seats" in the Senate and the House.
Colombia's new Congress will take office
on July 20th.
Yesterday's elections in Latin America's
oldest democracy were a defeat for Plan Colombia and the oligarchy's
Again, we ask: Where Is The Press?
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