Guest Commentary: The other side of revolution

When we hear the term "revolution," many things come to mind: in the Bolshevik Revolution, the working class of Russia fought the powerful reign of the Czars at the turn of the 20th century; in the Cuban revolution, the people fought to overthrow the corrupt government and end American neo-liberalism in Cuba; and of course, who can forget the American Revolution? Although these revolutions happened many years ago and are stories we can read about in our history books, they mirror what is actually going on in some parts of the world today.

One of the most controversial revolutionary groups is made of Colombian rebels whose headquarters are deep in the Latin American mountain range – Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Columbia-Ejercito Del Pueblo, or better known as FARC-EP.

FARC-EP is one of the oldest revolutionary groups in history, containing more than 15,000 members and growing. The members of this movement do not represent what is considered "the elite," meaning none of them control any of the powerful media outlets. Most of us are ill informed about them, and what is being broadcasted in the mainstream media is either half -truths or outright lies.

Former ambassador Francis X. Taylor, then-Coordinator for Counterterrorism for the Department of State, described FARC-EP as one of the most "dangerous terrorist groups" in the world. These misinformation strategies were utilized throughout the Cold War and the "war on drugs," and have escalated considerably since 9/11 as part of a propaganda campaign that seeks to justify expanding the "war on terrorism" to include Colombia and other Western Hemisphere targets. Bush administration officials have been extremely selective about which facts they circulate regarding terrorism in Colombia. If history has not failed us, this strategy will not end with the current president. It will continue as long as people let such abominations happen and fail to recognize the truth that the largest terrorist organization is right here at home, in the U.S.A. It is the Central Intelligence Agency, which has intervened in 73 different countries since 1945. They account for more deaths and overthrows of government than all revolutionary movements combined.

In the last six months, CNN has reported over 60 stories about FARC-EP and has yet to present the entire issue in an unbiased manner. There has been no mention of the right-wing paramilitary death squads, who are also on the State Department’s terrorist list and are closely allied with the United States-backed Colombian military. In other words, the White House has overlooked the fact that it is in some way supporting one Colombian terrorist group in order to target FARC-EP.

In 1985, the rebels signed a cease-fire agreement with then-President of Colombia Belisario Betancur and agreed to form a political party, the Patriotic Union, in order to take part in the political process. Within five years, paramilitary death squads, trained and backed by U.S Military, had killed more than 2,000 members of the FARC-EP.

FARC-EP is not a revolutionary group led by lawyers or high political figures, but a movement lead by the rural workers – coffee farmers, sugar cane growers, potato pickers. It is led much by the same people that led the American Revolution more than 200 years ago. Can’t we grant them the same right to fight and free themselves from a corrupt oligarchy?

First the truth has to be spoken, and this is not going to happen in a world where the powers that be are content with the status quo. As the American hero Samuel Adams once said, "It does not take a majority to prevail … but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men." In other words, the impoverished Colombian Pueblo is here to stay.

Fernandez, a university studies sophomore, can be reached via [email protected].

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