From La Forge
Organ of the Communist Party of the Workers of France
"It is timely to reaffirm the validity of the armed revolutionary struggle. The XIVth Congress has clearly established that 'different forms of revolutionary violence correspond to the reality under which our people live and struggle; to the sharpening of social contradictions; to the cruel economic and political offensive of imperialism and the bourgeoisie; to the characteristics of state domination; to the social and historical causes and to the conditions in which the question of the struggle for power is posed. They are developed in the very process of the political struggle and popular struggles. They are not foreign to them and are not in any way secondary. In the same manner, they are not the product of subjective voluntarism of the organizations of the left but they are the consequence of reality. As these objective and subjective factors show, the armed struggle and the guerrilla movement continue and this expression of revolutionary violence retains its complete validity.'" It is for this reminder of the line adopted at the last congress (beginning of 1996) of the Communist Party of Colombia (Marxist-Leninist) that Francisco Caraballo came to address the party from his cell. A reminder made necessary by the position and actions of a certain number of responsible leaders of the party at a high level who have tried to question the orientations of the party, especially in the area of the armed struggle. Concretely, they wanted to carry out the liquidation of the Peoples Liberation Army (EPL), the armed wing of the party.
Their orientation, which concerns the very strategy of the party, was not arrived at by means of the norms of functioning of a communist party, that is democratic centralism. The followers of this orientation at first presented it as a question for discussion within the party, without saying clearly where they wanted to go. In reality, they kept several leaders away from this important discussion, notably Comrade Francisco, even though he had been re-elected Secretary General of the party at the last congress and he is still commander-in-chief of the EPL (see the inserts on the positions of Francisco that appeared in Revolution, the central organ of our fraternal party). On the other hand, they had begun to put their plan into practice even before the discussion had taken place.
To try to justify their line, they based themselves on the difficulties which the EPL is currently facing, as the target of repression of the army and the paramilitary organizations. It should not be forgotten that a numerically important fraction had weakened the EPL in 1991 and that several responsible leaders who had gone over to the enemy have actively worked to attempt to destroy the EPL. One could further assume that they played a non-negligible role in the arrest of Francisco Caraballo in 1994.
They tried to give an "objective" explanation for these difficulties, by means of an analysis of the economic, political and social changes which Colombia has known. The general totality of this analysis is a completely negative view, not only of the work of the EPL, of its social composition, etc, but also of the political situation of the workers' and popular movement altogether, including the guerrilla movement. To this, Francisco emphasized:
"It is necessary to have a correct appreciation of the development of the insurrectional movement. It is officially acknowledged -- it is not a question of my own figures -- that in the course of the 1990s the strength of the Simon Bolivar Guerrilla Coordination has increased by more than 50%, that the territory in which the guerrillas operate has gone in the last years from 170 municipalities to about 600, that its political authority has increased, that its military capacities and its operational level are important, that it has consolidated itself among important social and political sectors and that it has enlarged its international relations.
"Certainly, the EPL is confronted with very great and severe difficulties, but these can not be seen without taking into account the advances which are the heritage of the totality of the guerrilla forces, to which it belongs; this can not be separated from the positive tendencies which are developing, beyond the negative factors which one should in no way underestimate. It is completely correct to take into account the situation which surrounds us, because the truth is that we are not alone, neither within Colombia nor on a world scale." Further on, he specified: "It is evident that significant changes are taking place in the reality of the country. Problems arise when it is necessary to interpret these changes because it is at this level that the differences are being expressed. Concerning the transformations and the facts linked to the guerrillas, there are judgments and prejudgments, deductions, speculations and conclusions of a very diverse nature, certain of which have as their explicit goal the dismissal of the revolutionary armed struggle."
In his letter of 7 pages, Comrade Francisco refutes point by point the theses attempting to justify the demobilization of the EPL. We have this letter at the disposition of our readers who would like to see it (in Spanish only for the moment). We would like nevertheless to reproduce the orientations which he gives at the end:
The EPL is capable of struggle and victory.
"From the reaffirmation of the fact that the EPL occupies an undeniable place in the reality of the country and a space which is correct for it, we should put into practice the following orientations to re-enforce the organization:
- Reevaluate the forces with the primary goal of raising the level of formation.
- Put into practice a meticulous process of reorganization.
- Plan the work of consolidation by means of political lessons and military instruction.
- Concretize the support of other organizations by means of accords on the basis of needs and mutual support.
- By all logic, it is the leadership of the party which ought to lead and control this process, in fixing particular responsibilities.
In sum, it is necessary to base oneself on the political and organizational experience, on the prestige and authority gained in the struggle, on the organized force to take new steps forward.
The present recommendation for practical work is: to accomplish tasks well and not to do anything half-way!
We have to assure the comrades of our fraternal party, in particular Francisco and all the comrades of the leadership who are fighting against this attempt at liquidation of both the EPL and the party, of our support and our communist solidarity.
United in struggle, we will win!
 The Simon Bolivar Guerrilla Coordination (CGSB) is composed of three guerrilla organizations, that is the FARC (the most important of the three, which just demonstrated its force when it freed some 70 soldiers captured in the assault on the barracks "Las Delicias"), the ELN [National Liberation Army] and the EPL.
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