Editorial from the journal Revolution
Organ of the Communist Party of Colombia (Marxist Leninist)
Number 482, April 2001

Peace, Convention and the popular struggle

While Pastrana and his masters in Washington speak of peace they are carrying out a policy against peace. This has provoked great indignation and a popular struggle for social justice and national sovereignty. There are new guerrilla battles and the firm response of the ELN [Ejército de Liberación Nacional – National Liberation Army – translator's note] faced with the official sabotage of the agreements for the meeting area where the National Convention would be carried out.

As throughout the continent, in Colombia the renegotiation or adjustments to the agreements with the IMF are proceeding, under pressure of the imperialist plans for neo-liberal globalization, in particular the establishment of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, FTAA, in 2005.

The draft laws and ministerial resolutions continue to facilitate the looting of our natural resources and the increasing dependence of the "eternal debt," which further reduce the expenditures on education, health and social security, by way of fiscal restrictions that are suffocating our municipalities and departments, the attacks on labor agreements, especially in the state sector, the epidemic of layoffs and unemployment, the decrease in public services, among other serious consequences.

The peace of the fascistic Plan Colombia designed by the Yankee invaders does not lead to social justice and political liberty for the people. On the contrary, despite the existence of a public commitment before international opinion to assure the safety zone [zone free of combat – translator's note] for the National Convention called by the ELN, Pastrana delays its fulfillment and openly sabotages it.

Before, he sabotaged them with his paramilitary forces; now, he adds an offensive operation by the legal army against the guerrilla detachments in the Sur de Bolívar, chosen as the safety zone.

The infusion of war and budget resources through the Plan Colombia has emboldened the Armed Forces, although they continue to suffer blows from the insurgency, and their Commander calls the offensive actions against the ELN "an important step in the creation of conditions for dialogues and the safety zone."

With sufficient reasons, the Central Command of the ELN on several occasions has suspended talks and postponed meetings, in order to denounce the serious acts of a double standard of the government and imperialism, regarding which Pastrana and his Peace Commissioner keep silent or try to deny the gravity of the acts which have led the comrades of the ELN to assume this worthy and politically correct revolutionary position.

The fascist boldness of the trio Uribe Vélez - Castańo (AUC [Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia – Colombian Self-Defense Units, name for the paramilitaries – translator's note]) - Visbal Martelo, promoted by all the mass media, and the orders of the high command of the Armed Forces to the AUC to step up their terrorist attacks against the people, have been responded to with important actions of the masses such as in Barrancabermeja and battles of the insurgency against the paramilitary gangs, where we must point out the unity of action between the EPL [Ejército Popular de Liberación – People's Liberation Army – translator's note] and the ELN.

The establishment and its supporters seek to reduce the panorama of peace a "humanitarian exchange" of police and soldiers for captured guerrillas, the end of kidnappings and of taxes imposed on the oligarchy and the imperialists, to a cease fire or "decline in hostilities" and to the renunciation of the popular struggle in exchange for political harmony or a social pact.

The fighting National Strike of last March 22 and the subsequent mass protest actions make clearer the preparedness for struggle of the workers, the residents of popular neighborhoods, the young students, peasants and indigenous people.

The union movement – despite the positions of some pro-Pastrana bureaucrats - has not fallen into the trap of talking over differences called for by the Minister of Labor, the social democrat Angelino Garzón, who tried to portray himself as the guarantor of the solution to the effects of the IMF measures, but without opposing them. This allowed him to become minister with the consent of Pastrana, the high clergy and the whole oligarchy. Everything indicates that the May Day marches will show a new demonstration of the advance of the decision of the workers and popular masses to continue consolidating and expanding united actions and strengthening and multiplying their organizations to continue the struggle for their interests and against Pastrana, the IMF and Plan Colombia, which are resuming the offensive of the northern empire.

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