As we find out more about the bombing of the FARC base in Ecuador, it becomes clear that we weren’t being told the whole truth about the situation. Surprised, aren’t you?
The parents of the murdered students pushed their way through the crowded aisles of Benito Juarez International Airport each clutching urns that contained the ashes of their dead children, slaughtered while they slept March 1 in an Ecuadoran guerrilla jungle camp of the long-lived Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) by the Colombian air force along with 18 fighters and an Ecuadoran citizen. The 23 dead were the first known victims in Latin America of the Bush doctrine of preventative war against suspected terrorists.
At first, it was just the FARC members. Then we found out that an Ecuadorian had been killed also. Now, it’s four students from Mexico.
On hand to receive the grieving parents of Fernando Franco, Juan Gonzalez del Castillo, and Veronica Velazquez with flowers and paper doves of peace were dozens of their fellow students in the Philosophy & Letters Faculty of the National Autonomous University (UNAM) led by the director of that school. A fourth student killed in the bombing, Soren Ulises Aviles attended the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN.) Lucia Morett, also a UNAM student, survived the attack along with two Colombian women but was gravely wounded by shrapnel and remains in a Quito hospital.
The question is, why would Mexican students be at a FARC camp? Didn’t they know that the FARC is a ‘terrorist’ organization, and as such could have targeted assassination missions carried out against them?
Lucia, Juan, Veronica, and Fernando were post-graduate candidates in Latin American Studies at Philosophy & Letters and formed the Simon Bolivar Cathedra, a leftish movie club. They flew to Quito in mid-February, according to the faculty director Ambrosio Velazquez, to do field research in the contemporary Latin American social dynamic, meeting with leaders of Ecuador’s very active indigenous movement, political analysts, and environmentalists. From February 25 through the 27th, the students, along with Soren Aviles, participated in a Bolivarian conference convened at Quito University and the Ecuadoran capital’s House of Culture.
Activist students. Just what the world needs more of. Particularly when involved with indigenous movements.
The next day, the five flew into the Amazon to Lago Agrio (“Bitter Lake”) to survey the havoc wrought by Big Oil during decades of careless drilling in the jungle. In truth, Ecuador had been bombed by U.S. proxies before the March 1 attack – Texaco so destroyed Secumbios canton that abandoned villages sometimes blow sky high when a farmer’s machete strikes a spark and whole Indian tribes have simply vanished from the face of the earth.
Activist students checking out the harm done by big oil. Didn’t they know better? The world needs that oil, and whatever is the easiest way to get it is usually the least expensive.
But the students had another item on their agenda – a trip to the FARC camp at Angostura, two kilometers inside Ecuador in Secumbios to interview the guerrilla’s second-in-command Raul Reyes about the prospects for peace in the 40-year war between the FARC and the Colombian oligarchy. Reyes was the key rebel negotiator in the recent release of seven of the 50 hostages that the guerrilla continues to hold. The humanitarian gesture was stage-managed by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and was an acute embarrassment to both the White House and its Colombian surrogate Alvaro Uribe.
Activist students making the fatal mistake of thinking that they could find anything about peace from a terrorist organization. Kids these days.
According to Lucia’s parents, the five students had arrived in the camp only four hours before the attack. They were sleeping when Colombian planes – possibly Israeli-built Kfirs – dropped ten 500-pound Paveway bombs on the hideout. The Paveway bombs were identical to those deployed by the U.S. during Operation Desert Storm, according to Ecuadoran Air Force experts who retrieved bomb parts from the scene of the massacre.
Dead student activists. There is no peace in the IWOT. Fall in with the ‘wrong’ crowd, and ‘boom’ it’s over.
In a press bulletin issued March 14, the FARC pointed a finger at the U.S. South Command (SOUTHCOM) operating out of Quarry Heights Panama as having organized thed assassinations. According to published reports, Reyes was pinpointed by U.S. satellite interception of a phone conversation between the guerrilla leader and Venezuelan president Chavez. The logistics of the raid appear to have been coordinated by U.S. military personnel at the Manta Ecuador drug war base that President Rafael Correa has pledged to shut down when the Yanquis’ lease runs out in 2009.
The US has long arms, and will strike where it wants, even when uses proxies. This is the lesson of the four mexican students. The wrong place at the wrong time can be anywhere and any time.
The bombing of the Angostura camp fits into the strategic framework of Plan Colombia, the $6 billion anti-narco, anti-FARC boondoggle perpetuated since 1999 by the Clinton and Bush administrations. Now Washington is cloning the franchise with Plan Mexico AKA the Merida Initiative, a $1.4 billion buck investment in repressive Mexican security forces, soon to kick in.
We can imagine how many more students and citizens in Mexico will fall foul of the IWOT. How long until students and citizens in the US face the same fates?
The Calderon administration’s spin on Colombia’s bombing of Ecuador was encapsulated in the initial Foreign Relations Secretariat’s press bulletin following the identification of the Mexican victims: “(the Mexican government) is preoccupied by the involvement of Mexican citizens with terrorists.”
Such kind words. But, then, Mexico has it’s own problems in it’s southern regions.
But the conflict was not dead yet and blew up all over again with the revelation that an Ecuadoran citizen had been killed in the cross-border invasion. “It is unacceptable that an Ecuadoran citizen can be killed by foreign soldiers on Ecuadoran soil,” an enraged Correa told the press. The fact that the Colombian government covered up the death of Franklin Aizcalla, a Quito mechanic whom Uribe’s police described as the lover of the guerrillera “Esperanza”, rubbed salt into the wound. In an apparent scam to reap the DEA reward, Aizcalla’s body had been spirited out of Ecuador by Colombian troops and passed off as that of “Julian Conrado”, the Vallenato virtuoso and guerrillero who performed for former president Andres Pastrana during the 1999 peace talks in Caguan.
Anybody, anywhere, any time. That’s preemptive war. That’s what we’ve led the world to.
The “Conrado” deception was not the only dirty trick that Uribe played on Correa. In classic CIA m.o., a fuzzy photograph was planted on the front page of El Tiempo, Colombia’s top daily, purportedly depicting a meeting between “Raul Reyes” and “Gustavo Larrea”, Ecuador’s Security minister – “Larrea” as it turned out was really Patricio Etchegaray, secretary of the Argentinean Communist Party who had interviewed the FARC Comandante some months earlier.
And to lie on top of it all? More legitimate reasons for Ecuador to be pissed. This is from the same laptop that allegedly has a document implicating Chavez in the funding of the FARC.
The killing of the students has unleashed a savage media campaign against the UNAM, which right-wingers have always blasted as “a cradle for radicals.” The putsch has been fueled by former leftist Jorge Castaneda’s allegations that a FARC sleeper cell led by a Cuban-born engineer, Dagoberto Diaz, operates out of the university.
Go after the intellectuals first. Dissent is to be crushed with all possible speed. A former ‘leftist’ leading the charge? Where have I heard that before?
Keep an eye on all of this. It all sounds familiar, and will probably have similar occurences in the future.
Originally posted here: http://rjones2818.blogspot.com/2008/…