So the peace deal in Colombia was narrowly rejected at the polls, thanks to a “surprise surge by the ‘no’ vote—nearly all major polls had indicated resounding approval,” according to the New York Times.
That familiar story raises questions, not just about that vote per se, but also—and as usual—about who stands to benefit from that “defeat.”
The Times obscures one very likely answer to that larger question, by giving us a highly airbrushed version of Colombia’s civil war, conveying three important misimpressions:
1) The atrocities throughout that 52-year conflict were all perpetrated by “the Marxist FARC rebels.” (“To many Colombians who had endured years of kidnappings and killings by the rebels, the agreement was too lenient,” etc.)
2) The US government was not involved (there being no mention of it in the article).
3) The cocaine trade was not a major factor in the war (there being no mention of it in the article).
Since plenty has been written on that war as it was fought in what we call “reality,” I couldn’t possibly do justice to the subject here, but will just note a very few reports that devastate the Times’ version of the truth:
Right-wing paramilitary groups in Colombia
are armed groups acting in opposition to revolutionary Marxist-Leninist guerrilla
forces and their allies among the civilian population. These paramilitary groups control the large majority of the illegal drug trade of cocaine and other substances and are the parties responsible for most of the human rights violations in the latter half of the ongoing Colombian Armed Conflict. According to several international human rights and governmental organizations, right-wing paramilitary groups have been responsible for at least 70 to 80% of political murders in Colombia per year, with the remainder committed by leftist guerrillas and government forces.
And from “Covert Action in Colombia,” a story by the Washington Post‘s Dana Priest (Dec. 21, 2013):
The 50-year-old Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), once considered the best-funded insurgency in the world, is at its smallest and most vulnerable state in decades, due in part to a CIA covert action program that has helped Colombian forces kill at least two dozen rebel leaders, according to interviews with more than 30 former and current U.S. and Colombian officials.
The secret assistance, which also includes substantial eavesdropping help from the National Security Agency, is funded through a multibillion-dollar black budget. It is not a part of the public $9 billion package of mostly U.S. military aid called Plan Colombia, which began in 2000.
The previously undisclosed CIA program was authorized by President George W. Bush in the early 2000s and has continued under President Obama, according to U.S. military, intelligence and diplomatic officials. Most of those interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity because the program is classified and ongoing. snip>
Clearly, then, that civil war was worth a pretty penny to the USA, in both weapons sales
and drug transactions—surely a sufficient motive to prolong it, even if Colombians hoped
to end it, and voted that way, overwhelmingly.