Colombia’s fragmented approach to combating terrorist group FARC is not just failing to defeat the guerrillas, but allowing the rebels to push forward their political agenda.
The political climate in Colombia has become heated due to the resurgence of urban terrorism and the media presence generated by FARC with the kidnapping of a French journalist, the spectacular attempted assassination of former Minister Fernando Londoño in the streets of Bogota, and the unexpected accusation by a human rights prosecutor against liberal leader Sigifredo Lopez for his presumed involvement in the kidnapping of himself and other Valle deputies in March 2002; all occurring in the context of the then 3rd Army Division commander’s inactivity and ineptitude.
As often occurs at times of politicized upheaval and conflict, critics and defenders of President Juan Manuel Santos’ government have reiterated their taunts and discrediting messages on either side. Yet none of the vehement contenders have addressed the fundamental issue at stake for one simple and straightforward reason:
Neither political leaders, the media nor academia have paid attention to the scope and objectives of FARC’s Strategic Plan or its derivation, FARC-politics.
Hence the military response, regardless of its effectiveness, will never be capable of counteracting actions rooted in legal, political, economic, media, diplomatic and psychological matters.
FARC’s Strategic Plan
FARC’s Strategic Plan is a road map that has been methodologically synchronized and drawn up by the Communist Party and the terrorist group, planned over the long term with the aim of seizing political power in Colombia. For this, it intends to use a combination of forms of combat, established in FARC’s guerrilla conferences, Extended Plenary Sessions with Party representatives and members of the central command structure and secretariat; as well as in program documents.
FARC’s Strategic Plan is focuses on four points:
- The armed activities of Bolivarian squads and militias, based on communist terrorism.
- National and international political activity carried out through the party’s legal and clandestine officials, NGO’s financed by FARC, drug-trafficking and governments attached to 21st Century socialism, the Sao Paulo Forum, the Bolivarian Continental Coordinating body and Communist Parties from various countries.
- The proceeds of drug-trafficking, hostage-taking, blackmailing, extortion and armed robbery, returns from money-laundering activities and contributions from the Venezuelan government.
- Socio-cultural activities led by members of the clandestine Bolivarian movement and the Clandestine Communist Party who have infiltrated the justice system, the teaching profession, popular cultural groups, community action groups, municipal councils, departmental assemblies and other public authorities.
In order for this project to be viable in the long term project, FARC is simultaneously using all of its armed and unarmed structures to roll out a cohesive plan. This plan will be consolidated by specific tactical tasks in each field, oriented at forming a revolutionary army to surround 30 of Colombia’s most important cities. As a stimulus for subversion, it will encourage a widespread insurrection, leading the communists to seize power so that the country is incorporated in the 21st century fraud and totalitarian dream of the Cuban dictatorship, that is, the spread of Marxism-Leninism across the whole continent.
It is a political and strategic plan, seen by FARC as a continuation in time of the former Cold War in other global scenarios. This is not to say that FARC will achieve its objectives or that successive governments from 1964 to date have prevented it. Indeed, the communists’ problems cementing their plans are down to the sacrifices made by the Colombian Armed Forces and not the nonexistence of comprehensive responses from the State.
The peace stratagem
As a result of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the clear obsolescence of communism in the world, FARC are repeating the Cuban dictatorship’s creed that socialism is valid, and with its chorus of accomplices, it disseminates the idea that a political negotiation process leading to peace is the only way to resolve the Colombian armed conflict.
From an unsuspecting perspective, this would solve to the problem. However, beneath this seemingly pacifist offer, lies the manipulative intention of a peace stratagem, calculated in order to legitimize the terrorist group, grant it a belligerent status and provide a qualitative leap towards the ultimate objective of seizing power. Therefore, it does not include demobilization, the surrender of weapons or submission to justice.
The facts demonstrate that in spite of the farcical peace talks held in Uribe-Meta with the government of Belisario Betancur, the propaganda campaign led at the Caracas and Tlaxcala talks and the broad side of voluntary surrender of national sovereignty on the part of Andras Pastrana and his military leadership, inexplicably, each time the terrorists reveal their peace stratagem, personalities such as senator Roy Barreras, senator Armando Benedetti or former Minister Alvaro Leyva Duran appear, in addition to communist leaders who specifically possess the “class solidarity” to play into the hands of FARC’s manipulative maneuvers.
Therefore, if the government and Colombia’s so-called civil society do not take decisive action against the full-front assault of FARC’s Strategic Plan or against the peace stratagem, there will be less national awareness, less knowledge of the terrorists’ intentions and even indifference resulting from the lack of analysis and customary political amnesia.
The State’s inadequate response
While FARC are fighting a dedicated, fanatical, frontal war against the Colombian State, against the institutional framework and the existing order; a purpose that they are pursuing through the systematic and methodological development of each one of the Strategic Plan’s components, the successive governments in power since the sixties have acted short-sightedly. There has been no continuity of government plans in the long term. Nor have any political strategies been articulated to remove the breeding ground for armed subversion. Yet, above all, there has been no coherent plan to simultaneously solve socioeconomic problems, thereby counteracting each one of the structural components of FARC’s long term plan.
All these leaders, including former President Alvaro Uribe, have made the mistake of placing the solution to the problem with military institutions, without making greater effort to combat corruption at all levels of the administration, without bringing comprehensive, sustained development to regions where troops are counteracting terrorist networks, without combating drug-trafficking in conjunction with other countries, without developing a diplomatic strategy enabling governments across the whole world to counteract members of FARC’s International Front, without engaging all official bodies in the collective solution to the problem, and without educating Colombian citizens about the disadvantages of a totalitarian regime, etc.
Demagogic improvisation and opportunism have prevailed over the possibility of conceiving lasting government plans. By way of example, since 1991, 15 civil servants have worked in the Ministry of Defense, without receiving any training on national security, strategy or geopolitics and without being familiar with FARC’s Strategic Plan, even after having done the job.
All, without exception, have used this role as a political springboard to advance subsequent personal political ambitions, so as to gain brief publicity from the success of troops and avoid being held accountable in negative circumstances, such as operational failures, extrajudicial killings, military jurisdiction, disciplinary proceedings, scandals involving the media, employees, health, legal defense and political support in Congress.
The myth of peace without understanding FARC’s stratagem has had a negative impact on the credibility of the senior government among troops. No soldier understands how it is possible to watch peasants and humble people- some of whom are their brothers in arms – fall, while the president, ministers and congressmen hoping for re-election, more bureaucratic appointments, more power over the Budget and greater media presence improvise in the face of the terrorist’s blandishments.
The blockade of military intelligence and legal shortcomings against FARC-politics
Incredibly, the troops combating FARC on the battle fields, who often decommission computers, USB sticks and highly valuable documents in order to pursue intelligence efforts which are useful for breaking up FARC armed structures, find out about the content of this evidence from what is published in the media and not through internal channels of communication.
The reason behind this is that any material seized in combat must be handed over to the Office of the Attorney General, with the due chain of custody and immediately becomes classed as confidential, meaning that the troops who go after terrorists lack the information required to combat them, despite its existence.
Furthermore, legal action against FARC politics remains very limited. Dubious court decisions, such as declaring the computers of Raul Reyes to be without probative value, the measures taken by undiscerning judges, allow terrorists to walk free, who then immediately seek asylum or return to squads to commit an offense, or municipal or departmental public officers and members of the Clandestine Communist Party, which on a daily basis weave the network of FARC’S Strategic Plan, to continue in their work without the weight of the justice system being brought down upon them.
To make matters worse, the national government itself, in search of media involvement, often publishes information found on the computers of terrorists who have been taken down or captured, which summarizes the FARC’s strategic intentions, e.g. plans to commit urban terrorist attacks, the presence of cells commanded by “Pablo Catatumbo” and “Carlos Antonio Lozada” in certain universities, the methodology of the Clandestine Bolivarian movement and the Clandestine Communist Party.
However, since there is no State coordination in confronting a common enemy, everybody pursues their own agenda.
By arguing for democracy and the necessary separation of power of judges, prosecutors, ministers, governors, etc., separate islands and epicenters of the universe are created, without realizing that FARC’s comprehensive project, consolidated in its Strategic Plan, is to destroy the State that they represent, enforce revolutionary justice and impose a Communist dictatorship.
Putting unprepared civil servants inside the Ministry of Defense during a narco-terrorist war against Colombia, is akin to substituting a graphic designer for a head of surgery on a cardiovascular ward or appointing an economist as Prosecutor General, a court magistrate or municipal judge, etc.
The worrying thing is that while these weaknesses and cracks are growing within the so-called establishment which does not know how to join forces or coordinate in order to protect and shield itself from an assault, structured within strategic plan with concrete ambitions that is based on FARC politics, the peace stratagem, the short-sightedness of the State and the international collusion of 21st Century socialism, FARC are controlling the fluctuations of the war’s media pulse.
The current situation requieres unity and collective strength within the Colombian state to address the shortcomings and fissures the perpetrators of the violence produce. The emphasis should be on the integrated response from politics, the military, and social and cultural organizations to the Strategic Plan of the FARC and the international political support received from international communism.
Author Luis Alberto Villamarin Pulido is a retired army colonel