The FARC has claimed that the United States has “central responsibility” in perpetuating the conflict that has ravaged Colombia for the past 50 years.
A representative of the rebel group, Luis Eliecer Rueda, alias “Matias Aldecoa,” said Washington and other foreign powers contributed to “the origin, persistence and decay” of the Colombian conflict.
According to the FARC representative, the US can be blamed “due to its imperialist conception of being the ruler and police agent of the world, which is materialized in the imposition of the National Security Doctrine.”
Rueda also pointed to the “training of officers and its direct participation in the conflict with troops, military bases, funding of specific war plans, intelligence, among other aspects.”
The comments came in a press conference in which the FARC also asked that political parties, the Church, and sectors of the economy recognize their role played in the Colombian conflict.
The US has played an active part in Latin American affairs since the 19th century.
In 1823, US President James Monroe introduced an eponymous doctrine which asserted that the US military would militarily intervene in any perceived attempt by a European country to “interfere” in Latin America.
The Monroe Doctrine was put into practice for the next century before becoming codified in the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty) in 1947 as part of a policy of “hemispheric defense.”
As a paper from the mainstream Brookings Institution think-tank has said, “US national security policy in Latin America, from the Monroe Doctrine on, has mainly consisted of efforts to keep undesirable actors and flows out: out of power in Latin American countries and out of US territory.”
During the Cold War, US foreign policy in Latin America shifted toward the stated goal of stopping the spread of communism, a policy known as “containment” to which became central to US national security doctrine.
Under the pretext of fighting communism, the US supported right-wing military dictators and the coup d’etats which put many of them in power across the continent.
In Colombia, the US provided assistance to counter-insurgency efforts starting in the 1950s against Liberal and communist guerrillas.
Much of the military training and equipment provided by the US to Colombia over the next half-century became part of the “War on Drugs.” A good portion of that assistance, however, was also used as part of the conflict with insurgent groups like the FARC.
In 1999, the US approved a security aid package known as Plan Colombia which was aimed at aiding the Colombian government’s fight against drugs and leftist guerrilla groups. Billions of dollars in aid were subsequently provided.
Critics of the aid package and US military cooperation with Colombia have argued that the assistance has only exacerbated violence in the country.
While significant advances were made against cocaine cultivation, and leftist guerrillas have been beaten back from their positions since the 1990s, massive human rights abuses, state-sponsored mass murder, and widespread violence against human rights defenders and community activists occurred during Plan Colombia.
One paper put forward by academics at New York University and Columbia University has even argued that US bases and military assistance have had negative effects on the democratic process and increased paramilitary violence while having no effect on guerrilla attacks.
US military training of Colombian forces has been so extensive that the Colombian military itself has become an “exporter” of security training throughout the continent.
- US MAIN PROMOTER OF WAR: FARC-EP (FARC-EP)
- Latin America–United States relations (Wikipedia)
- Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance
- United States National Security Policy in Latin America (Brookings Institution)
- Colombian conflict (1964–present) (Wikipedia)
- Bases, Bullets and Ballots: the Effect of U.S. Military Aid on Political Conflict in Colombia