October 4th, 2016

Michael Totten on what’s been happening in Colombia lately


By a razor-thin margin of less than half a percentage point, Colombian voters narrowly rejected a proposed peace plan that would have formally ended the longest-running war in the Western Hemisphere.

Almost everyone thought the referendum would pass…

For more than five decades, the Soviet- and narco-backed Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has waged a brutal insurgency against the Colombian government and its people. When Soviet largesse dried up at the end of the Cold War, the guerrillas turned to kidnapping and drug trafficking to fund their insurgency, and they’ve used just about every terrorist tactic short of suicide-bombings since the very beginning…

So why did a slim majority of the population vote “no” in a national referendum to end the war once and for all?

Because the peace deal was too nice to the FARC.

Amnesty was part of the package, of course. All the FARC leaders could have stayed out of prison if they confessed and made reparations. Worse, the peace treaty would have given the FARC ten seats in Congress—five in the Senate and five in the House—for ten years.

In other words, by a very narrow margin the Colombian people rejected too lenient and too conciliatory reconciliation terms.

Totten also writes that Medellin is now doing pretty well:

Even without a final peace treaty, violence in Colombia has dropped so sharply during the last couple of years that the country is becoming a must-visit tourist destination. The city of Medellín, once among the most violent and hellish on earth, has won a number of international awards for its urban dynamism…

That’s good to hear. I am so very old, though, that I remember when Medellin had not yet become “among the most violent and hellish” cities on earth. A relative of mine spent a year there during the early 60s, and reported it was great. Sure enough, when I just looked it up, FARC became established as the military wing of the Colombian Communist Party in 1964.

10 Responses to “Michael Totten on what’s been happening in Colombia lately”

  1. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Neither leopards nor communists change their spots.

  2. OM Says:

    Do jaguars have spots? It is the western hemisphere after all? 🙂

  3. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    If only FARC had the nobility of the Jaguar. Admittedly, the comparison does an injustice to nature’s predator.

  4. John F. MacMichael Says:

    Another excellent piece by Michael Totten. Thank you for linking to it.

    One aspect of this latest twist in the Colombian civil war that has interested me is how it is now being reported in the NYT and its ilk that there are in fact millions of people in Colombia who hate FARC. Why do they hate them? Because they know FARC as the people who murdered them, robbed them, kidnapped their children for ransom or to serve as child soldiers and who drove them into exile.

    The interesting thing (to me anyway) is how little of this we had heard about over the fifty years it was going on. Atrocities and massacres commited by the Colombia military and paramiltary gangs allied with it were regularly reported. The crimes of FARC and ELN? Somehow those just did not seem to be news that was fit to print.

  5. Matt_SE Says:

    Damned commies.

  6. DaveindeSwamp Says:

    Sir, you never heard about FARC/ELN because the NYT and their ilk LOVE them , LOVE them! There’s not a murdering Communist terror group that our Leftist elites don’t want don’t want to jump in bed with . They utterly love the murdering bastards .Bolsheviks,Nazis, Viet Cong, Castroites, their big faves the Khmer Rouge. You know, progressive reformers .

    That’s why you have not heard of them Having spent time in Colombia, the vote did not surprise me .

  7. Steve S Says:

    Peru drove Shining Path nearly to oblivion over a decade ago, save a few cells still extant in the mountains. To this day, though, the manhole covers in Lima are welded shut, the outdoor garbage dumpsters are padlocked, and many houses have stone walls around them topped with broken glass and/or electrified barbed wire.

    They may be quieted, but they are not forgotten; many memories are still raw. I imagine many in Columbia hold similar memories. Forgiveness is a difficult human trait.

    While on the topic, we don’t read much about the IRA nowadays, but as of a few years ago there were still no trash bins in Paddington Station.

  8. OM Says:

    Steve S:

    And it was only a few years ago that the jailed American woman who belongs to Shining Path was a feature in the US media. Poor murdering snowflake “still being held in jail by the (evil) Peruvians” or some such rot. She played stupid games, won the stupid prize. Che is still dead, BTW.

  9. AesopFan Says:

    Just another in the list of actions by the people that the Media-Political Complex cannot abide.

    ” Sure enough, when I just looked it up, FARC became established as the military wing of the Colombian Communist Party in 1964.”

    Communism: why we can’t have nice things.

  10. J.J. Says:

    Steve S., When I was in Lima a few years back I was intrigued by the way Lima seemed like Saigon back in the 60s. (barred windows, broken glass on walls, electrified barriers everywhere, manholes welded shut, etc. ) The war in Peru is temporarily over.

    I feel for anyone who lives in South America. The demands for and interest in communism are always simmering below the surface. No matter how often it is beaten back, no matter how often it fails economically, like a zombie it always seems to arise again with terror, death, and ruin for its target country.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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