July 12, 2007
Interview with FARC Commander Raul Reyes
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a peasant-based
guerrilla army with an estimated 18,000 fighters, has been waging
war against the Colombian government for more than 40 years. In
recent years, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and US President
George W. Bush have both intensified their efforts to defeat the
FARC as part of the so-called war on terror. However, despite receiving
more than $4.5 billion in US aid over the past six years, the Colombian
government has yet to achieve a military victory. In June, I travelled
to a remote jungle camp to meet with FARC Commander Raúl
Reyes. During a two hour interview, Reyes discussed the para-politics
scandal, the revolutionary struggle, the dirty war, child soldiers,
the FARC’s controversial use of home-made mortars and landmines,
Plan Colombia, Plan Patriota, neoliberalism and the prospects for
peace in Colombia.
Q: What is the significance of
the para-politics scandal for democracy in Colombia?
Reyes: The para-politics scandal is the result of many
years of the existence of drug trafficking in Colombian politics.
Drug trafficking money circulates at every level of the government,
in all the apparatuses of the State, all the governmental institutions.
Drug trafficking has carried various presidents to the presidency.
But aside from the money for presidential candidates, the money
also funds congresspersons in the House and the Senate. Many judicial
processes are also bought with drug trafficking money. Drug trafficking
money has also penetrated inside the police, inside the army, inside
the DAS, the SIJIN, that is to say, inside all the components of
state security. The president is compromised with this money. This
money is also found in industry, in commerce, in the pharmaceutical
industry, in the chemical industry, in all of these.
For these reasons the situation in Colombia is serious. Here in
Colombia, it is true what some say about it being a narco-democracy.
I believe there is a narco-state, a narco-economy, but there is
also a great hypocrisy in the Colombian political establishment
because they sell the story that they are fighting drug trafficking.
They go to the United States to ask for support to fight against
drug trafficking. And they go to the European Union to ask for support
to fight against drug trafficking. They organize forums and seminars
about the fight against drug trafficking when they themselves are
the drug-traffickers and the beneficiaries of drug trafficking.
This is an extreme degree of hypocrisy, no?
Q: How has the demobilization
of the paramilitaries affected the FARC?
Reyes: The demobilization of the paramilitary
does not exist, it is a farce. It is the government of Uribe trying
to deceive Colombians and the international community. The intention
of Uribe is to legitimize paramilitarism and drug trafficking in
Colombia. The structures of those criminals continue functioning
and, therefore, they continue murdering people. Now they use different
names, the “New Self-Defense Forces” or the “Black
Eagles,” but they are the same. In many cases, the demobilization
involved the drug-traffickers buying common delinquents, paying
them a salary to wear a uniform and to appear like paramilitaries.
Then a drug-trafficker appears as the commander of those boys to
whom he paid a salary so that he is not extradited to the United
States and so that Uribe can show that he is making peace with the
paramilitaries. It is deception, no? And one they know they cannot
maintain because the International Community are not fools, the
International Community know perfectly what is going on and the
Colombian population is a witness to it all.
There can never be a peace process among those who have not been
at war. There has never been a war between the Colombian State and
the paramilitaries, because the paramilitaries are an appendix,
an extension of the State. They have been fighting to defend the
same State, they never took up arms against the State and for a
new regime, or a new system. Their argument has been that the State
is so weak that it needs reinforcing and so we are going to help
Now, as it affects us, the FARC? It affects us in that we are the
people, the people in arms; it affects us in that it is a great
lie, a great deception; it affects us in that Uribe wants to show
that the paramilitary groups and and us are the same; but in practice
it does not affect us. It is the population that it affects, because
these types who were supposedly demobilized continue murdering people
and disappearing people, they continue conducting their business.
But it has all turned against Uribe, because over time it has become
clear that his government is a spurious government, that is to say,
an illegitimate government, because he became president by buying
votes with drug trafficking money. His presidency is a product of
electoral fraud. What’s known as the Uribista coalition consists
of gentlemen drug-traffickers and paramilitaries. For that reason,
the illegitimacy of this government is immense. What is difficult
to understand is why other decent governments maintain relations
when they know all this about the president.
Q: Some claim that the FARC is
nothing more than a criminal organization, that it is not political
or ideological. What do you think of these claims?
Reyes: It is a campaign of the war, it is nothing
more or less than a form of war. They use it to discredit the revolutionary
struggle. This campaign has gained strength from September 11, right?
When the twin towers fell in the United States and everyone began
talking about terrorism, the Colombian government started calling
the FARC and all the revolutionary organizations in Colombia and
the world “terrorists.” Then they could liquidate them,
intimidate them and force them to renounce the revolutionary struggle.
And this has increased war in the world. But the results, in our
judgment, have not favored the United States, nor Mister Bush, whose
credibility today has been dramatically diminished. The popularity
of Mister Bush is not the best at this time, because of the war
against Iraq. Álvaro Uribe, to the shame of us Colombians,
is the only ruler in our region—South America—that has
supported that war. I believe that the American people will take
measures to discontinue the wrong policies of their government.
Fortunately, one sees some expressions of this now. Some Democrats
are beginning to say “No, we are not going to support the
deployment of our troops to Iraq, they have to return to United
States as soon as possible. We are not going to approve the budget
for the war. Neither are we going to approve more money for Plan
Colombia without conditions. We are not going to sign an FTA with
a government like the one in Colombia, which is a narco-paramilitary
government, a corrupt government, a government that has fought an
endless war against Colombians.” We don’t think that
this is a solution, but is an important step that the FARC values.
At least the Democrats are helping some thinking sectors in the
United States to understand this phenomenon and to work to dismantle
the machinery of war.
Many think that every American, by virtue of being from there,
is an imperialist. For this reason the FARC has produced two or
three documents indicating that we deeply respect and admire the
American people, but we do have deep differences and are affected
by the policies of the American State. Before the attack against
Marquetalia in 1964, the embassy of the United States was contributing
money for the war against the FARC and has always funded Colombian
governments so that they can maintain the war against the FARC.
And we recall what happened in the dialogues in San Vicente del
Caguán with Pastrana. The government of Clinton was the first
to oppose the dialogue, and Clinton is the father of Plan Colombia.
The world has to know this and we cannot forget it in Colombia because
it is part of our history. And what did we see happen with Plan
Colombia, a continuation of the strategy of war, not only against
Colombians, but against the region. The United States seeks to expand
into this region that contains the greatest biodiversity in the
world; it’s called the lung of the world. There are geo-strategic
interests that the United States intends to achieve through crimes,
killings, slander and lies.
Q: Why do you think that members
of the Democratic Pole have not been massacred to the same extent
that members of the Patriotic Union were?
Reyes: I believe that the massacre that the Colombian
State perpetrated against the Patriotic Union, the communists, and
important revolutionary and union leaders has been costly for Colombia.
Above all, I point to the slaughter of the leadership of the Communist
Party. At that time there was a large Communist Party with very
well developed, very well formed cadres. It would suffice to recall,
among others, presidential candidate Jaime Pardo Leal and Manuel
Cepeda Vargas, director of the newspaper VOZ and a senator of the
republic. They murdered them all. None of them had ever been involved
in guerrilla warfare, never. The ones that were guerrillas, the
ones the FARC sent to help with the work of the Patriotic Union,
I ordered them to come back once the murders became evident. And
they all came, among them Iván Márquez, who today
is a member of the Secretariat but at that time was a representative
in the House. The leadership of the Party continued because it was
a legal party, but they continued murdering them one by one.
But with the Democratic Pole it is different. The Communist Party
is part of the Pole, but it is a reduced Communist Party, a party
that maintains the same political line, but has difficulty developing
because it is frightened, struck by the orgy of blood that was the
genocide against the Patriotic Union. And inside the Pole, there
are different sectors. Inside the Pole there is the right, the social
democrats and the left—the Colombian Communist Party, the
Marxist-Leninist Party and other revolutionary expressions, some
Trotskyists, but all too small and without much influence in Colombian
political life. The social democrats have the largest presence in
the Pole and they are taking advantage by trying to get to the presidency
of the republic; to attain important positions inside the government,
inside the State. Among these are several demobilized members of
the M-19: Navarro, Gustavo Petro and others. Also, there are some
who left the Communist Party to join the social democrats and they
are proclaimed the “democratic left .” These include
Lucho Garzón and Angelino Garzón, among others. These
people have accepted the establishment, the State, because they
calculate, and it’s a miscalculation, that they will be able
to attract the revolutionary left. But it so happens that the revolutionary
left cannot be attracted to the social democrats because we are
conscious that social democrats end up favoring the right, the bourgeoisie.
In the fight for the New Colombia, “la patria grande”
and socialism, we are indicating that any important change in Colombian
life such as the search for a lasting and final peace, a peace without
hunger, a peace with social justice, a peace with liberties, a peace
with dignity and with respect for our sovereignty should include
the FARC and the entire revolutionary left. But these social democratic
sectors in the Pole want to sell the idea that they can resolve
the country’s problems while excluding the left and by doing
favors for the right. For that reason we do not see a great difference
between the social democrats and the right headed by Álvaro
Within the Pole, the struggle for the revolutionary left—represented
by the communists—against the social democrats is very hard,
it is very difficult, because the social democrats have the support
of the right. And now they are determining who is going to be the
new mayor of Bogotá, the successor to Lucho Garzón.
And clearly, nobody in the Democratic Pole wants Bogotá’s
city hall to return to the hands of the extreme right. But the social
democrats, united with the right, want to continue the same programs,
the same politics that have been developed under Lucho Garzón
and they don’t want anything to do with the revolutionary
left, they want to try to exclude it. Therefore, Navarro Wolf and
Petro proposed, without the consent, or without a consensus among
the leadership of the Democratic Pole, the name of Maria Emma Mejía
to be the candidate for mayor of Bogotá. Maria Emma Mejía
is a Liberal who became close to the Pole, and finally joined the
Pole, but she has never been on the left. What we see here is that,
with this political maneuver, Navarro and Petro intend to flatter
liberalism with the one hand and Uribismo with the other, while
at the same time hurting the revolutionary left inside the Pole.
It so happens that the commitment is not to the people, the commitment
is to fight for new possibilities to attain positions inside the
government. However, within the Pole, some continue to fight to
maintain it a little toward the left. They say that if the Pole
cannot be maintained toward the left then later they are not going
to be able to differentiate between the Liberal Party and the Pole.
But it is going to be a very difficult fight.
I believe that for all these reasons, the Colombian State has not
used the force, has not had the disposition to commit the assassinations,
that it did in the past. But nevertheless, it should be noted that
they do continue murdering people, but they are selective murders
of the people that truly are on the left. These people are union
leaders, peasant leaders and teachers who are engaged in the struggle
on behalf of the people. They murder them and as usual nobody is
held responsable because it is terrorism by the State.
Q: Why does the FARC continue
to use home-made mortars in attacks against police stations when
these weapons repeatedly cause civilian casualties?
There are two things here. One thing is the utilization of mortars
against the public forces, which is the end for which they are used.
The FARC does not have heavy armaments, the FARC as you know has
still not been recognized as a belligerent force and cannot obtain
the armaments that it should possess as an army. So it develops
a lot of homemade armaments to use against the public forces: the
police, the army, DAS, navy, and air force. Many times those who
operate these apparatuses, the mortars or other weapons, commit
errors. They aim at the police station but they strike the neighboring
house. That has occurred a few times. It’s lamentable, of
course; there is not a single justification for it. But they are
human failings, caused by the nervousness of whoever is launching
it. Or it is a failure in the structure of the mortar. This is a
failure that has occurred and we are trying to correct it so that
these mistakes that affect the population won’t happen. But
sometimes it is neither of these. For example, there is a battle
against a police station and then the air force arrives—airplanes
and helicopters—and they shoot and bomb everything including
the neighboring houses, the church, all that, and then later they
say that the guerrillas were responsible for the destruction.
Q: Some human rights organizations
claim that the FARC recruits children, sometimes forcibly. How do
you respond to these accusations?
Reyes: I think there is disinformation there,
because those who join the FARC are between 15 and 30 years of age,
that is the norm. Nobody younger than that joins. The FARC never
forces anybody to join, it is completely contrary to our safety
regulations. Why would I give a weapon to someone that has been
forced to join and then tell him he has to be my bodyguard? The
guard is going to make me pay right there with that weapon. This
is disinformation from these organizations. It never happens. What
causes this disinformation? In many cases there are boys and girls
that join and then later, for one reason or another, they decide
to leave. Life here is very hard, one must be disciplined. Perhaps
they had family that they couldn’t see, a son or a daughter,
or a boyfriend, or a girlfriend. Or they thought that this struggle
would be easy and then they aren’t willing to make the sacrifice
so they leave. If they are youths, I’m referring to those
under 20 years of age, then in many cases they are going to say
that they were forced to join in order to defend themselves against
the repression of the police, and also in many cases of their families.
Then there are cases in which there are those who want to fight
in the guerrillas but many times their parents do not want them
to join because the father wants to have his son at home and the
mother wants her daughter there. They do not want them to join.
But they persist and join the guerrillas, they flee from their houses
and appear at our guard posts. It so happens that they join the
FARC voluntarily. But many times when they leave they lie to their
fathers and mothers and say that they were forced to join and the
fathers and mothers believe them. And later, if the authorities
conduct an investigation, the parents say that their son or daughter
was forced to join and then that information is collected by Amnesty
International or others. But I reiterate, it is not the policy of
the FARC to recruit children or to enlist anybody by force.
Q: Why does the FARC use anti-personnel
landmines when they cause civilian casualties?
Reyes: The FARC uses mines against the public
forces. The mine fields are used against the public forces, never
against the civilian population, never. There are cases when a road
is suddenly mined and a civilian might not know they are there and
through some carelessness of the guards or himself he fails to avoid
it. Sadly, those cases have always occurred. But the norm is that
one must try and ensure that there are no civilian casualties.
Q: The Uribe government claims
that Plan Patriota is succeeding in defeating the FARC and bringing
territory under state control. How has Plan Patriota affected the
FARC and peasants in the region?
Reyes: I am in charge of analyzing the consequences
of Plan Patriota and the ways it has hurt the revolutionary army
of the FARC, as well as the ways it has hurt the civil population,
the popular and social organizations, and the unarmed revolutionaries.
And we have found that those who have suffered the least are those
of us who have taken up arms. While we do not possess the weapons
that the State has, much less the aid and the advising that it has
received from the United States, but still in the end we are two
armed forces, two armies. One army has a lot of power, many men,
a lot of technology, air and naval support, and advisors who they
say know everything. It has a very clear objective: to liquidate
the FARC, to kill or imprison its main leaders, to recover prisoners
by force and to force the survivors to sign whatever agreement Uribe
wants. That has been, and still is, the objective of Plan Patriota.
But it so happens that it has not achieved its objective, it has
failed to get any of the main leaders of the FARC, it has failed
to weaken the FARC and it has failed to recover the prisoners of
war. On the other hand, however, it has hurt the civil population,
by applying the theory that “the friend of my enemy is also
my enemy” They have displayed many guerrillas captured in
certain regions. However, it so happens that they were not guerrillas,
they were people considered to be friends of the guerrillas. I remember
one case in Cartagena de Chaira where, according to the press, 80
guerrillas from the 14th Front were captured. But the capture of
80 guerrillas has never occurred, never. But that was the news,
that was what was fed to the people’s imagination. But it
so happens that not one of them was a guerrilla, they were from
the population and later they had to free them all because it wasn’t
true. However, when they freed them nobody from the army said, “I
was mistaken.” One time they said that 200 FARC guerrillas
were killed in the Cañon del Duda. It also wasn’t true.
But who is going to challenge that?
But truly those who have been affected most are the peasants, the
civilian population. Many people have fled, shut their businesses,
abandoned their farms because of fear and because in many parts
the airplanes drop bombs and shoot their machine guns indiscriminately.
And there are others who have been affected, union members and all
these sectors, because they say that they are all terrorists, or
they are the ones that support the “terrorists” and
so are likewise the enemy. Then they arrest them and imprison them.
The people are affected by the current government; it is a fascist,
dictatorial government that has used war as a form of governance
and lies and slander as a form of pressure and to distort what is
Plan Patriota is a true failure for the government. Even more,
it is not only a failure for the Colombian government but also a
failure for the government of the United States, because it is the
United States who finances Plan Patriota and the United States who
supplies the military advisors for the war against us. Uribe and
the Colombian army were convinced that with all that money and with
all that advising they would be able to finish off the FARC, but
it so happens that they have not achieved their objective. The FARC
has not been weakened militarily nor politically by Plan Patriota.
But Uribe persists in his objective and has large numbers of troops
throughout the Colombian territory. There are many troops in the
areas containing all our blocs, all our fronts, our columns, our
companies, and those troops are on all sides trying to find us in
order to annihilate us; there is constant fighting. Among the troops
of the State there have been wounded and dead. They are the ones
who are risking their lives, it is not Uribe, it is not the Colombian
oligarchy, it is not Mister Bush, it is the Colombian people. They
are in the police and the army to earn a salary because often they
cannot obtain work anywhere else or are unable to go to university.
They are defending the interests of the exploiters of Colombia,
the interests of the multinationals, the interests of the empire;
they defend those interests at the cost of their own lives.
Q: Plan Colombia is now more
than six-years-old and the Bush administration intends to continue
it for several more years. How has Plan Colombia affected Colombian
The Colombian government, with the backing of the entire political
establishment, eradicates, fumigates plantations. And these fumigations
are a great business venture in which they receive millions of US
dollars, originating from the American people and delivered by the
US government. This money is used for fumigations. Those most affected
by the fumigations are the peasants, because they do not only destroy
the coca plantations, they also destroy food products: bananas,
yucca, corn, beans, sesame, potatoes, everything. And besides pets,
they affect chickens, pigs and the people. There are cases of children
affected by the glyphosate, pregnant women that have miscarried,
many illnesses caused by the poisoned environment and water, right?
And they still haven’t achieved the desired results in the
eradication of illicit crops because the peasants develop new forms
of counteracting the effects of that poison on their farms. To quickly
counteract it, they grow in other places and the business continues.
It continues because there are people who buy the drugs, because
of the consumption in the developed world. It is an extremely large
consumption with prices that favor, not the peasants, but the drug-traffickers
and the intermediaries.
The FARC has a presence in every part of Colombia and knows the
situation of the peasants very well. It knows that the peasant does
not grow coca or poppies in the mountains because he is a drug-trafficker;
no, the Colombian peasant is not a drug-trafficker. The Colombian
peasant has had to resort to growing these products because of the
predatory effects of the neoliberal model. Because it is better
business to import corn from the United States or another country,
or to bring cattle meat from Argentina, than to produce them in
Colombia. Already it is better for business to import coffee from
Vietnam than to produce it in Colombia because there are no subsidies.
Then the peasant has to find another way to subsist, and so he grows
For that reason the FARC’s proposal, from the dialogues in
San Vicente del Caguán, calls for the replacement of coca
cultivations, seeking a solution that will put an end to the phenomenon
of drug trafficking because the FARC considers it a cancer for society,
for humanity, that one must fight. We offered to make the municipality
of Cartagena de Chaira a municipal pilot, that is to say, we wanted
to show in that municipality that it is possible to fight the phenomenon
of the production of the commodities of cocaine. Likewise, we put
forth the proposal calling for the legalization of consumption.
I believe that this issue badly affects all of us Colombians and
it is not solely the responsibility of Colombians; it is the responsibility
of the consuming countries, the responsibility of the bad governments
that we have had in Colombia, the responsibility of the poor policies
of the International Monetary Fund and of the banking sector, the
responsibility of the countries that produce the chemical precursors,
that is to say, in short, the responsibility of the misconceptions
of the neoliberal model. It has drastically affected Colombia. The
neoliberal model has also affected the developed countries, like
the Europeans, with many people in the streets begging for charity,
children cleaning car windshields, but in underdeveloped countries
like Colombia, or other countries in what is called the Third World,
it is much worse.
Q: How is it possible to change
the neoliberal policies implemented by President Uribe and previous
governments in Colombia?
Reyes: For the FARC the only way to change the
neoliberal model and the policies of previous governments and of
the current one is by taking power. It must begin with the formation
of a new democratic, patriotic, diverse government of national reconciliation,
which seeks to change the course of the country in a way in which
it is truly the people, with their leaders, who build the future.
Without this it will be impossible because Colombia has endured
50 years of war during which each of the governments did the same
thing, even before the neoliberal model appeared and they applied
the prescriptions of the International Monetary Fund and the World
Bank. And then the neoliberal model appeared and they became wedded
to neoliberal policies. This was before Uribe, it was those who
preceded him in the presidency. Then they developed the terrorist
state and this has increased the problems.
So we think that to truly achieve change, and the ones demanding
this are the majority of the Colombian people, what is needed is
to form a completely different government to that of Uribe and the
previous governments. That is to say, a government that is committed
to deep changes and that opens spaces of democracy in order to be
able to build the New Colombia. A new Colombia where people would
not be exploited and, of course, there would be no exploiters. But
to achieve this is a task for titans, because Colombia has a mafia
class and a corrupt murderous ruler. And as long as they continue
controlling the destiny of our country it is going to be very difficult
for the people to become controllers of their own destinies. This
is the reason that the FARC continues its revolutionary struggle.
We spoke in a previous question about how they assassinated the
Patriotic Union and they assassinated the communists, and how this
closed spaces for the legal struggle. And we noted that they continue
to murder popular leaders and continue to carry out some selective
assassinations. We think this validates the revolutionary armed
struggle, whose end is not war. The end of the revolutionary struggle
being waged by the FARC is peace. For us, peace is the fundamental
thing. We understand that peace is the solution to the problems
that affect our people. We understand that peace means that in Colombia
we have a true democracy. Not a democracy for the capitalists, but
a democracy for the people, who can protest, who can participate,
who have the right to live, who have the right to healthcare, to
education, who have the right to communication, to electricity,
to agrarian reforms, to fight corruption, to not have to kneel before
foreign powers, but to be a country free, independent and sovereign
with respectful relations with all countries on equal terms. Also,
that the weapons of the army not be not used against the people,
but just for the defense of our sovereignty and nothing more. To
achieve that objective is why we are here in this jungle. And in
search of that objective we are willing to continue for as long
as is necessary.
And our proposal for a “prisoner exchange,” which cannot
be modified to the favor of Mister Uribe, is issued with the desire
to solve one of the by-products of the conflict. Colombia suffers
an armed, social, political, and economic conflict that no government
has wanted to resolve. Therefore, we say, the signing of an agreement
to liberate prisoners on both sides could also be the door to the
beginning of a new dialogue to work towards achieving peace. As
I already said, the FARC seeks peace, but not a peace that comes
from surrender, nor a peace that accommodates the leaders of the
organization and certain friends, but a peace for the people. It
must be a peace that protects the life and the dignity of our population.
Q: What needs to be done in order
to achieve a just peace in Colombia and greater equality between
the rich and poor?
Reyes: To achieve that objective there needs to
be a change in attitude. The ruling class must understand that the
best business is peace. That peace is a business and that business
requires an investment, because the large amount of wealth that
exists in Colombia, which results from the labor of the people,
could generate much more wealth if there was peace. But since there
is a war by the State against the people, they invest in the war
and not for the benefit of the population, therefore Colombians
are getting poorer. The gap between the rich and the poor grows
and popular discontent grows and so does repression against those
who dare to express their discontent through legal means. Often
they are murdered, forced into exile, displaced by threats, or their
goods are expropriated, then the number of guerrillas increases
and the armed struggle grows. In the case of the FARC, it is a political-military
struggle. Uribe Vélez claims that there is no internal conflict
in Colombia. That is the first great lie that he tells to Colombia
and to the world and according to that great lie there is nothing
to resolve here. But there is a confrontation here in which people
are constantly being killed, and for which he himself is asking
for aid from all sides in exchange for mortgaging the sovereignty
and the dignity of the Colombian people. And so one must ask, “If
there is no internal conflict then why demand aid?” It is
The attitude of the ruling class must be to declare, “From
now on the best business for us is peace. And as the business for
us is peace then we are going to invest in it. We are going to return
part of what we have taken from poor Colombians and invest it in
peace.” But I do not believe that the ruling class will arrive
at such a decision easily because the essence of capitalism is something
different: it is to obtain greater profits at the cost of the sacrifice
of the population. For this reason, we are motivated to wage the
revolutionary struggle. We are motivated to support actions by the
popular masses, protests by the unions, by organizations, and likewise
guerrilla actions. And this is what we call “the combination
of all forms of struggle,” because the FARC is a revolutionary
army and it does not only engage in the armed struggle. The FARC
is characterized as a political-military organization. Its leadership
is a political cell. All of the FARC is a political cell. Therefore,
its work involves the formation of guerrillas who are strong both
politically and ideologically so that they understand it is a fight
for the structural changes that the country requires and not for
the benefit of certain people. And so that they understand that
this fight requires making sacrifices including leaving one’s
family to be in the jungle and exposed 24 hours a day to attacks
by the enemy. We feel that with this sacrifice we are contributing
to the revolutionary struggle of Colombia and other peoples of the
Q: What is the FARC’s
vision for Colombia?
Reyes: When we speak of the New Colombia we are
speaking of a Colombia in which there are neither exploiters nor
exploited; of a Colombia without social, economic or political inequalities;
of a Colombia without corruption; with neither paramilitarism or
state terrorism; of a Colombia with industrial development; of a
worthy Colombia, independent and sovereign; a Colombia where resources
are invested in scientific research and technological development;
a Colombia where the environment is protected; a Colombia whose
wealth is used for the benefit of the population; a Colombia that
does not continue privatizing, that does not continue selling the
businesses of the State but instead uses these businesses to benefit
social programs; a Colombia with agrarian reform, not an agrarian
reform that delivers land to the people and keeps them hungry, but
an agrarian reform with technical assistance; an agrarian reform
that includes infrastructure for the peasants and that makes it
possible for their children to study; an agrarian reform in which
a market and the purchase of their products is guaranteed; an agrarian
reform in which they can obtain affordable credits from the State;
a Colombia with employment; a Colombia with subsidies for the unemployed;
a Colombia that guarantees education, healthcare, homes and all
That it is the Colombia that we dream of and that we call the New
Colombia, directed by a new State, by a new democratic, patriotic
and diverse government, which does not exclude any part of the population.
And that everyone that is interested in contributing to that new
government can do so, even if he is a businessman. If he is going
to pay some taxes and he is not going to exploit the workers and
he is going to pay them according to the law, then it is not a problem
that he earns profits. As long as he pays taxes and complies with
the norms of the law not to exploit the population. Because the
large businesses cannot be allowed to earn profits by paying starvation
wages and evading taxes.
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