By Freedom Road Socialist Organization
President Bush and the U.S. government slapped the Colombian people in the face by imposing a 60-year prison term upon Colombian revolutionary Ricardo Palmera. Ricardo Palmera is a hero of the Colombian people. He has dedicated his entire life to the struggle of peasants and workers. He is responsible for negotiating peace processes and humanitarian prisoner exchanges on behalf of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People’s Army (FARC) and was seized in Ecuador on such a mission.
As you read this, Professor Palmera is held as a political prisoner in solitary confinement by the Bush regime. However, it is the war criminal President Bush and the corrupt, narco-trafficking President Uribe of Colombia who are the criminals deserving of punishment.
The extradition, trials and imprisonment of Ricardo Palmera have nothing to do with justice. Those who fight for the exploited and oppressed, both our brothers and sisters in the oppressed countries as well as those of us within the U.S. empire, cannot receive justice in U.S. courts. U.S. courts are of, by and for the rich.
Ricardo Palmera’s trials are a joke, a mockery of justice. Chief Judge Hogan was caught cheating and forced to step down, only to be followed by the biased rulings and extreme sentencing from Judge Royce Lamberth. The U.S. judges and prosecutors are more corrupt than those in Colombia. As Palmera himself said, “My trials are political from start to finish, no matter how much the U.S. government denies it.”
Ricardo Palmera should not be tried in U.S. courts. It is a violation of the sovereignty of the Colombian people. Colombia is its own country; the U.S. has no place putting any Colombian revolutionary on trial. The Bush administration is expanding its interference in Colombia through these trials. It furthers the U.S. war strategy, known as Plan Colombia, that brings nothing but poverty, misery and death to the Colombian people.
The U.S. has intervened in Colombia’s civil war for 44 years. The civil war involves the armed insurgency of the FARC - peasants and workers - against the corrupt thieving elite that runs the Colombian state. The U.S. is on the wrong side; it is on the side of the big capitalists, big landowners and those who are up to their elbows in the blood of Colombian trade unionists and peasant organizers. U.S. corporations are robbing Colombia blind of its natural resources while arming and paying paramilitary death squads.
The U.S. military commands the Colombian military through the Pentagon’s U.S. Southern Command. There are at least 800 U.S. ‘military advisors’ and 500 ‘military contractors’ participating in Colombia’s civil war. The U.S. Command, the Colombian military and the paramilitary death squads kill thousands every year, displace hundreds of thousands from their homes and unleash a reign of terror upon the people. The U.S. is losing its counter-insurgency war in Colombia, so it is thrashing around for new ways to preserve the rule of the rich Colombian oligarchs.
The trials of Ricardo Palmera and comrade Sonia are a desperate attempt by the Bush regime to criminalize the Colombian national liberation movement, to claim FARC are not freedom fighters. Under Bush and company’s new paradigm of the ‘war on terror,’ national liberation struggles are portrayed as criminal, not political.
From the sands of Iraq to the mountain peaks of the Philippines to the rain forests of Colombia, we know the armed people’s movements against imperialism are gaining strength and strategically defeating the might of the U.S. and its military. Uncle Sam is growing older and weaker, while brave men and women - ordinary peasants and workers - along with revolutionary and patriotic people rise to join forces to overthrow corrupt despotic regimes backed by the U.S. The true criminals are the imperialists of the developed countries, led by the Bush administration and its massive military. Anti-imperialists, revolutionaries and communists throughout the world stand in solidarity with Ricardo Palmera and comrade Sonia.
In the 21st century, the FARC carries forward the legacy of Simon Bolivar, of Che Guevara, of Colombia’s revolutionaries. Today, FARC commander Manuel Marulanda represents the living embodiment of these revolutionary icons. The Venezuelan government recently recognized the status of belligerence the FARC-EP is entitled to; it recognized the FARC’s legitimacy as a political-military force for national liberation and swept away the ‘terrorist’ label that Bush wrongly promotes.
The FARC-EP stand firmly at the head of an unstoppable movement that will bring peace and justice to Colombia and Latin America. The revolution in Colombia promises to turn all existing social relations upside down and put workers and peasants in power!
Free Ricardo Palmera!You can jail the revolutionary, but you will never jail the revolution! Long Live the FARC!