Latin American militants turned into bargaining chips for Chávez' diplomacy?

Joaquín Pérez Becerra must not be handed over to the Colombian government!

May 04, 2011

Specially translated to by Craig Abernethy

This Saturday, April 23, Venezuelan military intelligence and the political police arrested Joaquín Pérez Becerra, a Venezuelan-Swedish citizen, sought by the Colombian government as a "terrorist", because of his charges against the Colombian regime and his alleged affiliation with the FARC, at Simón Bolívar International Airport (Maiquetía). Not more than than two weeks after the reactionary agreement between Chávez-Santos-Lobos and Zelaya, to legitimize the regime that emerged after the pro-imperialist coup d’état in Honduras (see Los buenos oficios del Presidente para estabilizar el régimen postgolpista en Honduras), Chávez is again showing his "goodwill" towards the reactionary governments of the region, since Becerra’s arrest is, according to representatives of both governments, the result of a "favor" Santos directly requested from Chávez.

Chávez “did not hesitateâ€

With this, the Colombian militants or leaders arrested by the Venezuelan government at the request of the Colombian government, because of their (real or alleged) connections with the FARC or ELN guerrillas, now total eight so far this year. They are part of the "results" of the agreements for re-establishment of the "bilateral relations" with Santos’ government, which continues the pro-imperialist, repressive and murderous Uribe regime. All those arrested, up to now, have been handed over to the Colombian government.

Joaquín Pérez Becerra is a survivor of a group of militants, who, in the 1980’s, belonged to the Unión Patriótica, as a policy of incorporating the FARC into the bourgeois-democratic Colombian regime: as is known, the Colombian ruling classes developed a systematic policy of wiping out the leaders and militants of this political organization; those murdered add up to thousands. Becerra fled the country and went into exile in Sweden, where he has the status of a political exile and Swedish nationality, and directs the alternative news network Agencia de Noticias Nueva Colombia (ANNCOL). The Colombian regime accuses him of "criminal conspiracy, financing terrorism and administering resources related to terrorist activities," and Interpol, that police agency organized by the imperialist governments, has issued an arrest warrant for him.

However, as a communiqué from the Movimiento Continental Bolivariano (MCB) points out, "Is Interpol only active in Venezuela?" Because Pérez Becerra passed through several European countries and airports without being arrested, precisely because of having political asylum in Sweden, and it was just in Venezuela where they arrested him. The answers lie in the Chávez-Santos agreements and in the Colombian President’s own words: "I gave him the name and asked him if he was collaborating with us in capturing him," and Chávez "did not hesitate." For that reason, Santos called Chávez on Sunday to thank him for his collaboration. Now they are arranging handing over Pérez Becerra to the Colombian repressive forces.

Collaborating with a regime founded on systematic repression, torture, imprisonment and murders against the struggles of workers, campesinos and the people

It is totally reprehensible and abominable that Chávez’ government, in the name of some "Latin American unity," even worse, with "anti-imperialist" and "revolutionary" talk, is beginning such valuable collaboration with the regime that currently exploits and oppresses the working-class and impoverished masses of Colombia. It is well-known that the current regime in Colombia, even when it is legitimized with "free" elections, acts almost like a military dictatorship against the workers’, campesinos’ and people’s struggles, organizations and militants. It is one of the countries with the highest number of murders of union leaders internationally, and is, at the same time, the one with the greatest number of political prisoners on the continent. According to "Traspasa Muros," the organization of solidarity with Colombian political prisoners, currently there are some 7,500 political prisoners, of whom, 500 would be "political prisoners and prisoners of war," and the rest are civilians captured under judicial farces: students, trade unionists, teachers, artists, poets, environmentalists, lawyers, physicians, professors, sociologists, historians, researchers, campesinos, social leaders, defenders of human rights. Concerning journalists, which is the main activity carried out by Pérez Becerra, in the last 20 years, 150 journalists have been murdered in Colombia, for political reasons, three of those this year.

This is how imperialist, landlord and bourgeois domination over the Colombian people is guaranteed. Santos himself shamelessly confesses that is his aim with the capture of Pérez Becerra: "He has been the one responsible for very many years for all that bad propaganda the FARC has made for Colombia in Europe." Through ANNCOL, the massacres, the paramilitary forces, the false positives [i.e., civilians killed by the army, which later counted them as "guerrillas killed in combat"], the mass graves, etc., are denounced. For that reason, says Santos, "We have been after him for a long time, and, fortunately, now he’s in custody" ... in the hands of the "revolutionary" and "socialist" government of Chávez.

Solidarity with the workers and poor people of Colombia! There is a right to rebel!

Thus, thousands of workers’, campesinos’, students’ and people’s activists are rotting in the prisons of the bourgeois Colombian state; those prisoners are in need of the most fundamental principle of internationalist solidarity from all men and women who consider themselves revolutionaries. But, instead of demanding the release of these prisoners, from the working-class and poor people, Chávez is handing over militants. Furthermore, Chávez has even gone so far as to ask the guerrilla groups to lay down their weapons unconditionally, simple surrender in front of the Colombian state. No more nor less than the demand of US imperialism, Uribe and Santos.

Most of those imprisoned and persecuted in Colombia do not belong to the guerrilla organizations, but to the masses’ organizations for struggle, to the movements of workers, students, campesinos and the people. On the other hand, we revolutionary Marxists, although we do not share the program or the method of the Colombian guerrillas, defend the right of rebellion against the bourgeois state and, in this particular case, the right to be recognized as belligerent forces. Consistent with the revolutionary traditions of the proletariat, we do not share the reformist and utopian program of "national liberation" through an "alliance" between the exploited masses and "patriotic" groups of the national bourgeoisie; we do not recognize the "patriotic government" or the "national unity" government, next to exploiting groups, that the FARC and the ELN aspire to. In that sense, it is about the properties of armed reformism: radicalized methods and a reformist program. Nor do we recognize the method of the guerrillas, that does not bet on the self-organization of the masses and the development of workers’ and popular power through their organizations of struggle and self-government, for the victory of the revolution. But also consistent with the principles of revolutionary Marxism, we do not recognize the "right" of the Colombian state to monopolize weapons and violence in favor of the exploiting classes.

While the [Venezuelan] coup-plotter Carmona Estanga enjoys the Colombian government’s protection

Another piece of information that reveals the level of Chavez’ appeasement in these reactionary pacts, is the fact that while he is handing over militants or collaborators of the Colombian guerrillas, Pedro Carmona Estanga, former leader of [Venezuela’s largest] business owners’ association and head of the dictatorial government that we had for 48 hours in April, 2002, is in Colombia, enjoying the protection of its government, without Chávez even demanding his extradition! But he certainly pressed for the extradition of the alleged drug trafficker Walid Makled, because his testimony could jeopardize shady deals for groups in the highest circles of the government.

Down with the pacts with Santos and Lobos! Halt the criminalization of struggles!

This is a propitious occasion for inviting to reflection those who still trust that from Chávez’ project and government, it is possible to fight imperialism and, moreover, capitalism, consistently. The heroic resistance of the workers, women, and people of Honduras, that has claimed and continues claiming, hundreds of lives, tortured and persecuted, is now being handed over on the altar of Chávez’ "Latin Americanist" diplomacy. Thus, the treatment of Colombian militants. Is this a matter of "errors" or "inconsistencies"? We believe that in reality they are inscribed in the logic of the regimes that, even with their differences — which can be great at certain times — are administrators of this system of exploitation and oppression. Not accidentally, right now in our country there are more than 200 working men and women, and a still greater number of campesinos, criminalized because of struggle, with some judicial proceedings, because of striking, occupying an enterprise, blocking a street, occupying lands. There can be no room for doubt: No "aid" to murderous pro-imperialist governments is in the interests of anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist struggles! No repressive measure of the bourgeois state is "revolutionary" or "socialist"!




Monday, April 25, 2011

Liga de Trabajadores por el Socialismo (LTS) [Venezuela]