CIA’s Colombia game

December 23, 2013 - 3:20:03 am
That the United States helped Colombia kill leftist guerrillas doesn’t come as a surprise. The Central Intelligence Agency has all the power and wherewithal to penetrate the deepest and most powerful set ups, let alone help Colombia— a close neighbour— fight its most powerful enemy.  The Washington Post reported that the US supplied Colombia technical and logistical assistance in battling the leftist guerrilla movement that has been fighting the state for decades. 

The disclosure comes at a time when the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, populary known as Farc, is involved in long-drawn out talks with the Colombian government in Cuba. The rebels and the government led by President Juan Manuel Santos are fast closing in on an agreement that may see the Farc join the political process. 

The latest report says that the CIA provided Bogota with precision guided systems and bombs that were used to kill several rebel commanders. Though it has been known for quite some time now that Washington played an important role in crushing the power of the Farc, the report specifies the nature of the attacks and lends a semblance of credibility to what has been the United States’ stated goal in the region. 

With US getting a bad name internationally for the use of drones against legitimate and illegitimate targets, the disclosure about CIA help in killing Farc guerrillas may act as a salve for Washington’s taut nerves.  

The Colombian rebels like many other Left guerrilla groups across the world had unleashed a reign of terror in the South American nation. Financed by drug smuggling and other criminal activities, militants made it hard for the common man to lead a normal life. In 2002, they kidnapped presidential hopeful Ingrid Betancourt while she campaigned for the upcoming elections. The French-Colombian politician was in Farc captivity for six years, before being released. 

The rebels also planned to kill former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. He is opposed to negotiations with Farc and has blasted Santos for trying to play down reports of the assassination plot.  That the negotiations with the Farc are being held in Cuba has its symbolism. Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro recently shook hands at the memorial service of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Now, it has come to light that the US was instrumental in having Farc militants killed.

Washington must have intervened in the Colombian insurgency for geopolitical and geostrategic reasons. Most big powers do so when they are faced with similar circumstances in their immediate neighbourhoods. Farc has been known to smuggle drugs and engage in activities that would have led to the all-powerful guerrillas posing a potent threat in the region, adding to the drug-fuelled problems stifling the administration of many states in the south of US•
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