Thursday, July 03, 2008

And That Other Minor Detail

In the wake of the Colombian Army's successful hostage rescue operation the surgery on memory continues. Robert Siegel talks to Professor Marc Chernick who's bio notes "has been a consultant to the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, the U.S. Department of State and the government of Switzerland."

Supposedly we are going to learn about the FARC. Siegel asks, "How old a group is this...?

Chernick states, "Well they were founded in 1964. Their leaders first took up arms in the late 1940s...before the group (FARC) existed they were rebels in the mountains, part of a broader struggle and in the 60s they transformed themselves into the FARC."

Siegel asks a reasonable question: "What were they struggling for?"

And Chernick giving a meaningless answer says, "Well, they came out of an intense period of partisan civil war in Colombia called 'The Violence' - 40s and 50s - one of the bloodiest periods in Latin American history, but the main groups there made peace, but a small group of guerillas - liberal guerillas they were at the time - stayed out of the conflict; it's that group that formed the FARC."

I was hoping Siegel would say, "Yeah, but what were they struggling for?" Instead he says, "Then during the years of the Soviet Union...we associated the FARC with being a Marxist group - fair?"

Chernick replies, "No absolutely, the key moment is actually not the Soviet Union, but the Cuban Revolution...when the FARC was formed there was an era of revolutionary groups being founded all over the continent. The FARC became decidedly Marxist, allied themselves with the communist party and were pro-Soviet."

I have to say, that whatever you think of the FARC, this conversation was so mind-numbingly stupid and misinformed that it is impressive in a sick sort of way. Can Chernick say poverty? The UN can - even the World Bank can! And regarding "The Violence" of the 40s and 50s, even the Library of Congress country report on Colombia notes that "the basic cause of this protracted period of internal disorder, however, was the refusal of successive governments to accede to the people's demands for socioeconomic change." How convenient that poverty (and dictatorship and horrific government brutality) never came up in the conversation.

Listening to Siegel and Chernick talk you'd think that it was some Marxist virus sweeping the continent that just made people want to take up arms and head to the mountains for no other reason than having commie or "pro-Soviet" sympathies.

And people wonder why so many Americans are so stupid.


big!pink!fuzzy!bunny! said...

NoPR owes ya big time on this one, Myt - for straightening up and tying together all the loose ends they left lying 'round all sloppy, tangled and disjointed in their usually failed way of tackling a topic. And you're not even on their payroll!

Anonymous said...

The Swiss radio network, Radio Suisse Romande, has reported the disclosure from a "well-placed source" (Switzerland had acted as a go-between in previous attempts to negotiate the hostage release) that the rescue operation was in fact an Uribe publicity operation, as the US and Colombia had already bought the FARC hostage guards with $20M and promise of amnesty.
For those reading french:

Anonymous said...

Can NPR say "bananas" - as in banana republic? As in the December 1928 "Matanza de las bananeras." (The Colombian army massacre of striking United Fruit banana workers) The seeds for Marxism in Colombia were planted long before the Cuban revolution. Not surprisingly, an American company helped do the planting, with an "assists" of course from our government.