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November 18, 2006
Why Do "They" Hate Us? Is It Somehow Connected To The Way We Cut Off Their Limbs With Chainsaws?
Before the 9/11 attacks came along, I used to work with groups trying to get the U.S. to stop funding Colombia's right-wing paramilitaries. The pretense, of course, was we were funding the Colombian military in their heroic struggle in the War on Drugs. The reality, that the paramilitaries were run by the Colombian government to murder anyone to the left of Elliot Abrams, is finally being acknowledged:
The government of President Âlvaro Uribe is being shaken by its most serious political crisis yet, as details emerge about members of Congress who collaborated with right-wing death squads to spread terror and exert political control across Colombia's Caribbean coast...All are from the state of Sucre, where the attorney general's office has been exhuming bodies from mass graves...
It's difficult to overstate the level of human depravity exhibited by the paramilitaries. One of their favorite techniques is to kill people with chainsaws:
"The Chainsaw Massacre is not a film in Colombia," said government ombudsman Eduardo Cifuentes, referring to the April 12  paramilitary massacre in Alto Naya, 650 kilometers (404 miles) southeast of [Bogota]...
It left some 128 people dead, including 40 in Alto Naya, according to official reports quoted by Cifuentes in an interview with AFP...
Around 400 paramilitaries took part in this "caravan of death" against civilians accused of supporting leftist guerrillas, Cifuentes said in his Bogota office.
"The remains of a woman were exhumed. Her abdomen was cut open with a chainsaw. A 17-year-old girl had her throat cut and both hands also amputated," said the ombudsman...
"A neighbor pounced upon a paramilitary that was ready to shoot him and took his weapon, but unfortunately he didn't know how to fire a rifle. They dragged him away, cut him open with a chainsaw and chopped him up," a witness of the massacre told El Espectador daily.
I once attended a lunch with a Colombian union official. He said the paramilitaries would generally warn people like him of their intentions, by visiting them and cutting their sleeves or pants where they would later cut off their arms and legs if they didn't flee the area. Less important people didn't get warnings.
This year we're giving Colombia approximately 600 million dollars for these appealing activities. The biggest upswing in aid came during the last years of the Clinton administration. What's really neat is the paramilitaries are actually the ones controlling most of the cocaine trade in Colombia. In other words, as part of the War on Drugs, we're giving massive aid to some of the world's biggest drug dealers.
If past experience is any guide, the people mentioned in the above article as investigating this (e.g., Colombian Senator Gustavo Petro) have maybe four weeks to live.
SPECIAL BONUS DEPRAVITY: I once worked for a right-wing corporate lawyer who had (1) a massive cocaine addiction and (2) a Colombian maid who'd been a kindergarten teacher until she fled. I often felt he should have made the connection explicit by telling her, "Look at me! I can destroy your country and your life using only MY NOSE!!!"
Of course, in the long human tradition of utter indifference to those less powerful than you, he knew neither that she'd been a kindergarten teacher nor even that she was Colombian.Posted at November 18, 2006 12:15 PM | TrackBack