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  • Colombia: Consolidating liberation

    from Part 5, Ch. 2 Outsiders and Insiders

    The conflicts which have surfaced in the north of CAUCA where our organization has seen itself confronted by some of the directors of the communist party, the Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, (FARC) necessitates some explanation.

    In the first place it is necessary to clear up our longstanding silence. Many people have accused us of covering up the actions of the aforementioned organization, whose participation in the massacres of Los Tigres, in February 1981 has been confirmed for some time. Nevertheless, we did not want to denounce this organization publicly without first having exhausted all the avenues of dialogue at a national and regional level, with the intent to avoid conflict that would only give enemies of the lower classes more ammunition.

    It has not been with great satisfaction the CRIC now sees itself obliged to publish this communique about the events which have been occurring in the north of the Cauca. It is the first time in the I I years of its existence, that the CRIC publicly denounces another organization of the Left. Only the demented offensive actions against our brothers in the municipality of Toribio, with 3 assassination attempts in recent weeks and death of our loved leader Ramon Julicue and one of his sons, make the denunciation of this conflict inevitable.

    Possibly the persecution unleased against the CRIC in the north of Cauca does not correspond with a general policy of the Communist party, but that it might be rather an exclusive decision of some of their local cadres. If so, it would be most convenient if the authorized leadership of the Communist party would let us know this officially. We are not interested in closing the doors of dialogue, nor do we want a confrontation that would go on indefinitely.

    But in any case, the situation which we have presented obliges us to reflect how to achieve the unity of the popular movement. The CRIC has always maintained a position of unity, clearly expressed in its political platform and which has always been practiced throughout its existence. We have always confronted sectarianism, among other things, because we have suffered it in our own flesh through the series of attacks from people and groups who have wanted to take over the leadership of our organization.

    We are convinced, nevertheless, that for the unity of the popular movement there must be more than just good wishes among its participants. There are certain organizations who make alliances only when it is possible for them to impose their own will over other groups and who relate to other popular sectors only to a degree that they can utilize them.

    We consider it indispensable to respect all the organizations coming out of the people so that it will be possible to consolidate a process of liberation which we all can support. The imposition of a line determined by manipulation or by force only harms the unity process and the popular mobilizations.

    Frankly, we must observe that practices of the Communist Party in the north of Cauca are contrary to the objectives they claim to represent and that the people require. Possibly the most negative is their authority line where the attempt is made to impose superior orders on a community without giving the same community the opportunity for discussion of local initiative. A recent example of this was during the past election when, under threat, the Communist party obligated people to vote, a move which costs a discernible amount of support for the party.

    Another consequence of this behaviour is the lack of tolerance for the most minor contradictions, internal to the regions that this party wants to control. Several of the people recently assassinated or wounded have been ex-militants or critical militants of the Communist party, but who at the same time collaborate with the CRIC; and from whom there was no forgiveness for having deviated from the rigid official Communist party discipline. Because of their actions, the Communist party has lost much support among the indigenous peoples of the north of CAUCA and will continue to lose this support if they do not change their style of work.

    We prefer to avoid all conflict with this party or with other groups of the Left, but obviously, as long as a policy of assassinating indigenous peoples continues, we cannot simply cross our arms. We will try, certainly, to avoid all generalizations made under pressure or to avoid McCarthyite attitudes which will harm the popular movements or that might just be the result of an emotional reaction.

    Before the process of unity of all the forces toward the great change that our country requires, we consider it our duty to insist not only on unity but also on internal democracy and authentic popular participation, so that the new society will not be converted into a new tyranny where the native people continue to be considered as Stone Age people with nothing to add nor anything to say.


    Source: Moody, Roger ed. The Indigenous Voice: Visions and Realities. 2nd Edition. Utrecht: International Books, 1988. p.567-569. Taken from Unidad Indigena, 1983 quoted in Akwesasne Notes, Early Summer 1983, p. 12.

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