By BELÉN FERNÁNDEZ (Excerpt)
Monthly Review Press, MAY 30, 2012
Refuting USAID’s seemingly charitable concern for the cultivation of morally upstanding crops, the authors provide a succinct but detailed history of the United States’ alliances with drug traffickers and paramilitaries and its contributions to Colombian state repression and the institutionalization of the cocaine industry. Notable beneficiaries of the malevolent nexus have included Lockheed Martin and DynCorp, a private mercenary firm which Villar and Cottle note
The book’s argument that
Of course, such assessments are not easily grafted onto the consciousness of a populace conditioned to impute noble—or at least sincere and non-paradoxical—motives to U.S. projects abroad. If the U.S. is to attain the minimum amount of self-awareness necessary for any society that considers itself free, the proliferation of studies like Villar and Cottle’s is a prerequisite.
The scholars explain that, starting in the late 1980s,
As tends to happen with even the most diligently manufactured threats, however, the traitorous truth has consistently failed to rise to the occasion, and
The exclusive assignment of the “terrorist” label to the FARC is meanwhile not entirely congruent with the fact that it was the Colombian military and not the guerrillas that resuscitated the Vietnam-era collective punishment method of “draining the sea to kill the fish.” According to Villar and Cottle, “[h]uman rights groups contend that the AUC and Colombian armed forces have been responsible for approximately 90 to 95 percent of all politically-motivated killings, which have included massacres by chainsaw and other methods designed to terrorize the campesinos in rural areas under FARC control.”
As for the U.S. request in the 1980s for the extradition of Medellín cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar for “conspiring to introduce cocaine into the United States via Nicaragua,” this allegation might have just as aptly been levied against other characters such as U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, whose activity did not result in a collaborative assassination effort by the CIA, AUC, Cali Cartel, and Colombian police….