Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Who our friends are

When you mention the name "Colombia" to the average American, he will form an immediate mental image, usually involving cocaine and Sean Penn. This is outdated and unfair. The guy who runs the place, Alvaro Uribe, has just about singlehandedly turned the place around. The tourists are coming back, even. This is despite having been engaged with FARC, a bunch of second-rate domestic terrorists primarily funded through the drug trade -- so you were right to think of Sean Penn. FARC's been at it for forty years and no one has declared their fight lost and insisted that they pull out of this quagmire and bring the troops home. Things in the jungle are not all skittles and beer, however; FARC's been having ... desertion issues. This comes from having a few of them being actually killed by the Columbian army. Playing soldier tends to lose its luster after that. Also, FARC relies on fear to hold its membership and the guys getting killed were the guys inspiring the fear. I expect a lot of the foot soldiers went skipping off back home singing "Ding, Dong, The Witch is Dead" in Spanish.

That Uribe has gotten as far as he has with Columbia is an amazing feat. If he had a little help he'd be able to wipe FARC out completely. He's not asking for military intervention, or even for cash. He'd like a trade deal with America. All of the cool countries have them. And seeing as he's trying to dismantle the single largest drug ring on the planet without asking for charity, you'd think we'd want to help Columbia out. This seems like just the sort of thing we as a nation would stand for. You'd think.

Recently Raul Reyes, the number two guy in FARC, was killed by Columbia's army. The hard drive from his computer reveals that he was corresponding -- through an intermediary, of course--with Massachusetts congressman James McGovern (do I even need to put the 'D' after his name?). McGovern was sympathetic to the plight of these freedom fighters and their enormous piles of cash and was apparently working on ways to assist them in undermining U.S. support for Uribe. And of course he denies everything. It was all a ploy to get FARC to trust them, they were opening a dialogue for negotiations (because the State Dept. is soo busy), yada yada yada.

McGovern's actions don't just benefit FARC at the expense of Columbia. FARC's BFF is Hugo Chavez, next door in Venezuela. He's been touting FARC as a real, live army involved in a "civil war" with Columbia. He told the UN he thinks FARC should be removed from the terrorist watch list. Not that Chavez cares for them overmuch; he's got his eye on overthrowing the conservative (for South America) Uribe and installing someone more sympathetic to his Bolivarian Socialism in that spot. It's not much of a stretch to say that Mr. McGovern and Mr. Chavez are on the same page in regards to Colombia's ultimate fate.

Why don't McGovern and the rest of the lefty (mostly) Dems just come clean and admit they've got Dictator Envy. They're drawn to every two-bit, tin-pot, overcompensating paranoid control freak that comes down the pike like simpering gay men to Liza Minelli. And, to continue the metaphor, they all uniformly deny the fascination with the personality cult and come after their perceived accusers with vitriol and venom worthy of the truly fabulous. But this isn't something trivial; in acting against the interests of the sovereign government of Columbia they are acting against our interests as well, and against the oath they swore to uphold when they took office. They're not on our side. And don't think the rest of the world doesn't notice.