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Colombia Needs Another Approach, Land for Peace Not a Solution

Cuba sees political gold in this process.

Land. We live on it. We grow our food and cultivate medicines from it. It is energy and mineral rich. A limited resource, land is the source of much conflict but also the key to future prosperity and stability. At least in theory. In Colombia, they’re fixing to give terrorists a lot of it.

Cuban dictator Raul Castro, Colombian President Juan Santos, former Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez
Cuban dictator Raul Castro, Colombian President Juan Santos, former Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez

In something that could be a chapter or two in a Dave Barry novel, state sponsor of terror Cuba has been hosting talks with Colombia’s terrorist group, the FARC, and the government of Colombia. Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe has criticized the process, but, Uribe tried to involve Cuba as well in 2002. He later shifted efforts to work through Mexico in 2004 and 2005.

Land for peace has failed to produce lasting results in the Middle East. It will fare no better in Colombia. In fact, Colombia’s case is much more complex than the Israel matter because no one really knows who took what in Colombia. There are several different terrorist groups, some on the left and others on the right. Other lands were expropriated by the government.

This is not Ireland folks. This is not the Middle East. It is an Andean country that has failed to stop terrorist groups. Why? Mainly because many center-left and leftist governments do not have the stomach for resolving this issue. I thought things would change in after 2008, however, with these Cuba talks I realized that folks in Colombia are not serious about defeating the FARC. They want to legitimize them as a political group.

Former President Alvaro Uribe recently said that his successor is trying to create a new Cuba or Venezuela in Colombia. I’m not sure about that, at least not yet.

Cuba sees political gold in this process. Even if the talks fail, it will use them in their lobbying effort in DC to come off the state sponsors of terror list. And, if Uribe is right, it will also start to get a political toehold into Colombia.

Why should we care about any of this? For starters, Colombia is supposed to be a U.S. ally. Is this how an ally treats a friend? Then there is money. There is always money in these matters. I’d like to know what the Colombian government has promised Cuba and whether it goes against U.S. policy toward Cuba to do so.  For now, Colombia is still in our column. It is time President Juan Manuel Santos started to act like it.

To our Colombian friends, nothing good ever comes from Cuba. Let it go.

 

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