Succoring terrorists just doesn't work, and huge Colombian protest shouts it loudly
So much for a "peace deal" with Colombia's Marxist narco-terrorists, so widely touted in the press, in Norway's Nobel Peace Prize committee and at Davos. Colombia suffered another mass-casualty Marxist narco-terrorist car bombing – and our allies in Colombia say "enough is enough."
Here's the story from the BBC:
Thousands of people across Colombia have taken to the streets demanding peace and chanting "no to terrorism".
The protests were in response to the death of 20 police cadets in a car bomb attack in the capital, Bogotá.
President Iván Duque and his predecessor, Juan Manuel Santos, were among those in marching in Bogotá.
Mr Duque blamed the attack on the National Liberation Army (ELN), and has ruled out any restart of peace negotiations with the left-wing rebels. The ELN has not said it was behind last Thursday's attack at the General Santander School, but authorities have named the car driver, who was also killed, as ELN explosives expert, Jose Aldemar Rojas.
The bombing was a pressure tactic from Colombia's ELN Marxist narco-terrorist outfit (founded by none other than Castro himself in Havana and a coterie of rifles-and-cassocks liberation theology priests back in 1964) for a peace-deal set of goodies, same as the last Marxist narco-terrorist outfit, FARC, got from the last administration of President Juan Manuel Santos.
After 50-some years of nonstop terrorism – car bombings, kidnappings, murders of whole villages, burnings alive of churches full of terrified worshipers hiding there for refuge (no respect for "sanctuary" by terrorists), child-trafficking, child-soldiering, torture, grotesque beyond description war crimes, hostage murder, extortion, robbery, (cripes, I am not even done yet), FARC's terrorists got off mostly scot-free in the disgusting "peace deal" that Colombians rejected in a big (post-Brexit pre-Trump) referendum. Yet Santos won that Nobel Peace Prize he had so been hankering after, winning applause and praise. He got the carrot; Colombians got the stick. Anyone who had a child kidnapped and murdered or forced to become a child soldier just had to tough it out. FARC got itself a package of goodies as a reward for all its violence and mayhem: free congressional seats, free broadcasting, no jail time for its terrorists and child-kidnappers, and pretty much impunity for half a century of brutality.
ELN saw all the free stuff FARC got and wanted some of that, too, hence the peace talks supposedly gearing up for Havana. A few car bombs pretty well gets the pressure on for the government to play ball with them.
And in the minds of Colombians, who are out there in a swift and amazingly big protest calling for no more Marxist violence against police (an anti-Ferguson for sure), it's the same thing all over again. Here's a summary of how that goes: back in the 1980s and 1990s, Pablo Escobar terrorized the nation with his unbelievable violence and cocaine trade – slaughtering the Supreme Court, shooting an airliner out of the sky, corrupting half the country's judges with his "silver or lead" policy, and yes, his aim was to take political power. He got rubbed out on some rooftop after a tremendously dangerous mission to get him by some of the bravest people on Earth and was promptly replaced with the Cali cartel. That was the one that bought off the Colombian president, leftist Ernesto Samper, in a move so obvious that even then-president Bill Clinton had to cut off aid. They, too, were defeated. Next up, FARC, an old-line Marxist guerrilla group from the 1960s whose leaders were growing old but who still had Castroite dreams of conquest on their minds, took over. A fairly conservative Colombian president, Andrés Pastrana, thought he could make them go away by handing them a Switzerland-sized piece of land around 1998. That gave them cover to arm up, and they came back stronger than ever before that bad deal was rescinded. Then they got millions from Venezuela's Hugo Chávez, and they continued to be the big dogs in cocaine trade: the result was hell, and it took President Alvaro Uribe to come close to destroying them. But he got term-limited out under pressure from President Barack Obama, and appeasement-minded Santos took over, basically throwing away a hard won victory to give FARC something and the Nobel committee something. Then ELN stepped in and said it wanted free stuff – and launched into car bombings to apply pressure.
Any surprise that Colombians rejected that peace referendum in 2016? They've seen this movie before. So long as bad guys keep getting rewarded, they keep coming. The car bomb is proof of it.
Not surprisingly, letting terrorists off with no jail time and lots of free stuff – in a poor country made poor by terrorism – is a recipe for revanchism. Latest news was that 85 terrorists got themselves murdered by angry locals after the supposed disarmament. Human rights groups are appalled, but this is natural stuff when a state abandons its commitment to actual justice for all in the name of Nobel Peace Prize baubles from Europe. Why they didn't think this would happen is a fundamental misreading of human nature. What's more, not all of the FARC terrorists accepted the free stuff in the peace deal – about 1,500 decided to split off and keep fighting, claiming that the 85 dead were an incentive for it. Giving in to an extortionist too soon, as any professional negotiator will tell you, is a good way to get a demand for a bigger extortion, a larger ransom. That's what we are seeing now from ELN – they are raising their price. And that may be because they've got this perfect hunting ground for new recruits in Venezuela's fleeing refugees. NPR reports that they are approaching the penniless military-aged and gang-aged teenagers among the refugees, hiring them as cooks and laborers for $300 a month, which is a fortune to them, and then forcing them to become child soldiers. One way or another, the Marxist terrorists intend to win.
The reality is that they are like all leftists, implacable, because they are convinced they are in possession of the absolute truth and their leadership is always right. Nancy Pelosi is but a lesser example of the essential dynamic. The ELN and FARC, which are far from gotten rid of, are a more supercharged example.
Now that we have Colombians protesting in the streets, we might be able to dismiss the whole thing as the politics of symbolism so favored in Latin America – just ask the Venezuelans about that one. But we can also point to several other things – that the protest was fast, huge, and instantaneous; that the country recently rejected a phony peace referendum that people correctly predicted wasn't going to lead to any peace; that these people care about their country and are focused on its welfare (compare and contrast to the reaction to criminal mayhem from, say, Honduras or El Salvador); and that Colombia has sought change by recently electing a hardcore conservative (or, at least, he billed himself that way – one can hope he will respond to his people's call in a way that terrorists can understand, as Uribe did). Caving in just doesn't work in Colombia. The protests show it. The elites had better get on the ball on this one, because Colombians want this problem gone.
Image credit: Kozumel via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.