Invited paper to be presented to the “Encuentro Nacional de comunidades Campesinas, Afrodescendientes e Indigenas por la Tierra y
“El dialogo es la Ruta”
12 al 15 de agosto 2011
We live in a time of great destruction and grand economic opportunities and
De-Militarization: The Specificities of
State and para-state violence, however, is not random; over 4 million Colombian farmers, peasants and rural intermediaries have been forcibly dispossessed and their lands seized by big landowners, narco-traffickers, generals and businesspeople allied with the government. In other words State terror and mass dispossession is a peculiarly Colombian method of “capital accumulation”. State violence is the method to secure the means of production to increase agro-exports at the expense of family farmers.
Within the militarized state – especially because of its deep-rooted links to regional
Most Latin American countries which have gone through a transition from dictatorial rule to electoral politics have respected opponents; only
As a result of mass struggles and popular uprisings, center-left regimes pursue relatively independent economic policies and progressive anti-poverty programs. They have raised living standards and provide political and social space for continued class struggle.
“Peace settlements” produce winners and losers and reflect the external and internal correlation of forces. The process of negotiation, including who is consulted in setting priorities and making concessions ,is central to the future trajectory of the “peace process”.
Recent history provides us with two diametrically opposed ‘peace processes’ with dramatically different consequences: the Indo-Chinese peace settlement of 1973-75 and the Central American peace settlements of 1992-1993. In the case of Indo-China and more specifically the Vietnamese-US peace settlement, the National Liberation Front (NLF), secured the withdrawal of the
Over the past 35 years,
In contrast, the Central American peace agreements signed by the guerrilla leaders led to the end of armed conflict and the incorporation of the insurgent elite into the electoral system. However, there were no basic changes in the military, economic and social system. None of the mass popular organizations were consulted. The bulk of the armed fighters, both popular insurgents and paramilitary mercenaries, were discharged and became an army of “armed” unemployed. Over the past 20 years, criminal gangs have taken over large swathes of Central America, while the ex-Farabundo Marti guerrilla elite and their Guatemalan/ Nicaraguan colleagues, have become affluent businesspeople and allied with conservative electoral politicians. They are protected by private bodyguards and oblivious of the conditions of 60% of the population living below the poverty-line. The “peace accords” in
The Vietnamese and Central American peace agreements took place during different international moments. In the 1970’s the Soviet Union and
Clearly the change in the international correlation of forces influenced but did not determine the unfavorable results in
The reactionary political correlation of forces of the 1990’s has changed dramatically. By 2011, only
The Central American peace settlement, with its acceptance of the militarized state, linked to agro-mineral export elites and narco-criminal gangs has become a monument for a failed “peace process”. The Vietnamese peace settlement, while far from perfect, at least has provided peace, security, agrarian reform, and higher income for the peasantry and workers. No doubt
The armed social movements in