The following is an abridged from a January 29 International Trade Union Confederation statement. Visit <http://www.ituc-csi.org> for more details.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez spearheaded the release of two prisoners held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) — Colombia’s largest left-wing guerrilla force that controls significant portions of the countryside — on January 10.
Heightened political tensions between Colombia and Venezuela over Colombian President Alvaro Uribes decision on November 21 to cancel the mediating role of his Venezuelan counterpart, President Hugo Chavez, in negotiations for the release of 45 high-profile hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), signifies more than just a war of words between two presidents, but a clash between the Latin American left and the right-wing aligned with US imperialism.
Late on November 21, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe put an end to the efforts of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to achieve a humanitarian agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) for the release of FARC-held hostages in exchange for the freeing of FARC prisoners, Ingrid Betancourt, Senator Cordoba Piedad, Manuel Marulanda,
The surprise decision in August by Colombian President Alavaro Uribe to allow the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to mediate in negotiations for a humanitarian exchange of 45 hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC Colombias largest guerrilla group), for 500 guerrilla insurgents held in Colombian jails, has given many Colombians hope that a humanitarian accord to swap prisoners could develop into broader and lasting peace negotiations that would put an end to more than 40 years of civil war.
Diego Montoya, who was arrested in La Paila, Valle del Cauca, on September 10, ranked second on the FBIs 10 most-wanted fugitives list. He will shortly be extradited to the US to stand trial for cocaine-related racketeering offences. Predictably, the US State Department and much of the corporate media have hailed his arrest as a victory in the so-called war on drugs. Yet, despite this official posturing, it is undeniable that Montoya, like many other significant figures associated with Colombias multibillion-dollar cocaine industry, was a product of US Colombia policy.
Liliany Obando, an international representative and organiser of the Agricultural Workers Union Federation of Colombia (FENSUAGRO), will be among more than 35 international guests at the Latin American and Asia Pacific International Solidarity Forum to be held in Melbourne on October 11-14.