Toledo, Rebecca, Teresa Guiterrez, Sara Flounders and Andy McInerney, editors. War in Colombia: Made in U.S.A. 2003. International Action Center, New York, USA.

“Cultural intervention can alter a whole society, destroying traditions, customs, values and mores developed over War In Colombia: A Book Review by Theresa Wolfwoodcenturies…Far beyond its economic exploitation, cultural intervention destroys the aspects of life that best identify a whole people from all their history, imagination and character…
Psychological intervention invades the mind, telling its subjects what they are to believe and be.” Ramsey Clark in his opening essay

Some years ago I was struggling to understand the situation in the former Yugoslavia, the conflicts, wars and disintegration of a nation. I came across the IAC´s book “NATO in the Balkans”. It made the situation clear to me; the post cold war naivety that infected many of us was stripped away and I could grasp the power of USA global dominance.

While much of our global attention is focussed on conflict in Asia, economic and environmental disasters, the USA is continuing its many decades of intervention and sabotage in Latin America. Colombia is the launching pad for the USA´s economic, political, military and environmental attack on Latin America. The thirty — eight contributions in this valuable guide are organized under themes; USA intervention in Colombia, Voices from Colombia, USA intervention: the regional picture, the world responds to Plan Colombia and the people of the USA say No. Altogether, the writers not only make clear the domination of Colombia by the USA but also the superpower´s past and future designs on Latin America — seen though the eyes of USA activists, Colombian resisters in many organizations — unionists, peasants, indigenous peoples, human rights workers and intellectuals — and the viewpoint of other Latin Americans and Europeans.

The topics range from the phony ´War on Drugs´ to the machinations of ´Plan Colombia´ to personal stories of those who choose armed resistance, those who struggle at great risk in trade unions, the future of coca agriculture to essays and speeches by leaders in Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador and the actions coming out of major international conferences.

As Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador challenge the USA; politics are heating up daily in Latin America, and the USA beefs up its 16 known military facilities inside Colombia to threaten both Bolivia and Venezuela. That leaves the Colombian military and paramilitary to control its population — from taking peasants off the land to assassinating any resistance activists who oppose the USA puppet regime.

Of particular interest is the campaign against Coca Cola — the symbol and active presence of the USA everywhere. A boycott of CC organized by Colombian unions (whose leaders are regularly disappeared and murdered) and USA unions should be one of the most effective global boycotts ever — CC is guilty of many transgressions, not only in Colombia, and to say nothing of rotting the teeth and stomachs of millions. The power of advertising and lobbying seems to prevent people world—wide from really endorsing and joining the boycott.

All these varied and important contributions come together to give a clear picture of the almost 200 years of USA´s (and Canada´s, more recently, from our trade to our gift of ruthless advisors to Colombian presidents) cosy involvement with a protected and ruthless regime in a land of rich resources and a majority population whose millions live in poverty and insecurity.

(International Action Center Website: www.iacenter.org)

Filed under Andy McInerney, Book Reviews, Rebecca Toledo, Sara Flounders, Teresa Guiterrez