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By: Alfonso Castillo
Member of the Colombian Communist Party
Historian and Human Rights Defender

Latin America a new era

The struggle of the Latin American left today is characterized by what might be called the clash of two political projects, from one Democratic proposal , which is opposed to the dictates of U.S. policy , and rejects neoliberalism seeks more autonomous governments , that promote social projects. Against a conservative project prone U.S. government, which seeks to strengthen what is called the Pacific Alliance, composed of Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile, Panama, Mexico and Costa Rica in Central America

The project involved various sectors democratic and revolutionary left in Latin America, has achieved in the last ten years significant experience in government consolidation , including highlights , Venezuela , Brazil, Argentina , Uruguay , Bolivia , Ecuador , Nicaragua and of course the socialist government of Cuba . The most important feature of this new process that Latin America is the independence from U.S. government guidelines , in particular this is evident when we note that at least decreased the presence of U.S. military bases in these countries , these governments have also raised in break with the neoliberal model of economic development, and some alternatives that in many ways favor the interests of the most disadvantaged , somehow we can say that with the advent of these governments in Latin America , particularly South America lives in a process parts, although it is too early to think that this is a break with the capitalist project , if it is clear that arises contrary to U.S. interests , it is the attempt to integrate the countries of south America in new projects as even ALBA and MERCOSUR , with which definitely makes a difference to what was the type relationship between each other South American countries and permanent dependence to be had with the U.S. government .
On the other hand it should be noted , that these processes of social parts in much of the South American countries have been accompanied by strong social mobilization processes , in which various sectors : workers , residents , unemployed , indigenous, women , survivors of dictatorships and conflict, peasants, students and middle layers of the population have pushed and forced the traditional ruling classes allow the emergence of new proposals for government and political projects for each of these countries.

It is in this context that the Colombian Communist, we have defined in the XXI congress held in 2012 , our commitment to the struggle for building socialism , stating that "Capitalism continues to show a global scale systemic and civilizational boundaries and their inability to provide a decent alternative to human existence . The ongoing global financial and economic crisis, accompanied by the deepening of the crisis tendencies food, energy, environmental and cultural partner . In order to ensure his regime of domination and exploitation, this system continues to deploy its global scale and destructive depredations through a political-economic project extreme commodification of nature, of life and of human labor. In consideration of this, anti-capitalism, socialism and communism, not only have full effect, but which have become historical necessity. The crisis and its impacts have exacerbated the class struggle, bringing it to levels not seen in previous decade. As a result, there has been a boom in social and popular mobilization against big business and its policies "

Political struggle for peace, social justice and democracy in Colombia

It is in this context should be read as the political situation in Colombia , as noted Colombian governments , including the current remain key to the development of the hegemonic policies of the U.S. government in South America , Colombia , is the strategic geopolitical scenario to American interests of domination of the region, and therefore the government has made all kinds of concessions , as it has done recently to situations of altered promoting bilateral relations Brothers countries , particularly Ecuador and Venezuela , and more recently as is happening in Nicaragua when trying exacerbate relations with regard to the international court ruling of The Hague in relation to border disputes in the Caribbean Sea .

The policy pursued by the past governments in Colombia , has been promoted , funded and politically backed by the U.S. government , in the sense of deepening an internal war , initially disguised war on drugs , then the fight against terrorism, but really , is encouraging a belligerent attitude within the country , which benefit multiple economic interests associated to the illegal appropriation of land, in which they create huge energy mineral deposits , also drug-related policy areas , the paramilitary and delivery of natural resources transnational interests .
This situation has generated a sharp and continuous violation of human rights , which has led in the past 20 years more than 10% of the population are subject to forced displacement , also has promoted the extermination of political opposition the practice of forced disappearances , massacres , torture, sexual violence , forced recruitment of minors, situations in which they have been involved paramilitary groups , drug traffickers , military, political parties associated with traditional and armed opposition groups belonging to leftist guerrillas , particularly the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia , FARC- EP, the ELN .

Faced with this reality the XXI Congress of the PCC policy defined "JOIN ALL AND ALL VOICES FOR PEACE rebellions , DEMOCRACY AND SOVEREIGNTY " is in the context of the political and ideological battle , in which the Colombian Communist we face a political regime , in the service of the interests of U.S. policy , to develop an aggressive delivery of natural resources for exploitation by transnational corporations , especially dedicated to the plundering of natural resources , for which the current government has provided boosting energy mining locomotive legislating and politically favoring environmental predation and maintaining a policy that violates human rights in the territories where the deposits of oil, natural gas, gold , coltan and also water resources and biodiversity.

This situation has been maintained in at least the last 20 years, there has been in the midst of a sharpening of internal armed conflict existed, but that the implementation of these neoliberal policies, and the existence of drug trafficking, has favored creating paramilitary armies act in complete complacency of the Colombian state , which sparked fierce persecution against rural communities located precisely in the territories where it was at is natural wealth.

The result of this policy , which is not simply the development of the U.S. policy of low-intensity warfare , from which promotes the creation of paramilitary groups to quell what the internal security doctrine called " remove water fish " , alluding to stifle or weaken what could possibly be the bases of the guerrillas in the Colombian case has a revolutionary connotation .

In the current period as Colombian communists advocate for a negotiated political solution to the social and armed conflict in the country for six decades , therefore we have decided to work for forging unity, as indispensable to progress in the defeat of authoritarianism , impunity and the absence of sovereignty, in that sense the Central Committee Plenum of the Colombian Communist Party , held in the month of May this year defined : " the core of our proposal is to realize the unity of the forces committed to a project of profound social peace and democratic to Colombia on a broad front that highlights the similarities foreground program , the unit of political action in support of the negotiated settlement , the popular debate about the identities that emerge from basic practices and deployment of mass mobilization consequent to promote a platform for peace with social justice , democracy and sovereignty with the following points:

a) Support to the process of dialogue for a political solution.
b ) Formation of a pluralistic democratic government assume grassroots coalition building peace , social justice , truth , justice and reparation for victims. "
c ) Development of a new economic and social model that includes comprehensive agrarian reform , territorial , environmental , rescue and health reform and public education , housing and a new labor regime .
d ) Initiative of the National Constituent Assembly .

Currently developing a dialogue process to end the armed conflict in Colombia in which part of a national government side or the other, the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia FARC -EP , that dialogue from a year ago in the Havana Cuba , and most recently the announcement of the start of talks with the ELN . ELN , in both cases , the government intends to impose on the thesis guerrillas military surrender as the only means of resolving the conflict, while the guerrillas propose the discussion of the causes of the armed conflict , which persist in the Colombian reality. In this regard the present progress dialogs but surprises that threaten to its rupture , to which ever is the interest of the government of Juan Manuel Santos to put the issue of presidential reelection in the same pathway to maintain the dialogue, or even , to require the negotiation end insurgency apace regardless of the quality content and again demanded the demobilization of the insurgency , without embracing change that urgently calls for Colombian society , especially the economic, political and social , that transit the road social justice , democratization and defeat corruption and impunity.

The development of the political struggle in Colombia has meant to the Communists, strong waves of repression, persecution and political exclusion, in this sense the party and Communist militancy , have been the subject of fierce physical extermination action by the paramilitaries , the Colombian military and police forces , plus an undemocratic and exclusionary political regime , which denies the possibility of actual political participation, on equal terms. In the past 20 years this criminal policy and violates all civil rights have meant the physical elimination of political project called Patriotic Union , broad movement in which militants were active Communists, who since 1986 , was proposed as a contribution to peace build a democratic project with a proposed platform , peace , development, democracy, social justice , sovereignty, among others, this meant removing more than 5,000 militants murdered across the country from the founding period and the present, also hundreds of leaders were displaced , threatened , many forced into exile , and loss of legal representation patriotic union movement and the Communist Party to participate in politics. In this genocide were joined by other left currents as they were to fight, the Popular Front and other social expressions as single central union workers.

Similarly, the communist militancy and revolutionary sectors , democratic and political opposition in Colombia , are also subjected to a series of practical policies promoted by right-wing governments , with which it seeks judicial assemblies from arbitrary detention, trials guarantees lacking imprisonment and prestige of leaders and organizations . This then is the situation of hundreds of Colombian popular fighters who are deprived of freedom , for which there is not only lack of due process , but also are subjected to conditions of imprisonment in which a series of rights violated , this in the middle of a situation extremely serious humanitarian crisis that exists in Colombian jails . In Colombia prisons on account of this policy are crowded places , where inmates have to live in cells designed for two people and in which the government has allowed them to be up to 4 and 5 prisoners. This after the situation in which they live hundreds of popular fighters , political leaders and prisoners of war revolutionary , is the situation in which social leaders are Huber Ballesteros , leader of the agrarian mobilization last August , also found in the same condition Miguel Angel Bobadilla , both leaders FENSUAGRO , Gil Trujillo ( UP survivor , former councilman Rivera , Huila , sentenced to 37 years in prison , Carlos Lugo , social leader in the dept. Huila, also detained the human rights defender standing committee steering the defense of human rights PCHR Luis Fernandez in the department of Huila for the same reasons of judicial assembly , a journalist Joaquín Pérez Becerra , director of the New Colombia News Agency , ANNCOL survivor of the genocide against the Patriotic Union , which for security reasons , was forced to leave the country in late 93 as an exile in Sweden, which granted citizenship .

The April 23, 2011 he was arrested by Venezuelan authorities Maiquetía International Airport as he entered this country from Germany, under a course requirement INTERPOL. On April 25, 2011, at the request of President Santos, the Venezuelan government deported him to Colombia , violating his rights as a refugee político.  A the list are added many more men and women fighters for peace, social justice and democratization of the country.

The case of David Ravelo

David Ravelo, a militant communist, in addition to a civil servant, and councilor of the municipality of Barrancabermeja oil port of Colombia, human rights defender , who for many years he founded and directed the Regional Corporation for Human Rights DEFENSE CREDHOS .

Thanks to the leniency policies that have driven recent governments , David has been deprived of freedom since September of 2010 , tried and convicted of aggravated murder , sentence that was handed down in December 2012 , which the lawyers defense appealed , but the appeal was decided by the High Court of Bucaramanga in early October this year , in which he confirms the sentence of 18 years imprisonment against human rights defender , who is accused of the crime of a former office secretary of the municipality of Barrancabermeja , which occurred in April 1999, which is being judged others.

It is noteworthy that in the process and sentencing David Ravelo, there are several anomalies, including the charges were brought by the prosecutor 22 counterterrorism unit Pacheco William Giraldo Granados, this tax was disqualified from holding public office for have been removed in 1991, when, as a lieutenant of the National Police participated in the forced disappearance of a young man from the city of Armenia.

Likewise attention, that David be judged on its links with the paramilitaries . When David is just so courageous two decades has denounced systematic permanently and paramilitary presence and crimes against society committed by this group in the Magdalena Medio, as of Communist revolutionary leader, however, as David Ravelo from jail " ... I was charged a permanent job , persevering in defense of the victims , my unwavering position against the injustice of social inequalities. They are also charging denouncing in 2007 former president Alvaro Uribe when appeared in a video with several paramilitaries in Barrancabermeja. This assembly to try to silence comes orchestrated from there ... "

The case of David Ravelo , like the hundreds of other men and women who are deprived of liberty solely made to oppose the imposition of economic and social policies and popular interest disgruntled violate the Colombian constitution , demand social and popular movement nationally and internationally, the more resolute in pursuit reactions , to expose the undemocratic practices of authoritarianism Colombian governments , and also demand of the international community to monitor the situation in the prison population , and particularly the conditions in those found near 9000 social and popular and Colombian revolutionaries .

The Colombian Communist Party , thanked the organizers of this important conference, hosting the cause of freedom of Communist leader and human rights defender David Ravelo Crespo, encourage participants of this conference to be linked to the campaign for freedom, respect for due process and the improvement of the conditions of detention of prisoners and political prisoners in Colombia .

Thank you very much,

Bogota, October 27, 2013

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