Terrible video--US government propaganda for Plan Colombia
T. bailey | 02/26/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This video's handling of Colombia was absolutly terrible.
The video portrays Colombia in a simplistic, naive light. The video goes to great pains to twist information in a way to keep the Colombia tragedy a simple good guy, bad guy drama.
Colombia has bad guys (the FARC and drug dealers) and you have good guys (America and the Colombian government).
The reality is much, much more complex.
The video doesn't mention that Colombian paramilitaries, who closely cooperate with the government, do the majority of the massacres and human rights violations. The video also does not mention that many of the paramilitaries are comprised of drug dealers, the middle class, and the elite of Colombia, who terrorize peasants then steal their land.
There is no mention of the underlying class struggles which are a large part of the reason for todays state of affairs in Colombia.
La Violencia (an era of civil conflict in Colombia between supporters of the Colombian Liberal Party and the Colombian Conservative Party, which took place roughly from 1948 to 1955) is barely mentioned.
FARC is mentioned in the end of the video, but a person watching this video would never understand why and how they were created (The FARC were created during La Violencia in response to the US sponsored "Alliance for Progress" after the Colombia military overran a peasant controlled area, the Marquetalia Republic.)
In an effort to keep the appearance of the bad guys bad, and the good guys good, the video makes incorrect statments such as:
"Just before noon on November 6th, 1985 at the Colombia Palace of Justice in downtown Bogata, guerillas hired by the Medillin Cartel seized more than 250 hostages."
This is the reality:
A few analysts have speculated that some druglords, such as Pablo Escobar, may have masterminded the operation in order to get rid of several criminal investigations recorded in the documents lost during the event. Later legal investigations have concluded that this was apparently not the case, and most later observers have tended to undermine the claims of any close operational links between those parties and the M-19. (wikipedia)
So to keep the simplitistic bad guy hat on the bad guys, the video portrays dubious speculation as fact, with no underlying context.
The video also claims the sole mission of "the guerillas" (M-19) storming the palace of justice was too destroy the extradition files of the drug cartel. The reality is that M-19 had conducted many daring seiges like the palace of justice before, including the Dominican embassy siege in 1980 (which is not mentioned on the video). The M-19 wanted to use the justices in the building to "put the president on trial for his criminal actions".
Of course to keep up the good guy bad guy facade, the video ignores important facts. It does not mention that the US congressional Leahy Provision, which banned the US from giving anti-narcotics aid to any foreign military unit whose memebers have violated human rights has been ignored or implemented in a patchy way.
The video also does not mention that in August 2000 Clinton used his presidental waiver to override the human rights conditions that Congress had attached to Plan Colombia aid.
The video ignores the fact that the original version of Plan Colombia was officially unveiled by President Andres Pastrana in 1999. Pastrana's Plan Colombia, as originally presented, made no explicit mention of fighting drug trafficking through increased military aid or fumigation campaigns, but instead emphasized the manual erradication of drug crops as a better alternative. After Pastrana went to Washington with his plan, US input was extensive, and meant that Plan Colombia's first formal draft was originally written in English, not Spanish, and a Spanish version wasn't available until "months after a revised English version was already in place."
This is a Plan Colombia propaganda video--filled with half truths, and grevious ommisions. It makes a complex history a simple bad guy vs. good guy soap opera. The reality is much more troubling.
A Colombian I speak with regularly on wikipedia recommends (with reservations):
Plan Colombia: Cashing in on the Drug War Failure."
Sam Colt | Florida, US | 03/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great set. The India film is gripping, especially the story of modern day crime in Bollywood, India's Hollywood. I was blown away by the representation of indian hookers - wow!
The guys must have risked their ass to get that footage - way to go!"
Pretty Good DVD
Chieck Kongo | Brooklyn, NY United States | 10/28/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This 2 dvd set is satisfying, I bought it to find out more about Chinese and Indian OC, as I didn't have much knowledge of that. But it's very informative with a lot of dramatizatons of things that supposedly happened in the past. Every episode in this set is well edited and the qualiity s excellent. Pablo Escobar is on it, and wait till you see "the chinese John Gotti" of chinatown, NYC."