Obama Appoints Latin America "Expert" to New Diplomatic Post

February 23, 2015

On February 20 at the White House, Secretary of State John Kerry expressed enthusiastic support for advances made by the Colombian government during talks with FARC rebels over the last two years. Kerry mentioned that in December Colombia President Santos requested that the U.S. take a “more direct role” in the talks and that Obama has shown his willingness to do so by appointing Mr. B. Aronson as “new special envoy for the Colombian peace process.” Kerry expressed hope that Aronson’s former service would lend legitimacy to U.S. involvement in the talks. 

Aronson represented the U.S. during its wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua before he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs under Presidents Bush and Clinton.   Amongst other things, he is also connected with the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Democratic Institute.  

In his famous high-handed style, Aronson wasted no time in his acceptance speech before making clear that the U.S. will continue to oppose, in word and deed, the right of the Colombian peasants and workers to make any demands whatsoever on the Colombian State. According to Aronson, not only will U.S. backing for the Colombian military remain unchanged, but any hopes of peace depend on the willingness of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN), and others to “renounce violence forever.”

The U.S. government continues to supply more military aid to Colombia than to any other country in Latin America.  U.S. military aid has increased even while Colombian President Santos has refused every single call by the FARC to enter into a ceasefire.  Colombian army and paramilitary offensives against territory controlled by poor Colombian farmers have taken place even while FARC leaders have insisted on implementing a unilateral ceasefire and beginning to present their demands at the negotiating table.

As past U.S. presidents have done, Obama wants to create the appearance of standing on the sidelines as an “observer” or “mediator” motivated by its desire for “human rights” and “democracy” in order to hide the real causes and the motive forces of the struggle in Colombia, and especially to cover over the role of U.S. imperialism as the organizer of fascism and war.

The struggle in Colombia arises from the real conditions – the actual social relations – existing in the country. It arises from the fact that for more than a century, the mountains of U.S. imperialist domination, of capitalism and of a semi-feudal system of land ownership, have weighed down on the Colombian people.

Today, the Colombian people are fighting to throw these mountains off their backs. The demands of the Colombian people against fascism and for peace, against imperialist domination and for independence, against the landed oligarchy and capitalist exploitation have been taken up by nearly the entire population. The armed insurgency of FARC, the ELN and others, which has been carried on for several decades as a necessary response to the fascist repression of the government, has long been at the very heart of this popular movement.