Mitu is a city in Vaupes, Colombia on the Brazilian border in the middle of the Amazon. The FARC overran the small police detachment there on November 1, 1998.
The attack begins at 4:58 AM, and the town is overrun later in the day, the remains of the police detachment all surrendering. The prisoners will be treated pretty well. They won’t be tortured or murdered, although some were killed when the Colombian army tried to liberate some of these prisoners.
You can see the use of the some of the FARC’s homemade mortars here. The last part includes a battle against the reinforcements that were sent in by the army to retake the town. This battle takes place outside of town, in jungles and plains.
You can also see that the FARC is a huge army, with bases, full uniforms, huge detachments that march in formation, chains of command, etc. The war in Colombia is really a war between two gigantic armies, not between a single army and a band of ragged guerrillas.
This video is by the FARC.
Overall, it’s a pretty amazing video of urban warfare, shot in the midst of a huge and savage battle with some cool jungle and plains warfare at the end.
Those opposed to the FARC are asked what the Left in Colombia should do instead. Now that Uribe is committed to military defeat with no negotiations, the prospects for the FARC are bleaker than ever. They can’t negotiate an end to the conflict, so they must fight. They can’t really surrender either. Even if they disarm and try to seek power peacefully, they are going to be massacred anyway like the rest of the Left. So it’s fight or die for the FARC.
The model of the Colombian state is based on capital formation by way of violence, similar to the US model in the 1800’s. Land is stolen from peasants and the indigenous at gunpoint, and they are killed or attacked if they resist. Then their land is given to large landowners who already have almost all of the land, or else given to large multinational corporations for various land exploitation development projects.
It’s development by violence, with the paramilitaries and army clearing the way. Communities, organizations and peoples who resist multinational development projects or the theft of their land are attacked by the Colombian military or the paramilitaries and often killed. Labor unions that try to organize in multinational or any other enterprises are also attacked by the army and the paramilitaries.
Refugees flood into urban slums with few amenities, no electricity, no running water, no indoor plumbing, and few jobs. These slums are now policed by paramilitaries, the enemies of the people. If these slum-dwellers protest conditions in their shantytowns, they are likely to be attacked and killed by the paramilitaries who patrol them. Women’s, human rights, campesino, indigenous and Afro-Colombian organizations are all attacked as agents of the Left.
Most of those attacked by the army and paramilitaries are first vilified as supporters or members of the FARC. In most if not all cases, it’s not true. They are definitely not members of the FARC in most if not all cases. Are they supporters? Who knows? Probably not openly. Keep in mind that anyone and everyone on the Left is automatically accused of being a “FARC supporter,” so you don’t need to support them to get killed. It’s a pretty hard accusation to prove anyway. How do you prove if someone is a “FARC supporter” anyway?
In this way, the Colombian military serves the interests of the Colombian oligarchy, especially the large landowners, and the multinationals. and wages war on their own people.
This is the model that the Colombian urban middle class, both US political parties, the Obama Administration and the entire US mass media support to the hilt. There’s nothing to support here for any progressive person.
A new political party has sprung up recently called the Democratic Pole. The Polo varies from social democrats to Communists, but they have little to no relationship with the FARC. Nevertheless, there is a huge vilification campaign going on against the Polo and its candidates, and the military and paramilitaries are starting to kill Polo figures on a regular basis.
That’s some background on the Colombian conflict and on the Colombian government, the US’ biggest ally in Latin America and one the top recipients of US aid in the world.