In the case of the Swiss Foreign Ministry ant the FARC, the European notion of “constructive engagement” promoted the FARC’s narco-smuggling, kidnapping, and terror. Switzerland’s Weltwoche [the world this week], reports on an initial effort to “reel them in” and legitimize the FARC that led to actively supporting their actions.
Switzerland, the Helpful CourierIt might be that the world still see the Swiss with rose colored glasses given the image and reputation they’ve built, but what is far more likely is that outside of commerce, they have no meaningful stake in the goings-on beyond the European fortress, and are a lot more scared by their position as Europe’s Lesotho puts them in.
The seizure of the computers provoked a political earthquake. What had long been merely suspected was now out in the open for all to see: the socialist governments of Ecuador and Nicaragua, as well as and above all that of the Venezuelan caudillo Hugo Chávez, were involved up to the elbows in the sinister drug and arms dealing of the FARC. The blow was struck just as Chávez, intent on extending his influence across the South American continent, was seeking to take control of the militarily severely depleted FARC.
Switzerland has played a central role in the Colombian hostage crisis as a supposedly “neutral” mediator. But the e-mail correspondence of the FARC, extracts from which are available to Die Weltwoche, shows that a solution of the hostage crisis was never in fact a priority for the FARC. The “negotiations” as such, which provided an international stage for the militarily beleaguered guerilla, were from the start an end in themselves for the FARC. The Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs (EDA), under the direction of Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, took on the role of helpful courier in the cynical game of poker being played by the guerilla and often neglected to take even the slightest distance from the FARC extortionists.In addition to that, these supposedly shrewd Swiss interlocutors were made into useful idiots.
As early as June 2001, almost a year before the kidnapping of Betancourt, Lucas Gualdrón, the Lausanne-based FARC coordinator for Europe, assessed the possibility of Switzerland playing a role as mediator. In an e-mail to a superior stationed in Cuba, Gualdrón comes to a positive conclusion: “They [the Swiss] have changed their communication policy and they no longer only work low profile, but also pursue a very aggressive communication policy.” Switzerland is open to the FARC’s cause, Gualdrón reports, and ready to organize meetings “at the highest level.”
Prolonging the Hostage CrisisInstead of “giving peace a chance”, what they did was gullibly buy the FARC more time.
From the standpoint of the FARC, Switzerland has served its purpose and can leave now. In summer 2007, the EDA withdraws from the negotiations. The Venezuelan caudillo Hugo Chávez takes over. His aims are by no means humanitarian in nature, as Chávez wants to make the world believe. The correspondence on Reyes’s computer shows that the Venezuelan president promises the FARC substantial arms shipments and financial aid on the order of some $300 million. Hugo Chávez wants to integrate the guerilla force into his “Bolivarian Revolution,” which is supposed to transform the entire subcontinent from the Rio Grande to Tierra del Fuego into one big socialist paradise according to the well-known recipes of Karl Marx and Fidel Castro.