Meditation Focus #25

FOSTERING PEACE IN Colombia


Web posted on October 27 for the week beginning Sunday October 29



Hello

What follows is the 24th Meditation Focus suggested by the Global Meditation Focus Group for the week beginning Sunday October 29, 2000.

FOSTERING PEACE IN COLOMBIA

1. Summary
2. Meditation times
3. More information on this week's Focus




1. SUMMARY

The 36-year long armed conflict in Colombia is a civil war so complex with international ramifications so diverse that it defies any attempt at simplification. Yet in terms of human suffering, number of deaths (well over 300,000), number of people forcefully displaced (nearly 2 millions), pollution of the environment and deforestation (close to a million hectares), it has few parallels elsewhere in the world. In Colombia, one person is murdered every 20 minutes, and about seven people are kidnapped every day. What seems to lie at the root of this terrible human tragedy is the greedy pursuit of huge profits from the drug trade by local marxist guerillas and paramilitary groups operating, according to Human Rights Watch, with the tacit acquiescence or open support of the Colombian Army.

The 60,000 hectares of coca fields disseminated in the southern jungles of Colombia produce much of the 600 tons of cocaine smuggled abroad every year - 80% of the world's total. Extreme violence is on the rise almost everywhere in Colombia and threatens to spill into neighboring countries. Paramilitary officiers trained by the US Special Forces are passing on the "skills" thus learned to the death squads of the paramilitary army which is in this region to get a share of the massive income from drugs and deprive their guerrilla enemies of it. A massive aerial eradication programme to destroy coca crops with toxic chemicals is at the centre of a US-inspired policy to allegedly defeat the drugs trade in Colombia. Amidst all this, the poor peasants must face the destruction of their crops, murder at the hands of the paramilitary groups or the guerillas, and a daily regime of terror, intimidation and forced expatriation. In short, more hunger, poverty and war for the population and huge profits for the U.S. defense contractors, the local drug cartels and the armed men executing their orders.

Please dedicate your meditations and prayers, under the guidance of Spirit, to the peaceful resolution of this conflict, seeing old attitudes and motives such as narrow self-interest, greed, and wilful destruction being transformed into enlightened self-interest, inner peace, and compassionate respect for all life, for the highest good of all.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please review the Time Chart below in the Meditation Times section to check your new local time for the synchronized meditation since the time will revert from daylight saving times to normal time in many countries this Sunday.




2. MEDITATION TIMES

i) Global Meditation Day: Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time. Suggested duration: 30 minutes, with a special Earth Healing Focus in the last few minutes.

ii) Golden Moment of At-Onement: Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.

These times below are currently corresponding to 16:00 Universal Time/GMT

This is the entire list found at the World Clock at http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/full.html
Next week we will include only the usual abridged version. So keep a copy for reference if need be.

Addis Ababa 7:00 PM -- Geneva 5:00 PM -- New Orleans 10:00 AM
Adelaide * +2:30 AM -- Guatemala 10:00 AM -- New York 11:00 AM
Aden 7:00 PM -- Halifax 12:00 PM -- Oslo 5:00 PM
Aklavik 9:00 AM -- Hanoi 11:00 PM -- Ottawa 11:00 AM
Algiers 5:00 PM -- Harare 6:00 PM -- Paris 5:00 PM
Amman 6:00 PM -- Havana 11:00 AM -- Perth +12:00 AM
Amsterdam 5:00 PM -- Helsinki 6:00 PM -- Phoenix 9:00 AM
Anadyr +4:00 AM -- Hong Kong -- -- +12:00 AM -- Prague 5:00 PM
Anchorage 7:00 AM -- Honolulu 6:00 AM -- Rangoon 10:30 PM
Ankara 6:00 PM -- Houston 10:00 AM -- Reykjavik 4:00 PM
Antananarivo 7:00 PM -- Indianapolis 11:00 AM -- Rio de Janeiro * 2:00 PM
Asuncion * 1:00 PM -- Islamabad 9:00 PM -- Riyadh 7:00 PM
Athens 6:00 PM -- Istanbul 6:00 PM -- Rome 5:00 PM
Atlanta 11:00 AM -- Jakarta 11:00 PM -- San Francisco 8:00 AM
Baghdad 7:00 PM -- Jerusalem 6:00 PM -- San Juan 12:00 PM
Bangkok 11:00 PM -- Johannesburg 6:00 PM -- San Salvador 10:00 AM
Barcelona 5:00 PM -- Kabul 8:30 PM -- Santiago * 1:00 PM
Beijing +12:00 AM -- Kamchatka +4:00 AM -- Santo Domingo 12:00 PM
Beirut 6:00 PM -- Kathmandu 9:45 PM -- Sao Paulo * 2:00 PM
Belgrade 5:00 PM -- Khartoum 7:00 PM -- Seattle 8:00 AM
Berlin 5:00 PM -- Kingston 11:00 AM -- Seoul +1:00 AM
Bogota 11:00 AM -- Kiritimati +6:00 AM -- Shanghai +12:00 AM
Boston 11:00 AM -- Kuala Lumpur -- -- +12:00 AM -- Singapore +12:00 AM
Brasilia * 2:00 PM -- Kuwait City 7:00 PM -- Sofia 6:00 PM
Brisbane +2:00 AM -- La Paz 12:00 PM -- St. John's 12:30 PM
Brussels 5:00 PM -- Lagos 5:00 PM -- St. Paul 10:00 AM
Bucharest 6:00 PM -- Lima 11:00 AM -- Stockholm 5:00 PM
Budapest 5:00 PM -- Lisbon 4:00 PM -- Suva +4:00 AM
Buenos Aires 1:00 PM -- London 4:00 PM -- Sydney * +3:00 AM
Cairo 6:00 PM -- Los Angeles 8:00 AM -- Taipei +12:00 AM
Calcutta 9:30 PM -- Madrid 5:00 PM -- Tallinn 6:00 PM
Canberra * +3:00 AM -- Managua 10:00 AM -- Tashkent 9:00 PM
Cape Town 6:00 PM -- Manila +12:00 AM -- Tegucigalpa 10:00 AM
Caracas 12:00 PM -- Melbourne * +3:00 AM -- Tehran 7:30 PM
Casablanca 4:00 PM -- Mexico City 10:00 AM -- Tokyo +1:00 AM
Chatham Island * +5:45 AM -- Minneapolis 10:00 AM -- Toronto 11:00 AM
Chicago 10:00 AM -- Minsk 6:00 PM -- Vancouver 8:00 AM
Copenhagen 5:00 PM -- Montevideo 1:00 PM -- Vienna 5:00 PM
Darwin +1:30 AM -- Montgomery 10:00 AM -- Vladivostok +2:00 AM
Denver 9:00 AM -- Montreal 11:00 AM -- Warsaw 5:00 PM
Detroit 11:00 AM -- Moscow 7:00 PM -- Washington DC 11:00 AM
Dhaka 10:00 PM -- Mumbai 9:30 PM -- Wellington * +5:00 AM
Dublin 4:00 PM -- Nairobi 7:00 PM -- Winnipeg 10:00 AM
Edmonton 9:00 AM -- Nassau 11:00 AM -- Zagreb 5:00 PM
Frankfurt(Ger) 5:00 PM -- New Delhi 9:30 PM -- Zürich 5:00 PM

+ means the place is one day ahead of Universal Time/Greenwich Mean Time.
* means the place is observing daylight saving time(DST) at the moment




3. MORE INFORMATION ON THIS WEEK'S FOCUS

This section is for those who wish to understand in more detail the situation of this week's Meditation Focus. For those who wish to read on, we would encourage you to view the following information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision you wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mindset, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of healing. We provide the details below because we recognise that the knowledge of what needs healing can assist us to structure our awareness to maximise our healing effect.

For those interested, we first recommend you review the extensive material (more than 10 pages) we had compiled in May 2000 when we issued a first Meditation Focus on the Civil War in Colombia. This material is available at http://www.aei.ca/~cep/MeditationFocus3.htm

Here are now a number of new and more recent sources of information we compiled for this focus:

From: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20001023/wl/colombia_2.html
Colombia Order Eroding Quickly (Monday October 23, 2000)

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - Food and medicine are running critically low in a southern province paralyzed by a rebel traffic ban. High-tech helicopters are thrown into combat against leftist rebels, with disastrous results. And now, two members of Congress have been kidnapped.

Government control is eroding quickly across much of Colombia, just as Washington is throwing itself firmly behind the government with $1.3 billion in mostly military aid. Few believe that the rebels, who have waged war against a succession of elected governments for 36 years, can take over Colombia: Their strength lies in the countryside and not the major cities.

CLIP

From: http://news6.thdo.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/americas/newsid_891000/891289.stm
Colombia changes tactics in drugs war (31 August, 2000)

Plan Colombia is President Andres Pastrana's grand scheme to put his beleaguered country back on its feet. The plan will tackle the scourge which Mr Pastrana se money from them that is fuelling the country's 36-year civil conflict. President Clinton visited Colombia on 30 August to discuss the US contribution to Plan Colombia, some $1.3 billion of mainly military aid.
CLIP

After more than 20 years of fighting the drug trade, the US has had little success in stopping or even denting the flow of drugs from Colombia to the US, estimated to be more than 500 tonnes of cocaine every year.

From: http://news6.thdo.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/from_our_own_correspondent/newsid_895000/895950.stm
Rival groups want control of the coca market (26 August, 2000)

From: http://news6.thdo.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/americas/newsid_891000/891810.stm
Anti-drugs plan threatens Colombian peasants (23 August, 2000)

A massive aerial eradication programme is at the centre of a US-inspired policy to defeat the drugs trade in Colombia. The illicit business has been funding rebel armies and prolonging the 36-year old civil conflict. Those who will be on the receiving end of this fumigation process say that it will cause only more hunger, poverty and war. Indeed, it may even feed the guerrillas it is designed to attack. CLIP

Much of the coca grown in Putumayo is grown by peasant farmers with a few hectares of fields carved from the jungle. They grow coca as a cash crop alongside pineapples, maize and other subsistence crops. However, the chemicals dropped by the US-supplied planes cannot distinguish between the different crops. This means that the livelihood of peasants - already living well below the poverty line - ends up in ruins.

As well as destroying crops other than coca, Esteban Torres, the local schoolteacher says there is evidence that the chemicals dumped on Putumayo's fields are damaging the inhabitants. "There is no running water in Puerto Guzman," he says. "And the people drink water from the streams which pass alongside the fields, so when the planes fly over spraying these toxic chemicals, people are drinking this water or preparing their food with it and falling sick."

Poisoning

His assertion is confirmed by Marta Cecilia Guapacha, the head nurse at San Francisco hospital in Puerto Asis. She has treated too many patients in the immediate aftermath of crop spraying to think coincidence is at work. "We have had cases of poisoning because of the chemicals, lots of skin rashes, eye conjunctivitis, children more than any, and breathing problems after having inhaled the toxic chemicals," she says.

The effects of aerial eradication on the environment are also said to be frightening. After fields have been sprayed, crops cannot be grown there for many months afterwards. Peasants, having lost their food crops as well as the coca, cut down more jungle to replant.

'Illicit crops greatest threat'

Colombian Environment Minister Juan Mayr has admitted that there are serious environmental concerns. However, he refuses to acknowledge that the US-inspired eradication programme is responsible. "The Ministry of Environment has come to see illicit crops as the greatest threat to the disappearance of Colombia's biodiversity," he says. "These crops in the last decade have produced the deforestation of close to a million hectares."
CLIP

From: http://news6.thdo.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/americas/newsid_902000/902035.stm
US commits to Colombia (31 August, 2000)
Human rights groups have condemned the US aid


Full coverage of all the recent news related to Colombia at: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/fc/World/Colombia/


The following are critical analysis of various aspects related to this conflict:

From: http://www.spotlight.org/07_08_00/Colombia/Colombia.htm

War In Colombia

The House has appropriated $1.3 billion to fund an unpublicized war in Colombia. But peel back the layers and you'll find an interesting cast of characters—including some from our "best ally" — manipulating the situation for their gain.

The Clinton administration is making plans to intervene in the most vicious, criminal and costly internecine bloodletting in the world: The Colombian civil war. Fighting between government forces and rebels continues, fueled by international drug dealing, oil, graft and an interminable armed struggle for power noted for its barbaric cruelty.

In the past 10 years, four Colombian presidential candidates, 200 judges, 1,350 policemen, half the sitting members of the nation's Supreme Court, and 161 journalists have been murdered, along with at least 300,000 citizens.

Venality is widespread. During the past 5 years, under the regime of a single reform-minded national-security director, Gen. Rosso Jose Serrano, some 11,400 police officers have been fired on corruption charges.

Driven by a steamroller lobbying campaign, Congress approved an emergency aid package of $1.3 billion to "upgrade" the Colombian army and national police. The funds are earmarked to pay for training and arming an elite anti-narcotics strike force, consisting of four rapid-reaction battalions and a fleet of special supporting aircraft, including 18 Blackhawk and 42 Huey helicopters along with hundreds of U.S. military and civilian "advisers," intelligence agents and pilots.

"We are on the road to an even worse disaster than Vietnam" warned Col. Lowell M. Shelton, a former U.S. Special Forces officer who served in both Bolivia and Colombia before retiring in l998. "The insurgency in Colombia, financed by hundreds of millions of dollars in drug money, is past the point where it can be defeated by military means.

"What is needed," Shelton added, "is a negotiated settlement of some sort—and we have plenty of fresh, dire examples in the Middle East and Africa of the Clinton administration's ham-handed, hopeless inability to finesse diplomatic solutions."

Intense lobbying by U.S. defense contractors, pressure from the White House and a skillful promotional campaign by Colombia's ambassador in Washington, Luis Alberto Moreno, paved the way for passage of the measure, Congressional sources say. Moreno, who as an experienced publicist renowned for throwing lavish dinner parties designed to court such veteran Capitol freeloaders as Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R.-N.Y.), chairman of the House International Affairs Committee, was especially effective at securing funding. Gilman played a key role in supporting active U.S. intervention in the Colombian crisis after he formed a personal alliance with Serrano.

Serrano pledged to cover up the key role played in Colombia's booming cocaine traffic by Israeli narcotics dealers, drug-money financiers and gunmen, including Col. Yair Klein, a senior officer of the Mossad, the ministate's intelligence service. Klein was spotted training squads of hit men for Colombian cocaine magnates. But soon after being exposed, he was discreetly deported back to Israel.

CLIP

More revealing material recommended

From: http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/
War in Colombia .... draining the sea for the fish

From: http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/colombia/certification.htm

Colombia Certification: The following document was prepared by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) as part of the certification process mandated by U.S. law.

CLIP

All three organizations concluded that there was overwhelming evidence demonstrating that Colombia has not met these conditions. On August 22, 2000, President Clinton invoked Section 4 of the law, waiving the human rights conditions on the grounds of U.S. national security interests. We deplore this decision. In this report, we set out each of the human rights conditions mandated by Congress and then review the record of the Colombian government and military.

CLIP
From: http://www.hrw.org/press/2000/02/col0223.htm

Colombia's Military Linked to Paramilitary Atrocities
(Washington, D.C., February 23, 2000) — In a new report, Human Rights Watch accused specific brigades and commanding officers in the Colombian military of collaborating with paramilitaries who are committing atrocities against civilians. Human Rights Watch's evidence strongly suggests that, far from moving decisively to sever ties to paramilitaries, Colombia's military high command has yet to take the necessary steps to accomplish this goal. Human Rights Watch's information implicates Colombian Army brigades operating in the country's three largest cities, including the capital, Bogotá.

From: http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/colombia/col0414.htm
Human Rights Watch Statement on Colombia given before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (Geneva, April 14, 2000) — Last year, Colombia's Public Advocate recorded over 400 massacres. Most massacres were perpetrated by paramilitaries working with the tacit acquiescence or open support of the Colombian Army.

More information from Human Right Watch at http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/colombia/index.htm

From: http://www.tni.org/drugs/research/vicious.htm

The Vicious Circle: The Chemical Spraying of Drug Crops in Colombia

The aerial fumigation cycle causes chemical pollution affecting humans, animals and vegetation destroying the livelihoods of peasant and indigenous communities, which leads to forced migration. The displaced move further into the rainforest accelerating the pace of deforestation. The slashed and burned plots are planted with coca or poppy for illicit cultivation. The new plots are eventually fumigated and the cycle starts all over again.

CLIP

From: http://www.tni.org/drugs/pubs/farc.htm

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Illicit Drug Trade

Since the 1990s, Colombian coca plantations have covered an expanse that, according to residents of the affected areas, could be as large as 150,000 hectares. An estimated 300,000 people are directly dependent on the coca economy. These zones are, at the same time, controlled by guerrillas who derive significant revenues by levying taxes on medium- and large-scale farmers, intermediate coca products (base, further refined into cocaine), merchants, and, most importantly, processing laboratories and clandestine air strips for cocaine shipments. These funds are employed to strengthen the guerrillas' logistical and communications capacity for the war effort.

Many more such articles at http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/drugwar.htm

And from http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2000/colombia/index.barranca.html

War Without End - special report that includes field dispatches and
analysis; profiles, timelines, maps, and other reference materials; video
and news archives. From CNN.

From: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/world/2000/drugs_trade/default.stm
The Global Drug Trade

The trade in illegal drugs is a multi-billion dollar global business. Worldwide, the UN estimates there are more than 50 million regular users of heroin, cocaine and synthetic drugs. Millions more are involved in their production, trafficking and sale.




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