... to bring you the latest news. We'll return to the chronicle of my vacations soon, but in the meantime, a march against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), its largest guerrilla group, took place in Rosario yesterday, February 4. Your host was there, doing some photojournalism at the request of Cristián, a fellow photographer and one of the organizers. I was given a Colombian flag ribbon and balloons of the same colours (yellow, blue, and red).
The FARC are the de facto rulers of a significant part of Colombian territory, and they've been responsible for thousands of kidnappings and many political assassinations in the last ten years. They're considered terrorists by most of the civilized world, as well as by the United States, though not by Brazil or Venezuela. They're known to fund their activities through illegal drugs and weapons dealing.
The march was one of many organized by grassroots groups in Colombia and throughout the world. In Rosario, it was attended by a small but determined group of Colombian immigrants, their families and friends, and other sympathizers of the cause. It went from Plaza Pringles to Plaza 25 de Mayo along Córdoba St., and finished on the courtyard of the Flag Memorial.
The march was completely peaceful, even when faced with a group of vociferous demonstrators who cheered for "Fidel [Castro], el Che [Guevara], [Hugo] Chávez and Evo [Morales]" and accused U.S. puppet Colombian president Álvaro Uribe of being a "fascist". Uribe tolerates paramilitary groups that are terrorists as much as the FARC, and adheres to the ridiculous "War on Drugs" and "War on Terror" conceptions of the U.S. government and G. W. Bush. For any sensible person who doesn't condone terrorism, of course, this doesn't mean that the FARC are OK just because they oppose Uribe's government and (somehow) Bush's foreign policy — sometimes the enemy of your enemy is not your friend, and sympathy with guerrillas who kidnap, torture and hold people in inhumane conditions for years in the jungle cannot be tolerated. (I'm explaining this simple fact because there are people who seem unable to understand it.)
I took a lot of pictures and a few videos. My girlfriend Marisa took a lot of pictures of her own as well, as did Cristián. * At the end the flags of Argentina and Colombia were flown, and their national anthems were sung. There was a speech and a prayer, and then the demonstrators gave people the rest of the pamphlets they'd brought to inform the public about the march. Marisa and I gave away our balloons to happy children, and went to see the sun go down beside the river.
*Links to my videos (Google Video): Video 1 Video 2 Video 3 Video 4. Marisa's photos: Contra las FARC.Cristián's photos: No más FARC.