Piedad Cordoba’s friendship with Fidel undermines her quest for peace

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Ex Colombian Senator Piedad Cordoba in Havana with Fidel Castro

The inspector general of Colombia, Alejandro Ordóñez Maldonado, barred Senator Piedad Cordoba from public service for 18 years for allegedly collaborating and promoting FARC, a leftist guerilla group.

From Colombia Reports:

Among other evidence, the inspector general used documents allegedly found in computers of slain FARC commander “Raul Reyes” to support his ruling.

The same evidence had previously been dismissed by the country’s prosecutor general, who considered that there was insufficient evidence to merit investigating the senator for ties to the FARC.

The charges seem thin, but make sense given the recent power shift between the Colombian government and FARC.

Piedad Cordoba advocates for a political solution with FARC.  This has been tried before. Every time it was attempted, it failed miserably. During the long span of the conflict, both FARC and Colombia’s  government have repeatedly acted in bad-faith when an attempt at a peaceful solution was brought to the table.

Ultimately, FARC’s hardline leftist stance is unacceptable to the Colombian government. Moreover,  given the increasing losses incurred by the FARC (the Colombian army killed FARC’s number two leader, Jorge Briceno “aka El Mono Jojoy” this September), the likelihood of a peaceful political solution is less.  On the contrary, this outcome is more likely: the Colombian government will continue attacking FARC until the latter has no choice but to surrender.

Cordoba’s opposition to this method, especially in light of the government’s  continued military success against FARC, is probably what got her banned for 18 years.

Cordoba’s Right But Wrong

Throughout the decades long conflict with FARC, the western media has disproportionately condemned the the guerrilla group;  the Colombian government is as culpable or more  for the severe harm inflicted upon the Colombian people.

Today, the difference is that peace is within sight and the Colombian people want to move on from the bloody past.  FARC’s continued existence is a daily reminder to Colombians of how fragile the peace they live in today is. The latter, in part, explains why Uribe, and now Santos, have had such widespread societal support in their efforts against FARC. The thrill of the current peace also explains why Cordoba and her efforts at negotiation with FARC incites such strong opposition. For many, her activities serve as an anti-coagulant to the fresh wounds of  the past.

It cannot be definitively concluded on whether Cordoba is genuine in her quest for human rights. She may be. In fact, in 2009 Cordoba was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize  for her efforts to successfully negotiate the release of several hostages held by FARC.

Perhaps her ban was a baseless political attack. But Cordoba’s international network of “friends” lays bare an unsettling contradiction.

The Connection With Fidel

On Cordoba’s twitter profile, she identifies primarily as a defender of human rights.

In the aftermath of getting banned, Fidel Castro wrote a short essay on the innocence of Piedad Cordoba. She thanked Fidel Castro for his very profound words of solidarity and published his essay to her website.

The problem is that Cordoba is relying, in part, on Fidel defending her for what she believes to be a baseless, politically motivated attack upon herself. In his long tenure at the helm of Cuba, Fidel has doled out exponentially more severe punishment against his political opponents than the Colombia government did to her.

In Cuba, some of the du jour punishment for political opponents is coercive exile or prison. In other words, Cuba still persistently violates the human rights of its own citizens. Cordoba was banned from office. She does not have to face the fate of being forcefully banished from her homeland by an arbitrary, ideological force.

If Piedad Cordoba genuinely wants peace and human rights, she must at the very least disassociate herself with individuals who at this very moment are flagrantly violating the human rights of their own people.

Or she could take it one step further–she could use her platform to obtain freedom for the Cuban people by telling Fidel and Raul to usher in a change to an open society, where Cubans can breath freely outside of a Cuba socialism that has demonstrably failed most in what she purports to be a proponent of: human rights.

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