In the “controversial” opinion of Colombia’s Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez, the solution to the problems of the campesinos in Colombia with regards to their coca crops is the forced eradication of the crop through government programs. Of course, this has been a long-pitched-never-materialized plan in many countries to replace various illicit crops with legal alternatives, and every time it is a decision made from the top to be handed down to the farmers who have been forced into their current predicament by maldevelopment and yankee dug-war edicts, including, more often than not, mass poisoning from the air by herbicides and full-scale military invasion. Under the FARC and ELN, the rotation of coca farmers to alternative crops was one of the many programs they oversaw, however they as well realized (mainly through communication with those same farmers) that this was not always as simple in reality as on paper; in some cases they realized such a transition was simply not possible under the current conditions. Conditions prevent these ideal plans from being implemented in the way they were originally drafted by those removed four or five degrees from the problems of the poor farmers.

Unfortunately, Martinez believes that this “novel” idea will go off without a hitch, and that the only issue has been enforcement in the transition to new crops. Certainly enforcement has been an issue, especially when local leaders and landowners benefit from the trade and are so far removed from its consequences they often bargain for a slower process of transition. Slower, in this case, means none at all. This kind of bourgeois elitism is fueling already burning class tension all over Latin Amerika, where those on high are conceiving of “solutions” without all of the petty intricacies of a social ill driven by capitalist exploitation. And why should they ask the campesinos? They are the treacherous class who have supported the social movements, the communist rebels, and grown crops for the international cartels! What could they offer to this discussion reserved for better men? And if they do not submit, then amerikan resources will ensure they follow through. They pretend—perhaps they even believe—that this will save more people in the long-run. However, it is clear that such a struggle for the lives of campesinos, when carried out against the campesinos, will result in common ruin.

Of course, they do not see these things from the ground. Rather, in their moralistic, bourgeois havens they think of these issues in a completely one dimensional way, with feigned understanding of its “complexity” only when they fail to achieve results. Communists achieved such success in removing coca production in the Colombian countryside by understanding the campesinos who grew coca, whether forced by circumstance or market condition. Where such rotation was, for the moment, impossible, the rebels struggled to pry production from the service of cartels, and achieved regional stability so as to defend the farmers from violence associated with the trade. The FARC and ELN both understood that there are a complex set of social and economic conditions which must be confronted in the transformation of the rural economy, and that being caught between the vicious struggle of the lumpen bourgeois in the cartels and the urban, legal compradore bourgeoisie has created a difficult political geography to navigate.

This is something we must learn from when addressing these issues anywhere in the world. If we are to heal the atomizing gulf between the peasants, workers and lumpenproletariat, then we must be prepared to seek answers among them, rather than to dictate from on high all orders with bourgeois prerogative. The “plan” formulated by that clown Martinez is not original, and he is most likely aware; merely unwilling, or more likely spiritually unequipped, to face the problem’s systemic nature. He assumes that such a process can be carried out against the will of the campesinos, or that it should be. Such a deep and transformative process must be done with the cooperation of the peasants and a government that represents them. Unfortunately, as Martinez has betrayed, this is not the case in Colombia, and in fact there is a much greater commonality between those in the cartels and those in the state, who have until now prevented any transformation in the rural economy from taking place. The only way to get around this is for the communist and socialist forces in Colombia to weld together, from the atomized campesinos and urban proletariat, a real class conscious movement which can oust the interests of the compradore, imperialist and lumpen bourgeois that currently manage their affairs. Such an effort, in any country, can only be achieved through cooperation and synthesis of the social revolution with the interests and struggles of the oppressed masses.


  1. “Colombia Attorney Pledges for Forced Eradication of Coca Crops” (TeleSUR)

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Latin America, Maoism, Socialism, Strategy, US/Canada


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