Investor’s Business Daily | May. 28, 2008
Manuel “Sureshot” Marulanda and his FARC terrorist group died long before he did last March 26. That’s because Colombians now embrace free markets over terror. So why is Congress still halting free trade?
The 77-year old founder of the world’s oldest and most vicious Marxist terrorist insurgency died of a heart attack on the lam in the jungle just three weeks after his designated successor, Raul Reyes, was blown away in a March 1 army raid.
But history had long passed “Sureshot” and his FARC by. At its zenith, FARC had 20,000 terrorists. In 1998, they encircled Colombia’s capital from the hills and nearly took over. Today, they are a tattered and defeated remnant whose end could be near.
They’ve been beaten by more than just military force. The Marxist FARC calls its members “revolutionaries,” but they’ve lost the battle of ideas. FARC’s claim to favor poor over rich no longer resonates: A May Gallup poll shows 99% of Colombians despise them.
That’s because President Alvaro Uribe’s fierce will to militarily destroy FARC has been matched by a vibrant, growing economy and all its opportunities. Violent Marxism holds no appeal.
Colombia’s economy has surged for five years. In 2007 alone, Colombia’s GDP grew 7%. Poverty fell from almost 60% in 2002 to 45% today. That has brought millions of poor and displaced young people in shantytowns new jobs and a future. Joblessness has plunged a third since 2002. Before that, the only opportunities in a world without jobs were in groups like FARC or the paramilitaries.
The reality is that there is no greater poison to Marxist terrorists than people who have the economic power, opportunity and hope that comes from free trade. Democrats continue to shut poor Colombians out of global markets, while many of their leaders, including Barack Obama, insincerely claim to oppose FARC.
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