Colombia announced the death of the leader of FARC yesterday, and today Der Spiegel reports on the connections between FARC and the German Left. Colombia’s capture of laptops and other intelligence continues to bear fruit as the international network that fed FARC gets more exposed by the week. FARC has connections to East German communists and other radicals that tried overthrowing the Colombian government to re-establish Marxism in South America:
The Colombian guerrilla group FARC isn’t just well connected in the region. According to e-mails found on the laptop of the recently killed FARC commander Raúl Reyes, the group, listed by the European Union as a terrorist organization, also has close ties to the far left in Germany.
Data found on the computer, confiscated following the March bombing raid carried out by Colombia on a guerrilla camp across the border in Ecuador, indicate that Reyes sent his son, Ariel Robespierre Devia, on a secret trip to Berlin in January 2005. It also suggests that while in Germany, Devia, who goes by his alias “Roberto,” met with Wolfgang Gehrcke, then a member of the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) — the successor party to the East German Communist party — and now a member of the German parliament with the Left Party and the party’s foreign affairs spokesman.
E-mails on the computer indicate that, according to “Roberto,” Gehrcke suggested that the PDS could back a bid in the European Parliament to remove FARC from the list of terrorist organizations. “It was a very positive meeting,” “Roberto” wrote. “We were able to solidify a number of points to reactivate the solidarity with the fight of the Colombian people.”
“Roberto” also met with representatives of the German Communist Party, and the left-wing daily Junge Welt allegedly offered to assist the FARC publication Resistencia.
For those of us who grew up during the Cold War, this comes as no great shock. Communism always held itself out as a political movement without borders. The Communists openly backed revolutionary “armies” and petty rebels as means of overthrowing capitalism.
East German communists probably backed FARC for decades, only before the fall of the Berlin Wall, they didn’t have to do it as clandestinely as today. With today’s long-overdue sensitivity to terrorism, support for the Colombian Marxists had to be a closely-kept secret. Nevertheless, last year the Left Party tried to push Germany to have FARC removed from the EU’s list of terrorist organizations in order to allow more open support for their activities, even while FARC continued to hold foreign civilians as hostages for ransom.
Specific connections to German politicians could prove embarrassing for the German Left. Gehrcke may not be the last name to surface in this probe. With the reported death of Manuel “Sureshot” Marulanda, Gehrcke and his colleagues may have backed a losing horse, to their detriment.