On Nov. 9, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) sent an “Open Letter to the People of the United States.” It was specially addressed to Hollywood figures Michael Moore, Denzel Washington and Oliver Stone; leftist academics Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis and James Petras; and politician Jessie Jackson. The purpose of the letter was to solicit their support in facilitating an agreement between the US and Colombian governments and the FARC exchanging 600 imprisoned guerrillas (including two on trial in the US) for 60 rebel-held prisoners, including three US counterinsurgency experts. James Petras has now responded with his own “Open Letter to the People and Government of the US (And a Reply to the FARC),” published Feb. 21 by the New Colombia News Agency (ANNCOL).
Petras’ letter calls for the release of Simon Trinidad and “Sonia,” two FARC figures on trial in the US on drug-trafficking charges, “as a concrete move toward a humanitarian prisoner exchange and confidence building measure opening the way to full-scale peace negotiations.” He writes that “the end of the Colombian blood letting could begin in Washington…with the recognition that the US is an armed party in Colombia’s civil war, that their combatants are prisoners of war and that their ultimate release depends on recognizing the limits of US military power (and that of its Colombian client) and that a diplomatic, negotiated agreement is the only realistic option.”
Petras concludes: “I look forward to joining with such artists and intellectuals as Denzel Washington, Oliver Stone, Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky and Angela Davis, named in the FARC appeal in a common effort to pressure the US government to agree to exchanging imprisoned guerrillas (both here and in Colombia) for rebel-held prisoners, including the three American combatants.”