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Hiding Colombia's role

September 09, 2008

Re "Bogota's bad apples," editorial, Sept. 6

Doesn't The Times know by now that the term "bad apples" has been overused in recent decades by states trying to disassociate themselves from their use of violence and terror?

Do you really expect your readers to believe that the Colombian government's campaign of violence against its people has nothing to do with policy or politics, but is due rather to some bureaucratic loophole involving promotions?

As in many other Latin American countries, the "free-market" economic policies that Colombia's government espouses are overwhelmingly unpopular, requiring the use of terror and intimidation to keep the public's opposition in check. Surely, accusing its victims of belonging to the FARC is the cover for the murders, not the motive.

Western media and human rights organizations have an unfortunate habit of ignoring or misrepresenting the political function of the abuses they decry.

The Times does its readers a disservice by aiding the Colombian government in obscuring the relationship between state violence and the economic ideology it serves.

Andrew Matthews

Los Angeles

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