The Empire Strikes Back

[More meddling-with-other-countries-for-our-‘national’-interest wankery from the excellent

Additionally, ‘The Revolution Will Not be Televised’ – which can be viewed here:

is a brilliant red-pill documentary experience that is well worth a watch if you want to know what a US supported coup looks like – on the ground as it happens.

WARNING:  Contains one of the sh*ttiest acts of media videotape manipulation in history.]

The Empire Strikes Back

By Arturo Rosales in Caracas

U.S. military presence in Latin America

The waning influence of the US in Latin America in the last decade can be attributed primarily to the influence and regional foreign policy of President Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian revolution. Left leaning leaders were elected in all countries, even in Central America, with the notable exceptions of Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Costa Rica. That trend showed one sign of reversal when Panamanians elected millionaire businessman Ricardo Martinelli as President on May 3rd 2009.

Return of the military coup d’état

Reports indicated that the US threw millions of dollars into Martinelli’s election campaign via USAID and NED and achieved the desired result. However, almost two months later, with the kidnapping and ouster of Manual Zelaya from the Honduran presidency, tactics would appear to have been changed. They have been transformed into the time-proven military coup d’état to install a regime “friendly to US interests and ideology”.

Despite unanimous condemnation of the Honduran coup and installation of de facto president Roberto Micheletti, by the OAS, UN and EU, the new regime has held on to power in the face of a crumbling economy and massive popular protest. Those  demonstrations by Hondurans continue to demand the return of Zelaya, the constitutional president. Could the “success” of this coup, sustained by gross violations of human rights, be a harbinger for the future of other democratically elected left wing Presidents in Latin America?

This is an open question but shortly after the coup against Zelaya many commentators and even regional Presidents saw this coup as an example to be followed. Right wing opposition parties in neighboring countries closely allied with the U.S. and traditional bourgeois interests certainly pricked up their ears. Both, Evo Morales and Rafael Correa have been mentioned in the same counter-revolutionary breath, as well as Alvaro Colom, Guatemala’s President.

New threat to Paraguay

Last night on Telesur news, there was a report covering unrest and military oppression against left wing popular movements in Paraguay, with the inference that these may be building up for a military coup against President Fernando Lugo. The Paraguayan Congress also appears to be working against Lugo and this attitude is a carbon copy of the institutional problems faced by Zelaya before he was illegally kidnapped and flown out of the country on June 28th.

Mariscal Estigarribia air base in Paraguay

It is interesting to note that there is a US military base in Paraguay, the Mariscal Estigarribia air base, just as there is in Honduras. The U.S. military has been operating at the Mariscal Estigarribia base beginning in 2005 when they were training of 65 Paraguayan air force officers. Note that the Soto Cano air base in Honduras, which did nothing to help uphold the constitutional and democratic order, was a key installation for the contras under then president Ronald Reagan who terrorized Nicaragua in the 1980’s.

Soto Cano Airbase
in Honduras

April 30, 2008: U.S. and Honduran soldiers strap into a Blackhawk gunship at Soto Cano Air Base

Colombia is the beach head

Coming hard on the heels of the incipient threat to other presidents in the region, Colombia’s government announced the construction of seven new US military bases throughout the country purportedly to combat the guerrilla movements and drug trafficking. It goes without saying that all US personnel, military contractors and advisers would have total immunity from prosecution in Colombia, as demanded by the US when its troops are sent abroad.

Such bases represent a military threat to Venezuela and its oil supplies and places the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela on guard. Colombia has not backed down and looks unlikely to rescind its military agreement with the US. President Chávez’s response was to suspend trade relations with the Uribe regime in order to create internal pressure from Colombian exporters who might well lose their second biggest trading partner, Venezuela, and US$6 billion of exports.

Uribe’s response was to make a snap tour to neighboring countries, including the continental powerhouse, Brazil, in order to explain his actions which clash directly with the Regional Security Council of Unasur. In fact, the next Unasur meeting is due to take place in Quito, Ecuador next week and Uribe has said that he would not attend.

** “Smart Power” for arms, oil and turf

With US troops being pulled out of Iraq and redeployed mainly to Afghanistan and Pakistan, one interpretation of the decision to set up U.S. bases in Colombia is that it is a tacit admission that the Iraq adventure to plunder its oil has failed. Now is the time to put pressure on Venezuela due to its strategic importance and huge oil reserves, now officially classified as the second largest in the world after Saudi Arabia.

Whatever Obama’s election promises concerning the development of alternative energy sources to offset the US dependence on foreign oil imports, economically the US needs all the oil it can get, by fair means or foul to continue its agenda. The seven proposed bases in Colombia appear destined to achieve that goal.

One consequence of the policy adopted by Uribe, will be an arms build-up in the region, and more specifically in Venezuela to defend its sovereignty against any possible aggression from its bellicose neighbor.

The Empire, using what is being called “smart power” to achieve its foreign policy aims, has not changed one iota except in the style and silver tongued words of its young President.

The bases, when constructed, will turn Colombia into the Israel of Latin America and be a beach head for subversion throughout the region, especially in Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela, all of which have common borders with Colombia

Media war

The world’s corporate media has embarked on an accelerated offensive against the Venezuelan government and in particular President Chávez in the last two months.

Chávez is being accused of trafficking drugs, supplying armaments for the FARC, allowing Hezbollah training camps in La Guajira region near the Colombian border and endangering the freedom of speech in Venezuela. He was also attacked along these lines by Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who recently did a tour of Latin America. Lieberman himself is currently under threat of indictment on charges of fraud, bribery, money laundering and obstruction of justice.

Israel in Latin America

Currently, Israeli arms and operatives are present in Colombia and other Latin American countries. Many ask why Israel is interfering in the internal affairs of Latin American countries. Lieberman is said to have offered Mossad training to Colombia to complement existing CIA activities. This will probably take place at the proposed bases, with the purpose of training graduates of the School of the America’s (S.O.A. – School of Assassins) who are operating in the region. Using a surrogate such as Israel to promote terror in the region is a “smart” move by Clinton and Obama, both avid supporters of Israel as evidenced in their respective election campaigns and following rhetoric and policies.

Israeli FM, Avigdor Lieberman met Colombia’s Foreign Minister, Jaime Bermudez at San Carlos Palace in Bogota on July 28. He also met with leaders of Brazil, Argentina and Peru during his 10 day trip.

At this point in time, the obvious problem of U.S. military bases in Colombia lies in the hands of the Colombian people. They have an opportunity to save their sovereignty, culture and lives from decimation by the imperialists. Their revolutionary actions could also provide an example for other Latin American nations and force the region’s threats of military coup to recede.

Military bases, Israel’s involvement in Colombia and the U.S. demand for oil will bring armed conflict ever nearer in Latin America. A few wealthy opposition leaders would welcome a return of the U.S. to Venezuela, thinking they or their offspring may return to their pre-1998 throne. But the followers of the right wing opposition in Venezuela would do well to reflect on its silence about this issue. If a conflict does occur, it will not just be the people in the barrios who will suffer as some seem to think, but the bourgeoisie and their families will simply be classified as “collateral damage”.


** “The Empire, using what is being called “smart power” to achieve its foreign policy aims, has not changed one iota except in the style and silver tongued words of its young President.” – Arturo Rosales

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