Thursday, August 6, 2009
The announcement of the US occupation of more than 7 military bases in Colombia at a time when a dictatorship – supported, if tacitly by Washington – in Honduras is consolidating after almost a month and a half has passed since the violent coup d’etat forced Honduran President Manuel Zelaya from power. The increased US military presence in Latin America has been perceived by a majority of nations in this hemisphere as a threat to the stability and peace in the region. How does the Obama administration justify increasing the Pentagon’s budget and investing more than $250 million in its Latin American military operations this year?
Well, maybe by trying to blame Venezuelan President Hugh Chávez of supporting, funding and arming “terrorist” leftist groups in Colombia and “facilitating drug trafficking”. Both allegations have never been founded on solid evidence. In fact, yesterday, President Chávez gave a killer press conference to international media, deconstructing every accusation presented against his government by Colombia and Washington. The latest allegation involved Swedish missile launchers sold to Venezuela in the 1980s that apparently ended up in the hands of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The Uribe government in Colombia, together with Washington, was trying to blame Chávez for selling the weapons to the FARC, therefore justifying its increasing aggression and military presence in the region, to combat “terrorist threats”. “You’re either with us or against us…”
Chávez revealed a document – given to him previously by the Colombian government – dated 1996 after a FARC attack had taken place on Venezuelan soil against Venezuelan armed forces and a quantity of weapons had been stolen. The 1996 document detailed the named Swedish missile launchers as having been taken during that attack, more than 2 years before Chávez won office and became involved in government.
“Dirty, dirty tactics”, said Chávez regarding Uribe’s accusations against him. The Colombian government knows very well that those weapons were in the hands of the FARC well before Chávez became president. So why blame him now for something he has nothing to do with?
Cowardly and pathetic Colombian President Uribe is desperately trying to justify turning his country into the launching pad for Washington’s war on Latin America – a war seeking to regain its domination and control over the region’s vast natural and strategic resources, and to take out any seed of “socialism” remaining in the hemisphere.
But the military bases in Colombia and the coup in Honduras evidence a dangerous and clear intent of Empire to also crush the vibrant people’s movements that have been surfacing all over Latin America during the past decade – revolutions seeking to build new models of social and economic justice.
Latin America is on high alert in response to this revived offensive emerging from Washington. Colombia, isolated in its efforts, is not backing down from opening its land to the vast and barbaric US military power. Where is the outcry inside the United States in response to hundreds of millions – billions – of dollars now directed towards waging war in Latin America? Don’t wait until it’s too late and another nation, like Panama 20 years ago, is bombed and invaded by US forces in order to secure Washington’s long-term control over the region’s strategic resources. Act now to resist and protest US military expansion in Latin America and US aggression against a humble people struggling for justice.