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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 05:28 PM
Original message
Paraguay rejects U.S. military co-operation deal
Source: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Paraguay+rejects+milit...

Paraguay rejects U.S. military co-operation deal
By Daniela Desantis, Reuters
September 17, 2009 2:01 PM

ASUNCION - Paraguay rejected a military co-operation agreement with the United States Thursday amid a growing diplomatic rift in South America over the presence of U.S. troops in the region.

Paraguay's socialist President Fernando Lugo said his government decided to halt a series of exercises between the Paraguayan and U.S. militaries. Similar programs have been carried out in the country in recent years.

"There would be about 500 U.S. military and other personnel in the country and that wouldn't go unnoticed," Lugo told reporters at a news conference. "It's neither prudent nor convenient at this time and could raise concerns among the other members of the Mercosur and Unasur," he said, referring to South America's trade bloc and political group of regional leaders.

The decision comes as South American countries step up arms purchases and are divided over a U.S. plan to relocate its hub for anti-narcotics operations in Latin America to Colombia, which would host U.S. troops in seven military bases.



Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Paraguay+rejects+milit...
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 05:29 PM
Response to Original message
1. The Second most batshit crazy country in the world has dissed us? WHY did we offer? nt
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 05:38 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. The US has used an enormous air base, Mariscal Estigarribia in Paraguay
which was built by an extremist right-wing, Nazi-harboring dictator, Alfredo Stroessner, who ruled over the country for decades, torturing, killing dissidents, and indigenous people.

From September, 2005:
U.S. Military in Paraguay Prepares To "Spread Democracy"
Written by Benjamin Dangl
Thursday, 15 September 2005

Controversy is raging in Paraguay, where the U.S. military is conducting secretive operations. 500 U.S. troops arrived in the country on July 1st with planes, weapons and ammunition. Eyewitness reports prove that an airbase exists in Mariscal Estigarribia, Paraguay, which is 200 kilometers from the border with Bolivia and may be utilized by the U.S. military. Officials in Paraguay claim the military operations are routine humanitarian efforts and deny that any plans are underway for a U.S. base. Yet human rights groups in the area are deeply worried. White House officials are using rhetoric about terrorist threats in the tri-border region (where Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina meet) in order to build their case for military operations, in many ways reminiscent to the build up to the invasion of Iraq. (1)

The tri-border area is home to the Guarani Aquifer, one of the worlds largest reserves of water. Near the Estigarribia airbase are Bolivias natural gas reserves, the second largest in Latin America. Political analysts believe U.S. operations in Paraguay are part of a preventative war to control these natural resources and suppress social uprisings in Bolivia.

Argentine Nobel Peace Prize laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel commented on the situation in Paraguay, "Once the United States arrives, it takes it a long time to leave. And that really frightens me." (2)

The Estigarribia airbase was constructed in the 1980s for U.S. technicians hired by the Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner, and is capable of housing 16,000 troops. A journalist writing for the Argentine newspaper Clarin, recently visited the base and reported it to be in perfect condition, capable of handling large military planes. Its oversized for the Paraguayan air force, which only has a handful of small aircraft. The base has an enormous radar system, huge hangars and an air traffic control tower. The airstrip itself is larger than the one at the international airport in Asuncion, the Paraguayan capital. Near the base is a military camp which has recently grown in size. (3)

"Estigarribia is ideal because it is operable throughout the yearI am sure that the U.S. presence will increase," said Paraguayan defense analyst Horacio Galeano Perrone. (4)

Denials and Immunity

"The national government has not reached any agreement with the United States for the establishment of a U.S. military base" in Paraguay, states a communiqu signed by Paraguayan Foreign Minister Leila Rachid. The U.S. Embassy in Paraguay has also released statements officially denying plans to set up a military base in the country. (5)

The Pentagon used this same language when describing its actions in Manta, Ecuador, now the home of an $80 million U.S. military base. First they said the facility was an archaic "dirt strip" which would be used for weather monitoring and would not permanently house U.S. personnel. Days later, the Pentagon stated that Manta was to serve as a major military base tasked with a variety of security-related missions. (6)

Paraguayan political analyst and historian Milda Rivarola said that, "in practice, there has already been a (U.S.) base operating in Paraguay for over 50 years." The U.S. armed forces have had an ongoing presence in the country, she said. "In the past, they needed congressional authorization every six months, but now they have been granted permission to be here for a year and a half." (7)

On May 26, 2005 the Paraguayan Senate granted the U.S. troops total immunity from national and International Criminal Court jurisdiction until December 2006. The legislation is automatically extendable. Since December 2004, the U.S. has been pressuring Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela and Paraguay into signing a deal which would grant immunity to U.S. military. The Bush administration threatened to deny the countries up to $24.5 million in economic and military aid if they refused to sign the immunity deal. Paraguay was the only country to accept the offer. (8)
More:
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/content/view/47/44 /


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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 05:50 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. I should add the current Paraguayan President Lugo's family was persecuted
by the fascist U.S.-friendly dictator Stroessner for years.
April 22, 2008
In South America, the White House Has Nowhere to Turn
Bush's Paraguayan Fiasco
By NIKOLAS KOZLOFF


The tiny, land locked nation of Paraguay has not been blessed with political good fortune. For decades, anti-Communist General Alfredo Stroessner, who disappeared and tortured thousands of dissidents, ruled over this country of some 7 million people. Stroessner was dislodged by his military subordinates in 1989 and later died in exile in Brazil at the age of 93.

However, the Colorado Party, which backed Stroessner during his 35-year dictatorship, maintained a tight lock on political power while enriching itself and the wealthy at the expense of ordinary Paraguayans. Under Colarado rule, Paraguay became renowned as a haven for fugitive Nazis, smugglers and drug traffickers.

For years, the U.S. backed repressive military rule in Paraguay in an effort to keep a lid on progressive social change. For Washington, Stroessner, a strong anti-communist, could do no wrong. A willing U.S. ally during the Cold War, Stroessner supported Lyndon Johnsons invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1965 and even offered to help send troops to Vietnam.

Even in Paraguays darkest hours, while Stroessner harbored Nazi war criminals, crushed non communist peaceful opposition and persecuted the indigenous population (including forcibly assimilating the Ache population, a policy which ended in bloodshed, sexual slavery and servitude), the U.S. continued to back the General. It wasnt until the late 1970s, with the arrival of Jimmy Carter in the White House, that the U.S. withdrew its support.

~snip~
Like his counterpart Rafael Correa in Ecuador, who once taught math to poor Indians while working with the Catholic Salesian Order, Lugo also comes from a religious background. Born into a middle-class family of political activists, his three brothers and uncle were forced into exile under the Stroessner dictatorship. In 1977 he was ordained a priest and enjoyed stints as a schoolteacher and missionary.

The following year Lugo left for Ecuador where he lived with indigenous communities and peasants. The young priest became a believer in so-called Liberation Theology, a school of thought which took shape in Latin America in the 1960s. Recognizing the pressing need for social justice, Liberation Theology challenged the Church to defend the oppressed and the poor.

Falling Afoul of Stroessner

Returning to Paraguay in the early 1980s, Lugo became a rural bishop known for both his political activism and conciliatory skills. It wasnt long before he ran afoul of Stroessners military intelligence. Concerned for his own well being, he departed for Rome to study social science.
More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/kozloff04222008.html
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 06:21 AM
Response to Reply #3
8. "...which is 200 kilometers from the border with Bolivia"!
We have Donald Rumsfeld in a Washington Post op-ed, on 12/1/07, urging "swift action" by the US in support of "friends and allies" in South America. Nine months later, the Bushwhacks were funding/organizing a white separatist insurrection in Bolivia's gas/oil-rich eastern provinces (adjacent to Paraguay), the goal of which was to secede from the national government of leftist Evo Morales and set up a fascist mini-state in control of Bolivia's main gas/oil resources. I suspected at the time that they were counting on a cooperative rightwing government in Paraguay to "swiftly" move US troops from the airbase in Mariscal Estigarribia, Paraguay, across the border (only 200 kilometers!) in support of their "friends and allies"--Bolivia's white separatists. US troops were in Paraguay at the time doing "joint maneuvers"--with a lot of flak on the airwaves about Islamo-drug cartels in the three-corner region. But by September 2008, when the Bolivian plot began to unfold, two things had happened: 1) Paraguay elected its first leftist government ever--that of Fernando Lugo, who opposed the US troops in Paraguay--in summer 2008; and 2) the new South American "common market," UNASUR, was formalized that summer, and provided crucial support to Morales in putting an end to the insurrection and re-establishing peace in Bolivia.

Rafael Correa, president of Ecuador, said they had evidence of a coordinated fascist plot to instigate such civil wars in three countries--Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia. In Ecuador and Venezuela, it would involve the northern oil provinces (adjacent to Colombia), where rightwing politicians openly talk of secession. In fact, earlier in 2008, the US/Colombia dropped ten 500 lb US "smart bombs" on a FARC guerrilla camp just inside Ecuador's northern border (the oil region), nearly starting a war between the US/Colombia and Ecuador/Venezuela. Those bombs (and plane and pilot) likely came from the US military base in Manta, Ecuador--although I think the event was orchestrated out of the US embassy "war room" in Bogota. In both cases--the white separatist insurrection in Bolivia, and this attack on Ecuador's territory and sovereignty--it's possible that we were looking at war systems tests (testing out US/Colombia military coordination, the responses of Ecuador's and Venezuela's militaries, and the regional political responses).

Correa has since evicted the US military from the Manta base (a promise he made to the Ecuadoran people when he was running for office). Morales threw the US ambassador and the DEA out of Bolivia, for collusion with the white separatists. The US "Southern Command"'s options for "lily pad" countries, from which to launch its oil war, are narrowing. This probably explains the rightwing military coup in Honduras more than anything. President Zelaya wanted to convert to the US military base in Honduras into a commercial airport. Bear in mind that every country bordering Honduras has now elected a leftist government (Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala). None of them will cooperate with US aggression in the region. And most of South America has gone leftist (Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela). That leaves only Colombia ($6 BILLION in US military aid to that criminal regime), Peru (very corrupt US "free trade" government, using the "war on drugs" booty to kill indians protesting mining and logging of the Amazon), and maybe Panama (?). And maybe Mexico, although sovereignty is a big deal in Mexico, so even the current rightwing leadership would not like to be dragged into a war against, say, Venezuela and Ecuador.

I also read an analysis of the US military plans in Colombia, which said that the Pentagon wants bases from which it can reach Africa without refueling--in other words, the seven new US military bases are for dominating the "global south." Also, the Pentagon's good ship Lollipop (um, "Comfort") is going up and down the African and South American coasts, dispensing medical aid and "technical assistance," to gain friendly ports and landing sites, and cooperative governments, for future military purposes. But I think Rumsfeld's oil war plan for South America is of primary importance. All that essentially undefended oil, right here in their "own backyard"--in Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba and Brazil!
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LSparkle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 05:29 PM
Response to Original message
2. Guess the BFEE will have to sell their land in Paraguay now ... n/t
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:18 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Paraguay!? ... !Por que no?!
Paraguay? Why not!

It's just a coincidence that Rev Moon moved to Paraguay, on top of all that water.
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:24 PM
Response to Original message
6. Interesting how Reuters characterizes Lugo as the ''socialist President''...
Did someone say: "MOCKINGBIRD" -- cough -- Reuters?

Operation MOCKINGBIRD - The Education Forum

It's no wonder that no where, no how do The People get the time of day, let alone a break.
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lib2DaBone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #6
7.  Very Convenient.....how the War On Drugs provides an excuse...
..for U.S. military troops anywhere in South America.

Just 200KM away.. Bolivia has discovered a large deposit of Lithium... a rare mineral used in making batteries.

I can see the need for U.S. troops to liberate the people of Paraguay.

Cocaine and lithium.. it's a double-dipper.

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