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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 11:41 AM
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Observations on Latin America

The recent events in Honduras are not isolated, but rather part of a conservative counterattack taking shape in Latin America. For some time, the right has been rebuilding in Latin America; hosting conferences, sharing experiences, refining their message, working with the media, and building ties with allies in the United States. This is not the lunatic rightwing fringe, but rather the mainstream right with powerful allies in the middle class that used to consider themselves center, but have been frightened by recent left electoral victories and the rise of social movements. With Obama in the White House and Clinton in the State Department they have now decided to act. Bush/Cheney and company did not give them any coverage and had become of little use to them. A "liberal" in the White House gives conservative forces the kind of coverage they had hoped for. It is no coincidence that Venezuelan opposition commentators applauded the naming of Clinton to the State Department, claiming that they now had an ally in the administration. The old cold-warrior axiom that the best antidote against the left is a liberal government in Washington gains new meaning under Obama with Clinton at the State Department.

Coup leaders in Honduras and their allies continue to play for time. Washington's continuing vacillation is allowing them to exhaust this option, but so are right-wing governments in Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Peru. After all, this coup is not just about Honduras but also about leftwing success in Latin America, of which Honduras was the weakest link. It is increasingly becoming obvious that there is no scenario under which elites in Honduras will accept Zelaya back. I do not think that they have a plan "B" on this matter and this speaks to the kind of advice they are getting from forces in the U.S. and the region. If Zelaya comes back, the Supreme Court, the Congress, the military and the church all lose credibility and it opens the door for the social and political movements in Honduras to push for radical change that conservative forces would find more difficult to resist.

But Honduras is only part of the equation. Colombia's decision to accept as many as 7 new U.S. military bases (3 airbases, including Palanquero, 2 army bases, and 2 naval bases one on the Pacific and one on the Caribbean), dramatically expands the U.S. military's role in the country and throughout the region. The Pentagon has been eyeing the airbase at Palanquero with its complex infrastructure and extensive runway for some time. This is a very troubling sign that will alter the balance of forces in the region, and speaks volumes about how the Obama administration plans to respond to change in Latin America. A possible base on the Caribbean coast of Colombia would also offer the recently reactivated U.S. Fourth Fleet, a convenient harbor on the South American mainland. In short, Venezuela would be literally encircled. However, Venezuela is not the only objective. It also places the Brazilian Amazon and all its resources within striking distance of the U.S. military, as well as the much sought after Guarani watershed. After public criticism from Bachelet of Chile, Lula of Brazil and Chvez of Venezuela, Uribe refused to attend the August 10 meeting of UNASUR, the South American Union, where he would be expected to explain the presence of the U.S. bases. The meeting of the UNASUR security council was scheduled to take up the issue of the bases and Bolivia's suggestion for a unified South American response to drug trafficking. Instead, Uribe has launched his own personal diplomacy traveling to 7 different countries in the region to explain his actions. In addition, Obama's National Security Advisor James Jones is in Brazil trying to justify the U.S. position on the bases.

Continued>>>
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/08/08-1
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 12:02 PM
Response to Original message
1. What will it take to stop US imperialism?
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subcomhd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 12:29 PM
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2. K&R n/t
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 12:55 PM
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3. Some interesting info in this about UNASUR--for instance, that Uribe has refused to attend
the August security meeting. When UNASUR was formalized last summer, and Brazil proposed a "common defense," Colombia balked. But the other leaders very much wanted Colombia to remain a member of UNASUR, to try to achieve unanimous South American solidarity at least on some issues. (Colombia and Peru are the only problem countries in this respect.) So Chile's Michele Batchelet went to work and met with Colombian Defense Minister Santos (South America's 'Donald Rumsfeld,' in my opinion). She talked Colombia into joining the "common defense" committee, but Colombia--all alone in this assertion--laid down conditions for Colombia's participation. One was that military alliance with the U.S. be permitted. Colombia also insisted on limiting military cooperation among South American countries to mere training exercises and some matters of weapons acquisition. I was worried about this at the time--that Colombia, a US client state, and one of our war profiteers' greatest advocates and beneficiaries, would significantly retard the integration of South America military forces that may be needed to fend of US/Colombia aggression. I am quite certain that a plan for Oil War II-South America exists, and we are seeing what looks like assets being put in place for this war. South American leaders would be fools not to be prepared for it. And, indeed, it was Brazil that proposed a "common defense" in the first place. Brazil's president said that the reconstitution of the US 4th Fleet in the Caribbean poses a threat to Brazil's oil. (Everybody knows that it is a threat to Venezuela.)

I can also see why they wanted Colombia to be a member of UNASUR, and also why Chavez has, on several occasions, set Colombia's treachery aside, tried to make peace with Uribe, and pursued mutual infrastructure development (such as a railroad). They are trying to appeal to Colombian pride, as a South American country, and create friendly ties, and also to bolster Colombian civil authority as opposed to the military (which has $6 BILLION in US military funding--and one of the worst human rights records on earth). There is a very real threat that Defense Minister Santos will become president of Colombia. (I use the word "become" rather than "get elected," because elections in Colombia are neither fair nor transparent; if you raise your head in a leftist cause in Colombia, it could well get shot off.) Bad as Uribe is--and he is very bad--Santos is worse. Santos is chafing at the bit to invade Ecuador and Venezuela, topple their democratic governments, kill all the leftists, install dictators like himself, and turn the oil over to US corporate predators, while raking profit off the top for himself and Colombia's rich elite.

Interesting that Colombia is our biggest ally in South America, ain't it?

The pre-war situation is complicated--nay, Byzantine--and especially hard to read within our own government. We have Obama's stated policy of peace, respect and cooperation in Latin America. We have John McCain's US taxpayer-funded "International Republican Institute" pouring $43 million into rightwing groups in Honduras (Eva Golinger's FOIA research)--and God only knows what other US funds are lining the pockets of every rightwing group in Latin America. We have old "death squad" hands like John Negroponte advising Clinton. We have Bushwhack assets all over the place--in diplomatic posts in Latin America (one of the worst being Brownfield in Bogota)--and no doubt in the Pentagon and the CIA. We have US war profiteers lusting for more "war on drugs" (ha, ha, ha) "markets" (sucker countries). We have the invisible economy (drug lords funding many Colombian leaders). And we have a genuine, huge, leftist democracy movement having swept South America, and half of Central America--a movement with massive support, a well-organized movement, an entirely peaceful movement, and one whose time has come. This movement is devoted to, a) social justice, b) the independence and sovereignty of Latin American countries, and c) something very new, and probably a determinant of the outcome--strong economic and political cooperation among Latin American countries.

Our corpo/fascists--war profiteers, corporate predators and their bought-and-paid for politicians--want fervidly to smash this leftist democracy movement to pieces. But they have the American people, broke and weary of war they never wanted, to contend with. They have whatever peacemakers who manage to get a word in edgewise (Obama?) to contend with. And, of course, they have the people of Latin America to contend with, whom they can't just sweep away with the lying phrase "Chavez the dictator." That is bullshit and they know it. They will have to kill lots and lots of people to return Latin America to its former condition of servitude, with US dictators in charge. So either they have to be very brutal--which they are perfectly capable of (look at Iraq!)--or more clever, for instance, by fomenting local secessionist movements in the oil rich provinces of Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia--a covert operation that is in progress. That way, when they have created some local "patriots" and "freedom fighters" to defend, then they can--as Donald Rumsfeld himself advised in a 12/1/07 op-ed in the Washington Post, entitled, "The Smart Way to Defeat Tyrants Like Chavez"--take "swift action" in support of "friends and allies" in South America, and they can rely on our corpo/fascist media to help create this illusion, so that the American people are not so much fooled as they are confused and feeling powerless, as the US military is once again hijacked for a corporate resource war.

They couldn't have Iran's oil. (China and Russia, and the saner elements among our top military brass were likely the bars to that.) What about all this oil in our own hemisphere, free for the taking--except for a few slaughters here and there? You bet they want it. And you can bet they have a couple of plans to get it, all of which involve the bases in Colombia, the base in Honduras and the 4th Fleet.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Hoping ever day Latin America's newly forming strength and solidarity will be sufficient
to withstand what the fascists will scheme to do get reseize control of their countries, and regain control over their populations through planting new ruthless puppet dictators so removed from any moral sensibility they won't mind setting up new torture centers, and, like Micheletti, forming new death squads, and, like Colombia's Alvaro Uribe or possible new President Juan Manuel Santos, targeting all the new potential leaders, human rights workers, potential crusading journalists for assassination.

~~~~~~~~~

Would like to point to a fallen Colombian beloved personality, Jaime Garzon.

You know a country's rigid grip on power is complete by the time they even have their only well known political comedian, Jaime Garzon, slaughtered by assassins, who followed him to a stop sign and mow him down while he waits at a red light, after a season of terrorizing him with death threats first.

Since he was murdered, not one comedian has dared to come forward to follow in his footsteps. No political comedy in Colombia AT ALL, apparently.
COLOMBIA: Jaime Garzns Murder; No Digging Allowed Part 2
By Constanza Vieira*

BOGOT, Jun 30 (IPS) - Its always the same: the TV audience is grief-stricken and indignant that he is no longer with us, but they continue to laugh along with him. Beloved Colombian comic Jaime Garzn was assassinated on Aug. 13, 1999, but he is still alive on the small screen.

On each anniversary of his death, the TV newscasts replay the biting political parodies that made him one of Colombia's best-loved television personalities.

The day he was killed, people in Bogot wept in the streets, even hardened middle-aged men who were taught that crying is a sign of weakness.

A decade later, the popular wisdom is that "they killed him because he told the truth."

Garzn was shot in his car by two gunmen on a motorcycle near the Radionet station where he worked, on the west side of Bogot.
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=47467

Sieg Heil, mein Fhrer! - La verdad de lvaro Uribe Velez
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5EXlNWO63I&NR=1

JAIME GARZN: Batera antiarea colombiana
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zLKrTB53wY&NR=1

JAIME GARZN: Profesor Mockus
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZbrkXRK2c8&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgnpj8LlUe0
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 04:26 PM
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5. +!. n/t
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