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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 02:56 AM
Original message
Varieties of eating dirt: US, Haiti & Nicaragua
Varieties of eating dirt: US, Haiti & Nicaragua
Monday, 25 January 2010, 3:43 pm
Column: Toni Solo

Varieties of eating dirt: the United States, Haiti and Nicaragua
by Toni Solo, January 22nd 2010

The US government and its international and regional allies view real autonomy and independence for Caribbean nations and for Central and South American countries as a threat. The US government response has been to militarize Latin America and the Caribbean with new bases, principally in Panama and Colombia. Now, President Obama's administration has exploited the catastrophe in Haiti to militarize that country under the pretext of providing security for humanitarian relief operations.

Governments in the region see straight through that pretext to the menace behind it. Within Haiti, the US military occupation enables the US government to suppress any resurgence of the virtually banned, but widely popular, Fanmi Lavalas political movement, Haiti's largest. It also makes less likely a return from his involuntary sojourn in South Africa by Fanmi Lavalas leader, the exiled ex-President Jean Bertrand Aristide.

Cuban and Venezuelan support for vital medical, education and other development cooperation programmes in Haiti puts US government aid to shame. The US occupation is likely to hinder Cuban and Venezuelan development cooperation to Haiti. It also gives the US government another base from which to menace Cuba and Venezuela while warning off other countries in the region anxious to benefit from extremely successful Venezuelan-led development cooperation programmes like Petrocaribe or ALBA (the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas).

History the corporate media cover up

Much comment on the terrifying catastrophe in Port-au-Prince has referred in passing to Haiti's history. Virtually no reports mention that the United States occupied Haiti for almost 20 years between 1915 and 1934. From 1917 to 1919, patriotic Haitians in the north of the country resisted the US occupation under the determined leadership of Charlemagne Peralte. Back then, Peralte wrote,
For four years the Occupation has been insulting us constantly. Each morning it brings us a new offense. The people are poor and the Occupation still oppresses us with taxes.......Lets get rid of those savage people, whose beastly character is evident in the person of their President Wilsontraitor, bandit, trouble maker, and thief.
Peralte was killed when he was betrayed to a US Marines murder squad. With the US government's latest military takeover of Haiti, President Obama follows in the footsteps of President Woodrow Wilson, also a Nobel prize winner. Like the Honduran military coup, Haiti's recent history is a solid refutation of the big lie that the US government promotes democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In the national elections scheduled for early 2011, as in past elections, the Haitian authorities, have deliberately blocked the participation of Fanmi Lavalas. The US government and its allies are also determined not to allow President Aristide to return from the exile imposed by them during the 2004 coup. President Aristide was kidnapped by US military and dumped in the Central African Republic before finding refuge in South Africa.

Western Bloc countries the US, Canada, the European Union and its Pacific allies - deliberately drove Haiti and its people down into the privatized neo-liberal dirt. Now those rich countries' leading politicians lament the Haitian government's inability to respond to the disastrous earthquake. One wonders what they expected. A report by US writer Greg Palast noted that in all of Haiti a country of around 10 million people there were only two fire stations.

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Flatulo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 11:01 AM
Response to Original message
1. We really don't need bases in Haiti to to 'menace' Cuba and Venezuela.
Edited on Mon Jan-25-10 11:03 AM by Flatulo
We can easily annhilate any nation's infrastructure with long-range bombers and cruise missiles. We're currently spending about $500 bil annually to support that kind of military, more than the rest of the world combined.

Remember, we completely and utterly destroyed Iraq in just 3 weeks.

I have to believe that our buildup in Latin America is more of a 'war on drugs' kind of thing. Stupid, I know, but they don't cunsult me on these matters.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I don't agree that on the ground proximity to potential targets is not important.
It is important. Were the US military bases and facilities in Kuwait not important to the invasion of Iraq? Yes, you can bomb a country back to the "Stone Age" from a distance, but that is not usually the object. Also, after they bombed Baghdad, ferociously--slaughtering one hundred thousand innocent people--they then had to invade and occupy, to protect the oil concessions and dibby them out to western corps, and to keep the population subdued while they did so, and, further, to install a US puppet government for this and future uses.

Do you recall how important it was, at one point, in the buildup to the invasion of Iraq, that Turkey denied access to the Iraqi northern border and to Turkish airspace? If the Pentagon had had a military base in Turkey, that problem would have gone away. That is why the Pentagon is ever seeking to place US military bases on foreign soil--as proximate bases of operation for various contingencies including war.

The object in the case of Venezuela would be similar. They certainly don't want to "annihilate" the oil infrastructure in the Gulf of Venezuela and nearby regions. They might "annihilate" Caracas (also on the oil coast--the Caribbean), to destroy the seat of democratic government. Their goal would be to install a puppet government that would give some PR veneer to the oil reserves and facilities being handed to Exxon Mobil--so the profits won't be used to educate Venezuelans, provide health care, diversify the economy and create a strong, progressive, middle class country. Our corps want slaves--a big pool, of illiterate or poorly educated, desperate workers--as in Honduras and Haiti. And they want "free trade for the rich" access to resources such as oil, to take all the profits, and, in the case of oil, to fuel our great war machine. Our corpos and war profiteers want the oil actually very badly--since Iran was denied to them--and they would think nothing of doing to Caracas what they did to Baghdad, but they then have to "hold" Venezuela and for that, they need at least one nearby client state--and Colombia fills the bill perfectly; it's run by vicious fascists and narco-thugs; its military is dependent of US largesse; and it's adjacent to Venezuela.

Brazil would likely deny the US military access to Venezuela's border and its airspace for an attack on Venezuela. Colombia would not. In fact, Colombia is doing the opposite--inviting the US military in, in a big way, ahead of time.

Adjacent corpo-fascist allies (US client states) are very important, strategically--allies who will invite the US military in, and provide a "lily pad" for launching various kinds of attacks on target countries. This is exactly how Honduras was used during the Reagan reign of horrors in Central America. It was the "lily pad" country--and was described as such by the US--for assembling and sending the 'contra' death squads into Nicaragua. The US military did not invade the country (Nicaragua), in that case. The death squads and the CIA and other US efforts did the "trick"--toppled the elected government. But the US military's presence in Honduras, its training of the death squads and of the Honduran military, were essential to that goal. They needed a "lily pad." They now have the same "lily pad"--Honduras--with which to attack--probably by undermining and toppling, and with the use of death squads--all of Venezuela's allies in Central America: Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala (all now with leftist governments) and others. President Mel Zelaya in Honduras proposed converting the US military base at Soto Cano, Honduras, to a commercial airport. That was the first and most important reason that he was toppled by a violent rightwing military coup, and flown out of the country at gunpoint by the US-trained Honduran military with a big assist from the US military at Soto Cano.

They need "lily pads" even moreso for an invasion and war. They can't just bomb. What is the point of that? They have to bomb and invade. To invade they need bases of operation--places to muster forces--prior to securing "forward operating bases" (and airports and harbors) in the country they intend to invade, subdue and control. Without them, they are dependent on air carriers for troops, weapons and equipment such as tanks, or on sea access and big ships. It is generally much more efficient to be on the ground, next door, than to have to transport all this some other way.

In fact, that is exactly how a USAF document described the militarization of Colombia--as a base from which to conduct "full spectrum military operations" throughout the "Southern Command" (Central and South America) including "anti-US countries." (--a doc uncovered by Eva Golinger.)

With this in mind, look at the entire picture of Pentagon assets being put in place, secured or beefed up in Latin America. They form a ring around Venezuela's main oil reserves, facilities and shipping, in the Gulf of Venezuela and in the northern provinces adjacent to Colombia. They include the recently reconstituted US 4th Fleet in the Caribbean, the US military base and port facilities in Honduras, the US military bases on the Dutch islands off Venezuela's oil coast, the US bases in Panama (adj. to Colombia) and the SEVEN new US bases in Colombia (which has a long border along Venezuela's northern oil region). The US/Colombia military agreement includes a current contingent of about 1,500 US troops and 'contractors" (--"just a few hundred military advisors"--a phrase I recall from the early US military buildup in Vietnam), complete diplomatic immunity for US soldiers and US 'contractors,' US military use of seven military bases, and US access to ALL civilian airports and other facilities in Colombia. Further, Colombia recently announced that they are building a new military base on the tip of Guajira peninsula overlooking the Gulf of Venezuela, within 20 miles of the Venezuelan border--a serious provocation to Venezuela--and a base that could be used in the blockade of the Gulf of Venezuela.

Just to give you an example of the use of such war assets--i.e., US military bases on foreign soil and compliant governments: Currently, the Pentagon is using the Dutch islands (Aruba and Curacao) off the Venezuelan coast for illegal spy flights over Venezuelan territory. Proximity saves fuel, among other things. (And our oil corps don't give the US military--or those of us paying for it--any break on fuel; they charge the max and sometimes more.) The bases in Panama would likely be used to net in northern Ecuador, adjacent to Colombia to the south, in a move against Venezuela. Ecuador's northern region is also oil-rich, Ecuador also has a leftist government, and it is a strong ally of Venezuela. Further, the Pentagon has reason to hate Ecuador's leftist government, which threw the US military out of Ecuador this year.

Yet more US military assets would certainly be desireable, if they are going to carry out some plan of aggression against Venezuela. Haiti is only 100 miles off the coast of Cuba. Cuba is a Venezuelan ally. They would like to have more military facilities in proximity to Cuba. They also want to entirely break up the ALBA alliance--a trade alliance established by Venezuela and Cuba and that includes Nicaragua and a number of other small countries and islands, as well as Ecuador--just out of perversity, to deny these small countries any collective economic clout, but also to prevent any cooperation against a US military move against Venezuela.

They have much reason to want to surround Cuba. A base in Haiti furthers that purpose. And I have no doubt at all that this is why they landed so many US troops in Haiti, while delaying the arrival of critically needed medical and other supplies--an action for which the US was criticized by France, Brazil, Venezuela, Doctors Without Borders, the UN Food Program and other aid organizations. I don't believe that that was any snafu--such as occasionally happens in big disasters. I think it was quite deliberate. The US intends to occupy Haiti permanently, using this disaster as the excuse, probably to create a spy base but certainly to prevent the return of Haiti's only legitimate president and restoration of Haiti's democracy. President Aristide (kidnapped and removed from Haiti by force, by the Bushwhacks in 2004) is a leftist and an ally of Venezuela. The US has many corporate/"free trade" and military/strategic reasons for occupying Haiti.

I was a young person, just becoming politically conscious, in the early 1960s, and was a college student during the first half the Vietnam War. I had just become of age to vote in 1964. I voted for the "peace candidate"--LBJ. And what I got for that vote was 2 million Southeast Asians and over 55,000 US soldiers dead. While LBJ was advertising himself as "the peace candidate," he was secretly arranging for the phony "Gulf on Tonkin" incident and a massive US military buildup in Vietnam. He was speaking peace while intending war--one of the most senseless and bloody slaughters our country has ever perpetrated.

So, maybe I'm overly-sensitive on the issue of sneaky US military buildups. On the other hand, maybe I'm old enough, experienced enough and wise enough to recognize one when I see one. This smells like Vietnam to me. "Just a few military advisors" US military bases, access to all civilian airports, a new base positioned for a naval blockade, a rightwing US puppet government, the target country's capitol and main resource ringed by US military assets...

You tell me what all this is FOR. The 'war on drugs'? Don't make me laugh.

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Downwinder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 02:38 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Any "Drug War" is about distribution and control. n/t
Edited on Mon Jan-25-10 02:39 PM by Downwinder
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Flatulo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. I agree - drug wars are BS. They've become self-sustaining make work programs for
armies of federal cops.
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Flatulo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 11:05 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. You've written and read much more about Latin America than I have,
so I can't refute your case. However, the US has bases in something like 136 countries. Also, I've been reading about Chinese moves in Africa and Latin/South America to secure access to resources. Are the US moves just force projection to counter the Chinese moves, or do you really believe that we would move militariy against Venezuela?

I find it hard to believe, especially with the current administration. What possible pretext could be used to seize Venezuela's oil fields?
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 03:02 PM
Response to Original message
4. Latin American leaders see right through this because
the State Department gets more ham handed every day.

During his inauguration speech, Evo recounted how he was visited by them in 2002 and told that he was not to associate with Cuba, Venezuela and Iran.
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