SouthCom: Control of Latin America
Since the 19th century the United States have considered Latin America as their zone of influence (Monroe Doctrine), but it wasn’t until 1903 that SouthCom was created. The aim was to secure the railway strip connecting the Atlantic with the Pacific in order to build a canal. Washington secretly encouraged the secession of the Department of Panama from the Republic of Colombia and sent troops to "guarantee the security of the new State"!
During the Cold War, SouthCom at first overtly supported right-wing military dictatorships, then switched discreetly to orchestrating the repression of marxist guerrilla mouvements under the guise of the ’war on drugs’. This development generated a progressive structural reform. At present, SouthCom operates in close collaboration with numerous US agencies and not simply under the umbrella of the Defense Department.
In the future, SouthCom is expected to expand as and when US forces are withdrawn from the Great Middle East and to concentrate its efforts on controlling the oil fields in the Caribbean region. In the event of a showdown with Venezuela and Cuba, Washington has reactivated its Fourth Fleet (2008), has toppled the Government of Honduras which intended to shut down the surveillance base at Soto Cano (2009) and rented seven military bases in Colombia (2009).
In light of Evo Morales’ May Day expulsion of USAID from Bolivia for seeking to undermine his government, here is a look back to the Harry Truman administration’s work to undermine Bolivia’s transformative National Revolution in 1952. "This history’s legacy lives on; Washington’s power is woven into the fabric of Bolivian politics, from the dreams and nightmares of the National Revolution, into the MAS era of today," argues Benjamin Dangl.
Under Barack Obama’s watch, Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo is the second Latin American leftist president to have been deposed from office in a scenario orchestrated by his political opponents and very close friends of the U.S. Embassy in Asunción. Nil Nikandrov predicts that this pattern of constitutional "soft" coups against defiant leaders - successfully tested by Washington in Honduras and, now, in Paraguay - will be extensively replicated in other countries over the coming years. The insidious interference by Uncle Sam in the domestic affairs of the region will apparently not be relegated to the ash heap of history any time soon.
This week, U.S. President Barack Obama announced his choice for the State Department’s top Latin America post. An outspoken critic of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Obama’s nominee, Roberta Jacobson, recently told a U.S. Senate subcommittee that she was "particularly concerned" with the Venezuelan president because he "continues to disrespect the legitimate role of democratic institutions, restrict freedom, including by closing press outlets and uses the judiciary to persecute political (...)
With unbounded hypocrisy, the United States shrieks “democracy!” at the world while denying Haitians every political right of citizenship in their own land. Having deposed and kidnapped the popularly elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in 2004, the U.S. now pretends not to be the main party standing in the way of his return from South African exile, ahead of the scheduled 20 March run-off elections. Meanwhile, former dictator “Baby Doc” Duvalier re-entered unimpeded on an expired Haitian passport.
Saban Center for Middle East Policy
December 10, 2010
Thank you. Thank you very much. I appreciate the introduction, but nothing is imminent – (laughter) – so far as I know. But it is a great pleasure for me to be back here and part of this very important forum.
And I appreciate your introduction. I appreciate the friendship that you and Cheryl have given to me and to my family. You’ve been friends for many years. And certainly, as anyone who knows (...)
Expanding his recent analysis of the situation in Ecuador to the rest of Latin America, James Petras’ provocative assessment shows that facts and figures do not sustain the widely-held dogma that much of the continent has veered to the left. With the exception of Venezuela, no structural changes have taken place nor are being envisaged. Latin America has embarked on diversified roads to a "smarter" brand of capitalism, but none of which leads to socialism.
The debate over the nature of the recent turmoil in Ecuador is still kindling. A comprehensive analysis of the 30 September events is offered by Prof. James Petras, according to whom it was a coup in every respect, converging with the U.S. strategy of isolating Venezuela by targeting the "weakest link in the chain". President Correa’s domestic problems due to a series of ill-conceived policies was Washington’s cue to send in its local minions for a trial run.
The uprising by putschist elements of the Ecuadoran police against President Rafael Correa confirms an alarming report about the infiltration of the Ecuadoran police by U.S. intelligence services released in 2008, which indicated that many members of the police corps developed a “dependency” on the U.S. Embassy.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said that the Unites States “provides million dollars to far-right wing movements to destabilize the governments of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA)”.
"We must demand the US government to keep its old imperialist hands out of this continent," Chávez said in Buenos Aires, where he attended an extraordinary meeting of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), which was urgently convened following a police revolt in Ecuador.
The Venezuelan (...)
On 1 July 2010, Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly authorized the U.S. military to undertake policing duties in Costa Rica, based on an expired “Cooperation Agreement.” There is only one small problem: Costa Rica abolished its armed forces in 1949 and since then has had no standing army, national or foreign. Lawyer and Right to Peace advocate, Zamora Bolaños, analyses the repercussions of this overturn - officially to fight drug trafficking - for his country and its ramifications for the region.
After years of fruitless attempts by Washington to unseat Hugo Chavez through "softer" methods, Barack Obama - observes Nil Nikandrov - has decided to attain his goal by force, resorting to the militarization of the region. An analogy could be made between Venezuela’s situation and Washington’s stepped-up hounding of Iran after the abortive "green revolution" aiming to destabilize Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - threats to which the Iranian and Venezuelan Presidents have responded by partnering together.
With just a 30 percent turnout, the election of new Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos - one of Washington’s closest disciples in Latin America - was hailed as a "victory for democracy" by major western media outlets. However, they blithely omitted to report on Santos’ presumed role in the killings of over two thousand people while he was Defence Minister, and on his close involvement with death squads and narco traffickers. At the same time, Venezuela’s efforts to forge a more just society are relentlessly berated by the same media.
This sobering overview of post-neo-liberal Latin America raises the question as to whether the policies pursued by populist and social democratic governments in the region have actually been designed to favour their electoral base. Recent strikes and demonstrations in several of these countries, fueled by the absence of substantive structural changes, are definite signs that their credibility and “progressive” identity is beginning to wear thin. James Petras wonders whether we have fallen prey to the ‘theater’ of a self-described “new left” and its “anti-neo-liberal” rhetoric.
I am standing here today, keenly aware that the Korean Peninsula is facing a critical turning point.
My fellow citizens,
The Cheonan was sunk by a surprise North Korean torpedo attack. Again, the perpetrator was North Korea. Their attack came at a time when the people of the Republic of Korea were enjoying their well-earned rest after a hard day’s work. Once again, North Korea violently shattered our peace.
The sinking of the Cheonan constitutes a military provocation (...)
Organized political movements advocating independence of Puerto Rico have existed since the mid-19th century. This month their eyes will be riveted on Washington as the U.S. Congress reviews legislation proposing a change in the island’s status. This year marks the anniversary of the assassination of Puerto Rican independence icon Filiberto Ojeda Rios at the hands of the FBI. Leader of an armed resistance group called the Macheteros, or the Boricua People’s Army, Ojeda Ríos was a freedom fighter who used violence in response to the violence of American military outposts in his country.
In this age of deception and spin, nowhere quite like in Colombia have words been turned on their head to mask the crude reality of violence, oppression and injustice fomented by the US-controlled government of Alvaro Uribe. Professor James Petras exposes the lies, noting that the first casualty of state terror is the corruption of language, the invention of euphemisms, where words mean their opposite and slogans cover great crimes.
A resurgence of US-backed militarism threatens peace and democracy in Latin America. By 2005, US military aid to Latin America had increased by thirty-four times the amount spent in 2000. In a marked shift in US military strategy, secretive training of Latin American military and police personnel that used to just take place at the notorious School of the Americas, in Fort Benning, Georgia—including torture and execution techniques—is now decentralized in Budapest, Hungary; Bangkok, Thailand; Gaborone, Botswana; and Roswell, New Mexico.
A newly established industrial superpower, owner of the seventh largest oil reserves of the world and the world’s largest area of natural biodiversity in the Amazon, Brazil is also poised to emerge as a new military power. Unquestionably, Brazil is now a big league player. In the decade in which it begins its ascent, the country is so important that it is forcing its main competitor in the region, the United States, to redesign its foreign policy to take into consideration Brazil’s prominence, a tactic that might destabilize all of Latin America.
Speech delivered by Bruno Rodriguez Parilla, minister of foreign affairs of the Republic of Cuba, at the high level segment of the thirteenth session of the Human rights council
March 3, 2010
It took 60 million deadly casualties during World War II to develop the concept of human rights, particularly the right to life and human dignity.
Much progress has been made in developing the human rights concept; very little has been done to guarantee its implementation. (...)
Since the 1982 war against the United Kingdom, Argentina has attempted to settle the Falkland/Malvinas Islands sovereignty dispute through diplomatic channels. But news that a British company has launched oil exploration in the area has brought bi-lateral relations to a new low. The U.K. should be reminded that the balance of power has shifted, as Latin America has steadily moved towards higher regional integration and greater independence from Washington and its allies. As Hugo Chávez bluntly put it to H.M. Queen Elizabeth II: ’The time for empires is over!’
On 16 April 2009, the special service unit of the Bolivian police stormed into the hotel "Las Americas" in Santa Cruz, capturing a group of paramilitary operatives. Three mercenaries were killed during the attack: Croatian commando leader Eduardo Rózsa Flores (in the photo), Irish national Michael Dwyer, and Árpád Magyarosi of dual rumanian-hungarian nationality. Two other mercenaries were captured and incarcerated at the central prison of La Paz: Bolivian national Mario Francisco Tadic (...)
The United States military has set up camp in a posh social club where Haiti’s upper crust used to play golf until its walls were destroyed by the hurricane.
At first, the US army distributed some food to the Haitians remaining on the premises but now, according to Officer-in-charge Jeff Zabala, the army is busy protecting the golf course and its equipment to keep the Haitians out.
With each passing day the militarization of the island is gaining momentum, and the Haitian population is (...)
Behind the smoke, rubble and unending drama of human tragedy in the hapless Caribbean country, a drama is in full play for control of what geophysicists believe may be one of the world’s richest zones for hydrocarbons-oil and gas outside the Middle East, possibly orders of magnitude greater than that of nearby Venezuela. While bringing to light the geostrategic honeypot that Haiti has turned into, Engdahl also states his case against the advocates of the ‘Peak Oil’ theory.
U.S. aggressiveness towards the Venezuelan, Bolivian, and Ecuadorian governments has increased in response to diminishing U.S. influence over the Latin American and Caribbean area, which Washington has been blaming on Hugo Chávez, in particular, and also on Cuba ... but Cuba is a much older story.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) urges that its cargo planes carrying essential medical and surgical material be allowed to land in Port-au-Prince in order to treat thousands of wounded waiting for vital surgical operations. Priority must be given immediately to planes carrying lifesaving equipment and medical personnel.
Despite guarantees, given by the United Nations and the US Defense Department, an MSF cargo plane carrying an inflatable surgical hospital was blocked (...)
George W. Bush, massive military deployment, logistical snags and slow aid delivery are evocative of the Hurricane Katrina debacle. Cynthia McKinney draws attention to the construction of the U.S. fifth-largest embassy in the world in Port-au-Prince, the discovery of oil resources in Haiti, the existence of decade-old plans to exploit Haiti’s deep water ports for oil-related activities. From the beginning, in fact, U.S. assistance to Haiti has looked more like an invasion than a humanitarian relief operation.
Geography and bad luck are only partly to blame for Haiti’s tragedy. Haiti was born of slavery and revolution, declaring independence from France on 1 January 1804. In exchange for diplomatic recognition, France forced the new republic to pay enormous reparations. Ever since, Haiti has been trapped in a spiral of crippling debt and exploitation through decades of US occupations and policies combined with strangling IMF-World Bank diktats. The fundamentals of the Haitian human tragedy can hardly be pinned on nature.
Good morning everybody. I’ve directed my administration to launch a swift, coordinated and aggressive effort to save lives and support the recovery in Haiti.
The losses that have been suffered in Haiti are nothing less than devastating, and responding to a disaster of this magnitude will require every element of our national capacity — our diplomacy and development assistance; the power of our military; and, most importantly, the compassion of our country. And this morning, I’m joined by (...)
Debunking the Islamic Trail
The true responsibility for international terrorism
The United States, Germany, Canada, Israel and the United Kingdom launched "Operation Jericho"
Washington and Paris overthrow Aristide
South America under threat