Aug 17, 2009
The Obama administration recently announced it had worked out a new agreement with Colombia to allow U.S. forces to use seven Colombian military bases and increase U.S. military personnel in the country.
During the past ten years, the U.S. has spent billions of dollars arming and reinforcing the Colombian military. Pretending to fight against drug production and trafficking, the U.S.-backed Colombian military has been carrying out a war to suppress opposition to the government. In rural areas, attacking anti-government guerilla forces, the military has brutalized and murdered many thousands of civilians. An estimated four million people have been driven from their homes, some of them into surrounding countries. In urban areas, trade unionists and others opposed to the government have been murdered. At the same time, drug production and the drug trade have continued to flourish under the protection of the military.
Recently, Colombia’s military claimed the guerilla forces are using safe havens in neighboring countries. President Obama backed up this murderous military saying, “I think Colombia has some legitimate concern about the [guerillas] operating from over the border. I hope that could be resolved in conversations with its neighbors.”
These threats have alarmed the leaders of neighboring Venezuela, Ecuador and others in Latin America, who understand that the new U.S. agreement with Colombia could open the door to a wider war in the region. In response, Obama said, “We have no intention of sending large numbers of additional troops into Colombia, and we have every interest in seeing Colombia and its neighbors operate peacefully.”
From long experience, the people of Latin America know otherwise. The U.S. has always acted as if the governments of Latin America are there to serve the interests of U.S. capital, and to suffocate even the slightest expression of popular aspirations. Among other things, consider these U.S. actions:
• The U.S. engineered the military overthrow of the government of Guatemala in 1954.
• The CIA directed the attempt to overthrow the regime of Castro in Cuba in 1961.
• The U.S. military invaded the Dominican Republic in 1965 and overthrew its elected government.
• The CIA engineered the 1973 military overthrow of President Allende of Chile and the bloody repression that followed.
• The U.S. military directed and paid for the Contras fighting against the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua during the 1980s.
• U.S. forces invaded Grenada in 1983, toppling its government.
• The U.S. invaded Panama in 1989, replacing its president with a U.S. flunky.
• The U.S. financed the death squads in El Salvador during the 1980s and early 1990s.
Obama may think he can fool people in the U.S. about the peaceful intentions of the United States. But the peoples of Latin America know better. Their memory is filled with the violent acts of U.S. imperialism.