Washington’s role in the current conflict between Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador

Colombia´s attack on the FARC and violation of Ecuadorian sovereignty on Saturday March 1 is the continuation and escalation of an on-going war that has
persisted in Colombia for 40 years due to US military funding and training of Armed
Forces in Colombia.

By Cory Fischer-Hoffman - Upside Down World
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Monday,
03 March 2008, Caracas, Venezuela -- On Saturday March 1st Colombia's Air
Force carried out a military operation in Ecuador,
violating the sovereignty of its western neighbor nation. The
bombing resulted in at least 17 deaths. One of the people reported
to be among the victims is Raúl Reyes, commander and spokesperson for
the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC). This attack
is the continuation and escalation of an on-going war in Colombia that has
persisted for 40 years due to US military funding and training of Armed
Forces in Colombia. The United States has a long history of
intervention in Latin America, ranging from military occupations, to
financial support for the overthrow of democratically elected presidents to
economic sabotage to military trainings of state and private death
squads
. In Colombia, the United States
has taken particular interest in the oil, land, water, and agricultural
resources as well as the ports and profitable cocaine
trade
, and more recently Colombia's strategic
location in relation to Venezuela and Ecuador.

The United
States supported and funded a coup attempt in April 2002 in Venezuela
, temporarily taking democratically elected President Hugo Chávez out
of power. While Venezuela has continued to sell oil to the United
States, Chávez has taken a pro-sovereignty stance, demanding that the United
States not intervene in their national politics. The Bush Administration has made a
series of aggressive statements towards Venezuela
, working to support the political opposition that launched the coup
attempt and is now engaged in tactics of economic sabotage with the aims of
destabilizing the Venezuelan economy. In addition to rich natural
resources, Venezuela is offering an alternative to the US-led neo-liberal
development model by proposing a "Socialism
of the 21st Century."
The Unites
States government uses its military power, technology, and wealth to threaten
and to impose its culture, politics, and economies on other
nations. When those nations resist, they are branded as
terrorists, enemies or communists. Since September 11, 2001 the US
government has used "the war on terrorism" to advance their aims of acquiring
more oil, land and resources.

With the death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan rising every day, and a complicit media, which
is forbidden by law to show the coffins of US soldiers who were killed in Iraq,
the US people have become desensitized to the death of those labeled as
terrorists. The US is employing its classic logic; that in the hunt for
"terrorists" there are no rules. They have imposed this onto
Colombians for many years, fueling an internal civil war, and providing the
military funding and training necessary to target the FARC, the ELN, and to
terrorize the Colombian people. Colombia's civil war plays a destabilizing force within the entire region and with the
recent attack of Ecuador, that process has been escalated
rapidly. It is important to emphasize that Colombia has violated Ecuador's
national sovereignty and has for all intents and purposes brought its war to Ecuador. In
response Ecuador has
withdrawn its ambassador from Colombia
and
Venezuela has sent tanks to the border. While bombing another sovereign
nation is standard behavior for the US government, this military operation is
unprecedented and marks a calculated escalation of tensions within the
region.

Each discontent expressed
by the US
government towards the Chávez Administration
is armed with the threat of invasion. While many
people that I know in the US simply roll their eyes at another nauseating
comment from Bush; here, they prepare for invasion. Even within
the anti-war movement, many people could not fathom the US being involved in
further military operations, as the Armed Forces are currently over-stretched
in their wars and occupations in the Middle East. For some time now, many
analysts have suggested that US
interventionism in Venezuela would come by means of Colombia
; a state that has been led by pro-US regimes to protect US interests
for resources. This seemed like a practical way for the US to play
a destabilizing role without having to send US Forces, but instead send US
trained Colombian Forces; both state and private paramilitary.

Chávez has also faced the
bind of a huge, mostly unguarded western border with Colombia, in which the
FARC, the Armed Forces, and paramilitaries have crossed into Venezuela,
bringing their internal conflict to Venezuela's
door
. Chávez has condemned the
violence in Colombia, and its pouring onto Venezuelan soil. Based
on Colombia's attack of Ecuador, Chávez has sent tanks to protect its border
with Colombia. Let us not forget that in the United
States there are troops at the US-Mexico border
, and not because the United States is responding to a military
attack, but because the US government and media has attempted to equate immigration with terrorism.

While the US projects its
"war on terror" towards the immigration community within its borders, it
extends the war throughout the world, in an attempt to justify its
military actions for more land, resources, and power. With the recent
tensions that Exxon-Mobile has created in Venezuela, by claiming rights to an inflated
amount of funds from Venezuela's state oil company and furthermore,
initiating various international lawsuits, resulting in the freezing of $300
million of PDVSA's assets, US-Venezuelan relations have become even more
tense. This action taken by US company Exxon-Mobile is a further escalation against Venezuela; representing not only the
militaristic but the economic tactics used in an effort to discredit and
destabilize Venezuela.

Now, while Colombia has
attacked Ecuador, provoking a collapse in diplomatic relations and placing
the region at risk of a war, the headlines in the United States read: "Chávez
sends forces to Colombia's border."
This
is a calculated attempt to create the image of Venezuela as the aggressor in
the conflict, when the clear aggressor is the United States, who trains and
funds the Colombian Army, not only in counter-insurgency and terror but now
as an imperialist army, who has violated the sovereignty of its neighbor nation and created
grave tensions within the region. The US government cannot pretend
to be an objective observer in this conflict.