The US Has Lost Control: Latin America Has “Created its Own Neighbourhood”

The drums of war are once again beginning to sound, as US imperialism steps up its propaganda attack on Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution.

drums of war are once again beginning to sound, as US imperialism steps
up its propaganda attack on Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution.

The new offensive has centred on the supposed
documents found on the laptops retrieved from the site of the illegal
military assault by Colombia that massacred over 20 people at a
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) campsite inside Ecuador
in early March. This is despite clear evidence of Colombian government
interference with the laptops before handing them over, which many
accept would rule such evidence as illegitimate.

On May 16, the Venezuelan government denounced as a
"provocation" the incursion of 60 Colombian soldiers into Venezuelan
territory, intercepted 800 metres over the border. This occurred at the
same time as the US Navy has decided to reactivate, after 58 years, its
Fourth Fleet to patrol Latin American waters.


The Interpol report released on May 15 verified that
the material allegedly found on the "magical" laptops that somehow
survived the intense bombing of the FARC camp backs up Colombian and US
claims of links between the guerrillas and the Venezuelan government.

The day before, speaking to a group of uniformed
soldiers, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned that "Colombia is
launching a threat of war at us". He described Colombia's proposal to
establish a US military base on its Venezuelan border as an act of

Chavez used the opportunity to insist that "the
Colombian government will surely announce tomorrow that the documents
retrieved from [FARC negotiator killed in the attack] Raul Reyes'
computer are authentic and, therefore, Chavez supports terrorism", he

Following the Interpol announcement, Chavez stated
that the Venezuelan government would revise diplomatic, economic and
political relations with Colombia.

Tension between the two countries boiled over
following Colombia's illegal incursion onto Ecuadorian soil. Ecuador
and Venezuela both broke relations and set troops to their respective
Colombian borders.

In the immediate aftermath, several meetings of the
Organization of American States and the Group of Rio, comprised of most
of the countries of Latin America, declared their rejection of
Colombia's actions, which were backed only by the US.

While a clear blow to Washington's war plans in the region, recent events show that imperialism's offensive has not ended.

Lost control

Eva Golinger, a US-Venezuelan lawyer who has
dedicated herself to exposing US intervention in Venezuela and is the
author Chavez vs Bush, explained to Green Left Weekly that behind these
events was the fact that the US "have lost control in this region, and
this is something that is incredible threatening for the US empire".

"They are seeking out a way to divide and create
conflict in the region", said Golinger "in order to impede integration
in the region".

"The backyard of the US has gone; it's created its own neighbourhood, and the US isn't part of it", commented Golinger.

The events in Ecuador occurred only weeks before the
second meeting of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), one of
the numerous initiatives of the Venezuelan government aimed towards
increasing Latin American integration.

For Golinger, this latest phase of the campaign
against Chavez — which intensified several years ago with statements
such as those of US Secretary of State Condelezza Rice of the need to
create an international "united front" against Venezuela — can be
linked to the steps being promoted by Chavez for a humanitarian accord
between the FARC and the Colombian government.

Last September, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe
invited Chavez to act as a mediator in the humanitarian accords and
then in November "unilaterally cut off his role with no important
reason to terminate", Golinger explained.

Golinger argued that the US-backed Colombian regime
did not want Chavez to continue in his role, as it saw that he was
actually making progress towards the release of FARC-held prisoners —
"which was going to look good for Chavez, good for [Venezuela's
revolutionary] process, and bad for the US, bad for the Colombian

According to Golinger, the policy of Colombian
government was never to promote a serious negotiation to release
hostages and "give the FARC some kind of political platform in the
country". She argued it was always a manouevre aimed at working towards
the goal of "eliminating the FARC".

Demonstrating his position on the internal conflict,
Uribe announced the extradiction of 14 warlords involved with
right-wing Colombian paramilitaries that were facing charges in
Colombia to the US. There, they will not face the charges of murder
against them in Colombia, but merely drug trafficking.

"What was extradited was the truth", Teresita
Gaviria, a leader of the Mothers of La Candelaria that represents the
families of more than 530 victims of the paramilitaries, told the
Christian Science Monitor on May 15.

Aiming to put a halt to the humanitarian exchange
process, which was a direct threat to the continuation of Plan Colombia
— the US's project of the militarisation of the region under the guise
of fighting "narco-terrorists" — the Colombian government carried out
its attack on Ecuadorian soil that killed Reyes, the main contact point
not only for the Venezuelan but also the French government in its
attempts to secure the release of hostages, specifically
French-Colombian prisoner Ingrid Betancourt.

Struggle for peace

While communication with the FARC was severed with
the murder of its chief negotiator, Chavez announced on May 14, in a
telephone call to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, that he promised to
"continue to do everything possible" to continue to proceed towards
finding a political solution to the conflict.

On his May 11 Alo Presidente weekly show, Chavez
warned that Colombia might be trying to generate a conflict with
Venezuela in order to take the focus off the ongoing "para-politics"
scandal inside Colombia.

Venezuelanalysis.com reported the following day,
"Since 2006, many government officials and close allies of President
Uribe have been indicted for suspicions of colluding with armed
paramilitary forces. As many as 33 lawmakers, and most recently
President Uribe's cousin Mario Uribe Escobar, are currently in jail
awaiting trial."

Golinger pointed out that there is not only the
issue of Uribe's problems but also the fact that current US president
George W Bush is in his last year of power. "As we get into the final
days of Bush we are going to see more desperate moves from Washington
to let Bush go out with a bang … he would like to have some type of
success, given Iraq has been such a failure, and Latin America has
always been a kind of easy scapegoat of the US government."

Asked if the November US presidential elections
could signal a change in Venezuela-US relations, Golinger replied: "I
don't see much chance of change for the moment. I think that until
Venezuela is able to somehow get its view across and get accurate
information to US public opinion on a massive level, on a mainstream
level, there's not going to be much change.

"I think all of the candidates have made statements
referring to President Chavez as a tyrant or dictator", Golinger
commentated. "All of them would back the continued funding of the
opposition, and all of them would reject the socialist model."

Golinger argued: "It's not a question of whether it
is an ultra right-wing Republican or a moderate Democrat. They are all
still promoting a capitalist consumerist model, and that's in direct
conflict to the Venezuelan model of socialism and democracy."

The biggest challenge faced in building solidarity
with Venezuela against US attacks in this context is the "huge media
wall" that blocks accurate information about what is happening in

Moreover, added Golinger, even much of the US left
has been confused by the campaign of the Venezuelan opposition and the
Bush administration and Democrats alike, who have an agenda against

"That is why we see most of the respectable
publications on the left, like Nation magazine, publishing articles
that are incredibly critical and manipulative of what is happening in
Venezuela, and that type of information over the years has been
published in that magazine and others.

"Its hard to find allies on the US left that are
willing to extend themselves in a public way to express solidarity and
support for Venezuela and that's troubling because how can we expect
[Venezuela] to have a relationship with the Democratic Party when we
don't even have such a relationship with what's left of the left — the
progressive more radical sectors in the US."

"In this sense a lot more work has to be done" to win over these sectors, Golinger said.

Source: Green Left Weekly