For several weeks the main Colombian media outlets have intensified their campaign against Venezuela, wanting to make the Bolivarian Republic appear as the instigator of a possible war between the two countries. The ideological operation is simple: to put a smokescreen in front of the unfortunate decision of the Colombian government to increase the shameful presence of North American troops and mercenaries in our territory, which puts regional security in grave danger, and at the same time caricaturing the legitimate protests of the Venezuelan government against the expansion of the bases and its denunciation of the threat they represent. They want to confuse the victim with the aggressor.
Who represents the real danger to regional peace? It isn’t Venezuela who for more than a century has promoted division in the continent, who has invaded the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean innumerable times with different excuses to defend “the interests of North American citizens.” Neither the Monroe doctrine nor “manifest destiny,” which the U.S. allots itself in order to intervene into any place in America if they consider it necessary, were born in Venezuela. For more than a century, the countries of America have been victims of the direct interventions of the U.S. army (Dominican Republic, Panama, Haiti, Puerto Rico…); the promotion, financing and training of local mercenaries and death squads to destablise adverse governments or revolutionary processes (Cuba, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Colombia...); the financing of opposition parties, terrorist acts and massive destabilisation campaigns (Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador...); and the support of coup d’états and military or civilian dictatorships (Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Honduras...).
For more than 50 years the United States has learnt that the best way of guaranteeing its investments, the massive plundering and the raw materials in the continent, is through the development of a comprehensive war, where the fundamental component is ideological. Developing a vast, multimillion dollar network of media outlets, submissive leaders, local shock groups, regional allies, and the majority of armed forces under U.S. training, added to a massive and constant bombardment of culture and the U.S. “way of life,” it manages to penetrate itself into many aspects of the life of our countries, guaranteeing massive dispossession with almost total impunity.
Today, facing the world crisis and the relative decline of its economic power, the U.S. needs to guarantee its control with a strong military presence in the region. Seven Colombian bases, airports to land warplanes, the deployment of intelligence, ultimately a force of occupation in our territory, added to what has already existed since the 1962 doctrine of National Security, convert our country into a true beachhead of U.S. military deployment and bury any hope of building a democratic nation.
The real danger for the region is constituted by an army capable of intervening in any place in the world, capable of destroying entire civilizations (Iraq). An army that has increased the troops in Afghanistan, that threatens to intervene in Iran, that is complicit in the Israeli genocide of the Palestinian people, which continues maintaining its world supremacy. “Until when the barbarity in the name of liberty?” asked the writer Eduardo Galeano, with just reason.
Venezuela has reason to feel threatened. The U.S. has financed opposition parties and shock groups there, through various “non-governmental” organizations (like the “NED”, National Endowment for Democracy). It supported the coup d’état in April 2002, the oil sabotage, and the discrediting and destabilisation campaigns.
Colombia has infiltrated paramilitary groups that traffic drugs and generate terror in the border zones, and they have uncovered various assassination attempts against President Chavez by paramilitary groups supported by sectors of the opposition.
It’s no secret to anybody that Venezuela is trying to promote a different model of development to neo-liberalism, with social reforms, large state investments, improvement of the productive apparatus and sustainable growth; policies which are intolerable for the Colombian and U.S. ruling classes.
Any country in the world that tries to swim against the current, that tries to promote reforms that might pose a challenge to the privileges of the powerful, has to find a way to defend itself in the face of the ever present external and internal threats. It isn’t new. The development of urban and rural militias to defend against a possible invasion; of a professional, well trained and prepared army; of appropriate armaments; the people’s training in the methods of defense; and the general mobilization capable of devoting everything to defending the dignity of their nation and the revolutionary process that is underway. Cuba did it decades ago and that’s why the U.S. doesn’t dare to invade it directly.
Preparing for the worst is an old lesson of history that if one forgets, it can cost the people dearly. And Venezuela has the duty of preparing for its defense.
It’s time to say it clearly. The plutocracy that governs Colombia doesn’t represent the nation. Its army is an army of occupation, at the service of imperialism. The true threat to the Colombian people is represented by its ruling class, whose warmongering delirium have lead it to seize the nation in order to maintain its privileges. They have already pawned Colombia and surrendered its sovereignty with the most shameless cynicism; they will be capable of sacrificing their own people if the strategic plans of the U.S. demand it.
For decades, the Colombians who yearn for peace have seen the biggest obstacle to it in the ruling elite of the country. They have suffered massive displacement, campaigns of extermination, criminalization, and they have felt the severity of an internal war that doesn’t end. Between the Colombia of the powerful and the privileged and the Colombia of the great majority there exists a massive gulf. There are the few who defend foreign interests, and the rest suffer the consequences of the plundering and the war that the oligarchies insist on maintaining.
Only the massive mobilization of the Colombian people will impede our country from being used as a platform of harassment and invasions. Only regaining the sovereignty from the hands of those that betrayed the homeland by handing it over to the U.S. will be able to impede a fratricidal war. But if even in this way they insist on bringing it about, we know on what side of the barricade we will be. It won’t be with the imperialists.
Translated by Sean Seymour-Jones for Venezuelanalysis.com