Sovereignty Yes, Annexation No!
The U.S. recently signed a military agreement with Colombia to place seven U.S. bases in Colombia. The agreement authorizes the access and use of military installations in Palanquero, Malambo, Tolemaida, Larandia, Apíay, Cartagena and Málaga. It also allows for “the access and use of all other installations and locations as necessary” throughout Colombia, with no restrictions. This includes civilian airports. While these bases are called a “Cooperative Security Location” or CSL so the U.S. can claim it is not a U.S. base, they are U.S.-run and operated with U.S. troops and weaponry serving U.S. aims of annexation, of Colombia and all South America. They also provide immunity for U.S. troops and staff for crimes against Colombians. People of Korea, Japan and elsewhere have bitter experience with such immunity, where crimes like civilian massacres and the rape and murder of women and children by U.S. troops cannot be prosecuted.
The agreement requires the bases to remain for 10 years, when the agreement can then be renewed for another 10 years. Congress has already approved $46 million specifically for upgrading the Palanquero military base. According to the Pentagon, “Developing a CSL in Palanquero provides a unique opportunity for full spectrum operations in a critical sub-region of our hemisphere where security and stability is under constant threat from narcotics funded terrorist insurgencies, anti-U.S. governments, endemic poverty and recurring natural disasters.” Thus Colombia is to serve as a secure launching pad for U.S. aggression in the region, including against any country the U.S. designates as an “anti-U.S. government.”
In taking this action the Barack Obama administration acted against the demands of the peoples of Colombia and the entire region, as well as the governments of the region. Leaders from Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Venezuela and Nicaragua all opposed the bases. Repeated calls were also made by many U.S. organizations and activists for the U.S. to stop funding war and fund peace — such as measures to cancel debts and pay reparations for the many U.S. crimes carried out against the peoples of the region. These rimes include the installing of fascist regimes, the arming, training and backing of mercenaries guilty of mass killings of civilians, the endless raping of natural resources and much more.
A letter to Secretary of State Clinton condemning the bases from more than 100 U.S. organizations and leading religious and community activists brought out, “Establishing an expanded U.S. military presence in Colombia evokes the long and painful history of U.S. military interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean.” They added, “The Palanquero base itself, which houses a Colombian Air Force unit, was banned from receiving U.S. aid for five years because of its role in a 1998 attack that killed 17 civilians, including six children.” The letter opposed continued U.S. funding and backing of the Colombian Army and their U.S. supported practice of civilian killings. The UN High Commissioner on Human Rights called these civilian killings “widespread and systematic,” with a 98 percent rate of impunity. The letter also spoke to the massive forced displacement of rural Colombians from their lands, with 380,000 people forced to flee their homes last year and the covert operations against human rights defenders, journalists, Supreme Court justices, and opposition party leaders by the presidential security agency and (in some cases) by military intelligence units. This reality is the content of the U.S. “war on drugs” in Colombia.
The establishment of seven bases follows years of U.S. intervention, including that under “Plan Colombia,” which brought “experts” and military “trainers” in to assist the Colombian government in dealing with drug trafficking. The fact that now, years later, the drug wars have increased are an indication of the actual role of the U.S. military. Just as occurred during the Vietnam War when heroin trafficking increased, and today in Afghanistan with opium, the U.S. military funds, organizes and foments the drug wars. They utilize the funds secured for funding mercenaries, while justifying increased military intervention and occupation in the name of the “drug war.” The U.S. then uses these drug wars to make it appear the peoples of these countries are incapable of governing themselves. This is being done against Colombia and Mexico now as well — all to further U.S. attempts to annex these countries outright.
The U.S. bases in Colombia are also part of preparations for launching war against other countries in the region, like those in the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA). Venezuela, Bolivia and others are joining together to build alternatives to U.S. imperialism and its wars of aggression. The bases in Colombia are aimed directly at these efforts. They also serve as a means to secure South America for U.S. preparations for world war.
The peoples of Colombia, the region and North America have all taken their stand against annexation and in defense of sovereignty. The peoples are demanding relations of mutual respect and benefit, which requires the end of U.S. aggression, removal of all troops and reparations for the years of crimes committed.
Bases Violate Colombia’s Constitution
The U.S. bases are expressly prohibited by Colombia’s constitution, as pointed out by Colombian Senator Jorge Robledo, amongst others. Writing on July 11, Senator Robledo pointed out that the bases “can only bring problems to the country due to the serious violation of sovereignty and self-determination in the political, economic and social spheres and because it subjugates the nation in the worst way to the horrors of war and the interests of the superpower, pits it against neighboring countries and discredits it more in the eyes of the world’s democrats. [... These] military bases – even if they’re given another name, as has been planned to confuse people – are unconstitutional for two different reasons. The first, because the Constitution stipulates that Colombia’s international relations are to be based on sovereignty and the right to self determination. And the second, because there is no law that allows bases of this type in Colombia. The Charter, in articles 173 and 237, only authorizes ‘the transit – that is, the temporary passage – of foreign troops through the territory of the Republic,’ without previous Senate approval and agreement by the State Council, a step which the government decided to skip.”
Another feature of the aggressive U.S. presence in Colombia are 34 operations with military contractors, called “lily pads.” Senator Robledo explained the significance of the lily pads: “It should be pointed out that among the new strategies for global domination by the biggest empire in history is the use of military bases called ‘lily pads,’ which can be relatively small because they are designed to be expanded when needed or for troops to jump from one to the other. According to Chalmers Johnson, emeritus professor from the University of California, ‘Most of these new bases will be what the military, in a switch of metaphors, calls ‘lily pads’ to which our troops could jump like so many well-armed frogs.’ And in Colombia they would do it with the advantage that, in the first jump, U.S. troops could take over the Colombian military base where they are stationed.”
It is unacceptable that any U.S. military installations exist outside U.S. territory. The peoples of the Philippines, Korea, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Ecuador, Honduras, Afghanistan, Iraq and more all have definite experience with U.S. “assistance” in the form of military “training” and bases used for occupation, internal suppression, aggression against neighboring countries, indefinite detention and torture and more crimes.
The escalation of the U.S. military presence in Latin America and the Caribbean also includes the reactivation of the U.S. Navy’s Fourth Fleet in 2008, nearly 40 years after it was -disbanded in 1950. To cover up U.S. plans for war in the region, its reactivation is being portrayed as being enlightened self-interest, humanitarian or even altruistic in nature, with U.S. naval ships stopping at ports of call to wage a “charm offensive” to disarm the peoples of Latin America. Warships are warships. Troops in foreign countries are occupiers, not liberators.
Much like the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, where U.S. bases and military occupation have wrecked havoc on the peoples, the oppression in Colombia and attempts to annex the entire region will not stand. The people of Colombia have a long and valiant history of battling U.S. interference and continue to do so today. They are being joined by the peoples of the region who are demanding that the U.S. get out of the region, NOW!
Americans too are standing with the peoples, striving for an Americas characterized by relations of mutual respect and benefit, where alternatives that favor the people thrive. Military bases serve aggression. The U.S. already has more than 900 official military facilities in 46 countries and territories. We say that the interests of peace and stability demand,
All U.S. Troops Home Now!
The Annexation of Colombia to the United States
Anyone with some information can immediately see that the sweetened “Complementation Agreement for Defense and Security Cooperation and Technical Assistance between the Governments of Colombia and the United States” signed on October 30, and made public the evening of November 2, amounts to the annexation of Colombia to the United States.
The agreement puts theoreticians and politicians in a predicament. It would not be honest to keep silent now and then speak later on sovereignty, democracy, human rights, freedom of opinion and other delights, when a country is being devoured by the empire as easy as lizards catch flies. This is the Colombian people — a self-sacrificing, industrious and combative people. I looked in the hefty document for a digestible justification and I found none whatsoever.
Of 48 pages with 21 lines each, five are used to philosophize on the background of the shameful absorption that turns Colombia into an overseas territory. They are all based on agreements signed with the United States after the murder of the distinguished progressive leader Jorge Eliecer Gaitan on April 9, 1948, and the establishment, on April 30, 1948, of the Organization of American States — debated by the foreign ministers of the hemisphere meeting in Bogota, with the U.S. as the boss. This was during the dramatic days when the Colombian oligarchy cut short the life of that leader, thus paving the way to the onset of the armed struggle in that country.
The Agreement on Military Assistance between the Republic of Colombia and the United States of April 1952; the one related to Army, Naval and Air Missions from the U.S. Forces, signed on October 7, 1974; the 1988 UN Convention against the Illegal Trafficking of Drugs and Psychotropic Substances; the 2000 UN Convention against Organized Transnational Delinquency; the 2001 Security Council Resolution 1373 and the Inter-American Democratic Charter; the Democratic Security and Defense Policy resolution and others referred to in the above mentioned document, none of them can justify turning a 713,592.5 square miles country located in the heart of South America into a U.S. military base. Colombia’s territory is 1.6 times that of Texas, the second largest state of the Union taken away from Mexico and later used as a base to conquer with great violence more than half of that country.
On the other hand, more than 59 years have passed since Colombian soldiers were sent to distant Asia, in October 1950, to fight alongside the Yankee troops against Chinese and Korean combatants. Now, the empire intends to send them to fight against their brothers in Venezuela, Ecuador and other Bolivarian and ALBA countries, to crush the Venezuelan Revolution as the U.S. tried to do with the Cuban Revolution in April 1961.
For more than one and a half years before the invasion of Cuba, the Yankee administration fostered, armed and used counterrevolutionary bandits in Cuba’s Escambray the same way it is now using the Colombian paramilitary forces against Venezuela.
At the time of the Giron [Bay of Pigs] attack, the Yankee B-26 aircrafts, piloted by mercenaries, operated from Nicaragua. These fighter planes were brought to the theater of operations in an aircraft carrier and the invaders of Cuban descent who landed in our territory were escorted by U.S. warships and by the American marines. This time their war equipment and troops will be in Colombia posing a threat not only to Venezuela but to every country in Central and South America.
It is really cynical to claim that the infamous agreement is necessary to fight drug-trafficking and international terrorism. Cuba has shown that there is no need of foreign troops to prevent the cultivation and trafficking of drugs and to preserve domestic order, even though the United States — the mightiest power on Earth — has promoted, financed and armed the terrorists who for decades have attacked the Cuban Revolution.
The preservation of domestic peace is a basic prerogative of every government and the presence of Yankee troops in any Latin American country, said to preserve peace on their behalf, constitutes a blatant foreign interference in their internal affairs that will inevitably elicit the peoples’ rejection.
A simple reading of the document shows that not only the Colombian airbases will be in the Yankees’ hands but also the civilian airports and ultimately any facility that may be useful to their armed forces. Radio frequencies are also available to the U.S. with its different culture and other interests that have nothing in common with those of the Colombian people.
The US Armed Forces will have exceptional prerogatives.
The occupants can commit any crime anywhere in Colombia against Colombian families, property and laws and still be unaccountable to the country’s authorities. Actually, they have taken diseases and scandalous behavior to many places like the Palmerola military base in Honduras. In Cuba, when they came to visit the then neo-colony, they sat astride the neck of Jose Marti’s statue, in the capital’s Central Park.
The limit set with regards to the total number of soldiers can be modified as requested by the United States, and with no restriction whatsoever. The aircraft carriers and warships visiting the naval bases given to them can take as large a crew as they choose, and this can be thousands in only one of their large aircraft carriers.
The Agreement, which will remain in force for successive 10-year periods, cannot be modified until the end of every period, with a one-year prior notice. What will the United States do if an administration like that of Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Bush Sr. or Bush Jr., and others like them are asked to leave Colombia? The Yankees have ousted scores of governments in our hemisphere. How long would a government last in Colombia if it announced such intentions?
Now, the politicians in Latin America are faced with a sensitive issue: the fundamental duty of explaining their viewpoints on the annexation document. I am aware that what is happening in Honduras at this decisive moment draws the attention of the media and the foreign ministers of this hemisphere, but the Latin American governments cannot overlook the extremely serious and transcendental events taking place in Colombia.
I have no doubts about the reaction of the peoples. They will be sensitive to the dagger being shoved deep inside them, especially in Colombia. They will oppose! They will never cave in to such ignominy!
Today, the world is facing serious and pressing problems. The entire humanity is threatened by climate change. European leaders are almost begging on their knees for some kind of agreement in Copenhagen that will prevent the catastrophe. They practically concede that the Summit will fail to meet the objective of reaching an agreement that can drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promise to continue struggling to attain it before 2012. However, there is a true risk that an agreement cannot be reached until it is too late.
The Third World countries are rightly claiming from the richest and most developed nations hundreds of billion dollars a year to pay for the climate battle.
Does it make sense for the United States government to invest time and money in building military bases in Colombia to impose on our peoples their hateful tyranny? Following that path, if a disaster is already threatening the world, a greater and faster disaster is threatening the empire and all of it would be the consequence of the same exploiting and plundering system of the planet.
Fidel Castro Ruz
Venezuela has increased its intelligence and security measures to protect the people at the border with Colombia and find out the attack strategy planned by the Pentagon, settling military bases in Colombia, against the Latin American political transformation processes.
The information was given by the Minister of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs Nicolas Maduro in an exclusive November 5 interview with Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias, in which he talked about the endorsement of the military agreement between Washington and Bogota to settle seven U.S. military bases in Colombian territory.
He also talked about the disclosure of documents from the U.S. Air Force, in which the importance of the combat base in Palanquero, Colombia to expand the “mobility spectrum” of the U.S. Southern Command in the region is emphasized.
“Intelligence operations are going to increase jointly with the international measures denouncing the conduct of the Colombian government, because everything we warned has come true,” Maduro said.
“Locally, we are going to keep strengthening our organizational skills, our political capacity and the military defense of our people to guarantee our country is impregnable, and never touched by a single U.S. soldier,” the minister emphasized.
Maduro said he was surprised by the Colombian government’s disposition to surrender the sovereignty of its country, accepting the clauses of the military agreement establishing, among other things, free passage for the U.S. military without the need of a passport, immunity for the entire U.S. staff, and the exemption from inspection for any equipment or aircraft entering the country.
“Reading the agreement, one does not cease to be surprised at how far the Colombian government is going to hand over the sovereignty and dignity of its country, of handing over itself to be used as a Pentagon strategic base against South America,” Maduro stressed.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs highlighted that the articles of the agreement confirm the U.S. strategy to try to disturb the process of transformation in the countries of the region through destabilization and violence. Also, he said that the immunity granted to U.S. personnel is very worrying.
“The entire document confirms what was already denounced. It goes even further because the U.S. military staff, ‘contractors,’ i.e., mercenaries, and domestic workers will have full immunity with this agreement; that is, they will all have more rights than any Colombian citizen,” Maduro stressed.
In this regard, Maduro highlighted that U.S. personnel “can violate Colombian laws, murder, they can do anything they want and they are protected by this agreement signed by the Colombian government.”
The Venezuelan foreign minister also made special reference to the importance given by the U.S. Government to the military base in Palanquero, after it made public a U.S. Air Force document, which calls it a “Secure Locality of Cooperation” SLC.
The text reads: “... gives opportunity to execute operations in the full spectrum of South America, including drug trafficking missions [...] It also supports mobility missions because the whole region can be covered.” According to Maduro, the document presented before the U.S. Congress to justify the approval of $46 million in the 2010 budget earmarked for making the base suitable for its purposes, confirms the U.S. strategy disclosed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in the recent summit of presidents of UNASUR, denied at that time by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.
“All the arguments put forward in the U.S. Armed Forces have the same codes used in the White Book. They recognize that Palanquero will be a base used to operate in all of South America, where the drug trafficking issue is considered just an additional matter.” Also, Maduro said that the document qualifies Palanquero as vital to carry out operations against governments labeled as anti-United States.
A portion of the recently released text reads: “The development of this SLC gives us an unique opportunity for the operations in the complete spectrum of a sub-region that is critical in our hemisphere, where security and stability are constantly threatened by the terrorist insurgences financed by drug trafficking, anti-United States governments, chronic poverty (...)”
“Draw your own conclusions,” remarked Maduro.
Obama: An Unfulfilled Promise
Regarding U.S. President Barack Obama, the Venezuelan foreign minister stated that the actions that Obama has carried out during his administration at the White House contradict the promises made of improving U.S. relations with the region.
“The change of the relations of United States with South America became an unfulfilled promise. The only things that have emerged in the region are coups and these military bases in Colombia.”
Maduro gave the view that Obama’s charisma is used by the Pentagon to its advantage “so, with his smile, his charismatic leadership, and with what he represents as a renovation, because of being the first African-American president,” he can cover up the Empire’s dirty work.
Therefore, the Venezuelan Minister said he expects that a meeting between the U.S. Head of State and UNASUR could be held, just as it was proposed by President Chavez, so that “Obama hears the real voice of the leaders of the region and makes a historic rectification about the actions of the Pentagon and the intelligence agency of the U.S. empire against Latin America.”
Regarding the increase of conflicts at the border, the foreign minister stated that said problem is the result of a Pentagon’s strategy executed through the Colombian government and paramilitaries -- qualified by Maduro as tools of the Colombian oligarchy.
“The plan includes to try to destabilize Venezuela with violence, hitmen, murders, increase of crimes at the border and in the main cities of the country. It is an operation that was already denounced and that we are currently facing,” Maduro added.
The Minister reminded that on several occasions Venezuela has captured members of paramilitary groups executing destabilization operations. “Four years ago 200 paramilitaries that came to assassinate the President of the Republic were captured. The group that was regrettably murdered some weeks ago in Tachira [western Venezuela] belonged as well to that irregular movement. Some paramilitaries were captured who were responsible for the death of two National Guard officers; and [on November 4], two more were arrested with arms at the border,” Maduro commented.
In addition, the Venezuelan Minister denounced the ties of some members of the Venezuelan opposition (those who supported the coup against Chavez) with these groups at the Colombian border. “We have some important clues linking people of the Venezuelan opposition with Colombian paramilitary groups, particularly the Governor of Tachira State, Cesar Perez Vivas, who is an unpatriotic tool in the service of Colombian oligarchic groups against our country.”
Thus, Maduro said that the increase of the criminality and the presence of paramilitaries at the border, in just one year of Perez Vivas’ administration, confirms his relation with the irregular groups.
Nevertheless, Maduro assured that the Government has adopted concrete measures to protect and preserve Venezuelan territorial integrity and he reiterated that destabilizing actions will not stop the process of political change Venezuela is going through. “There is a plan in motion to face these groups that is going to be strengthened. They have not been able to stop the ideas of our people, nor will they. No matter the way they try, we are going to defeat them,” Maduro stressed.
Finally, the foreign minister reiterated that Venezuela will increase its defensive capacity with the necessary military equipment at the same level of the first world to assure the country -remains as a secure zone, with peace and free from third-countries interventions. “We are going to guarantee, almost two hundred years after the independence, that our country will become more sovereign day after day. Sadly, countries as Colombia cannot celebrate it because the oligarchy and the Government of Colombia have decided to remember that sacrifice by handing over its sovereignty to the U.S. imperial army and that is just shameful.”
(Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias)
An official document from the Department of the U.S. Air Force reveals that the military base in Palanquero, Colombia will provide the Pentagon with “...an opportunity for conducting full spectrum operations throughout South America...” This information contradicts the explanations offered by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and the U.S. State Department regarding the military agreement signed between the two nations this past October 30th. Both governments have publicly stated that the military agreement refers only to counter-narcotics and counterterrorism operations within Colombian territory. President Uribe has reiterated numerous times that the military agreement with the U.S. will not affect Colombia’s neighbors, despite constant concern in the region regarding the true objectives of the agreement. But the U.S. Air Force document, dated May 2009, confirms that the concerns of South American nations have been right on target. The document exposes that the true intentions behind the agreement are to enable the U.S. to engage in “full spectrum military operations in a critical sub-region of our hemisphere where security and stability is under constant threat from narcotics funded terrorist insurgencies and anti-U.S. governments “
The military agreement between Washington and Colombia authorizes the access and use of seven military installations in Palanquero, Malambo, Tolemaida, Larandia, Apíay, Cartagena and Málaga. Additionally, the agreement allows for “the access and use of all other installations and locations as necessary” throughout Colombia, with no restrictions. Together with the complete immunity the agreement provides to U.S. military and civilian personnel, including private defense and security contractors, the clause authorizing the U.S. to utilize any installation throughout the entire country -- even commercial airports, for military ends, signifies a complete renouncing of Colombian sovereignty and officially converts Colombia into a client-state of the U.S.
The Air Force document underlines the importance of the military base in Palanquero and justifies the $46 million requested in the 2010 budget (now approved by Congress) in order to improve the airfield, associated ramps and other installations on the base to convert it into a U.S. Cooperative Security Location (CSL). “Establishing a Cooperative Security Location (CSL) in Palanquero best supports the COCOM’s (Command Combatant’s) Theater Posture Strategy and demonstrates our commitment to this relationship. Development of this CSL provides a unique opportunity for full spectrum operations in a critical sub-region of our hemisphere where security and stability is under constant threat from narcotics funded terrorist insurgencies, anti-U.S. governments, endemic poverty and recurring natural disasters.”
It is not difficult to imagine which governments in South America are considered by Washington to be “anti-U.S. governments.” The constant aggressive declarations and statements emitted by the State and Defense Departments and the U.S. Congress against Venezuela and Bolivia, and even to some extent Ecuador, evidence that the ALBA nations are the ones perceived by Washington as a “constant threat.” To classify a country as “anti-U.S.” is to consider it an enemy of the United States. In this context, it’s obvious that the military agreement with Colombia is a reaction to a region the U.S. now considers full of “enemies.”
Counter-Narcotics Operations Are Secondary
Per the U.S. Air Force document, “Access to Colombia will further its strategic partnership with the United States. The strong security cooperation relationship also offers an opportunity for conducting full spectrum operations throughout South America to include mitigating the counternarcotics capability.” This statement clearly evidences that counternarcotics operations are secondary to the real objectives of the military agreement between Colombia and Washington. Again, this clearly contrasts the constant declarations of the Uribe and Obama governments insisting that the main focus of the agreement is to combat drug trafficking and production. The Air Force document emphasizes the necessity to improve “full spectrum” military operations throughout South America – not just in Colombia – in order to combat “constant threats” from “anti-U.S. governments” in the region.
Palanquero Is the Best Option for Continental Mobility
The Air Force document explains that “Palanquero is unquestionably the best site for investing in infrastructure development within Colombia. Its central location is within reach of operations areas its isolation maximizes Operational Security (OPSEC) and Force Protection and minimizes the U.S. military profile. The intent is to leverage existing infrastructure to the maximum extent possible, improve the U.S. ability to respond rapidly to crisis, and assure regional access and presence at minimum cost. Palanquero supports the mobility mission by providing access to the entire South American continent with the exception of Cape Horn...”
Espionage and Warfare
The document additionally confirms that the U.S. military presence in Palanquero, Colombia, will improve the capacity of espionage and intelligence operations, and will allow the U.S. armed forces to increase their warfare capabilities in the region. “Development of this CSL will further the strategic partnership forged between the U.S. and Colombia and is in the interest of both nations... A presence will also increase our capability to conduct Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), improve global reach, support logistics requirements, improve partnerships, improve theater security cooperation and expand expeditionary warfare capability.”
The language of war included in this document evidences the true intentions behind the military agreement between Washington and Colombia: they are preparing for war in Latin America. The past few days have been full of conflict and tension between Colombia and Venezuela. Just days ago, the Venezuelan government captured three spies from the Colombian intelligence agency, DAS, and discovered several active destabilization and espionage operations against Cuba, Ecuador and Venezuela. The operations – Fénix, Salomón and Falcón, respectively, were revealed in documents found with the captured DAS agents. Approximately two weeks ago, 10 bodies were found in Táchira, a border zone with Colombia. After completing the relevant investigations, the Venezuelan government discovered that the bodies belonged to Colombian paramilitaries who infiltrated Venezuelan territory. This dangerous paramilitary infiltration from Colombia forms part of a destabilization plan against Venezuela that seeks to create a paramilitary state inside Venezuelan territory in order to breakdown President Chávez’s government.
The military agreement between Washington and Colombia will only increase regional tensions and violence. The information revealed in the U.S. Air Force document unquestionably proves that Washington seeks to promote a state of warfare in South America, using Colombia as its launching pad. Before this declaration of war, the peoples of Latin America must stand strong and unified. Latin American integration is the best defense against the Empire’s aggression.
The U.S. Air Force document was submitted in May 2009 to Congress as part of the 2010 budget justification. It is an official government document and reaffirms the authenticity of the White Book: Global Enroute Strategy of the U.S. Air Mobility Command, which was denounced by President Chávez during the UNASUR meeting in Bariloche, Argentina this past August 28th. I have placed the original document and the non-official translation to Spanish that I did of the relevant parts relating to Palanquero on the web page of the Center to Alert and Defend the People “Centro de Alerta para la Defensa de los Pueblos,” a new space we are creating to guarantee that strategic information is available to those under constant threat from imperialist aggression.
Latin American states once again firmly opposed the military agreement between the U.S. and Colombia as a threat to South American countries. Leaders of the Bolivarian Alternative for Our America (ALBA), including countries from South and Central America and the Caribbean denounced the U.S.-imposed agreement in a statement issued at the end of their recent summit.
The ALBA leaders rejected the installation of U.S. military bases in Colombia and the entire region and called on the government of Colombia to reconsider the plan. The bases “endanger the peace, threaten democracy and facilitate the hegemonic interference” of the U.S. in the region’s affairs, the statement added. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called the bases a “threat to all of us.”
Earlier, in September, ALBA members also opposed the U.S. plan for seven bases in Colombia. At a gathering of the Movement for the Unity of Our America (MPUNA) in Panama, diplomats from Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Honduras agreed that these bases pose a great danger to the progressive movements developing in Latin America.
In this regard, Cuban Ambassador to Panama Reinaldo Calviac said that given the reputation of the United States and its foreign policy towards the Americas, it is perplexing that some people are trying to defend this action. “Although some people will argue that the U.S. scrupulously respects the sovereignty of nations, the facts show otherwise,” said Calviac. “The true objective behind the creation of these military bases is to gain control over the natural resources in the region and to thwart social change. Our duty and that of the people is to condemn it,” he noted.
At a meeting with representatives of several Panamanian social movements, the diplomats reviewed the extensive list of U.S. interventions in Latin America, including Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba, Granada, Panama and the Dominican Republic.
The people of Colombia have also repeatedly protested the U.S. bases and have demanded No Bases in Colombia!
The heads of state of the South American Union of Nations (UNASUR) together at an extra session on August 28, 2009 in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina; Reaffirming our commitment to the principles of International Law in reference to relations of friendship and cooperation between States, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations; Recognize, equally, that military cooperation agreements must be strictly guided by the principles and intentions of the Charter of the United Nations and the fundamental principles of the Constitutional Treaty of UNASUR; Emphasizing that the unconditional respect of sovereignty, integrity and territorial sanctity of the States, the non-intervention in internal affairs and the self-determination of the people are essential for the consolidation of regional integration; Reiterating our will to consolidate South America into a zone of peace, fundamental for the integral development of our people and the preservation of their natural resources, through the prevention of conflicts, the peaceful solution of controversies and the abstention from reverting to threats or the use of force; Underlying UNASUR’s vocation for the peaceful solution to controversies and the promotion of dialogue and consensus in topics of defense through the strengthening of cooperation, confidence and transparency;
To strengthen South America as a zone of peace, committing ourselves to establishing mechanisms for mutual confidence in defense and security, sustaining our decision to abstain ourselves from reverting to threats or the use of force against the territorial integrity of another UNASUR state.
To reaffirm our commitment to strengthen the fight and cooperation against terrorism and transnational organized crime and its related crimes: narcotrafficking, small and light arms trafficking, in addition to the rejection of the presence or action of illegal armed groups.
To reaffirm that the presence of foreign military forces cannot, with its means and resources linked to its own goals, threaten the sovereignty and integrity of any South American nation and as a consequence, the peace and security of the region.
To instruct their Ministers of Foreign Relations and Defense to hold an additional meeting, during the first 15 days of next September, so that in the pursuit of improved transparency they design the means to strengthen confidence and security in a way that is complementary to the pre-existing instruments of the OAS, including concrete mechanisms of implementation and guarantees for all applicable countries of the existing agreements with countries within and outside of the region; such as illegal arms trafficking, narcotrafficking and terrorism in compliance with the law of each country. These mechanisms must take into account the unconditional respect for sovereignty, integrity and territorial sanctity and non-intervention in the internal affairs of the States;
To instruct the South American Defense Council to analyze the text of the “South American Strategy. White Paper, Air Mobility Command” and carry out a verification of the situation on the borders and submit the resulting study to the Council of Heads of State with the goal of considering courses of action to follow.
To instruct the South American Council on the Fight against Narcotrafficking to develop urgently a Statute and Plan of Action with the objective of defining a South American strategy in the fight against illicit drug trafficking and strengthening the cooperation between specialized organisms from our countries.
August 28, 2009
(Translated from the original Spanish by Abigail Poe, www.justf.org)
After discussing the geopolitical and geo-military situation in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean, in the context of the global economic conditions, the 15th Meeting of the São Paulo Forum, held from 20 to 23 August 2009 in Mexico City, states that:
• The presence of the United States in the region has intensified, due, mainly, to the active implementation of the Colombia Plan and the agreements that allow the installation of seven military bases in Colombia, and as a result of the reconstitution by the U.S. Navy of its Fourth Fleet. These decisions to meddle are added to the existing military bases in Guantanamo, Aruba, Curaçao, Puerto Rico and Honduras, among others.
• These facts jeopardize regional peace, security and sovereignty. They have, also, a negative impact on democracy and affect the existence of democratic, progressive, anti-imperialist and socialist governments. In addition, they seriously interfere in order to halt the integration processes promoted by these governments.
• These events are proof of the increasing U.S. interventionism, military might and efforts to transform the region’s territories into war platforms and to obstruct change processes. It is not, as sponsors of double standards assert, an issue on which the United States and Colombia have to decide, but a problem that affects the rest of the countries in the region, as everybody is being threaten.
In this context, the Meeting resolves to:
• Express its complete and absolute solidarity with the Colombian people and the peoples and countries directly being threatened by the war policies of the U.S.-Uribe military axis.
• Invite the progressive governments of Latin America to take action in multilateral fora, such as the Rio Group, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Organization of American States (OAS), by undertaking extensive debate on the implications for the stability and peace in the region derived from the presence of the military bases, and putting into place measures to promote the restitution of fora to re-establish peaceful coexistence in Latin America.
• Support the initiative of the Ecuadorian legislature regarding the auditing of the Manta base from which the U.S. marines withdrew recently.
• Promote the carrying out of a regional and continental campaign to hinder the presence of the military bases in -Colombia, and to stop the Fourth Fleet from operating. It is in this sense that the Meeting joins the initiatives of social and political movements, such as the Hemispheric Social Alliance, the Campaign for the Demilitarization of the Americas, and the World Peace Council.
• Support, in particular and immediately, the following actions: The mobilization in Bariloche (Argentina), from 27 to 28 of August, in the occasion of the Summit of the South American Defense Council; the Political Parties Meeting in Caracas, from 7 to 9 October; the meeting that will bring together the political and social movements in favor of the withdrawal of the military bases in Colombia, which will take place in October 2009; the implementation of seminars and workshops with academicians and intellectuals who work in the field of conflicts in the Andean region, which will be held during the first quarter of 2010.
The 15th Meeting of the São Paulo Forum condemns the war policies intended to destabilize the democratic life in the region, proclaims its determination to promote peace and convokes the Foro’s political parties, the people of Latin America and the governments to stop militarism. Against the Imperialist and Oligarchical War Policy, We Defend Democracy, Sovereignty And Peace.
Mexico City, August 23, 2009
(Translated from the original Spanish by TML Daily)