U.S. offensive in Latin America: A continent resists
Published Aug 20, 2009 8:07 PM
Hondurans continue the struggle in the streets. Defying criminal police and
military who repress, arrest and shoot tear and pepper gas, rubber bullets and
live ammunition at them, the people have protested the military coup regime
every day for seven long weeks.
Through marches, cultural gatherings of resistance, assemblies and the multiple
other ways the collective ingeniousness has been displayed, the National
Popular Front of Resistance Against the Coup D’état has fought. The
labor movement, women and men, young and old, the Afro-Honduran Garifuna people
and the Indigenous peoples have given the world a revolutionary lesson in
united resilience and determination.
They have earned the name, “Los Incansables” (the tireless ones),
whose main slogan is “Nos tienen miedo porque no tenemos miedo”
(They are afraid of us because we are unafraid).
Their only weapons are matches to set tires on fire and rocks, stones and
sticks to defend themselves from the rifle and machinegun toting repressive
forces of the coup regime. This brave people have taken on a historic
task—defending their right to have the kind of government that they want
and desperately need.
They are aware that their struggle will determine the future not only for
Honduras, but for all Latin America. They know that their struggle is not only
against coup leader Roberto Micheletti’s illegal and criminal regime, but
against U.S. imperialism as well. Through the coup in Honduras and other recent
offensive moves on the continent, Washington is trying to reverse the
progressive processes unfolding throughout Latin America.
On Aug. 16 at the latest of a series of meetings and assemblies the Beverage
Workers Union (STIBYS) has held to organize the resistance and report about
developments, the Popular Front shared the following information:
• An international delegation of human rights observers read their
final report documenting an extensive list of the coup regime’s
• A representative of the Popular Labor Union Federation of Brazil
called the coup a threat to all Latin America and said that his organization
was joining the Honduran struggle.
• Artists affiliated with the Popular Front announced a
political-cultural concert for Aug. 23.
• Regional sections of the Popular Front have been established in
• The Human Rights International Commission of the OAS will arrive
on Monday to witness the violations. And a commission of foreign ministers of
the OAS countries is supposed to arrive soon also. The resistance hopes that
the findings of these commissions will force the United States to pressure the
Micheletti’s government into resigning.
Washington tries to revive Monroe Doctrine
The Democratic administration in Washington has made public statements
supporting legitimate Honduran President Manuel Zelaya’s right to return
to office. The administration has also denied that seven military bases set for
Colombia will be U.S. bases. Both statements are sheer hypocrisy, and both
events are part of a deliberate plan carefully orchestrated by the Pentagon to
regain control of the region.
With growing frustration, Washington has witnessed how Latin American countries
are detaching themselves from the North’s imperialist control and
asserting their sovereignty. Even countries like Brazil, with a moderate
president, have often questioned U.S. policies toward Latin America. Washington
has watched with horror as Latin American countries establish relations and
trade with China, Iran and Russia.
To the U.S. rulers, these moves toward sovereignty are a danger for
“national security,” meaning their freedom to freely exploit the
For example, Brazil, with the largest economy of the region, has had since 1990
a strategic alliance with China. According to an article in the Aug. 14 Mexican
daily La Jornada, “20 years ago China was the 12th trading partner for
Latin America, with just $8 billion in trade; but since 2007 it has been in
second place, with more than $100 billion in trade. And this year China was the
first trading partner of Brazil, surpassing the United States. It has also
strengthened ties with Venezuela, Argentina and Ecuador.”
So, what does Washington do to try to contain these advances? What the U.S.
does best: militarize! Last year the U.S. resurrected the infamous IV Fleet,
which now dangerously roams throughout the waters off Latin America, and goes
as far as into the heart of the countries, through their rivers. The Plan
Mérida, a copy of military Plan Colombia, but this time targeting Mexico,
was signed into law on June 30, 2008.
The most recent and most dangerous military maneuver is the Pentagon Southern
Command’s use of seven military bases in Colombia. This move has faced
the firmest opposition from Latin American countries and movements, who see
this military expansion as an enormous threat to the region, particularly to
Colombia’s neighboring countries of Ecuador and Venezuela, whose
governments consider the Pentagon’s takeover of the bases as an act of
Ecuador broke relations with Colombia after the Colombian military in 2008
bombed a FARC diplomatic camp inside Ecuador. Just now Venezuela stopped trade
with Colombia after Colombia accused Venezuela of providing weapons to the
FARC, a charge that both Venezuela and the FARC deny.
The question of these U.S. bases in Colombia was a major topic at a UNASUR
meeting in Ecuador on Aug. 10. Colombian President Álvaro Uribe,
anticipating broad condemnation, refused to attend the meeting. Instead he
toured seven countries—Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru
and Uruguay—to give his spin regarding the bases and at the same time
gather support for his accusations against Venezuela.
Except for his stop in Peru, a country already politically in line with
Colombia and the U.S., Uribe’s efforts were wasted. During the UNASUR
meeting the countries present called an urgent and special meeting in Argentina
for Aug. 28, which Uribe will be forced to attend to discuss the issue of the
Brazilian President Lula Da Silva added that UNASUR should talk directly with
U.S. President Barack Obama to let him know about “our opinion and
disgust.” Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández also
addressed the need to meet with the U.S. to clarify that country’s
relationship with Latin America. (Telesurtv.net)
Ecuador, the Citizens’ Revolution advances
An example of the advances that Washington opposes is Ecuador’s. Last
Aug. 10, the same day as the UNASUR meeting, Ecuador was celebrating the 200th
anniversary of its independence and the second term in office of President
Rafael Correa, mandated by the new constitution. The day before, Correa
participated in an Indigenous ceremony accompanied by Guatamalan Nobelist
Rigoberta Menchú and Bolivian President Evo Morales, where Correa was
given a symbolic baton of leadership crafted by the community.
In his speech, Ecuador’s leader repeated what he has been trying to
practice through his administration: that “preferential option for the
poor, the young and ancestral peoples ... for whom justice has been too long
delayed.” (Reuter, Aug. 9)
Correa initiates his second term in office with 66-percent popularity in a
country that previously had seven presidents in 10 years. He spoke vehemently
and movingly at the three events of the day: during the UNASUR meeting where he
succeeded Chilean President Michelle Bachelet in the presidency of that
organization, at the official ceremony and at the evening popular
Correa gave an overview of the accomplishments of his government and presented
his plans for the new term. He spoke about the deepening of the revolution, the
path of Ecuador towards “21st century socialism,” and the formation
of Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, among many other topics.
Correa has an excellent relation with Ecuador’s people. He and they
demonstrate mutual respect and admiration.
Saying, “This Revolution belongs to the people,” Correa got great
applause when he added, “Human beings are above capital and will never
again be victims of the neoliberal machine and savage capitalism.” (Earth
Times, Aug. 10)
E-mail: [email protected]
Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World.
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
Email: [email protected]
Subscribe [email protected]
Support independent news DONATE