Tag Archives: U.S. Southcom (Southern Command)

Time to disband the ‘NATO of the Caribbean’

The following item is based on a report by A.T. Freeman, published by the Caribbean Organization for Peoples Empowerment (COPE).

On April 5, the 24th Caribbean Nations Security Conference opened in Bridgetown, Barbados. The event, scheduled to run to April 7, was co-hosted by the commander of the U.S. Southern Command, General Laura Richardson and Commodore Errington Shurland, Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force, and was addressed by the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley.

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This Day. 31st anniversary of the invasion of Panama

The 1989 invasion of Panama was staged just two weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the empty euphoria about the so-called “end of Communism.” US president George H. W. Bush ushered in the post-Cold War unipolar world. According to Bob Woodward’s book, The Commanders, Gen. Colin Powell, newly appointed Joint Chief of Staff, stated, “we have to put a shingle outside our door saying, ‘Superpower Lives Here’.”

A leading jurist decodes the 1989 Panama Massacre: “The invasion was a crime against International Law and the largest US military projection since the Vietnam War.” It is a matter of concern to Canadians as successive governments have annually deployed the Canadian Forces to participate in the US PANAMAX military-naval exercises, usually held in August | JULY YAO” 

Panama City during the US invasion, December 21, 1989. Little was spoken in the monopoly media of the death toll or destruction from that invasion. It was almost entirely focused on the number of US troops killed (23) and wounded (324). The Panamiam death toll was between 4,000 and 7,000 of whom at least 2,000 were buried in mass graves. The destruction left at least 10,000 homeless.

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Warship Watch. US Navy intimidates Venezuelan fishing vessel in international waters

Now the US Navy Intimidates Venezuelan Fishing Vessel in International Waters

(April 30) – A Venezuelan fishing vessel was boarded in the Pacific Ocean by the US Coast Guard on April 28, a fact that was celebrated by the right-wing media and social networks in Venezuela. The name of the ship is “Taurus I” which carries out fishing in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Costa Rica, authorized by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. Continue reading

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Drugs and lies to attack Cuba

The US has launched a frenzied slander campaign against Cuba and Venezuela under the pretext of “narco-terrorism,” which is uncontested by Ottawa. This is a matter of concern. Canada itself is playing an ignominious role in the Lima Group against Venezuela. At the beginning of the pandemic, the Trudeau government had two Canadian warships – HMCS Nanaimo and HMCS Whitehorse – operating in the Caribbean and the eastern Pacific Ocean unbeknownst to the Canadian people as part of  the US Southern Command’s Operation Martillo and its “war on drugs”. Initiated in 2006 by the Harper government, the Canadian deployment is called Op Caribbe. We are posting an article by Francisco Arias Fernández which explains who has been behind the drug trafficking in the region over the past 50 years

Corrupt politicians and mafia bosses enriched through the drug trade served US interests for decades until 1959.

Corrupt politicians and mafia bosses enriched through the drug trade served US interests for decades until 1959.

(April 17 ) – The cyclical slander campaigns of U.S. governments and their special services against Cuba have been a regular weapon in the arsenal used in attempts to discredit – and eliminate – the Revolution, as evident in secret files on efforts to fabricate a pretext to invade the island, during the events that gave rise to Case no.1 of 1989, in which Cuban military officers were convicted of drug-related offenses. Continue reading

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Canada’s relations with Caricom: Self-serving definition of what it means to be a ‘vital partner’

Heads of Government reaffirm solidarity with Cuba at the 31st CARICOM Inter-Sessional Summit held from February 18 -19 in St Michael, Barbados.

By TONY SEED (February 23) – The meeting of the regime change Lima Group hosted by Canada on February 20 in Ottawa comes right on the heels of Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne’s meeting on February 18-19 with leaders of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Bridgetown, Barbados. He was sent as a substitute for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The 15-member organization[1] has served as an effective block to attempts by the U.S. and its allies to use the discredited Organization of American States (OAS) as a political weapon against Venezuela. It has  denied them the number of votes needed to take action against Venezuela in the name of the OAS. This led the U.S. and Canada to set up the illegitimate Lima Group outside the OAS for the purpose of advancing their illegal regime change project. Continue reading


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Heroic resistance in Honduras: Ten years after the 2009 coup d’état

Tegucigalpa, Honduras, May 27, 2019


June 28 will mark ten years since the democratically elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was kidnapped and forcibly removed from office and from Honduras in a U.S.-orchestrated military coup d’état. Zelaya has said the main impetus for the coup was his government signing on to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America (ALBA) in 2008 — something the U.S. could not tolerate. Continue reading

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A poisonous adult frog of the Colombian species Golden Dart has so many toxins that it can kill 1,000 humans. It is called the Iván Duque.


Colombian president meets with Admiral Craig Faller, November 30, 2018 in Bogotá. Appointed commander US Southern Command just two days earlier, the American viceroy immediately left for Colombia to meet with the frog.

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Warship Watch. Royal Navy, Southcom commander land in Curaçao and Brazil

2019.02.05.HMS Mounts Bay at Curacao

The Royal Navy’s Mounts Bay docked in Curaçao, a small island just 50 miles away from Venezuela | Morning Star


(February 15, updated February 18, 22) – The Trump administration has stepped up threats of military aggression against Venezuela as part of its blackmail against the Venezuelan people and world opinion. The threat of military aggression is real, not merely an “option on the table.” In parallel, the U.S. is increasing its hostile military activities in the region, directed specifically against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its resistance to U.S. dictate. The newly-appointed commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), Admiral Craig Faller visited the Caribbean island of Curaçao in the Dutch Antilles, February 13-14, within 50 miles of the Venezuelan coast, following discussions with the Joint Military Staff of Brazil on February 11-12. Continue reading

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Warship Watch. ‘Fun in the sun’? Snowbirds? Venezuela? HMCS Charlottetown sails to Florida

2019.02.08.HMCS Charlottetown in Fort Lauderdale



(February 11, updated February 13) – About a week ago, the Canadian frigate HMCS Charlottetown departed from Halifax with none of the fanfare accorded two other warships, the HMCS Kingston and HMCS Shawnigan, which were ceremoniously deployed from Halifax to the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa on January 22nd. Continue reading

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The military threat against Venezuela is real, not an ‘option on the table’

Threats against the independence and sovereignty of Venezuela are real, not a mere policy “option.” Ongoing provocations and threats of military aggression by the US, Canada and others threaten to plunge the whole region into chaos and strike a serious blow against popular democracy around the world. The Lima Group is not welcome in Canada and it is important for Canadians to stand up and declare that the Government does not act in the name of Canadians and we demand that the Canadian government respect the independence and sovereignty of Venezuela.

Eduardo Correa Senior and James Patrick Jordan* examine the thread and military options that are on the table, and propose popular organization to defeat US interventionism in the Latin American nation.


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Plan to overthrow the Venezuelan ‘dictatorship’ – ‘Masterstroke’

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By US Admiral Kurt W. Tidd, Commander, US Southern Command


Last May, Argentinian journalist Stella Calloni revealed a document from Admiral Kurt Tidd, Commander in Chief of SouthCom, exposing military operations aimed at Venezuela. A second penetration was simultaneously implemented in Nicaragua, and a third, running for the last half century, against Cuba. The entire 11-page text is reproduced below. The admiral twice last year, in February and November, visited two areas in Colombia, the coca growing areas of south Colombia, and along the border with Venezuela, where the Colombian military has its largest concentrations of troops. Continue reading


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US military presence in Latin America and the Caribbean

For sovereignty and dignity – no gringo bases. no a bases gringas


The United States has some 800 military bases around the world, and 76 of these are in Latin America. Among the best known are 12 in Panama, 12 in Puerto Rico, nine in Colombia, and eight in Peru, with the greatest number concentrated in Central America and the Caribbean. Continue reading


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Argentina: Over 60 social movements protest US military base

The organizations led a caravan to the site where a U.S. base will be built to demand respect for Argentina’s territorial sovereignty.

Mapuche people of Neuquen are part of the 60 organizations that oppose the U.S. base. | Photo: @pcayuqueo

(July 12) – In Argentina, political parties, social organizations, human rights groups, workers’ unions and Mapuches held a caravan to protest the installation of a United States “humanitarian” base in the western city of Neuquen. Continue reading

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Canadian Forces take part in US military exercise off coast of Venezuela

(September 11, 2017) – From June 6 to 17 Canadian military personnel participated in Operation Tradewinds, an annual military exercise in the Caribbean sponsored and led by U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM). The operation was being conducted in two phases: from June 6-12 in Barbados and from June 13-17 in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Department of National Defence (DND) described Operation Tradewinds as “a multinational maritime interdiction, ground security and interagency exercise that focuses on countering transnational organized crime and practicing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief […] in order to promote regional security cooperation.” Continue reading


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US military to launch special force for Latin America

 The new force will be deployed to the Palmerola base in Honduras and will include 250 troops

The JHSV Spearhead will be deployed to conduct operations in Latin America | Wikicommon

The JHSV Spearhead will be deployed to conduct operations in Latin America | Wikicommon

teleSUR (April 1) – The United States military will deploy a new special force for Latin America, revealed the website Defensa.com on Wednesday.

The 250-troop force will be deployed to the U.S. military base Soto Cano in Palmerola, Honduras. The deployment includes 4 armed helicopters and the JHSV Spearhead amphibian vessel.

The special force will work in a similar way as the U.S. African task force Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response, a combat unit designed to intervene in critical situations. Continue reading

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Analysis of US military contracts in Latin America and Caribbean

Role of Honduras grows as Pentagon hub in Central America, reports JOHN LINDSAY-POLAND. Continue reading

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Honduras and the U.S. military


HONDURAS has increasingly become a hub for U.S. military operations in Central America, centered on the Soto Cano air base (also known locally as Palmerola), which has received an infusion of up to $45 million in construction funds since 2009.[1]  Continue reading

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Canada participates in Panamax 2010 with U.S. 4th Fleet

Remilitarization of the Panama Canal: U.S. leads 18-nation war exercise, including two warships from Canada, against ‘liberation brigade

By Timothy J. Gibbons, Florida Times-Union

(August 25, 2010) – FOR A ragtag sort of group, the Brigada de los Martis de la Liberacion seemed to have a decent amount of assets at its disposal. Continue reading

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Colombia announces new base
 on Venezuelan border

ON DECEMBER 18, the Colombian government announced the construction of a new military base on its border with Venezuela. Colombia’s Defense Minister Gabriel Silva said that the base, located on the Guajira peninsula near the city of Nazaret, would have up to 1,000 troops. “It is a strategic point from a defense Continue reading

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Netherlands and US planning military aggression
 from Dutch Antilles: Chávez

BY JAMES SUGGETT, Venezuelanalysis.com

(December 18, 2009) – DURING a meeting with trade unions, political organizations, and social movement leaders in Copenhagen, Denmark on December 17, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez accused the Netherlands of allowing the United States military to plan a future attack against Venezuela from its island territories in the Caribbean, known as the Dutch Antilles. Continue reading

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The McCain tour and the manifest destiny of the US Fourth Fleet


(June 30, 2008) – While I was preparing a reflection about McCain’s relationship with the anti-Cuban terrorist mafia in Miami and other related subjects of historical interest, fresh news was flowing about this character that is being projected by the empire’s hawks as Bush’s replacement: his visit to Colombia and Mexico which will begin tomorrow. It is not possible to avoid them since they confirm the opinions we have held. Continue reading

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US Southern Command and the phoney ‘War on Drugs’: Pretext for ceaseless militarization of the Americas


Fourth in a series of seven articles on the occasion of Harper’s visit to Latin America and the Caribbean

HALIFAX (13 August 2007) – THE CANADIAN WARSHIP HMCS Fredericton and an Aurora aircraft were deployed in the Caribbean Sea under the command of the US Joint Interagency Task Force during July. The American Force is based at Key West, Florida, which also serves as a base for the National Security Agency that, in April 2002, centralized communications support for the failed coup d’etat in Venezuela. The Task Force operates as a subordinate command to the US Southern Command (Southcom), Miami – one of the five US military commands that span the globe. Continue reading


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‘Partnership of the Americas’: Ceaseless exercises of the US navy and NATO fleets, ceaseless preparations for intervention

During the first day of PANAMAX 2005, a U.S.-led formation of ships heads to sea. PANAMAX is an exercise organized under the pretext of the “war on terrorism” to “develop a multinational response to threats against the Panama Canal.” The 2005 exercise involved 15 countries, including naval forces from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, Peru and the U.S., along with observers from Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Mexico and Uruguay. The exercise was conducted Aug. 4-17, 2005 and consisted of scenario-driven surface, air, mine counter-measures and special operations events involving detection, monitoring and interdiction of vessels. U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO


Fifth in a series of seven articles on the occasion of Harper’s visit to Latin America and the Caribbean

HALIFAX (13 August 2007) – FOR THE IMPERIAL POWERS, warships are but floating bases to deliver the marines and firepower on board, secure the sources of raw materials and natural riches, dominate the oceans and sealanes of the world, and through the old gunboat policy put down the struggles of the peoples for independence and change. Continue reading


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‘Partnership of the Americas’: The system of U.S. bases

For sovereignty and dignity – no gringo bases. no a bases gringas


Sixth in a series of seven articles on the occasion of Harper’s visit to Latin America and the Caribbean

HALIFAX (August 13, 2007) – THE MASSIVE US NAVAL WAR GAMES of U.S. Southern Command such as the recently-completed “Partnership of the Americas”, features the largest number of U.S. naval forces ever deployed in the Caribbean Sea, as well as NATO and Canadian warships. It also involves a network of bases, with some thirty in South America, already established or in stages of reconstruction, camouflaged with “anti terrorist” or anti-narcotic competences and undertakings. Continue reading

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The abolition of military bases – ending imperialist intervention

The International Conference on the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases – 95 per cent of which belong to the United States

Protest of Puerto Rican fishermen against U.S. Vavy base, Vieques Island

BY NIDIA DIAZ, Granma International*

HAVANA (8 March 2007) – THE fact that the United States has military bases all over the world is not news; neither is its news that it uses them to back its imperialist geopolitical strategies. What is new is that what until now was accepted as the unavoidable “right” of a large power is beginning to be questioned by a growing movement committed to peace and the survival of those of us who inhabit the Earth. Continue reading


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Canada joins US-led Caribbean war exercises

By TONY SEED, along with three related news commentaries

HALIFAX (6 June 2006) – CANADA will join aggressive U.S.-led military manoeuvres in the Caribbean between May 23 and June 15, news agencies are reporting.

Canadian forces will be part of manoeuvres ominously dubbed Joint Caribbean Lion in Curaçao and the French island of Guadeloupe.

Some 4,000 soldiers from the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada and France are to participate in the operation which will have its main base on the U.S. base Hato Rey in Curaçao, known under the name “location for cooperative security.”

The massive war games, the largest in over twenty years, includes the participation of forces from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and countries in the hemisphere (Chile, for instance, sent observers), except for Cuba and Venezuela, which could be the targets of that show of force, according to news agencies.

USS Bataan amphibious assault ship

Although Holland claims to be the training leader, regional social and political groups and governments have called attention to the exceptionally strong US military presence, and attribute threatening objectives to it.

After ordering departure of three military ships from Norfolk, Virginia, the US Southern Command reported that actions will be conducted by Amphibious Squadron Commodore Donna Looney of the Second Amphibious Squadron 2 on board the multi-functional landing ship USS Bataan. Bataan is one of 24 ships that comprise Commander, Amphibious Group 2, based at NAB Little Creek, Va.

USS Washington

The nuclear aircraft carrier USS George Washington is leading the sea/air forces in the manoeuvres already taking place, dubbed “Operation Partnership of the Americas,” and the strike group includes the guided-missile destroyer Stout, the guided-missile frigate Underwood, the amphibious landing ship USS Fort McHenry and the frigate USS Taylor with about 6,500 sailors and – if necessary – two nuclear submarines.

Fostering “goodwill”? Repelling a Belgian boarding party

The fictitious objective is to “foster goodwill” in military relations between the U.S. Navy and countries in the region, and to intensify efforts in the fake fight against drug-trafficking and terrorism.

For the Netherlands, this is an exercise of the utmost importance; its three branches are conducting an unprecedented exercise of this magnitude never before carried out in cooperation with other NATO countries. It is the largest naval exercise the Netherlands with its NATO allies in the Caribbean has ever held, using a U.S. aircraft carrier and naval fleet.

Amphibious landing exercise

The scenario of the maneouvres include an amphibious landing operation on the island of Curaçao. For Venezuela, which is represented by observers in the exercises, the maneouvres look like a provocation. They concern the establishment of permanent U.S. military bases in the Netherlands Antilles islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao, which lie only 40 kilometres from the Venezuelan coast. With air reconnaissance flights, depth measurements and land analysis, the United States could be evaluating its possibilities of success for an invasion against a country in the area, regional analysts say.

The scenario of a separate simulated exercise, reminiscent of the failed coup d’état in Venezuela in 2002, involves “Samba” President “Leo Flexible,” who is to be held hostage by the militia at one of the old apartments of Mullet Bay Resort. The marines are unable to rescue or take over the hostage, because the militia moves him to “Arie Galore.” Special Forces teams of the Maritime Taskforce are sent to that island to set him free or, reading between the lines, take him into U.S. custody.

The London Observer reported “the failed coup (of 2002) was closely tied to senior officials in the US government” with “long histories in the “dirty wars’’ of the 1980s, and links to death squads working in Central America at that time.” The Bush administration has made a number of hostile remarks in the past and taken measures which many fear could precede to future interventions. In April, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for an “international united front” against Chávez.

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has called the Dutch Defense Minister a “Washington stooge” for allowing U.S. navy vessels to be deployed to the Antilles. Speaking in Alo Presidente, the weekly television program he uses to addresses the nation, Chavez suggested the U.S. may want to use the Antilles Islands to invade Venezuela. Chavez has dismissed the suggestion by right-wing Dutch hawks that his country has territorial ambitions on the Antilles. The Dutch have said they are satisfied with this response, according to AP.

Once the centre of the Caribbean slave trade, the island of Curaçao was hard hit by the abolition of slavery in 1863. Its prosperity (and that of neighbouring Aruba) was restored in the early 20th century with the construction of oil refineries to service the newly-discovered Venezuelan oil fields. The island of Saint Martin is shared with France; its southern portion is named Saint Maarten and is part of the Netherlands Antilles; its northern portion is called Saint-Martin and is part of Guadeloupe (France).

The Canadian government is keeping its military participation in Joint Caribbean Lion quiet. 

The Canadian government is keeping its military participation in Joint Caribbean Lion quiet. There is no mention of its involvement on the Department of National Defence website, although Canada’s participation is extensively reported in the Latin American and Caribbean press, as well as U.S. Navy website. This is in line with the fiction that Canada is free of any imperialist or neo-colonial interests in that region.

Canadian banks are amongst the most powerful and profitable operations in the Caribbean. Their penetration of the region arose historically from the involvement of the rich strata in the Nova Scotia colony in provisioning the West Indies slave trade as the basis for accumulation of capital. Both the Bank of Nova Scotia and the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) were founded in Halifax, NS.

Historically, the first intrusion of Canadian naval forces in the Caribbean, under the command of the British Royal Navy, was as part of the gunboat policy against the Mexican Revolution in 1915, a role repeated in 1932 when a Canadian warship was deployed against the uprising of the landless peasants of El Salvador.

The Canadian navy successively participated in the illegal maritime “quarantine” of Cuba in October, 1962 under direct orders from the U.S. Navy and without reference to or the approval of the Diefenbaker cabinet, which had incensed the Kennedy administration with its “failure to obey” the CIA-organized Bay of Pigs invasion in April, 1961; the invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1964; the gunboat policy against Trinidad and Tobago in 1970; the massive Exercise Ocean Venture in 1982, which rehearsed the U.S. invasion of Grenada in 1983; the gunboat policy against Nicaragua in the mid-1980s; and U.S. interventions in Haiti in the mid-1990s and the invasion and occupation of Haiti in 2004 by the U.S., France and Canada.

During the 1980s the anti-war movement in Halifax, under the banner of No Harbour for War, held annual protests against the deployment of Canadian warships to participate in Caribops military exercises on Vieques Island, Puerto Rico. Caribops 83 involved 11 Canadian destroyers and 2,500 troops, and was condemned as part of the offensive of the Reagan administration against the just struggles os the peoples of Central America.

In August, 2005 Canadian Forces participated in annual US exercises aimed at remilitarizing the Panama Canal zone code-named Panamax 2005. The exercises were initiated in 2003, a year after the unsuccessful coup attempt in Venezuela.

With files from Prensa Latina, TML Daily, and news agencies. Updated by the author from Shunpiking Online, Shunpiking Magazine 

* * *

Venezuela Stages Mock Foreign Invasion

(June 5, 2006) – VENEZUELA recently conducted a simulation of a foreign military invasion called Operation Patriot 2006. It was part of a military exercise to train troops and communities to repel a foreign invader. The Venezuelan government said it is preparing citizens to fight a guerrilla war to repel a possible Iraq-style invasion by U.S. troops.

During the exercise, a naval landing craft made landfall on the shores of Western Falcon state carrying troops and over a dozen camouflaged tanks, Reuters reported. The “invading” army then took over the massive Paraguana Refining Complex, a key asset of Venezuela’s crude exporter.

“They’ve already invaded us, now the invading forces are controlling certain strategic objectives,” said Rear Admiral Zahin Quintana, a squadron commander, after disembarking from a warship as part of the exercise. “Now begins the resistance by our troops together with our people.”

“The tanks began circulating through the streets, and units of mock invading soldiers launched smoke bombs to clear the way. But local residents, organized and trained by military authorities, resisted the assault by blocking roads with rusting cars and burning tires,” Reuters reported.

Community organizations called Local Defence Councils have been established to provide support during a potential invasion by hiding weapons deposits, relaying messages or sabotaging water and power services. “We’re willing to go anywhere to defend our homeland,” Rosmery Trujillo, a participant in the operation, said.

Quintana said the mock attack involved nine warships, three combat planes and four helicopters. The exercise included Venezuelans trained to defend the nation’s strategic assets including oil terminals, fuel filling stations and tanker trucks.

Source: TML Daily, June 5, 2006 – No. 93

* * *

The United States Wants to Create Conditions to Attack Venezuela

Ali Rodriguez Araque, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

(May 15, 2006) – THE government of the United States climbs to new heights of cynicism and shamelessness when it tries to tie Venezuela to its particular vision of international terrorism. It affirms that Venezuela is not “collaborating sufficiently” with the fight against terrorism.

If “not collaborating” means not supporting the virtual genocide that it practices against the people of Iraq and failing to condemn it with all might before all the possible forums, then under no concept or pretext can it be said that Venezuela is not willing to “collaborate.” If “not collaborating” means condemning the pretense of imposing upon the people of Iran the need to resign from its legitimate right to develop nuclear technology for peaceful ends, under the extreme threat of military attacks against it, Venezuela is proud to respond that it shall never lend itself to demands of such nature, no matter what pressures are brought to bear against it.

Public opinion knows the emphasis that the present Administration, with President Bush at the helm places on the principle that “a terrorist is not only he who engages in acts of terrorism, but also those who harbor them.” This principle permits us to affirm without fear of being mistaken that current U.S. authorities are terrorists. By the same token, public opinion is well aware of the shelter that the U.S. is providing the most criminal of terrorists in the Western Hemisphere, Luis Posada Carriles, a well known assassin on the payroll of the CIA. Public opinion also knows of the order given by U.S. authorities to release two persons accused of terrorism by Venezuelan courts of justice: Antonio Colina and Germán Varela, who placed bombs in the diplomatic missions of Spain and Colombia, allied countries of the United States of America. The Bush Administration has simply not responded to the request made by Venezuela for their extradition, under treaties and international law, to answer for their crimes. Instead, the U.S. shields behind miserable accusations such as the danger that these criminals will be tortured.

What are they trying to hide behind these accusations against Venezuela?

The essence of the problem is not its false fight against terrorism. Behind its despicable accusations is a useless campaign of shame designed to isolate Venezuela, destabilize its democratic government and prepare the political conditions for an attack. To that end, along with other actions, it wants to handicap our defenses. That is the reason why it prohibits the sale of arms and corresponding services. That is the reason why it brings pressure to bear to prevent it from acquiring the means to defend itself, including simple border vigilance, or what has happened with the negotiations to acquire aircraft from Spain and Brazil. That is the reason behind the accusations that Venezuela has launched an arms race. There is too much clarity to obscure it with accusations and shameless acts. They have tried to separate Venezuela from its other friendly nations on the continent and the world. They have failed and will continue to do so.

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela denounces to the world this new stage in the U.S. strategy of defeating our democratic government in order to impose, as it has done so many times on the continent and in the world, an obedient dictatorship. We ratify that Venezuela will not succumb to any kind of pressure. It will firmly resist the attacks of this nature and counsels not to confuse the cowardly and opportunistic expressions of some, with the will of the people. This is an error that they have committed recently with other people that pay dearly with their dignity, but who also must pay with the price of aggression.

Our country extends its hand of friendship to the people of the U.S., but it does not hesitate to close its fist to respond to an aggression, may it be verbal as well as material, as undertaken by an immoral government with an aggressive nature. Our people have confidence in the wisdom of the people of the U.S. and we are confident that they will know to impose their will before those who not only assassinate the people of other countries, but also those who sacrifice their own children for their worthless cause.

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U.S. Embargo Against Venezuela: State Department’s Mock Indignation Gives the U.S. a Bad Name

Council on Hemispheric Affairs

(May 18, 2006) – FOLLOWING the announcement by the State Department that it was imposing an arms sale sanction against Venezuela, a Chávez advisor infuriated Washington when he responded with an apparently retaliatory announcement that Caracas would consider selling its American-made F-16’s to Iran. The proposed sale irritated U.S. policymakers, whose initial imposition of the embargo was rationalized by the vague, if not totally contrived, accusations involving Hugo Chávez’s friendship with the leaders of U.S. classified rogue states of Cuba and Iran. Caracas’ threat of selling off the F-16 is somewhat logical, as the U.S. earlier had denied Venezuela the parts necessary to maintain its fleet of 21 F-16’s, rendering those aircraft – which are in need of upgrading and repair – little better than scrap metal.

In a certain sense, Washington’s new round of bluster can be properly seen as merely part of an ongoing war of words and spleen against Caracas, in which Chávez more than holds his own, much to the joy of the average Latin American. Venezuela and the U.S. have exchanged countless salvos of sharp rhetoric at each other, with Chávez describing the U.S. as a “pig” whose appointment at the slaughterhouse is imminent, and Secretary of State Rice portraying the Chávez administration as unconstructive and as being “a negative force in the region.” Venezuela’s gonzo response to the new U.S. embargo fits into the milieu of bounteous hot air that has become increasingly typical between the two countries, though it has not yet ended up with the CIA ultimately being called in to settle matters.

Bringing in Goebbels

There is some reason to believe, however, that the State Department actually does have a plan, and that these verbal jabs on Washington’s part have a calculated purpose, as they seem to represent a concerted attempt to undermine the legitimacy of Chávez’s constitutional government. This effort already has included backing a failed coup against him in April 2002 – which has resulted in unremitting hostility ever since. It is also worth commenting that Chávez’s own reaction has been only slightly less confrontational. The big difference is that Chavez is being the playful, irascible, confounding and confrontational wunderkind that he always has been.

As for the State Department, with Secretary Condoleezza Rice as its author, its Venezuela policy continues to be bovine, hypocritically cynical and grossly unprofessional in promoting a heavy handed policy against Venezuela, as much based on inventions and gross exaggeration as on facts. This strategy, after it condemns all other peaceful options and decides to turn to a CIA deployment or negotiates an agreement with a contract killer to eliminate Chávez in order to safeguard the U.S.’ oil supply from the regime, would cost Washington dearly.

Taking the high road that should strike a responsive chord with most Latin Americans, the Venezuelan leader observed that the United States “tramples on small and weak nations.” Yet at this point, Chávez neither has threatened nor halted supplies of oil to the United States. Nor did he seem particularly distressed by the sanctions. An official Venezuelan foreign ministry communiqué was issued stating that the U.S. accusation was “despicable” and was “based on a futile campaign to discredit and isolate Venezuela, to destabilize its democratic government and prepare the political conditions for attack.”

One can only hope that somewhere in the Bush administration, a concentration of fast disappearing wisdom remains, and that it can bring to a halt the State Department’s precarious – if not suicidal – descent into reckless arrogance and sprawling self-indulgence. As of now, the administration’s game plan is primitively simple and grossly offensive. Inspired by Nazi-era propaganda czar, Joseph Goebbels, the model is to keep on relentlessly denouncing Chávez as a “dictator” until the public begins to automatically accept the connections between the word and the man.

Of course, standing in the way of the administration’s success in convincingly making its case is the fact that Chávez’s political movement has won twice the number of highly attended elections than President Bush has, and by consistently far larger majorities – around 60 per cent better. Furthermore, the TV networks are overwhelmingly dominated by the Chávez-hating middle-class opposition, and the same is true for the print media. To describe today’s Venezuela as a dictatorship is an unmitigated lie, and despite the adamant pleas of Rice and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, it is subscribed to only by a questionable sector of the U.S. media, led by Washington Post columnist Jackson Diehl and the extraordinary science fiction editorial page of the Wall Street Journal.

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