A serious threat, from the Río Bravo to Patagonia

[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for July 5, 2012. See original here.]

By Ángel Guerra Cabrera

The coup d’état against the president of Paraguay, Fernando Lugo, calls for a revision of strategy and tactics by the progressive governments and popular forces of Latin America.

It should be remembered that the United States has at its disposal a large runway in Mariscal Estigarribia, in the Paraguayan Chaco, ready for Galaxy transport planes and B-52 bombers. It was constructed in agreement with the very oligarchical parties that staged the parliamentary coup against Lugo, who have also approved beforehand the incursion of United States troops into the country, recent signs indicating that their presence will be made permanent.

The airfield is located over the Guaraní aquifer, the third largest potable water reserve in the world, a cannon shot away from the gas fields of Bolivia, against whose government they are also taking aim. Together with the bases already established in Chile, Peru,  Ecuador, Colombia and the Netherlands Antilles, it forms the structure of a military cordon around the Amazon, with its great riches in biodiversity, and Brazil in its entirety, at the same time that it facilitates the rapid deployment of a large expeditionary force for operations in South America.

The coup consequently seeks to establish a threatening beachhead of United States imperialism in a region of enormous geostrategic importance, the heart of Mercosur and Unasur. The military Monroe Doctrine thus overflows the Caribbean and Central America to spread from north to south in Latin America. After the 1999 transfer to Panama of the canal and the installations on it, where the United States Southern Command (SC) was located, joint maneuvers by its forces and Latin American armies have proliferated, as have security accords and small military bases, now stretching from Mexico, passing through El Salvador, Honduras, Panama once again and all the way to Paraguay.

The heads of the SC have been arguing before congressional committees in Washington that the United States’ worst enemies are “narco-terrorism,” political instability and the emergence of radical “populist” movements in Latin America.

This coded language refers to the governments of Hugo Chávez, Evo Morales, Rafael Correa, Daniel Ortega, Cristina Fernández and Dilma Rousseff, and the popular movements, among them the one headed by Andrés Manuel López Obrador. So the United States considers governments and movements that do not satisfy its interests or bend to its desires, regardless of how much popular support they enjoy, to be enemies. But the more tepid a leader’s posture toward Washington is, not to say prudent, the less will be the popular support and the greater will be the risk of being removed or held in check.

The question is very clear. As Cuban political scientist Roberto Regalado has pointed out, after the fall of the Berlin wall Washington made the mistake of considering that the model of neoliberal democracy could work indefinitely, by means of alternation of candidates of the parties that defend that ideology. They probably reached that conclusion after considering that the spirit of rebellion of the masses had been curtailed after the assassinations of tens of thousands of revolutionaries and social militants by Pinochetismo, Operation Condor and the dirty war, in that bloodbath mounted by the CIA that stretched from Patagonia to Mexico in the ‘70s and ‘80s of the 20th century. What was not perceived was precisely that neoliberal policies, the hasty application of which it promoted in Latin America and the Caribbean, in the end resulted in the emergence of a wave of struggles and social protests. And that the crest of that wave would put in charge, or on the threshold, an appreciable group of governments of important popular forces and leaders.

Then it waited for the imminent surrender of Cuba, closely tied as its economy was to the fallen USSR. A serious error of assessment, since the flame of rebellion kept alive under the most adverse of circumstances and Yankee hostility and siege, was a great source of inspiration for the struggles mentioned above. And I bring up Cuba as well because more than half a century of victorious resistance against the political and military hostility, the terrorist actions and the economic war by Yankee imperialism have been made possible only by virtue of two fundamental factors: one, the monolithic unity, with no fissures, of its people and its organizations in the face of Washington; and two, never having made a single compromise of principles.

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