Just noticing these days how nothing much has changed with the Empire’s rhetoric toward Venezuela and Chavez. In the Presidential race, McCain has ruled out talks with Chavez saying he’s a charlatan and thug:
and Obama is fairly inflammatory towards Venezuela himself saying that Chavez is an enemy of the US and calling out for sanctions against him. Most recently he said that Venezuela “is a destructive force in the region” because of its alleged support for the Colombian guerilla group, the FARC, its “anti-democratic practices,” and its “incendiary rhetoric” against the U.S.
This sort of talk is uninformed and unfortunate. It is fairly clear that Chavez has not supported the FARC’s armed struggle, nor has he supported the FARC financially as Colombian liar Uribe would like us to believe. Obama would do well to take a look at how destructive US foreign policy has been in Latin America for the last century. Yet, he continues to play the game and support US imperial design on the riches of Latin America. I guess it only makes sense since the people that pay for his campaign are at least partially made up of companies which make a killing on trade with Latin American countries. Ah what a refreshing thing it would be to see someone with a backbone running for president for once. Then again, we already have such men as Nader and Paul, but they are marginalized by the press (which is owned by the same people who give financial support to the two major candidates) and are seen as non-viable wierdos.
Chavez, of course, is no dummy in all of this:
“The two candidates for the US presidency attack us equally, they attack us defending the interests of the empire,” Chavez said at a meeting of his socialist party. “Let’s not kid ourselves, it is the empire and the empire must fall. That’s the only solution – that it comes to an end.”
Also notable in US/Venezuelan relations is the old charge championed previously by Rumsfeld that Venezuela buying arms from Russia is an unnecessary and suspicious activity:
“We’ve repeatedly communicated concerns with Russia about Chavez’s arms build-up in the past, and we’re going to continue to do so,” Gonzalo Gallegos, a US State Department spokesman said.
“We continue to question … whether such acquisitions are in line with Venezuela’s legitimate defense needs,” Gallegos added.
Remember Rumsfeld’s concerns from 3 years ago?
After the meeting, Mr. Rumsfeld told journalists the United States was troubled by reports that Venezuela is seeking to buy 100,000 assault rifles and 10 military helicopters from Russia.
“I can’t imagine what is going to happen to 100,000 AK-47s,” he said. “I don’t understand why Venezuela needs 100,000 AK-47s.”
These concerns are unfounded and are most likely politically motivated as pointed out here:
However, one military expert said that Venezuela is merely replacing old equipment rather than than increasing its stocks. Anna Gilmour of the well known defense magazine, Jane’s, said, “ Venezuela has increased indeed its military purchases over the last three years. But it is replacing obsolete weapons and military equipment, instead of just buying new equipment or new weapons.” She also hinted that Rumsfeld may have “political” reasons for making the comments about Venezuela.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has also inserted himself into the row. He called Rumsfeld a “war dog” and said that the U.S. is threatening Venezuela, something Rumsfeld denies, “ The dog says in a cynical way that he knows no one who is threatening Venezuela, so he does not know himself. We should give the little dog a mirror so that he can see his face,” said Chávez.
Chávez also made a polite request to Colombian President Álvaro Uribe that he make a comment on Rumsfeld’s remarks. Colombia borders Venezuela and, although relations between Uribe and Chávez are good, the border area is renowned for military and paramilitary activity on both sides. Chávez wants Uribe to say whether he is one of those “neighbors” with “concerns.”
According to the news agency EFE, Uribe was asked today in a radio interview how he would respond to Chavez and merely stated that Colombia has “very good relations” with the countries of South America, among these Venezuela, and with the United States.
The Vice President of Venezeula, Jose Vicente Rangel was very eloquent in pointing out the absurdity of Rumsfeld’s preoccupation with the Venezuelan government’s military purchases:
The Lord of War, Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense of the United States made some statements following the same line of repeating the usual impertinences about Venezuela. These impertinences inspired by the goal of getting involved in the internal politics of other nations and violate our sovereignty, continue being utilized systematically by U.S. officials.
In Venezuela we are worried about the elevated military spending by the United States, which stands around 450 billion dollars, representing a spending that surpasses that of the 18 other military powers that follow them. The U.S. alone absorbs 36% of the world’s military spending. This has generated great preoccupation in the majority of the countries around the world, since there is no justification for the building of so many devices for war.
As the government of that country has said in repeated opportunities, they are the greatest military power in history, and its objectives are to control and assure its hegemony over the rest of the world. What are they fearing in order to justify such increase in military spending? Can anybody believe such country could be invaded by a foreign power? What is really happening is that the U.S. has developed a very new doctrine through which they justify their arms buildups. This is the frequently mentioned preventive war. For them it is not about peace, but about preventive war. This is the doctrine that has the whole world worried because, as we all know, it has already been put into practice.
That is the big difference with the arms purchase which we are doing in an act of political sovereignty, with the only goal of defending our independence and guaranteeing the self-determination of our people. These weapons, as everybody knows, don’t have the potential for aggression against anybody. They are exclusively for defense, to which we have a right as all nations of the world do.
We have to say even more: in this moment the U.S. has started a new phase in its imperialist aggression against our homeland. They started with a propaganda war, and now they increase their attack, using one of the promoters of the so called Star Wars, who seeks to create enemies for Venezuela, among our friends. The North American strategy is aimed at destroying Latin American unity, and take possession of our energy resources. Venezuela is just one step in their global ambitions.
The escalation of these attacks confirms the existence of a plan by the U.S. government against Venezuela. This plan was tested on April 11 of 2002, with the coup d’etat against President Hugo Chavez, and continued developing with the strike and oil sabotage starting December 2, 2002, with systematic statements by spokespersons of the Bush administration, with a media campaign such as those that the empire has unleashed through history whenever they want to consummate an aggression, or through the assassination attempts of that have been detected, and other series of efforts to destabilize.
Definitely, the U.S. is worried because Latin America is liberating itself. This preoccupation is that of the slave owner who does not accept the liberating struggles of the oppressed peoples. The U.S. preoccupation with Venezuela is because our country is building a true democracy of equals, something that the U.S. does not carry through neither with their own people, nor with the international scene.
The U.S. preoccupation arises because we are building another world, a world in which other worlds can fit. They are worried that the South also exists.
From the south we respond, with dignity as our flag, and understanding the big responsibility we have as the descendants of San Martin, Artigas, O’Higgins, Abreu e Lima, and Bolivar.