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Twenty Years After End Of The Cold War: Pentagon's Buildup In Latin America

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Washington has now compensated, and far more than compensated, for the loss of the air base at Manta with the acquisition of seven new bases in Colombia, positioning its military closer to that country's eastern border with Venezuela. (And perhaps its southwestern border with Ecuador.)

As with all other parts of the world, where the Pentagon goes so do its NATO allies. Until earlier this year Great Britain was reported to be the second largest provider of military aid to Colombia.

In Venezuela's eastern neighbor, Guyana, the Pentagon deployed 650 troops (infantry, naval and air force) this July for New Horizons Guyana, "a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored annual exercise starting July 1 designed to strengthen ties with partner nations in Central and South America...." [12]

In recent days a controversy has arisen in Guyana after Britain withdrew assistance for a security project following the Guyanese government's "refusal to allow training by UK Special Forces on a western border location with live firing...." [13] Guyana's western border is with Venezuela. A letter to a local newspaper denounced the "U.K.'s demands for the training of British Special Forces officers on Guyana's territory, and worse yet, in close proximity to Guyana's South American neighbours, namely, Brazil and Venezuela.

"Such a request from the British must be seen as unreasonable, an affront to Guyana's territorial sovereignty and could even undermine Guyana's relationship with her neighbours whom we know from previous experiences could interpret the presence of Western military personnel in close proximity to their borders as an act of hostility or concern and may even spark an arms race in South America." [14]

In Guyana's eastern neighbor, Suriname, the Pentagon has also been busy. Two years ago U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited and secured "military premises on its territory.

"Suriname President Ronald Venetiaan said the United States wants to build military premises in Surinamese soil to test the capabilities of military vehicles in the forest," Associated Press reported on October of 2007. [15]

Anticipating American military chief Mullen's tour this March, "Before his...visit to Suriname, Gates met leaders in El Salvador, Colombia, Chile and Peru." [16]

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The eastern-most of the three Guianas, the French, is still an overseas department and used for various military purposes.

French military instructors at a camp on the premises of the Guiana Space Center in Kourou "operate one of the most grueling courses in jungle warfare and survival, opening it to Special Forces from around the world".

The base's "main purpose is preparing legionnaires for hardships in places where France still uses them for military intervention, like Chad, Djibouti or Ivory Coast." [17]

Three years ago Paris used the space center, "which each year launches into orbit about half of the world's commercial satellite payloads," [18] for another objective. It launched "the military satellite Syracuse 3B from Kourou in French Guiana thereby creating the conditions for faster and more efficient military exercises abroad.

"The satellite is to be made available to Germany's military and to the NATO alliance."

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The Syracuse satellites "cover an area extending from the eastern United
States to eastern China and would multiply the existing transfer capacity by ten...of France and the European Union to act." [19]

No part of the world is now isolated from and left unmolested by the West's worldwide military network.

This past September, the new president of Paraguay Fernando Lugo (elected last year), canceled the U.S. Southern Command's scheduled New Horizons military maneuvers after the announcement that Washington was going to sign the agreement with Colombia for seven new bases. Lugo said of his government's decision "There would be about 500 US military and other personnel in the country and that wouldn't go unnoticed." [20]

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at:

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