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Rumors Of Coups And War: U.S., NATO Target Latin America

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Rumors Of Coups And War: U.S., NATO Target Latin America
Rick Rozoff

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There is no way of overestimating the challenge that the emergence of ALBA and the overall reawakening of Latin America pose to the role that the U.S. arrogates to itself as lord of the entire Western Hemisphere. The almost two-century-old Monroe Doctrine exemplifies Washington's claim to exclusive influence over all of North, Central and South America and the Caribbean Basin and its self-claimed right to subordinate them to its own interests. Never before the election victories of anti-neoliberal forces throughout Latin America over the past eleven years has the prospect of a truly democratic, multipolar New World existed as it does now.

It is in response to those developments that the U.S. and its former colonialist allies in NATO are attempting to reassert their influence in the Americas south of the U.S. border.
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November 28 will mark five months since the coup led by U.S.-trained commanders deposed the president of Honduras, the next day will see a mock election in the same nation designed to legitimize the junta of Roberto Micheletti, and the day following that will be a month since Washington signed an agreement with the Alvaro Uribe government in Colombia for the use of seven military bases in the country.

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While intensifying a full-scale war in South Asia, continuing occupation missions in Iraq and the Balkans, maintaining warships off the coasts of Somalia and Lebanon, and deploying troops and conducting war games in most parts of the world, the United States and its NATO allies have not neglected Latin America.

Central and South America and the Caribbean are receiving a degree of attention from the U.S. and its partners not witnessed since the Cold War and in some ways are the targets of even more intense scrutiny and intervention.

Nearly five months since the June 28 coup d'etat against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya led by General Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, a graduate of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly the School of the Americas, Washington has not used its substantial - decisive - leverage with the illegal government and its military supporters to reverse the armed takeover of power. Instead it has conspired with the junta to drag out deliberately futile negotiations and has thrown its weight behind the November 29 election which, occurring without the previous reinstalling of President Zelaya, will be a travesty of law and international protocols and is in fact intended to lend false credibility to the current regime.

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On November 15 Manuel Zelaya wrote a letter to American President Barack Obama decrying Washington's machinations and stating that accepting the terms of the U.S.-sanctioned (to say no more) arrangement with Micheletti regarding the upcoming election would amount to "covering up the coup d'etat, which we know has a direct impact due to the military repression on the human rights of the inhabitants of our country."

The letter also said "The same day that the accord's Verification Commission was set up in Tegucigalpa the statements by officials from the State Department surprised (everyone) where they modify their position and interpret the accord unilaterally with the following statement: 'the elections should be recognized by the United States with or without the reinstatement'" of President Zelaya. [1]

The accord in question was one brokered by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias and signed on October 29 which would have led to a unity government with Manuel Zelaya returned to the presidency preparatory to a new election.

Micheletti and his supporters in the country's business community and "muscle" in the military unilaterally abrogated the terms of the agreement by thwarting Zelaya's reinstatement and appointing all members of the national cabinet. With the active connivance of Washington, as Zelaya's letter to Obama contends.

If a government friendly to the United States was overthrown in the manner that the Honduran one was on June 28 it would not take the White House and the State Department five months to respond, and even then only to abet the crime. Censure, sanctions and covert operations would have been resorted to immediately.

In nations where candidates not entirely to the West's liking win elections or unapproved presidents win reelection, the whole panoply of "regime change" interventions are put into effect with some variation of a "color revolution" ultimately negating and reversing the result. That such efforts have not been extended in Honduras is ample proof that the U.S. is satisfied with matters as they stand and would prefer the likes of Micheletti and General Vasquez to preside over a country where the Pentagon has a military facility at the Soto Cano Air Base and there stations its Joint Task Force Bravo replete with Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters.

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On November 16 a photograph appeared on a Pentagon website, Defense Link, of the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, and his Colombian opposite number, General Freddy Padilla de Leon, shaking hands outside the Pentagon three days earlier. [2]

No story on or details of their meeting are available, not even on Defense Department sites. Only the photograph and brief notices on Facebook and Twitter.

Padilla's resume is both illustrative and typical. He earlier matriculated in "terrorism studies" at George Washington University and received a fellowship for the Foreign Service Program at Georgetown University, as well as taking a course on advanced military studies at Fort Belvoir, Virginia and and training in strategic intelligence at the Defense Intelligence Analysis Center in Washington, D.C.

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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: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/

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