< < <
Date Index
> > >
Re: NYTimes.com Article: Administration Shifts Focus on Colombia Aid
by Elson Boles
07 February 2002 18:53 UTC
< < <
Thread Index
> > >
Well congratulations Steve, for it could hardly be more obvious! ^_^

What I thought was interesting in connection to this article was the one on
Venezuela published the same day (below).  It seems to me that the Bush
Administration is opposed to Venezuela's "leftist" government also because
US corporate politicians are concerned about the threat that Colombia's
rebels pose to the LA firm's pipeline.  Contrary to the main thrust of
Powell's propagandistic answer, US opposition isn't due to the Venezuelan
gov. allegedly being undemocratic.  That's a sham as usual.  In fact, note
that the question to which Powell responded concerns "allegations that
Venezuela is supporting leftist guerrillas in neighboring Colombia."

Never mind the hypocrisy of calls for democracy  -- Pakistan, Saudi Arabia,
Egypt, Kuwait, etc.  As usual, governments which help the poor are
"undemocratic" if they pose a threat to US geo-strategic corporate
interests.  In this case, the policies of Venezuela are said to be
"revolutionary policies to help the poor, including redistribution of land"
which in fact is hardly revolutionary at all, being policies that the US
pressured other states, including Taiwan and Japan, to take during the Cold
War.  Those were the good old days prior to unimpeded globalization, when
hypocrisy in each camp was the norm.  The subsidiary concern here might be
the threat that land distribution poses to Chiquita, Dole, DelMonte,
Monsanto, Cargill, etc.  But the reporter had it right: the immediate
concern is that Venezuela's current government doesn't support a US
terrorist war against the Columbian rebels who are (allegedly) fighting on
behalf of peasants and pose a threat to US oil interests.  Can't have that!

February 6, 2002
Powell Faults Venezuela's Leftist Leader
WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 (Reuters)  Secretary of State Colin L. Powell,
testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today criticized
the leftist president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, expressing concern about
his views on democracy and the war on terrorism.

Secretary Powell made the remarks in response to a question about
allegations that Venezuela is supporting leftist guerrillas in neighboring

"We have been concerned with some of the actions of Venezuelan President
Chavez and his understanding of what a democratic system is all about,"
Secretary Powell said.

He added that the United States had asked regional allies to suggest to Mr.
Chavez that there are perhaps better ways to "deal with the challenges his
country is facing."

Since winning election in 1998, Mr. Chavez has introduced what he calls
revolutionary policies to help the poor, including redistribution of land.

Opponents accuse him of trying to impose a Cuban-style leftist government on
Venezuela, whose main oil market is the United States.

In Caracas, Foreign Minister Luis Alfonso Davila defended Mr. Chavez's
foreign policy, saying it was "sovereign, independent and autonomous" and
did not require the approval of other governments.

> -----Original Message-----
> Just this once, I'll concede that access to oil might possibly
> have something to do with American foreign policy ;).
> Steven Sherman
> threehegemons@aol.com
> Administration Shifts Focus on Colombia Aid
> February 6, 2002
> BOGOTA, Colombia, Feb. 5 - The Bush administration is
> proposing to expand military aid to this war- racked nation
> by training the Colombian Army to protect a 500-mile-long
> oil pipeline from leftist rebels, senior American officials
> visiting Colombia said today. Such a program would be a
> sharp departure from a policy that until now has focused on
> eradicating drugs.
> The administration is seeking Congressional approval of a
> $98 million request that would pay for helicopters,
> communications equipment and training for Colombian troops
> to guard the Caqo Limsn pipeline, which transports crude
> oil pumped by Occidental Petroleum of Los Angeles from the
> country's eastern oil fields to a Caribbean port.
> "We are not saying this is counterdrug - this is
> different," said a member of an American delegation here in
> a meeting with reporters in a Bogota hotel. "The
> proposition we are making to the government of Colombia and
> to our Congress is that we ought to take an additional
> step."
> The administration is also asking Congress to provide
> financing for American training of a counternarcotics
> brigade that would operate in northern Colombia, a region
> under the influence of right-wing paramilitary groups, the
> officials said. The money for that would come from the $731
> million the administration is requesting in anti-narcotics
> programs for the Andean region for 2003.
> Pipeline protection is crucial, American officials said,
> because oil is Colombia's largest money-making export and
> provides much-needed income for a country hobbled by a
> brutal 38-year-old rebel conflict.
> The pipeline has been the target of rebels who see
> Occidental as an exploiter of Colombian resources. It was
> bombed 170 times last year, costing Colombia and the
> company more than $500 million, Colombia's state-owned oil
> company, Ecopetrol, said today. Since 1986, when the first
> attack was recorded, more than 2.6 million barrels of oil
> have been spilled.
> Until now, American policy has focused on aerial spraying
> of coca and opium poppy fields, as well as programs aimed
> at encouraging farmers to shift to other crops. The money
> for those programs came through a $1.3 billion aid package
> allocated in 2000 for the Andean region, most for training
> and equipping a Colombian Army brigade of 3,000 men that
> now takes part in counterdrug operations in the south.
> "Everything else up until now has been justified in terms
> of fighting drugs," said Michael Shifter, a senior fellow
> who follows Colombia for the Inter-American Dialogue, a
> policy analysis organization in Washington. "This is a
> different purpose. I think that is a departure."
> The administration's request is sure to be vigorously
> opposed by some members of Congress who are concerned that
> the United States could be drawn deeper into a murky
> conflict involving two rebel groups and a paramilitary
> group responsible for widespread mass killings.
> "For the first time, the administration is proposing to
> cross the line from counternarcotics to counterinsurgency,"
> said Senator Patrick J. Leahy, a Vermont Democrat who is
> chairman of the foreign operations subcommittee. "This is
> no longer about stopping drugs, it's about fighting the
> guerrillas.
> Human rights groups in the United States also harshly
> criticized the plan, releasing an extensive report today
> highlighting ties between army units and the
> paramilitaries. American law requires that Colombia show it
> has severed ties between security officials and
> paramilitary gunmen before receiving aid, a condition that
> groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch
> said had not been met by Colombia's government.
> The proposal, however, was warmly received by President
> Andris Pastrana and senior Colombian officials, who have
> been pleading for more American aid. Today, they met with
> the American delegation, here to review American policy
> toward Colombia and to meet with Colombian officials. The
> delegation is headed by Marc Grossman, under secretary of
> state for political affairs.

< < <
Date Index
> > >
World Systems Network List Archives
at CSF
Subscribe to World Systems Network < < <
Thread Index
> > >