Friday, March 07, 2008

The Israel of Latin America.


Chavez describes Colombia as "the Israel of Latin America" for good reason. It was recently revealed revealed that Israelis have been fighting against FARC guerillas in Colombia, supplying counterinsurgency expertise from their many decades of hunting Palestinians in order to help accomplish this sort of thing. This is part of a long-standing relationship that Israel has had with the terror regimes of Latin America. No wonder there's such an Israel-Colombia love-in.

Colombia's recent aggression in Ecuador produced a wave of revulsion among Latin American states. Lula has condemned Colombia, and so has the OAS. Nicaragua has broken diplomatic relations with Colombia over its actions. Even Bernard Kouchner, who thought he was about to land a heroic role for himself in Ingrid Betancourt's release, is pissed off. Venezuela, Argentina and Ecuador have found a new unity as a result of this. It's not only a blatant violation of Ecuadoran sovereignty, but a deliberate strike at the peaceful negotiations that were under way - the killing of Raul Reyes finished off his own role in working out the freeing of hostages. The Colombian state demonstrated that it would rather invade another country than come to a peaceful settlement with its domestic foes. The attack, involving the use of cluster bombs against a sleeping decampment, was apparently backed by the US - actually, it would be amazing if that wasn't the case. The destabilising role of the US is hardly a secret.

Plan Colombia, the programme devised between US and Colombian elites and implemented for approximately a decade now, was supposedly a 'war on drugs'. The result has been to dramatically increase outward shipments of cocaine [pdf], while destroying the livelihoods of peasant farmers and intensifying the war. Latin American leaders have worried that it could produce, in Lula's words, a "Vietnamisation of the region". Ecuador has already suffered from the Colombian government's war on 'narco-terrorism'. Uribe's regime, whose extensive ties to the AUC death squads have been exposed to daylight (roughly at about the same time that it was revealed that Chicquita bananas had been funding the AUC's war to the tune of $1.7m), is of course led by a man of the landowning class with a background in drug trafficking. And the AUC has been one of the biggest international suppliers of cocaine. So, you can take or leave their claim to be opposed to 'narco-terrorism'. But they certainly are doing their best to generate a casus belli against both Ecuador and Venezuela, by accusing them of funding the FARC. The US has indicated that it doesn't think a war 'likely', which means that they have called off their attack dog for now. But the combination of regional aggression, vicious counterinsurgency and subordination to US goals is indeed very familiar.