Twitterstorm: February 23, 2018 Calling on the U.S. to Return Guantanamo to Cuba

international committee.png


Save this date:

Twitterstorm February 23, 2018 Calling on the U.S. to Return Guantanamo to Cuba


return guantanamo to cuba.jpg
A Conference on U.S. Foreign Military Bases took place at the University of Baltimore in January with the main theme being the closure of all foreign U.S. bases. The conference was organized by the Coalition Against US Foreign Military Bases

During the two-day event a number of resolutions were approved including one on Guantanamo. To see the Resolution click here: http://noforeignbases.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Resolution-on-Guantanamo.pdf
The organizers called upon the global peace movement to organize actions on or around February 23, 2018, coinciding with the 115th anniversary of seizure and occupation of Guantanamo….“We are calling for the United States to promptly withdraw all its forces and personnel from Guantanamo Bay and immediately declare ALL agreements ceding Cuban control of Guantanamo Bay to the U.S. to be null and void.”
As part of a Global Day of Actions against Guantanamo the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity, one of the endorsers of the Coalition Against US Foreign Military Bases, is announcing a Twitterstorm with a clear message that can be heard through social media from the United States and from around the world.
TWITTERSTORM  FRIDAY  FEBRUARY 23, 2018 
We propose the following hashtag:
#ReturnGuantanamotoCubaNow 
#USOutofGuanatamo 
#EEUUFueradeGuantanamo
#DevuelvanGuantanamoaCubaYa!
       
We suggest to include the twitter of Trump @POTUS
Follow us in FB and Twitter
Facebook

 Twiter: @TheIntCom

 Return Guantanamo to Cuba Now!

Caribbean, Latin America Meeting to Tackle Rural Poverty

Source:  TeleSUR
February 20 2018

caribbean latin american meet to tackle povertyRegional FAO representative Julio Berdegue (r) and FAO representative in Chile,
Eve Crowley (l) during a meeting in Santiago. | Photo: EFE

An FAO report shows the region is the most unequal in land distribution.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced the 35th Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean scheduled for March 5 – 8 in Jamaica will focus on identifying where rural poverty is most entrenched to launch strategies aimed at fighting hunger and obesity.

RELATED: Spanish Corporations ‘Violating Human Rights in Latin America’

Julio Berdegue, the regional representative for the FAO, said in a press conference on Monday in Chile “we have over 43 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean who go to sleep every day with empty stomachs. We also have an epidemic situation of malnutrition and particularly of overweightness and obesity.”

In a previous statements Berdegue explained the region was making rapid progress, “the problem is that in the last years we’ve lost speed. So we are here to debate with countries how we can step on the accelerator again.”

The FAO representative believes the slow-down is a result of “reaching the hard core of the problem, the hunger that is concentrated in remote Indigenous rural populations,” making them a central player in solving hunger.

“If Indigenous communities are not central actors, there is no way to solve hunger in those places. This will not be solved by bringing food in a helicopter,” Berdegue said. The U.N. official also mentioned the importance of Indigenous women empowerment to eradicate hunger and extreme poverty

Last year, the FAO published a report placing Latin America and the Caribbean as the most unequal region in land distribution. In that report, FAO also acknowledged that tackling the high concentration of land is “a fundamental aspect to reduce rural poverty.”

Furthermore, Berdegue mentioned the ill effects of water and chemical-intensive agriculture and argued “we cannot continue with agriculture that consumes 70 percent of the freshwater. It is no longer tolerable to say that we produce more food but on the basis of destroying tropical forests. Intensive agriculture based on the use of fertilizers that end up in rivers causing pollution is no longer acceptable.”

These changes will require the active commitment by governments to reverse these trends

Venezuela: 82.4M Units of Petro Cryptocurrency Available

Source:  TeleSUR
February 20 2018

petro cryptocurrencyThe new Venezuelan cryptocurrency the Petro logo is seen on a monitor
during a news conference in Caracas, Venezuela, January 31, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

The Venezuelan Government has officially announced the pre-sale of the Petro (PTR) cryptocurrency – the first commodity-secured currency of its kind in the world.

RELATED:  Venezuela’s Cryptocurrency Attracts Middle Eastern, US Investors

nicolas maduro 33.jpg“The Petro is born and we are going to have a total success for the welfare of Venezuela,” President Nicolas Maduro said. The President added that it will be a “very busy” day since the government will be working on forging strategic alliances.

The manual of acquisition and commercialization of the Petro will now be available and will begin the pre-sale of this digital currency with 82.4 million units available. The manual is available for download in several languages.

“The largest and most important companies and Blockchain in the world are with Venezuela, we are going to sign agreements,” Maduro expressed. “Six weeks ago I announced the creation of the Venezuelan cryptocurrency,” the president adding that the government had been working to launch the currency since then.

Maduro previously announced that the value of the entire Petro issuance of 100 million tokens would be just over US$6 billion.

The cryptocurrency, which will be backed by the oil resources of the country, aims to begin a new economic era in the nation.

Vice President of the Republic, Tareck El Aissami, launched the pre-sale process for the Venezuelan cryptocurrency, early Tuesday.

The Petro was created by the Venezuelan Government to counter the financial blockade imposed by the United States, attract investments and generate a new payment mechanism for goods and services.

The Venezuelan Government says the Petro is the foundation of a policy to promote development and infrastructure as well as the training of young people in electronic mining, coding, cryptography, network security and economics.

Carlos Vargas, who will manage the government’s cryptocurrency, said the presale and initial offer will be made in hard currencies and cryptocurrencies, but not bolivars.

“Our responsibility is to put (the Petro) in the best hands and then a secondary market will appear,” he said, explaining that the Petro could be sold in exchange for local currency after the initial sale.

The cryptocurrency will be redeemable for fiduciary money and other crypto-assets through digital exchange locations.

How to acquire the Petro?

Get a digital Petro wallet. Your Petro wallet will generate an email address that you can share with anyone who wants to transfer PTR to your wallet. You will be able to receive and deposit PTRs using the e-mail address.

Through an exchange of Petro ERC20 tokens acquired in the presale.

Purchase in the Initial Offer open to the participation of the general public.

In the secondary market once the initial offer process has ended.

Conference on U.S. Foreign Military Bases

Source:  World Peace Council
January 23 2018

coalition against us foreign military basesThe Conference on U.S. Foreign Military Bases was held successfully on January 12-14, at Learning Commons Town Hall, University of Baltimore, USA. Attached are the resolutions of the conference.

 


RESOLUTION ON GLOBAL DAY OF ACTIONS AGAINST GUANTANAMO

(on or around February 23rd, 2018)

WHEREAS, February 23, 2018 is the 115th Anniversary of the seizure of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by the United States to create a foreign Military Base, a result of the U.S. provoked Spanish-American War, and further

WHEREAS, the United States used its military power to force the Cuban Constitutional Convention to accept the seizure in its Constitution, and further

WHEREAS, upon the success of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 Cuba demanded the repudiation of the Treaty, ceased cashing the annual U.S. Payment of $4,085 and called for the complete sovereignty of the Bay by the Cuban Government, and further

WHEREAS, the United States has refused to return Guantanamo Bay to the Cuban people, citing the forcibly imposed Clause in the Treaty that BOTH parties must agree to the cancellation of the Treaty, and further

WHEREAS, U.S. occupation of Guantanamo Bay provides United States military dominance in the Caribbean and South America and is a threat to the independence and sovereignty of the peoples in that vast area, and further

WHEREAS, under U.S. control, Guantanamo Bay has become a center of torture and abrogation of human rights, violations of elementary U.S. and international standards that are condemned by the civilized world,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Bases unanimously calls upon the global peace movement to organize, on or around February 23, 2018, Actions calling for the United States to promptly withdraw all its forces and personnel from Guantanamo Bay and immediately declare ALL agreements ceding Cuban control of Guantanamo Bay to the U.S. to be null and void.

World Peace Council: We reject US interference for the destabilization of Venezuela!

Source:  World Peace Council
February 5 2017

world peace council 6.jpgWith renewed alarm and repudiation, we again denounce US imperialism in its interference in the affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, reaffirmed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who suggested that the Government of President Nicolás Maduro could be overthrown by the Venezuelan Army.

Beginning a visit to Latin America and the Caribbean, Tillerson even referred to past military coups that overthrew popular or progressive governments under the guidance and support of the United States and imposed untold suffering on the people! The dictatorships fed and coordinated by his country decreed as politics the terror of the criminals who instituted the torture basements, the kidnappings and murders, for decades. That is why memory and indignation will surely prevent Latin Americans from accepting such ignominy!

Solidarity with the Venezuelan people

The World Peace Council has repeatedly affirmed its solidarity with the Venezuelan people in defending the Bolivarian Revolution, stability and peace in the country, based primarily on respect for Venezuela’s sovereignty and internal political dialogue, without foreign interference. It is widely known, however, that the increasingly fascist opposition in the country counts on the broad support and encouragement of US imperialism, as evidenced by the criminal attitude of its Secretary of State and that of other reactionary forces in Latin America.

Therefore, we express total repudiation of any attempt by the US to promote the destabilization of Venezuela and the region, by insulting democracy and the sovereignty of nations! We repudiate the persistent media war and inflammatory speeches against the government of President Maduro, who is legitimately elected and committed to a solution to the crisis.

We vehemently reject any suggestion of intervention or military coup promoted by reactionary forces and US imperialism. We believe that the incitement will certainly be frustrated by the conscious and already asserted support of Venezuelan officials for the defense of their country’s peace and sovereignty, rejecting the role of the slaughterers of democracy that the US would like to see them play.

Hands off Venezuela, now!

Down with imperialist interference!

Socorro Gomes
President of the World Peace Council

Aleida Guevara: “In Cuba, the people are the only masters we serve”

Source:  The Dawn
October 2017

aleida guevara jan 208.jpgPhoto Credit: El Diario

Interview with Aleida Guevara March (1)

Interview conducted by Andrea Duffour *

-How is it that a Cuban doctor is taking part in humanitarian missions in Africa and taking interest in agrarian reforms in Brazil?

In Cuba doctors are educated to care for the people, the only master we serve. From the beginning of my career I accepted the international character of my calling and that is why it is normal that I should be prepared to go and work wherever I am needed.

Already for more than 25 years I have been working with the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement in Brazil, and I am very proud of it. As a Latin American woman I think it is one of the most consistent popular movements we have, and again, as a doctor, I think of the need for adequate nourishment, especially for the children. The agrarian reform is essential for the people to be able to feed themselves; it needs to turn into reality our dream of being owners of what we produce, free from theft and plunder of our natural resources.

-What role could Che and Fidel play in the cultural struggle between capitalism and socialism today?

Che and Fidel are examples of cultured men who knew the important role cultural education plays in the struggle for liberation. Knowledge frees you, enables you to understand what it is that you need, and what you can do to fulfill these needs. Their lives are inspiring examples that push us forward. If they could succeed, why shouldn’t we?

-“Crear riquezas con la conciencia, no conciencia con las riquezas “ (Create riches, with conscience, not conscience concerned only with wealth) said late Fernando Martinez Heredia (2), great expert on Che and Fidel, who we’ve just lost…

We should realize the dream of a human being aware of its membership in a specs, capable of practicing solidarity and not brutality, compassionate and not indifferent, capable of understanding that the greatest wealth is knowing how to share what we have, even, for example, smiles. We are trying to turn this dream into reality, but we are constantly being taught that every day of our life we should be more and more individualistic, and forget that by nature we are social beings, who live in community with others. What is worst, by doing so we are destroying our foundations and are heading for a void.

-The Late Francois Houtart (3) has analysed the concept of a good life, of the indigenous peoples of the Andes, el sumak kawsay, which has been incorporated into the constitution of Ecuador. Is there anything comparable in the thoughts of Che?

Che was very clear in his thoughts and very consistent. His entire life showed what he thought. He is the best communist I know; what was important for him, throughout his work, is the well being of mankind, well being with dignity; that is why we talk of the right to work, the right to decent living accommodations, free healthcare and education as the inalienable rights of all human beings. We talk of respect, knowing that it must be won through hard work and struggle against great opposition, but we must be prepared to defend it.

-How would you define a revolutionary?

I think that our Fidel defined the revolutionary when he created the concept of Revolution: he must possess understanding of ethics, honesty, compassion, respect for the people, dedication to his goal, and a great capacity for love.

-In the film, Cuba Si! (Chris Marker, 1961), young Fidel explains that the French must understand that political parties have not resolved a single major problem, and that dominant classes might be moving in the direction of fascism, while the revolution in Cuba is on the side of socialism. In view of the social situation in France today, has this claim lost any of its relevance?

It is important to know how the French people feel. Are they happy with what they have? Do they feel safe? How do they see their future?

I live in a different society that is not perfect but concentrates on human beings and allows us to grow up learning from our mistakes, as we do so correcting them.

There are no parties in our elections – there are only the people; that fact defines the candidates and the people are without doubt the greatest participants. Perhaps it would be good to analyse the role of people’s scrutiny of candidates they name from the left. I have considerable sympathies for the workers party of Belgium, which will grow because people are able to sense the coming change. The times we are living in require that we should have fate in people. They should be shown clearly what we want, and why it is important that we do so. What do we need? Education accessible to all, which we must not allow to be privatized. For our patients, free high quality health care for all. Why do you allow, in your countries, public hospitals to be closed, or not to function as they should, forcing people to take their health problems to the private sector? And housing? If your government provides you with these, and with much more than all these, then you are happy, because otherwise you would have to look for other solutions, and only you can do that.

-If that is the case, are we in Europe usurping the world socialist?

I do not want to be too strict, but whenever I am in these regions I do not see any unity, we allow ourselves the luxury of divisions. When we are so few, what the devil are we doing? Socialism means respect for different peoples, fulfilled lives, and more than anything else unity, otherwise where can we find the strength that we need to change reality?

-Some friends from Cuba tell me that you have only one party, but that it protects the interests of the people, and that in Europe there are many parties bearing different names, but that they all represent only one party, the party of capital.

I agree.

-Frei Betto said “We have to make up our mind whether we want to save the capitalist system, or mankind” (4). What are the alternatives to capitalism in the world today?

Since the disappearance of European socialism, especially the Soviet Union, capitalism has turned into the most unscrupulous and brutal system. It no longer has any competition close by, and it is therefore not interested in preserving the public health care system, and certainly not the free high quality education; social achievements that took decades of workers’ struggle to achieve are being privatized and the worst thing of all is the indifference of the working classes that preceded this…

Do you ask yourself why it is that the World Health Organization came to my country to ask for help in trying to control the Ebola epidemic? It is because my people are educated on ethical values, solidarity, dignity and love. That is the reason why Cuban doctors risk their lives, because we are aware that the sacrifice of one man or one people is not important, if what is at stake is the fate of mankind.

-Aleida, how do you see the Cuban youth, born with all the benefits of the Revolution and perhaps taking them all for granted?

It is necessary to work with the young continuously, it is necessary to listen to them and show them the way, but always by personal example! The young are our hope, but they are, unfortunately, always put under the greatest pressure by those who wish to do harm to the revolutionary process. It is important that all the necessary information reaches them and is available to them; for example, watching recently an excellent television program about the struggle against the bandits who revolted after the victory of the Revolution, they recognized themselves in their fathers and grandfathers who had taken part in the epopee of the Revolution. The young were full of respect and admiration for our peasants, our army and the militia. I believe it is a healthy youth, compassionate, hugely patriotic and with revolutionary inclinations.

-In December of 2016 I also asked Fernando Martinez Heredia is there any reason for concern about the possible disillusionment or de-politicization of Cuban youth, comparable to the one that affected the young in the West. The Cuban philosopher agreed that capitalism is working on de-politicization and debilitation of the masses, to make sure they do not have unified ideas but by imposition no ideas at all, but he reassured me that Cuban youth is critically inclined and prepared. After the physical disappearance of Commandant Fidel, he said, many spontaneously proclaimed: “I am Fidel”.

Our dear friend was a wise man….

We are moving forward and it is true that the pain of losing the great father of all Cubans is turning into strength and creative energy; one day we will have to be prepared to say to people like them: You are gone, knowing that there is no retreat from our Revolution. Be continent, we are continuing your work and the future is secure.

-How wonderful it is to hear these words!

In 1964 one journalist (5) on the Francophone Swiss television asked Che whether anything had changed in the relationship of the US and Western Europe to Cuba. I am asking you the same question.

No, they are still dreaming of annexing the great part of the Antilles and do not understand that it is better for us to drown in the sea than betray the glory that we have lived. If you look into the documents published by the US admiral at the time when Cuba was still a Spanish colony, you will see that they were using the same methods as today, economic and naval blockades that were to destroy the island through famine and disease, decimate the population and prepare it for a take it over, because they knew us to be rebellious and invincible people.

-Can we talk about the most recent attacks, for example, the attempts to co-opt the young students and revolutionaries in Cuba, or carry out a soft coup d’état as in Venezuela, organized as usual by the US in collaboration with our European media?

They are not new attacks. They simply continue, using money as a means of subversion, a strategy to which only people with no ethics succumb. We must be aware of the strength of the enemy, Che said; North American imperialism must not be trusted at all. The case of Venezuela is a different matter; it is evidence of despair and proof that the people involved are completely without ethics. Can you imagine what it means to set fire to a children’s hospital? Can that be done by human beings? For my people, the life of a child is sacred. I do not understand and do not accept anything that jeopardizes the life of a child, so do not make me face such people because I would be in danger of losing control.

-How do the Cuban’s understand the Arab spring or the opposition in Syria?

First of all, we could ask any European how he would feel if the army of any country from the Third World interfered in their internal affairs. How would they feel if bombs started falling from the sky on their houses and hospitals? What would they think of the people who watch every day horrible scenes from those attacks and are unable to ask their governments to stop economic support for those responsible for those atrocities? The internal problems of a country can be solved only by its people and no one has the right to influence them. Our Benito Juarez has said “Respect for the rights of others means peace”. Manipulation of our lives and misinformation create confusion among people. Respect is essential; we can and we must live in peace.

-I have to ask you for help. Here in Europe we have lost all values and have become so poor that the only thing left to us is money. Che spoke of the creation of a new man (6) and of values not made of metal. How did you create this new man in Cuba? Is it possible to rise above one’s circumstances?

Dear friends, as Che has explained, the new man will never be a finished product; every time we improve society we must be prepared to improve ourselves as human beings; that would be the guarantee that everything that needs to be changed will change. That is our goal, and we are working on it.


* Andrea Duffour is member of the national Committee of the Friendship Association Switzerland – Cuba, http://www.cuba-si.ch

  1. (1)  Aleida Guevara is a medical doctor, allergy specialist, working at the William Soler Pediatric Hospital in Havana. Among other things she is the author of documentaries Chavez, Venezuela and the New Latin America (2004), Present Absences (2006), MST: Seed of Hope (2008), interview given to Joao Pedro Stédile, national leader of the Brazilian MST. She is the daughter of Aleida March and Che Guevara, and is the director of the Che Guevara Study Centre.
  2. (2)  Historian, essayist, philosopher, at the University of Havana, director of the Cuban magazine Critical Thought (Pensamiento Crítico). He died on June 12, 2017, several hours after completing his homage to Francois Houtart.
  3. (3)  Francois Houtart: cuba-si.ch/apres-le-capitalisme-quelles-alternatives-pourquoi-je-soutiens- lexperience-cubaine
  1. (5)  rts.ch/archives/tv/interview-du-che J.Dulmur, only interview in French,esp: cubadebate.cu/especiales/2017/06/16/entrevista-inedita-al-che-guevara-en-frances-1964
  2. (6)  Text by Che Guevara, written in the form of a letter in 1964, published as Socialism and Man in Cuba.

Resisting US Military Bases and Pentagon Strategies in Latin America

Source teleSur
by James Patric Jordan


The anti-bases movement in Latin America is strong and a manifestation of the people’s will.

Bolivar’s prophetic words

simon bolivar 2.jpg

Statue of Simon Bolivar in Kingston, Jamaica

“The United States appear to be destined by Providence to plague America with misery in the name of liberty.” Those words were written by Simón Bolivar, 189 years ago. The Great Liberator understood that liberation and the U.S.’ concept of liberty are not the same. When imperialists talk about liberty, they mean access to land, water, and other natural resources for private development and profit.

Six years before Bolivar penned his prescient words, the Monroe Doctrine said to European governments that any attempt to interfere in Latin America would be deemed “dangerous to our peace and safety….. we could not view any interposition…by any European power in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.”

Ana Esther Ceceña, in a piece published by the Ecuadorian Ministry of Defense in 2013, describes the objectives of the United States in Latin America and the world. She says the U.S. has “two general objectives: to guarantee the maintenance of capitalism and within it, the primacy of the United States; and to guarantee the availability of all the riches of the world as the material base for the functioning of the system, assuring that its hierarchies and dynamics of power are maintained.”

By emphasizing this interference as “an unfriendly disposition toward the United States,” the Monroe Doctrine portrayed Latin American independence within a context of U.S. interests and influence. Since the establishment of the Monroe Doctrine, U.S. history in Latin America has been marked by invasions and occupations and proxy wars and outright theft of land such as occurred in the War against Mexico.

This has made it difficult for the U.S. to establish full-on military bases in Latin America. The Mexican public especially maintains an aversion to U.S. military presence within its borders. Unfortunately, the country’s oligarchy ignores this aversion and betrays the people’s national pride.

US bases in Latin America

Nevertheless, the U.S. has been successful in establishing bases in several countries throughout Latin America, with formally recognized bases in El Salvador, occupied Cuba, Aruba, Curacao, Antigua and Barbuda, Andros Island in the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and even a micro-base, or “Lily Pad” in Costa Rica that the Costa Rican government officially denies.

However, until recently, the momentum had been against U.S. bases. Starting in 1999, when the U.S. lost the Howard Air Base in Panama, the number of U.S. bases had steadily declined. In 2008 the Colombian government had agreed to grant U.S. access to seven bases, but this was struck down by the constitutional court in 2010. The reality is that the U.S. continues to access and use these bases based on other agreements. The court decision was against a permanent foreign presence, but “permanency” is a somewhat amorphous concept open to interpretation. It is safe to say that U.S. access to these bases is relatively unfettered and continuous.

Booted out of Ecuador

And in 2008 the government of Ecuador booted the U.S. from its Manta base. Ernesto Samper, head of Unasur (the Union of South American Nations) has said that U.S. military bases should “leave the continent”.

Now the pendulum is swinging the other way, which is one reason we need this anti-bases movement. The coup in Honduras in 2009 occurred shortly after the elected president Manuel Zelaya had proposed converting the Palmerola (or Soto Cano) Air Force Base into a civilian airport. The U.S. and Honduras had both used the base since the 80s when it was an important component of the Contra war against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

Since the coup, the U.S. has undertaken new construction on the base and increased the number of troops, including stationing some 250 U.S. Marines there. Today there are more than 1,300 U.S. military and civilian employees, dwarfing the population of 300 persons at the Honduran Air Force Academy. Also since the coup, the U.S. military has built a base at Catarasca in Honduras’ Mosquitia region, and in Guanaja, the U.S. Navy has built a facility for the Honduran Navy that reportedly hosts both US and Honduran aircraft.

Peru, Brazil, Argentina – growing closer to US military

And that is just Honduras. At the end of 2016, Peru’s regional government in Amazonas approved a partnership with SouthCom, the U.S. military’s Southern Command, and Pentagon Contratistas to build a new base in that country.

With the legislative coup against the government of Dilma Rousseff in Brazil and the right wing electoral victory in Argentina, both those countries are growing closer to the U.S. military, showing an openness to new U.S. military bases. Brazilian President Michel Temer has invited the U.S. to use the Alcantara missile and rocket launching base. (Samuel Pinheiro Guimaraes, Brazil’s former General Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Strategic Affairs, posits that “The Americans’ main objective is to have a military base in Brazilian territory with which it can exercise its sovereignty outside the laws of the Brazilian authorities…. The location of Alcantara in the Brazilian northeast facing West Africa is ideal for the United States for its political and military operations in South America and Africa.”).

In Argentina, neoliberal President Mauricio Macri reached an agreement with the U.S. in May, 2016, to let the U.S. build two bases, one in Tierra del Fuego and the other, the Guaraní base, on the triple border of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, in the area of the world’s largest reservoir of drinkable, fresh water.

Speaking of water and natural resources, if we look at how the bases and military activities and presences are spread throughout Latin America, we can see that they are located in and around concentrations of mineral and oil deposits, big agribusiness centers, and large reservoirs of water. The combined water resources of Brazil, Colombia, and Peru dwarf the resources of the next most water-rich countries and regions.

Despite these setbacks, the anti-bases movement in Latin America is strong and a manifestation of the people’s will. Furthermore, these bases not only threaten Latin America and especially Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, and the ALBA countries that form a bulwark against U.S. interventionism. They threaten the world. From the Palenquero base in Colombia – one of the seven Colombia bases where the U.S. is constantly… but not “permanently”… present, with no or just one refueling stop, jets can reach any country in Latin America, as well as Africa and the Middle East.

Only one component

The presence of U.S. military bases is only one component of the infrastructure of Empire. We know that U.S. military invasions, occupations, base constructions and accords are almost always followed by the passage of laws undermining traditional farming, the diversion of water resources, the exploitation of mineral and oil wealth, the militarization of police and borders, and the construction of and redesign of penitentiary systems on a U.S. mass incarceration model.

In terms of U.S. military activities in Latin America, the issue of the bases is really the tip of the iceberg. We must also consider the reactivation of the 4th Fleet in the Caribbean, the rapid increase in joint military exercises throughout the hemisphere which often result in the deployment of temporary, and therefore mobile, bases, and the constant flow of military advisors. One of the most effective methods to get around the anti-bases movement is via what might be called a puppet sovereignty, wherein nations pursue activities, policies, and accords that appear independent of the U.S. but in reality further U.S. strategies and designs.

Ana Cecena writes about how the Pentagon’s global command system guarantees “… a more detailed supervision of the lands, seas, glaciers, and populations that make up the Earth in its entirety.” These commands effectively put the militaries and security apparatuses of most other nations under the coordination of the Pentagon.

The testing ground for puppet sovereignty

These “Commands” only represent one aspect of this phenomenon. As is so often the case, Colombia is the testing ground for this puppet sovereignty. For instance, in 2012, the U.S. and Colombia signed an agreement of military cooperation that has had Colombia undertaking joint patrols with the U.S. in Central America and West Africa. The U.S. has promoted a partnership between NATO and Colombia. Colombia has become heavily involved in the training of military, police, court, and prison personnel around the world.

Over the last decade, Colombia has trained well over 25,000 persons in other countries. Half have been in Mexico, with the other leading recipients being Honduras, Guatemala, and Panama. It must be added that when we speak of “puppet sovereignty,” this is not meant to imply that the Colombian military is less capable or less professional than their U.S. military colleagues. Clearly, Colombian military personnel are quite educated and experienced in their craft and equal to their U.S. counterparts. In fact, the U.S. has spent billions of dollars in tax monies precisely to ensure the development of the Colombian military as a highly effective stand-in for U.S. objectives.

General John Kelly is President Donald Trump’s current Chief of Staff and was formerly head of Homeland Security. Before that, he was the commander of Southcom. Testifying before the U.S. Congress on April 29, 2014, Kelly made a startlingly honest and revealing statement: “The beauty of having a Colombia – they’re such good partners, particularly in the military realm…. When we ask them to go somewhere else and train the Mexicans, the Hondurans, the Guatemalans, the Panamanians, they will do it almost without asking. And they’ll do it on their own… That’s why it’s important for them to go because I’m–at least on the military side–restricted from working with some of these countries because of limitations that are, that are really based on past sins. And I’ll let it go at that.”

A model 

The U.S.-Colombia relationship has been so successful, it has become a model for U.S. relations with Mexico. This includes the development of Plan Mexico and the North American Alliance for Security and Prosperity, a military accord that binds Canada and Mexico more closely to the Pentagon.

The Mexican military has a history of nonintervention internationally. But at a conference in October 2016, Rebecca Chavez, Deputy Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs during the Obama administration and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, revealed that “Both the United States and Mexico…have taken steps that have resulted in a transformation of the strategic relationship.” Chavez explained that Mexico as the 15th largest economy in the world, has a growing role in world affairs, including the military sphere. She noted that Mexico has expanded its military mission with attaches in Indonesia, Iran, Egypt, South Africa, and several other countries and that it participated in peacekeeping missions in Haiti and Lebanon. Chavez sites Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto for reevaluating the role of the Mexican military, saying, “Even before the shift, Mexico engaged in approximately 40 external activities to support around 25 different partners…. Our first step has been to expand the dialogue and relationship from just a narrow internal security focus… Other potential areas of cooperation are Central America and working together to strengthen the Inter-American Defense System.”

It is a very good idea for us to participate in the global movement against foreign U.S. and NATO military bases. But any victories we win will be short-sighted if we don’t connect to the larger movement against imperialism and for liberation. The designs of the Pentagon are adaptable. Military agreements, joint exercises, coordinated commands, are among the ways to augment and even replace the expansion of foreign bases.

Liberation from Empire

Ultimately, our struggle against foreign bases must be part of an even larger and overarching struggle, the struggle for liberation from Empire. If we get rid of the bases, but not the Empire, we are merely changing its forms. In the final analysis, the only answer is to shake off the yoke of U.S./capitalist domination and put something better in its place, that is with participatory democracy and socialism.
Whenever we raise the cry of No More Bases, then let us answer that cry with a shout of solidarity with Venezuela, solidarity with Cuba, solidarity with Bolivia, solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico and every occupied territory – solidarity with every popular movement and government that stands in the way of the forward march of Empire until that Empire is utterly and completely dismantled.

The anti-bases movement in Latin America is strong

Despite these setbacks, the anti-bases movement in Latin America is strong and a manifestation of the people’s will. Furthermore, these bases not only threaten Latin America and especially Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, and the ALBA countries that form a bulwark against U.S. interventionism. They threaten the world. From the Palenquero base in Colombia – one of the seven Colombia bases where the U.S. is constantly… but not “permanently”… present, with no or just one refueling stop, jets can reach any country in Latin America, as well as Africa and the Middle East.

The military bases is only one component

The presence of U.S. military bases is only one component of the infrastructure of Empire. We know that U.S. military invasions, occupations, base constructions and accords are almost always followed by the passage of laws undermining traditional farming, the diversion of water resources, the exploitation of mineral and oil wealth, the militarization of police and borders, and the construction of and redesign of penitentiary systems on a U.S. mass incarceration model.

The reactivation of the 4th Fleet in the Caribbean

In terms of U.S. military activities in Latin America, the issue of the bases is really the tip of the iceberg. We must also consider the reactivation of the 4th Fleet in the Caribbean, the rapid increase in joint military exercises throughout the hemisphere which often result in the deployment of temporary, and therefore mobile, bases, and the constant flow of military advisors. One of the most effective methods to get around the anti-bases movement is via what might be called a puppet sovereignty, wherein nations pursue activities, policies, and accords that appear independent of the U.S. but in reality further U.S. strategies and designs.

Ana Cecena writes about how the Pentagon’s global command system guarantees “… a more detailed supervision of the lands, seas, glaciers, and populations that make up the Earth in its entirety.” These commands effectively put the militaries and security apparatuses of most other nations under the coordination of the Pentagon.

US, NATO and Colombia

These “Commands” only represent one aspect of this phenomenon. As is so often the case, Colombia is the testing ground for this puppet sovereignty. For instance, in 2012, the U.S. and Colombia signed an agreement of military cooperation that has had Colombia undertaking joint patrols with the U.S. in Central America and West Africa. The U.S. has promoted a partnership between NATO and Colombia. Colombia has become heavily involved in the training of military, police, court, and prison personnel around the world.

Over the last decade, Colombia has trained well over 25,000 persons in other countries. Half have been in Mexico, with the other leading recipients being Honduras, Guatemala, and Panama. It must be added that when we speak of “puppet sovereignty,” this is not meant to imply that the Colombian military is less capable or less professional than their U.S. military colleagues. Clearly, Colombian military personnel are quite educated and experienced in their craft and equal to their U.S. counterparts. In fact, the U.S. has spent billions of dollars in tax monies precisely to ensure the development of the Colombian military as a highly effective stand-in for U.S. objectives.

General John Kelly is President Donald Trump’s current Chief of Staff and was formerly head of Homeland Security. Before that, he was the commander of Southcom. Testifying before the U.S. Congress on April 29, 2014, Kelly made a startlingly honest and revealing statement: “The beauty of having a Colombia – they’re such good partners, particularly in the military realm…. When we ask them to go somewhere else and train the Mexicans, the Hondurans, the Guatemalans, the Panamanians, they will do it almost without asking. And they’ll do it on their own… That’s why it’s important for them to go because I’m–at least on the military side–restricted from working with some of these countries because of limitations that are, that are really based on past sins. And I’ll let it go at that.”

Mexico

The U.S.-Colombia relationship has been so successful, it has become a model for U.S. relations with Mexico. This includes the development of Plan Mexico and the North American Alliance for Security and Prosperity, a military accord that binds Canada and Mexico more closely to the Pentagon.

The Mexican military has a history of nonintervention internationally. But at a conference in October 2016, Rebecca Chavez, Deputy Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs during the Obama administration and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, revealed that “Both the United States and Mexico…have taken steps that have resulted in a transformation of the strategic relationship.” Chavez explained that Mexico as the 15th largest economy in the world, has a growing role in world affairs, including the military sphere. She noted that Mexico has expanded its military mission with attaches in Indonesia, Iran, Egypt, South Africa, and several other countries and that it participated in peacekeeping missions in Haiti and Lebanon.

Chavez sites Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto for reevaluating the role of the Mexican military, saying, “Even before the shift, Mexico engaged in approximately 40 external activities to support around 25 different partners…. Our first step has been to expand the dialogue and relationship from just a narrow internal security focus… Other potential areas of cooperation are Central America and working together to strengthen the Inter-American Defense System.”

It is a very good idea for us to participate in the global movement against foreign U.S. and NATO military bases. But any victories we win will be short-sighted if we don’t connect to the larger movement against imperialism and for liberation. The designs of the Pentagon are adaptable. Military agreements, joint exercises, coordinated commands, are among the ways to augment and even replace the expansion of foreign bases.

Not just the bases, but liberation from the Empire

Ultimately, our struggle against foreign bases must be part of an even larger and overarching struggle, the struggle for liberation from Empire. If we get rid of the bases, but not the Empire, we are merely changing its forms. In the final analysis, the only answer is to shake off the yoke of U.S./capitalist domination and put something better in its place, that is with participatory democracy and socialism.

Whenever we raise the cry of No More Bases, then let us answer that cry with a shout of solidarity with Venezuela, solidarity with Cuba, solidarity with Bolivia, solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico and every occupied territory – solidarity with every popular movement and government that stands in the way of the forward march of Empire until that Empire is utterly and completely dismantled.

James Patrick Jordan is the National Co-Coordinator, Alliance for Global Justice and member of the People’s Human Rights Observatory-PHRO. This article was given as a presentation given at the No Foreign U.S. and Nato Bases Conference. Anahit Aharonian, a PHRO member from Uruguay, provided important background material and edited the Spanish version.