Petroperu Returns to Oil Production After 25 Years

Machinery of the state-owned company Petroperu, Dec. 27, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @Agencia_Andina

Source: TeleSUR

December 28 2021

“Until the 1990s, Petroperu produced up to 187,000 barrels per day, but privatization policies paralyzed its development to the detriment of the country,” the Peruvian president said.

On Monday, Peru’s President Pedro Castillo announced that Petroperu assumed the exploitation of the Block I field. This allowed this public company to return to producing oil after 25 years, in which it remained limited to fuel refining, distribution, and marketing.

RELATED: Peru To Compensate Victims’ Relatives of 2020 Police Brutality

Petroperu took over the operations of Block I for the next 22 months as the Peruvian State concluded a 30-year exploitation contract with the private company UNNA Energy.

“It is a fact of enormous significance for both the public company and the country,” Castillo said during the delivery ceremony of Block I, which is located in the Piura region on the border with Ecuador.

“Until the 1990s, Petroperu produced up to 187,000 barrels per day, but privatization policies paralyzed its development to the detriment of the country,” the Peruvian president commented.

Block I is a small oil field with 99 drilled wells whose average daily production is barely 540 barrels of oil. However, this field will allow Petroperu to supply its own production to the Talara refinery, whose modernization cost the company over US$5 billion.

It will also serve as preparation to exploit blocks 192 and 64, two fields in the Amazon where Petroperu will partner with other private companies so that they directly assume the operations of the wells.

Block 192 is the Peruvian largest oil field and has a basic production of about 10,500 barrels per day. There, Petroperu will be associated with the Canadian oil company Altamesa, which would be the beneficiary of a 30-year exploitation contract that the Castillo administration is expected to approve in early 2022

2021 Latin America and the Caribbean in Review: The Pink Tide Rises Again

Photo: Bill Hackwell

Source: Internationalist 360

January 1 2022

By Roger D. Harris

US policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean continued in a seamless transition from Trump to Biden, but the terrain over which it operated shifted left. The balance between the US drive to dominate its “backyard” and its counterpart, the Bolivarian cause of regional independence and integration, continued to tip portside in 2021 with major popular electoral victories in Chile, Honduras, and Peru. These follow the previous year’s reversal of the coup in Bolivia.

Central has been the struggle of the ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America) countries – particularly Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua – against the asphyxiating US blockade and other regime-change measures. Presidential candidate Biden pledged to review Trump’s policy of US sanctions against a third of humanity. The presumptive intention of the review was to ameliorate the human suffering caused by these unilateral coercive measures, considered illegal under international law. Following the review, Biden has instead tightened the screws, more effectively weaponizing the COVID crisis.

Andean Nations

The unrelenting US regime-change campaign against Venezuela has had a corrosive effect on Venezuela’s attempt to build socialism. With the economy de facto dollarized, among those hardest hit are government workers, the informal sector, and those without access to dollar remittances from abroad.

Nonetheless, Venezuela’s resistance to the continued US “maximum pressure” hybrid warfare is a triumph in itself. Recent economic indicators have shown an upturn with significant growth in national food and oil production and an end to hyperinflationFurther, the government has built 3.7 million housing units, distributed food to 7 million through the CLAP program, and adroitly handled the COVID pandemic.

When Trump recognized Juan Guaidó as president of Venezuela in 2019, the then 35-year-old US security asset had never run for a nationwide office and was unknown to over 80% of the Venezuelans. Back then some 50 of the US’s closest allies recognized Guaidó; now barely a dozen does so. Contrary to campaign trail inuendoes that Biden would enter into dialogue with the democratically elected president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, Biden has continued the embarrassing Guaidó charade.

The November 21 municipal and regional elections were a double triumph for Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution: the ruling Socialist Party (PSUV) won significantly while the extreme right opposition (including Guaidó’s party) was compelled to participate, implicitly recognizing the Maduro government.

Venezuelan special envoy Alex Saab was extradited – really kidnapped – to the US on October 16 on the vague and difficult to disprove charge of “conspiracy” to money launder. Swiss authorities, after an exhaustive 3-year investigation, had found no evidence of money laundering. Saab’s real “crime” was trying to bring humanitarian aid to Venezuela via legal international trade but circumventing the illegal US blockade. This egregious example of US extra-territorial judicial overreach is being contested by Saab’s legal defense because, as a diplomat, he has absolute immunity from arrest under the Vienna Convention. His case has become a major cause in Venezuela and internationally.

Meanwhile, Colombia, chief regional US client state, the biggest recipient of US military aid in the hemisphere,  and the largest world source of cocaine, is a staging point for paramilitary attacks on Venezuela. President Iván Duque continues to disregard the 2016 peace agreement with the guerrilla FARC as Colombia endures a pandemic of rightwing violence especially against human rights defenders and former guerillas.

On April 28, Duque’s proposed neoliberal tax bill precipitated a national strike mobilizing a broad coalition of unions, members of indigenous and Afro-descendent communities, social activists, and campesinos. They carried out sustained actions across the country for nearly two months, followed by a renewed national strike wave, starting on August 26. The approaching 2022 presidential election could portend a sea change for the popular movement where leftist Senator Gustavo Petro is leading in the polls.

In Ecuador, Andrés Arauz won the first-round presidential election on February 7 with a 13-point lead over Guillermo Lasso, but short of the 40% or more needed to avoid the April 13 runoff, which he lost. A victim of a massive disinformation campaign, Arauz was a successor of former President Rafael Correa’s leftist Citizen Revolution, which still holds the largest bloc in the National Assembly. The “NGO left,” funded by the US and its European allies, contributed to the electoral reversal. Elements of the indigenous Pachakutik party have allied with the new president, a wealthy banker, to implement a neo-liberal agenda.

In Peru, Pedro Castillo, a rural school teacher and a Marxist, won the presidency in a June 6 runoff against hard-right Keiko Fujimori, daughter of now imprisoned and former president Alberto Fujimori. Castillo won by the slimmest of margins and now faces rightwing lawfare and the possibility of a coup. Just a few weeks into his presidency, he was forced to replace his leftist foreign Minister, Hector Béjar, with someone more favorable to the rightwing opposition and the military.

In Bolivia, a US-backed coup deposed leftist President Evo Morales in 2019 and temporarily installed a rightist. Evo’s Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party successor, Luis Arce, took back the presidency last year in a landslide election. With the rightwing still threatening, a massive weeklong March for the Homeland of Bolivian workers, campesinos, and indigenous rallied in support of the government in late November.

Read full article here

Castillo Sends Bill To Reduce Poor Families’ Electricity Bills

Source: TeleSUR

December 15 2021

President Pedro Castillo addresses the people, Peru, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @telesurenglish

If the Congress approves his proposal, over 21 million Peruvians in vulnerable situations would benefit.

On Tuesday, Peru’s President Pedro Castillo sent a bill to modify the Electric Social Compensation Fund (FOSE) so as to ensure that the most vulnerable families have a discount of up to 15 percent on their monthly electricity bills.

RELATED:Peru: Plagiarism Found in Bill by Congresswoman Rosselli Amuruz

Currently, high-income users subsidize Peruvian families that consume less than 100 kWh per month. Castillo proposes that this cross subsidy also be extended to citizens who consume up to 140 kWh per month, which would imply increasing the number of FOSE beneficiaries from 4.8 million citizens to over 21 million consumers.

According to the Peruvian president, the extension of the beneficiary base of FOSE would help more than 21 million Peruvians. There are currently 4.8 million users benefiting from the Compensation Fund.

“This measure does not entail any fiscal cost;” Castillo affirmed and asked Congress to approve modifications to the FOSE law as quickly as possible because “the economic situation many families are going through requires that we act with a sense of urgency and justice.”           

The Peruvian National Institute of Statistics and Information (INEI) reported that in November the Consumer Price Index at the National level increased by 0.45 percent in the country. Two large consumption groups showed the highest growth rates: housing rental, fuel and electricity with 2.15 percentage points; and furniture and household goods (0.75).

This social policy proposal comes after Castillo overcame an impeachment motion that failed to materialize given that the far-right opposition did not get 52 votes for approval. One of the arguments put forward to try to remove the leftist President was that inflation had risen substantially since he took office.

Peru’s President Castillo working for the people

President Pedro Castillo in a public act, Peru, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @DiarioUnoPeru

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo who has given up his presidential salary and continues to receive only his teacher’s salary and who has promoted projects for the benefit of the Peruvian people is under attack from right wing lawmakers who want him impeached.

Working from a script similar to the one used in Brazil against  Dilma and Lula where false charges are made to undermine the popular leader in a soft coup, the right wing want Castillo removed from office.

“The decision makes no sense because the Castillo administration has promoted projects for the benefit of the Peruvian people,” leftist lawmaker Robles argued. 

On Tuesday, President Pedro Castillo argued that lawmakers who back the presidential dismissal request issued by Congress Vice-President Patricia Chirinos should do so before the Peruvian people and not within the “four walls” of the parliament enclosure.

RELATED: Peru: Veronica Mendoza Rejects plots Against President Castillo

“Until now, I had kept respectful silence about the Congress decisions, but today I feel obliged to speak publicly: right-wing lawmakers intend to dismiss me for political reasons,” Castillo condemned.

“Instead of being accountable for their management, these politicians try to meddle in my administration’s agenda. I took office to work for our people, and I will not allow them or anybody to prevent me from doing so,” he stressed.

While most legislators are members of right-wing parties, the presidential impeachment request is unlikely to be approved because many legislators have rejected its undemocratic character.

We cannot support this proposal because Chirinos has publicly rejected Castillo’s tenure in office,” the Alliance for Progress (APP) party militant Eduardo Salhuana said.

Leftist lawmaker Silvana Robles also stated that this decision undermines governance and seeks to weaken the Castillo administration because it is not aimed at solving problems, but at generating them.  “The President has promoted projects for the benefit of the Peruvian people, such as ensuring universal and free health care coverage for all cancer patients and negotiating an increase in national gas production so that all Peruvian families can access this resource. Therefore, the demand for his removal makes no sense,” Robles concluded.

Peru: The Triumph of Pedro Castillo Amid the Campaign to Undermine His Presidency

Source: Counterpunch

July 2 2021

BY ARIELA RUIZ CARO

The victory of Pedro Castillo, a rural teacher, in Peru’s presidential elections will be recorded in the annals of history as one of the most significant events in the last 200 years of Peruvian history. With his pencil and megaphone in hand, Castillo embodies the impoverished and vulnerable inland populations of the country.

Pedro Castillo

During his campaign, the newly elected Castillo assuaged rumors circulated by the media that his victory would mean the arrival of communism and the rise of Shining Path. For months, the press advertised the idea that a Castillo government would be infiltrated by brigades of Cubans and Venezuelans and that his victory was part of an international strategy organized by the Sao Paulo Forum to seize power in Latin America for the left-wing.

Castillo, of the left-leaning Partido Peru Libre won 50.125% of the vote to beat out Keiko Fujimori, of the conservative Partido Fuerza Popular, with 49.875%,  during the second round of elections held on June 6–a difference of around 48 thousand votes. The National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) announced offical results nine days after the election.

This election represents the third consecutive loss for Fujimori. The first defeat came against Ollanta Humala, who beat her by 445 thousand votes, followed by a loss in 2016 against Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who beat Fujimori by 41 thousand votes.  After that last presidential race, Fujimori did not congratulate her opponent and in the years that followed, she waged a war on Kuczynski from Parliament, where her party had the majority seats. For five-years, Peru lived through a period of ungovernability in which several ministerial cabinets were dissolved, four presidents rose and fell, and one Congress was dissolved and a new one elected.

Now the supposed defenders of democracy and warriors against international communism are already bearing their claws to fight to oppose the recent election results. “No one here gives up. We are going to fight against the Chavista fraud planned and executed by the agents of Cuba and Venezuela (…) We cannot allow a dictatorship to be imposed by stealing the elections and distorting the popular will ”, read one recent Tweet.

The first step consisted of requesting annulment of certified ballots already verified and counted by the ONPE, particularly those from rural areas and indigenous communities where Castillo won by large margins. One of Fujimori’s powerful lawyers, Julio César Castiglioni, argued that “in the mountains they have filled the ballot boxes indiscrimminately,” a phrase that delegitimizes the popular will of the indigenous and rural communities of Peru. A recent column in the Washington Post– “Pedro Castillo could defeat the Peruvian right, but not its racism,” — launches harsh criticism of Peruvian conservatism, arguing that “the project to suppress indigenous votes seals a campaign charged with verbal racism and describes the way that Fuerza Popular understands the country.” The column stated that “to challenge rural votes is a reasonable option to present publicly to many, thanks to the fact that Peruvian ways of thinking reveal a  country divided into two types of citizenship: an orderly, future-oriented, urban type where the economic elites flourish, and another type that is chaotic, barbaric, ‘far away’, fraud-oriented and still awaiting ‘civilization’ ”. As if in 200 years of Peruvian history, they still cannot fathom the idea that indigenous people not only have the right to vote, but to vote for what they believe in.

Read full article here

Time for Latin America & the Caribbean to come first

Photo: SAG

The policy of “America first” defended by the current U.S. administration constitutes a declaration of principles.

If Washington once fantasized about a world in its own image and likeness, in which progress would spread to countries that did not challenge its hegemony, it is now clear that there is only room for one country at the top. And anyone who disputes U.S. dominance must face “fire and fury.”

What can Latin America and the Caribbean expect of their northern neighbor? The next meeting of the continent’s heads of state, in mid-April in Lima, Peru, will be an opportunity to see.

With the opening of the 8th Summit of the Americas – an initiative of Bill Clinton’s administration to promote free trade – a month off, the White House must prepare the ground.

OAS Council meeting in Washington

This is the task of Vice President Mike Pence today, during the Organization of American States Council meeting in Washington, where he will offer an unusual speech on his government’s priorities in relation to the continent.

Pence will be the first U.S. Vice President to address the body since Democrat Al Gore did so in 1994, reflecting the lack of importance Washington gives this “council of colonies,” except when the U.S. is looking to attack or promote coups in sovereign countries.

U.S. officials have already announced plans to redouble aggression against Venezuela, with the overthrow of its government an obsession for this administration, as it attempts to extend an olive branch to others countries in the region and soften its offences.

Summit in Lima

The Summit in Lima will be the first time Trump comes face to face with his Latin American and Caribbean counterparts, who still hold fresh in their memories the xenophobic rhetoric he used in his 2016 election campaign; his threats to make Mexico pay for a border wall; his description of Haiti and El Salvador as “shithole countries” and immigrants from the region as “murderers and rapists.”

As Pence speaks to the OAS in Washington, meeting in Lima will be representatives of civil society from across the continent, in what is being called a Hemispheric Dialogue, to address issues like forced disappearances, neoliberal austerity measures, lay-offs and pension cuts, murders of journalists, corruption, and the “soft” coups taking place in our region.

Simultaneously in Cuba, a Thinking the Americas Forum will take on the challenge of addressing the diversity and richness of Cuban civil society in times of change, to pave the way for a prosperous and sustainable socialism.

Three events in three distinct locations, at a key moment in the region, again facing the confrontation of two Americas, two different historical projects, on the same continent.

As our emancipators did 200 years ago, this appears to be the time to say: “Latin America and the Caribbean first.”

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.

Latin America Celebrates Centenary of Russian Revolution

Source: TeleSUR
November 7 2017

venezuelans gather for October revolution 100th.pngVenezuelans gather to celebrate the 100 years of the October Revolution.
| Photo: Twitter / PartidoPSUV

Bolivian President Evo Morales congratulated the Russian people on the 100th anniversary of their revolution.

Thousands across Latin America are mobilizing and celebrating the centennial anniversary of the Russian Revolution with various events throughout the region.

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In Venezuela, workers are marching from Caracas’ Autonomous National Telephone Company to the Miraflores Presidential Palace.

“We, as revolutionaries and socialist, join in this global commemoration,” said Freddy Bernal, a member of the National Directorate of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, who called for the mobilization.

In Peru, the Communist Party is hosting an event at the Auditorium of the Telephone Workers’ Union of Peru to celebrate the Russian Revolution. A series of events are also being held in Uruguay.

Meanwhile in Bolivia, President Evo Morales congratulated the Russian people on the 100th anniversary of their revolution, describing it as an example in the fight against tyranny and inequality.

“The Russian Revolution triumphed on this day, one hundred years ago. United, peasants and workers managed to form the first socialist state in the world,” Morales posted on his Twitter account.

The Bolivian government is slated to host an international meeting titled “A 100 years of the Russian Revolution,” in which its influence on left-wing movements in Latin America will be analyzed. Bolivia’s Vice-President, Alvaro Garcia Linera, is also scheduled to give a keynote address at the Central Bank auditorium in La Paz for the occasion.

Other events are taking place until Thursday in Peru, Chile, Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America.

Russia’s October Socialist Revolution took place on Oct. 25, 1917, according to the Julian calendar, or on Nov. 7, according to the Gregorian.

It was the second phase of the 1917 Revolution, which was preceded by a mass women’s protest as they took to Nevsky Prospekt, the main avenue of the former Russian capital of Petrograd, to protest their immiseration. Within three or four days, the Tsarist monarchy was vanquished

Peru: Leftist Presidential Candidate Veronika Mendoza Surges

Source:  TeleSUR
22 March 2016

mendoza peru.jpgMendoza at march against the privatization of water | Photo: Rael Mora / teleSUR

The country hasn’t had a viable presidential candidate who openly identifies as leftist for decades but that has changed.

An IPSOS poll published last Sunday shows leftist candidate Veronika Mendoza in a tie for third place with 14 percent of valid votes, a significant increase since the beginning of the campaign.

Mendoza is an educator, born and raised in the city of Cuzco, the ancestral capital of the Incas and also speaks the native Inca language of Quechua. The 35-year-old whose nickname is Vero has a consistent leftist platform and is running under the coalition Frente Amplio which groups many, but not all, major leftist forces in the country including parties, labor unions, collectives and social movements.

Mendoza’s Background

veronika mendoza  peru.jpg

Veronika Mendoza

Mendoza won the candidature of Frente Amplio in an open primary election, the first of its kind in the country, in which she competed against six other leftist candidates. In that election, she obtained 43 percent of the vote followed by former priest and environmental activist, Marco Arana, who is currently the Frente Amplio candidate for vice president.

Sembrar – renovating the face of the left

Mendoza was the candidate of a movement called Sembrar which ran a successful campaign aimed at renovating the face of the left. Other Congressional candidates like Mendoza have also won their place through open primary elections and they include a diversity of candidates from all sectors that make up Frente Amplio.

RELATED: 46 Percent of Peruvians Say They Will Never Vote for Fujimori

Served as a congresswoman for the past five years

Although Mendoza represents a new generation of leftists involved in politics, she has experience in government. She served as a congresswoman for the past five years, having been elected in 2011 under the Nationalist Party of current President Ollanta Humala. Before that, Mendoza was a militant of the Nationalist Party.

However, in 2012, only a year after being elected to Congress, she resigned from the party, citing the betrayal of the election promises made by Humala and the repression of the social movement Espinar, in her region of Cuzco, that rose up against a mining project. She was the first to resign from the Nationalist Party and was soon followed by other Congress members, leading the Nationalist Party to lose its majority in Congress.

Mendoza – we are going to defend the interests of the people

Mendoza’s rise to third place has been slow but steady. Analysts claim that her rise responds to the high percentage of Peruvians who are looking for a fresh face in politics and an alternative to the neoliberal socio-economic system. Polls show that 68 percent of Peruvians want change in the economic path that has been pushed by all governments since 1990. Frente Amplio has divided their main proposals into three categories.

Mendoza has made clear that she will not side with large economic interests. At a rally she stated that “we don’t want to be in government to fit in, to have a seat or to make small repairs, to put makeup on things and at the end govern for the large economic groups. We are not going for that. We are going to defend the interests of the people.”

The party’s three proposals

The party’s first proposal is the “Economy for the People.” This proposes to raise the minimum wage, provide credits for micro businesses, increase public investment and social programs, and diversify the economy from its dependency on exports of raw materials.

The second proposal is “Rights for Everyone.” This promises to guarantee for all citizens access to health services, education, and a pension plan.

And the third proposal is “Development Without Destruction,” a policy to draw geographic lines and set clear quality limits for economic projects and to strengthen environmental standards, local authorities, and multi-sectoral studies and considerations.

Stipends for housewives

Mendoza has gained particular attention for a program that provides stipends for housewives. Mendoza and Frente Amplio have also taken clear leftist stands on social issues that continue to be very controversial in Peru, such as support for same-sex marriage, abortion, animal rights and legalization of marijuana.

RELATED: Thousands Reject Keiko Fujimori’s Candidacy as Corrupt

Internationally, Frente Amplio has identified with the Podemos movement of Spain and has received support from its members. In a letter signed by high representatives of Podemos they stated, “there are other projects that are closer to our vision of a country and of politics such as the one that Veronika Mendoza leads. Projects that we consider indispensable because only with the resolution of the particular problems of each country with governments that can successfully make changes can we build other international relations that are more just, with solidarity, and fraternal among people and peoples, far and wide.” Pablo Iglesias also sent a message in a video to support Mendoza where he states “greetings from Spain to Vero, I’m saying it from experience, yes, it is possible.”

Mendoza could be in a runoff against poll leader Keiko Fujimori?

Popular sayings in Peru are “everything is possible in this country” or “anything can happen here.” Those expressions are also in reference to politics. Historically many candidates have risen from obscurity in a matter of months. Such was the case with Alberto Fujimori in 1990 and also for Ollanta Humala in 2006.

The first presidential poll gave Mendoza less than 1 percent and now she is tied for third place with 14 percent of valid votes and her support continues to rise. In addition, Mendoza is only four points away from passing the candidate currently in second place and who has stagnated on the polls. Whoever reaches the second spot in the first round of elections will go to a runoff against poll leader Keiko Fujimori.

A “hidden trend” in Peruvian elections

Peruvian elections are characterized by the polarization between those who support Fujimori and those who reject her. However, for political analyst Carlos Bedoya, the rise of Mendoza could be explained by a “hidden trend” which is the reactivation of the vote “against continuity that is always present and that made president Ollanta Humala win the first round of elections in 2006 and 2011.”

PHOTO GALLERY: ‘No to Keiko, Fujimori Never Again!’ Thousands Protest in Peru

The constant attacks by the right

It is precisely in the same areas, the south of Peru and the rural areas, that heavily supported Ollanta that are now helping to build support for Mendoza. But unlike Humala who “was looking to bleach himself and often backtracked his positions, Mendoza is reaffirming a project for the long term and not lowering her flags,” according to Bedoya.

For Bedoya the biggest challenge Mendoza now faces is the constant attacks by the right with their powerful media machinery. So far, those attacks have been centered on Mendoza’s party past with the now highly unpopular president Humala, the relationship of members of Frente Amplio with the Bolivarian movement in Latin America, and accusations against Frente Amplio’s ties with terrorists movements that disappeared in the 90’s.

Bedoya argues that “those attacks will have an effect on Mendoza’s support base in Lima, the capital, and in the upper classes but they are not likely to hurt her in those less wealthy areas where her support is growing exponentially.”

Peru: Indigenous Seize 11 Oil Wells Demanding Spill Clean up

Source:  TeleSUR
September 2 2015

The Achuar indigenous people are fed up with the pollution left behind by foreign oil companies. | Photo: Reuters

The Achuar indigenous people are fed up with the pollution left behind by foreign oil companies. | Photo: Reuters

The Achuar communities say foreign oil companies pollute their lands and their clean water. They demand compensation and clean up of oil spills.

Peruvian indigenous protesters seized oil wells in an Amazonian oil block Tuesday to press the government to respond to demands for compensation due to the pollution caused by the petroleum operations.

The protesters from the Achuar indigenous communities said they also plan to halt output in a nearby concession.

The indigenous demonstrators shut down 11 wells and took control of an airdrome in oil block 8 to demand clean water, reparations for oil pollution and more pay for the use of native land, said Carlos Sandi, chief of the indigenous federation Feconaco.

Achuar leader Carlos Sandi observes the damage left behind by extractionist oil companies.| Photo: Reuters

Achuar leader Carlos Sandi observes the damage left behind by extractionist oil companies.| Photo: Reuters

Argentine energy company Pluspetrol operates block 8 and said daily output of about 8,500 barrels per day had stopped. The firm called on protesters in block 8 to seek dialogue.

“So far, however, they insist on holding control of installations,” Pluspetrol said in a statement.

More wells to be seized

Sandi said the Achuar in oil block 192 would also soon seize wells there following a dispute with the government over proceeds for communities in a new contract awarded to the Canadian company Pacific Exploration and Production Corporation.

Both oil blocks are in Peru’s northern region of Loreto.

“The decision (to seize wells) has been made, we just need to wrap up some coordination,” Sandi said.

Peru signed a last-minute deal with Pacific for the rights to tap oil block 192 for the next two years after an open auction for a 30-year contract failed to draw any bids last month.

The government included benefits for some indigenous communities in the new contract but a stalemate with others over their share of oil profits left many out.

Representatives of Pacific could not be reached outside of regular business hours.

Several environmental emergencies

Block 192’s operations have been halted on various occasions in recent years. The protesters have demanded the government clean up spills and give them more compensation. Peru has declared several environmental emergencies there because of oil pollution.

The Latin American country is rife with conflicts over mining and energy projects.

Earlier on Tuesday, an assembly of social organizations in the Amazonian region of Loreto voted to carry out another 48-hour strike starting Friday to protest the government’s privatization move to allocate an oil lot to the Canadian company for two years instead of the country’s state-owned company.

Lot 192 is the source of 17 percent of the national crude production.

A “mafia company,” that hire gunmen to deal with social leaders who oppose exploitation

The region’s president of Patriotic Front Americo Menendez said the Canadian oil firm is a “mafia company,” saying that for example in Colombia they hire gunmen to deal with social leaders who oppose exploitation.

Nevertheless, he added, the assembly also voted in favor of maintaining the talks with the government, in order to negotiate various demands, including the creation of a compensation fund of about US$112 million, in addition to an inversion of about US$625 million in the area.

In Colombia, Pacific Stratus Energy allegedly hires killers against social leaders who oppose the exploitation, claimed President of Federation of Native Communities from the River Tigre Fernando Chuje.

RELATED: Peruvians Demand Gov’t Scrap Private Contracts, Nationalize Oil

Minister of Mines and Energy Rosa Maria Ortiz has indicated that the state company PetroPeru will start a process of restructuring and modernization in the next 270 days to prepare it to compete against the Canadian company in two years, when the concession ends.

Lot 192 is comprised of areas inhabited by the communities of the river basins of Pastaza, Tigre, and Corrientes.

The leaders of the Apus Indigenous people in the area have been protesting for years, demanding respect for their people and reparations for environmental destruction caused by oil companies

Source:  Peru: Indigenous Seize 11 Oil Wells Demanding Spill Clean up   TeleSUR