CLINTON’S TOUR OF LATIN AMERICA Even flying low the hawks swoop

Nidia Díaz

THE first 10 days of June witnessed a new, albeit brief tour of Latin America by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during which her imposing tone made it clear that nothing is to change in terms of imperial policy toward the region.

Clinton took advantage of the 40th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Lima to meet with Alan García, president of the host country, and regale him with a few little lies, such as her congratulations on the battle that his APRA government “is winning” against poverty thanks to “increased opportunities for the Peruvian people.”

Unfortunately her meeting in Quito with President Correa was obligatory, given the president’s temporary condition as president of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), with Washington does not have good relations with a number of nations forming it.

The Ecuadorian-Colombian dispute remains unresolved, particularly since March 1, 2008 when the Colombian military invaded the territory of that neighboring country and bombarded a Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) camp on the border, massacring 25 people, among them Raúl Reyes, second in command of that guerrilla organization.

The U.S. representative “promised” that the government of her country would offer all necessary information to UNASUR concerning its military agreement with Colombia, questioned by the overwhelming majority of the nations of the continent, which consider it a potential danger to peace and security in this part of the world.

Clinton has noticed the weight in regional politics that UNASUR is building from within, transforming itself into one of the basic nuclei – together with the nations of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) – for creating a non-too distant new continental organization in which there is no place for extra-territorial powers.

That was the central reason for her visit to Quito, whose government remains in U.S. sights for actions of interference and subversion. On arriving in Colombia, the high-ranking imperialist official dropped the dove-like image that she had maintained up until that point and revealed the hawk’s talons of a policy established beyond the administration currently occupying the White House. Colombia, converted into the principal yanki base in Latin America due to the “generosity” of its governors, received via the U.S. secretary of state the renewed and resounding backing of the empire, appreciated by political analysts as a warning to the region.

There, not only did she praise relations maintained with the almost outgoing President Alvaro Uribe, but met with the two presidential candidates who face a second election round on Sunday, June 20, to whom she promised a continuation of the U.S. policy maintained to date.

“You have been an essential partner for the United States and due to your dedication to building solid democratic institutions here in Colombia, due to the attention that you have given to ties of friendship between our countries, you are leaving a legacy of great progress,” Clinton informed Uribe.

I do not know if the U.S. representative was aware on that day of the call made to the international community by Jaime Arrubla, who spoke with concern of the reiterated policy of the Colombian government to disqualify the decisions of judges and district attorneys in that country when they move in a direction contrary to the one desired. The magistrate noted that such a position “endangers the constitutionality and survival of the social state of law.”

Let us also give Clinton the benefit of the doubt and imagine that she is also unaware of the fact that, last year alone, 48 trade union leaders were killed in Colombia as part of an official policy of selective assassination.

It would seem that the Bogotá  air contributed to secretary of state’s adrenalin levels and she lost no opportunity to once again interfere in Venezuela’s internal affairs, expressing to the press that she felt a lot for what is happening to the Venezuelan people, because they are the ones suffering from certain economic measures that are simply not functioning there.

Finally, and to close her stay in that country with a golden touch, she launched a warning: “But I want to underscore for anyone who is listening or watching that the United States will stay a strong partner with Colombia in meeting the security needs that Colombia faces.”

Translated into English that means that the $8 billion involved in the direct aid of Plan Colombia, plus the other millions of dollars squeezed out of the U.S. Congress every year to such ends will continue arriving, that Colombia will continue being the fourth receptor of U.S. aid, and that the agreement signed by Bogotá and Washington on October 30, 2009 for the extension and upgrading of seven military bases in the territory of the former is going ahead despite world opposition.

That was the clear imperial message, despite the fact that in the heart of the OAS, Clinton was unable to impose the return of the government of Porfirio Lobo because of the dignified opposition of nations such as Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua and others, which would not allow the Obama administration to legitimate a regime inherited from the coup d’état in Honduras.

At the end of the day, they might fly low, but hawks always swoop.

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