Wed, 11 November 2009
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen FordWhen it comes to Latin America, there is a difference between the Obama and Bush administrations. Bush huffed and puff and blustered while committing aggression against Latin neighbors; Obama smiles and mouths words of peace, and then commits much the same crimes. He is preparing Latin America as the next theater of war.
U.S. Stomps on Honduran Democracy, Militarizes Colombia
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“The Obama Administration was playing the international community when it pretended to oppose the June 28 coup against President Manuel Zelaya.”
The “new” face of Barack Obama’s diplomacy in Latin American has become apparent, in the unfolding saga of the coup in Honduras and continuing U.S. militarization of Colombia. It is now perfectly clear that the Obama Administration was playing the international community when it pretended to oppose the June 28 coup against President Manuel Zelaya. Zelaya was kidnapped from his bed by Honduran soldiers, who then stopped at a U.S. airbase before flying their captive into exile. The United States paid lip service to opposing the overthrow of a democratically elected president, but refused to characterize it has a military coup. Instead, Washington cynically allowed the clock to run out on President Zelaya with the coup plotters still in power. Zelaya, who had been holed up in the Brazilian embassy after sneaking back into Honduras, signed an agreement that was supposed to restore him to power as head of a “unity” government, before elections scheduled for November 29. But the coup-makers reneged on the deal, and the Obama Administration has signaled it will accept the results of the elections, even though the vote will be presided over by the same people that staged the coup.
The lesson here is, the U.S. under President Obama is no less determined than President Bush to dominate the peoples of Latin America by brute force. Barack Obama has a great smile and a legendary gift of gab, but he is no more a friend to Latin American democracy than his predecessor. Honduran democrats now say they have no choice but to boycott this month’s elections.
“President Obama is no less determined than President Bush to dominate the peoples of Latin America by brute force.”
In Colombia, which is the fourth biggest recipient of U.S. military aid, behind Israel, Egypt and Pakistan, the Obama Administration concluded an agreement to allow unfettered freedom of movement of U.S. troops within the country, and to use Colombian military bases to project American power elsewhere in Latin America. In addition to giving the Americans use of seven military bases and access to civilian airports, the agreement gives American troops immunity from prosecution for crimes they commit on Colombian soil. The Colombian courts have ruled that the agreement is unfairly balanced in favor of the United States, and is actually a treaty that must be approved by the Colombian Congress and constitutional court.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has warned his countrymen to prepare for war with Colombia, whose army is twice the size of Venezuela’s. Bolivian President Evo Morales, whose country the U.S. has attempted to slice into small, more manageable pieces, describes the thousands of additional U.S. troops that will be stationed in Colombia as a “provocation against peace” in the region. Ecuador, another target of U.S. destabilization, believes the agreement is a threat to its national security.
Bolivian President Morales wondered how President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize when, in his words, the U.S. “makes everything to promote wars and conflicts.” To justify the award, Morales says Obama should withdraw “all the troops of his country from around the world, support the reestablishment of democracy in Honduras, and lift the economic embargo of Cuba.” That is, indeed, what a peace president would do. But of course, peace is not on the table.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.