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Colombia & United States threaten attack -- Stop the lies and aggression against Venezuela!

A statement from the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

July 24, 2010 -- Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network -- On July 22, Venezuela broke off all diplomatic relations with Colombia and placed its national borders on high alert. This follows accusations made by the Colombian government that Venezuela is harbouring “terrorists” from the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN), and hosting several “terrorist training camps” near the border region that divides the two countries.

At an extraordinary meeting of the Organization of American States in Washington on July 22, called for by Colombia, Colombia’s ambassador to the OAS, Luis Alfonso Hoyos, presented television and video images allegedly taken from computers confiscated during the Colombian military’s illegal invasion of Ecuadorian territory in March 2008, as well as some computer-generated maps and photographs of alleged members of the FARC, which he said were taken inside Venezuela. Hoyos called for “international intervention” in Venezuela, and gave a “30-day ultimatum”.

Five days earlier, US State Department spokesperson Phillip Crowley said the “possible” presence of “rebels in Venezuelan territory” had also been “worrying” his government for a long time.

Justification for pre-emptive strike 

These moves have all the hallmarks of justifying a pre-emptive strike on Venezuelan territory. They continue a pattern of years of false allegations by Colombian and the US governments against President Hugo Chavez’s government of having links to the FARC and ELN, none of which have ever been substantiated or subjected to international verification.

In September 2007, Chavez accepted the role as mediator to secure the release of several hostages held by the FARC inside Colombian territory. For that reason only, Chavez met with FARC commander Ivan Marquez and secured the release of Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez in January 2008. Apart from that contact, the Venezuelan government has repeatedly denied and disproved any links to the FARC or any other armed, irregular group from Colombia or elsewhere.

None of the images presented to the OAS meeting on July 22 were authenticated or verified as reliable by any source other than the Colombian government. Furthermore, the photographs presented by Hoyos had no source identification, dates or times, and merely showed alleged members of the FARC and ELN in jungle and coastal areas that could have been anywhere.

Venezuela’s ambassador to OAS, Roy Chaderton, has pointed out that “there is no evidence, not a single piece of proof, of where those photographs were taken”. On July 22, the Venezuelan army thoroughly inspected the locations cited by Colombia and found none of the alleged “terrorist sites”, “camps” or “guerrilla presence” claimed by Colombia.

Colombia is the United States’ main ally in Latin America and the third-largest recipient of US military aid in the world. Pedro Carmona Estanga, the leader of the short-lived coup in Venezuela that attempted to overthrow President Chavez and the Bolivarian revolution in April 2002, today lives comfortably in Colombia with the sanction of the Colombian government.

Brink of war

In 2008, the Uribe government took the region to the brink of war when it violated Ecuadorian sovereignty and bombed a FARC camp on Ecuador’s side of the border, killing at least 21 people.

Last year, Colombia agreed to the establishment of seven new US military bases in its territory in order that the US could conduct “full spectrum military operations” throughout South America and “combat the constant threat of anti-American governments in the region”.

In addition to the reactivation of the US Navy’s Fourth Fleet in Latin American waters, an action the Pentagon admitted was a “showing of US force and power in the region”, more recent developments that indicate the seriousness of the US-backed campaign against Venezuela include:

  • statements by US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo Valenzuela that Venezuela is proving to be the US’s “most difficult relation”;
  • the US use of its air force bases on the Dutch islands of Aruba and Curazao, just off Venezuela’s coast, for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaisance missions against Venezuela;
  • drones of US origin illegally entered Venezuela’s airspace last December;
  • incursions by Dutch military planes into Venezuelan airspace last month;
  • the call by the Chilean senate for international organisations to adopt “a more vigilant attitude” towards Venezuela’s National Assembly elections in September;
  • the arrest in Venezuela of renown terrorist Francisco Chavez Abarca, who admitted to entering the country to carry out sabotage; and
  • the July 16 decision by Costa Rica to allow the US to deploy between 6000-10,000 soldiers and 46 warships within its borders.

It is no wonder that Chavez warned on July 18 that the threat of war looms on the horizon: “We would be naive if we did not look at all of this aggression as a whole; everything is related … I think we are looking at a re-enactment of the US imperial doctrine”.

The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network condemns this latest attack through the OAS on the government and people of Venezuela. We:

(i) call on the member countries of the Union of South American Nations to agree to Venezuela’s request that a meeting be convened as quickly as possible to denounce Colombia’s recent aggression and work towards averting any further escalation of tensions;

(ii) join with the many human rights and social justice organisations around the world urging Colombia’s President-elect Juan Manuel Santos, who takes office on August 7, to engage with Venezuela, end the harmful policies pursued by Uribe and work in earnest to rebuild relations with the rest of the region;

(iii) call on the Australian government to support the Venezuelan government’s insistence on its right to sovereignty; and

(iv) urge all supporters of peace and democracy to support any calls for emergency solidarity actions that may be needed to defend Venezuela against military attack.

[Visit the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network website at]


Chavez: US and Colombia plan to attack Venezuela

By Eva Golinger

Caracas, July 24, 2010 – -- Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez denounced US plans to attack his country and overthrow his government. During a ceremony celebrating the 227th birthday of independence hero Simon Bolivar, Chavez read from a secret memo he had been sent from an unnamed source inside the United States.

"Old friend, I haven’t seen you in years. As I said to you in my three prior letters, the idea remains the generation of a conflict on your western border”, read Chavez from the secret missive. “The latest events confirm all, or almost all, of what those here discussed as well as other information that I have obtained from above”, the letter continued.

“The preparation phase in the international community, with the help of Colombia, is in plain execution”, manifested the text, referring to last Thursday’s session in the Organization of American States (OAS), during which the Colombia government accused Venezuela of harboring “terrorists” and “terrorist training camps” and gave the Chavez government a “30-day ultimatum” to allow for international intervention.

The letter continued with more details, “I told you before that the events wouldn’t begin before the 26th, but for some reason they have moved forward several actions that were supposed to be executed afterward”.

“In the United States, the execution phase is accelerating, together with a contention force, as they call it, towards Costa Rica with the pretext of fighting drug trafficking”.

On July 1, the Costan Rican government authorised 46 US warships and 7000 marines into their maritime and land territory. The true objective of this military mobilisation, said the letter, is to “support military operations” against Venezuela.

Assassination and overthrow

“There is an agreement between Colombia and the US with two objectives: one is Mauricio and the other is the overthrow of the government”, revealed the document. President Chavez explained that “Mauricio” is a pseudynom used in these communications. “The military operation is going to happen”, warned the text, “and those from the north will do it, but not directly in Caracas”. “They will hunt ‘Mauricio’ down outside Caracas, this is very important, I repeat, this is very important”.

President Chavez revealed that he had received similar letters from the same source alerting him to dangerous threats. He received one right before the capture of more than 100 Colombian paramilitaries in the outskirts of Caracas that were part of an assassination plan against the Venezuelan head of state, and another in 2002, just days before the coup d’etat that briefly outsted him from power. “The letter warned of snipers and the coup”, explained Chavez, “and it was right, the information was true, but we were unable to act to prevent it”.

US military expansion

This information comes on the heels of the decision on July 22 to break relations between Colombia and Venezuela, made by President Chavez after Colombia’s “show” in the OAS.

“Uribe is capable of anything”, warned Chavez, announcing that the country was on maximum altert and the borders were being reinforced.

Last October, Colombia and the US signed a military agreement permitting the US to occupy seven Colombian bases and to use all Colombian territory as needed to complete missions. One of the bases in the agreement, Palanquero, was cited in May 2009 US Air Force documents as necessary to “conduct full spectrum military operations” in South America and combat the threat of “anti-US governments” in the region.

Palanquero was also signalled as critical to the Pentagon’s Global Mobility Strategy, as outlined in the February 2009 white paper: Air Mobility Command Global En Route Strategy, “USSOUTHCOM has identified Palanquero, Colombia (German Olano Airfield SKPQ), as a cooperative security location (CSL). From this location nearly half of the continent can be covered by a C-17 without refueling”.

The 2010 Pentagon budget included a US$46 million request to improve the installations at Palanquero, in order to support the Command Combatant’s “Theater Posture Strategy” and “provide for a unique opportunity for full spectrum operations in a critical sub region of our hemisphere where security and stability is under constant threat from narcotics funded terrorist insurgencies, anti-US governments, endemic poverty and recurring natural disasters”.

The May 2009 US Air Force document further added that Palanquero would be used to “increase our capacity to conduct Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), improve global reach…and expand expeditionary warfare capability”.

In February 2010, the US National Directorate of Intelligence (NDI) classified Venezuela as “Anti-US Leader” in the region in its annual threat assessment.

The US also maintains forward operation locations (small military bases) in Aruba and Curazao, just miles off the Venezuelan coast. In recent months, the Venezuelan government has denounced unauthorised incursions of drone planes and other military aircraft into Venezuelan territory, originating from the US bases.

These latest revelations evidence that a serious, and unjustified conflict is brewing fast against Venezuela, a country with a vibrant democracy and the largest oil reserves in the world.

[This article first appeared at Eva Golinger's website, Postcards from the Revolution.]

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