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

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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.]

Submitted by Terry Townsend on Mon, 07/26/2010 - 12:55



July 24, 2010 -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday called on Colombian guerrilla groups FARC and ELN to "reconsider their armed strategy" against the State. According to the leftist leader, the United States is using the guerrillas as an "excuse" to "penetrate" Colombia.

Chavez, who broke ties with Colombia this week following allegations that Venezuelan authorities neglect to act on guerrilla presence on their territory, made the remarks at a forum of labor unionists in Caracas.

"I believe that the Colombian guerrillas should seriously consider what some of us have done. With all respect, the world today is not the same as in the 60s," Chavez said.

According to the Venezuelan Head of State, guerrilla groups like FARC and ELN will not achieve political power by continuing their armed resistance.

"I don't think there are conditions in Colombia that allow them to take power in the foreseeable future. Instead, they have become the main excuse of the empire to penetrate Colombia deeply and from there attack Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Cuba," Chavez added.

Earlier on Friday, Chavez had said that the U.S. are using Colombia as an "enclave of the empire" and are looking for ways to attack Venezuela.

"There is no doubt in Latin America that the empire chose the most tense space ... to create the conditions for the break-out of an armed conflict that serves the interests of the empire in this part of South America," the leftist leader said on state television.

The Venezuelan President on numerous occasions accused the U.S. of seeking military intervention in Venezuela.

Submitted by Winnie (not verified) on Wed, 08/04/2010 - 16:07


Ever since the first Bush as president, the Americans have been really aggressive towards middle east countries for obvious reasons - oil and natural resources. Our planet is running out of petrol in 50 years time (that's what I heard from my lecturer), and there was this one kid invented the electronic car decades ago in America in order to save the planet.

Younger Bush did not want electronic cars to be running around this will result in no one consuming petrol(he has shares in owning petrol apparently). No copyright or whatsoever is given to that invention and or else we are all running electronic cars instead of petrol now.

Very interesting topic indeed. Thanks for bringing this matter up.

Submitted by Terry Townsend on Thu, 08/12/2010 - 21:13


By Francisco Dominguez
Secretary UK Venezuela Solidarity Campaign

August 10, 2010 -- The already bad relations between Venezuela and Colombia took a turn for the worse after the accusations made by the outgoing Uribe government's OAS representative, Luis Hoyos, who charged the Venezuelan government with harbouring Colombian guerrillas (1,500) and allowing guerrilla camps (85) inside its territory. The "evidence" - which has been pretty discredited - for this batch of accusations -as with previous ones- also came from the eight 'magical laptops' seized by Colombian military forces in an illegal military attack in March 1, 2009.

Chavez reacted by breaking off relations with Colombia, leading to a further worsening of the relations between the two nations, but sent his foreign minister to attend Santos' inauguration anyway. Uribe's response was to announce that his government was lodging a formal accusation against Venezuela in the Inter-American Committee of Human Rights and another formal charge against President Chavez personally to the International Criminal Court, one day before Juan Manuel Santos inauguration. Furthermore, Uribe, reportedly, announced he would be prepared to testify to the ICC against Hugo Chavez.

However, after intense diplomatic activity undertaken by UNASUR, Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's Foreign Relations Minister, Nestor Kirchner, UNASUR's President, and Brazils' President, Lula, the latter two very publicly meeting with both Hugo Chavez and Juan Manuel Santos at various separate meetings, managed, in a matter of few days, to turn what looked like an inexorable slide to disaster, into one of the most extraordinary political turnarounds from the brink in recent Latin American history.

At his inauguration, Juan Manuel Santos stunned the world by announcing that his administration would be seeking to repair and normalise Colombia's relations with Venezuela and Ecuador as a matter of priority. And in stark contrast to the prevailing attitude under Uribe, Santos declared "The word war is not in my dictionary when I think about Colombia's relations with its neighbours" (a far cry from Uribe's warmongering). Furthermore, Santos had previously indicated his willingness, under certain conditions, to even talk to the Colombian guerrillas. More surprises were to follow: Santos ordered the handing over of Raul Reyes' 'magical laptops' to the government of Ecuador.

Some in the British media such as The GuardianThe Economist, the BBC and, of course, the ubiquitous Human Rights Watch, enthusiastically accepted the evidence publicised by the Colombian authorities at the time. The attitude of the US corporate media was significantly worse. As is well known, but not widely publicised by the corporate media, Ronald Coy, Head of Colombia's technical police, admitted to an official investigation both that the data in the laptops had been manipulated before it was subjected to judicial review and that no emails had been found in them (this did not prevent The Guardian's Latin American correspondent, Rory Carroll, from reading several emails from the magical laptops, as he reported at the time).

We shall very soon see how much of Mr Hoyos' "evidence" to the OAS is left standing after Ecuador's expert analysis of the 'magical laptops' takes place. The Venezuelan government has consistently denied any such charges and to this day, apart from regular media repetition of Uribista "false positives", no serious evidence of any kind has been produced to substantiate the allegations that Venezuela harbours guerrillas and guerrilla camps in its territory or that it gives them resources and weapons.

Venezuela and Colombia share a 1375-mile of very porous border. Colombia's internal conflict has the unfortunate dynamic of spilling over into other countries in the form of guerrillas, paramilitaries, drug traffickers, refugees, and immigrants escaping from the conflict (about 5 million Colombians reside permanently in Venezuela). It is estimated that overall, Colombia's military have over 300,000 soldiers -proportionately one of the largest in the region, and seven times larger than the armed forces of Venezuela - and have benefited from US$7 bn in military aid -the second largest in the world- which are nevertheless incapable to controlling their own domestic terrain in which there are about 8,000 armed guerrilla fighters, many thousands of active illegal paramilitary forces and a great deal of drug trafficking. Most of the cocaine in the world is produced in Colombia, and most of cocaine production takes place in Colombia- according to UNODOC about 50%. Furthermore, Venezuela finds itself geographically sandwiched between the largest producer and the largest consumer of cocaine in the world, Colombia and the United States respectively.

After Santos' inauguration, events have developed at neck-breaking speed. Assisted by Nestor Kirchner, the Foreign Ministers of Colombia and Venezuela met last Sunday in Bogota, and they announced that Presidents Santos and Chavez would be meeting at a special summit on Tuesday 10 August in Colombia. Chavez immediately seized the opportunity offered by his Colombian counterpart and called upon the guerrillas to seek a political solution: "The Colombian guerrillas do not have a future by way of arms... moreover, they have become an excuse for the [US] empire to intervene in Colombia and threaten Venezuela from there” he said on Sunday. He also called upon them to show their commitment to a peace accord through “decisive demonstrations, for example, that they liberate all those they have kidnapped.”

It is clear that Santos wanted to repair relations with Venezuela and Ecuador and that he was willing to accept UNASUR's good offices to facilitate his meeting with President Chavez. However, the most significant aspects of this development is that Santos was determined to seek the improvement of Colombia's relations with Venezuela and Ecuador, partly because it wanted to end Colombia's regional isolation, but also because the almost complete cessation of trade with Venezuela was making Colombia's economy scream (their mutual trade had declined by 73.7%). It is also clear that Uribe knew this and all his last-minute rabid attacks on Venezuela seemed to have been aimed more at Santos than Chavez. Uribe desperately tried to torpedo the Colombo-Venezuelan rapprochement because he knew it was in the offing.
Uribe's desperate efforts mirror the actions of powerful forces in Washington which have been vigorously lobbying to declare Venezuela a "state that sponsors terrorism", "a narco-state" (view which is specially strong in SOUTHCOM and the US Congress - and which, therefore, seem to favour a 'military' solution to the US 'Venezuelan problem'. SOUTHCOM has been busily installing US military bases everywhere in the region and has even resuscitated the IV Fleet (which was decommissioned in 1950). The US has deployed 20,000 soldiers in Haiti after the earthquake and has also stationed massive military forces in Costa Rica (7,000 soldiers, 200 helicopters and 46 warships until the end of December 2010). Thus, labeling Venezuela a 'sponsor of terrorism' is not just right-wing rhetoric, it may have very serious military consequences. Regional leaders are very alarmed about these developments and have expressed serious concern.
A normally omitted dimension of Colombo-Venezuelan relations is the attitude of Venezuela's right wing. In every Venezuela-Colombia spat under Uribe's two presidential mandates, they have sided enthusiastically with Uribe. They did so again this time but were unwittingly wrong-footed by Santos' announcement. When it comes to opposing President Chavez Venezuela's right wing seem to have no sense of proportion, thus, for instance, the governor of the state of Táchira, Cesar Perez Vivas, a member of COPEI, went as far as to appeal to Chavez not to make the US military bases in that country a precondition for the normalisation of relations with Colombia. Venezuelan TV broadcaster, Alberto Nolla, suggested that during the crisis unleashed by the Uribe's actions, the Venezuelan right wing media was more strident in their support for Uribe than the Colombian media had been during the same period. Any cursory look at the main right wing newspapers such as El Universal and El Nacional and TV channels such as Globovision confirm this conclusively.

What is totally unprecedented is the fact that the US administration was de facto reduced to the role of spectator (specialists confirm this). The U.S. were supportive of the accusations against Chavez at the OAS (…”our concerns about the links between Venezuela and the FARC that we have not certified Venezuela in recent years as fully cooperating with the United States and others in terms of these antiterrorism efforts,” stated U.S. ambassador to OAS) but were clearly sidelined by UNASUR's brinkmanship which managed to bring the rapprochement between Colombia and Venezuela. It is Santos, Chavez and UNASUR (especially Brazil) who have been doing the running (“Brazil’s government has made it clear that it would like the matter to be taken up within UNASUR, without the influence of the United States. It proclaimed South America a “region of peace” and affirmed that problems between countries should be first dealt with bilaterally.) This reality shows first the growing assertiveness and independence of the region from U.S. influence, but secondly, it shows that underlying this political reality there is the growing independence of the region from traditional economic centres and a steady distancing from the U.S. The Tectonic plates have dramatically shifted and most Latin American leaders feel they have averted an almost certain Uribe-US driven war.
It remains to be seen how far this summit takes the two countries. They have decided to fully restore their relations in every field and the two presidents have established five commissions within the framework of a statement of principles signed by them. They include a commission for debt; another for the economic collaboration between the two countries; one for the development of a plan of investment in their common border; another for the joint undertaking of infrastructural works; and a security commission. Both heads of state undertook a commitment to collaborate in the struggle against drug trafficking, paramilitary and illegal armed activity. Colombia has sent the President of Colombia's Congress, Armando Benedetti, to assist the process of full restoration of relations between the two countries. The OAS reacted by applauding the diplomacy of Santos and Chavez. There has been popular rejoice in both countries. Not all the issues pending between the two nations were, however, addressed, such as the U.S. military bases in Colombia, the urgent need for a peace process in Colombia, and the charges levelled by Uribe against Venezuela to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights and against President Chavez personally to the International Criminal Court. 

The dogs of war have been kept at bay, at least temporarily. Peace has broken out. The full restoration of relations between Venezuela and Colombia is indeed very positive. However, the array of forces set against the implementation of such a broad peaceful agenda is also pretty formidable. For start it is led by the U.S. and it also involves powerful economic groups in most countries in the region, such as the separatists in the Eastern of Bolivia, that nearly overthrew Morales' government in 2009; the Venezuelan right which managed to actually oust Chavez in 2002 -but who the people returned to power-; the Colombian oligarchy itself; the extremely wealthy and powerful Chilean Pinochetista bourgeoisie; the right in Argentina; the very wealthy Guayaquil entrepreneurs; and so forth. All of whom in one way or another favour the US militarisation of the region as a solution of last resort in the face of radical social movements and progressive governments in the continent. In the meantime the U.S. militarisation of the region continues apace.

It is in the interest of Latin America, very well represented on this historic occasion by UNASUR, to help the Colombian oligarchy to loosen the too uncomfortable US embrace in which Uribe got them into. On the other hand there are the U.S. hegemonic interests in the region and its growing oil dependency from fiercely nationalist governments which are asserting their independence collectively. Washington's political and military strategists must be stunned by the extraordinary rapprochement between Santos and Chavez. 

Uribe's insane efforts to bring about a war with Venezuela, underscores the ‘predicament’ the U.S. finds itself in: faced with the rebellion of its Southern neighbours, unable to win politically, and incapable of offering anything such as development, progress, investment or even the American Way of life (which is crushingly coming to an end in the United States itself), has decided to resort to war to maintain its backyard under subjection. Latin America has opted for democracy, social progress, national sovereignty and peace. On this occasion even the staunchest pro U.S. Colombian oligarchy have sided with the South, not the North. We shall see who beats the other in the historic arm-wrestling underway.