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New Latin American century (part 3): US "Forward Operating Locations", Domination, Robots & fibs.

category international | anti-war / imperialism | opinion/analysis author Thursday August 20, 2009 22:52author by iosaf Report this post to the editors

This third part of my current series on Latin America will detail the current bases operated in Latin America and takes at least part of its title from a wonderful article published this afternoon by Fidel Castro on the subject of the new push by USA to open up more bases or what it terms "forward operating locations". Fidel writes a letter to Granma the official newspaper of the Cuban revolution named after the boat which left Mexico in 1956 carrying himself, his little brother Raul, the immortal Che and the much overlooked anarchist Camilo Cienfuegos to start a revolution. The rest is history, so they say. Courtously the editorial folk at Granma print Fidel's letter every week regardless of its quality but somehow this afternoon's started a "buzz" in Latin American solidarity and analyst circles worldwide for its wonderful byline & prediction : "US global domination and robots by 2020". Here follows a historical over-view, summary of Fidel's article & a guide to the current US bases in South America.
The Eagle holds treaties & deals in its left talon so it can use thunderbolts in its right talon.
The Eagle holds treaties & deals in its left talon so it can use thunderbolts in its right talon.

=========________________ Historical overview___________________==========

As we begin appraising these new 7 US bases in Colombia it is useful to bear in mind what Hilary Clinton has categorically said "they are not bases". I wrote in a comment to the second part of this series yesterday specifically concerning the Shannon parallel, that we may learn much from how the USA opens and maintains these bases and that " The new Colombian US bases are no more bases than Shannon is a US base". http://www.indymedia.ie/article/93578?comment_limit=0&c...57971

Q : so if they are not bases what are they?
A : they are "Forward Operating Locations.


____________________________________________________________________________

Let us begin with USSOUTHCOM, or the "southern command" as it is better known. Southcom is one of ten " Unified Combatant Commands" in the US ministry of Defense, better known as the Pentagon. In the comments to my article on the Honduran coup d'etat and in the appraisal of the Irish based LASC analyst, José Antonio Gutiérrez, great lengths were gone to explain that responsibility for the current situation in Honduras is laid at the doors of this Pentagon office. I went further and laboured to explain that this office bridges presidencies and though literally is in "Obama's back yard" is hardly ever likely to be thought answerable or controllable by him. There are limits it seems to even the job of commander-in-chief. As such even Hugo Chavez would later in laying blame at SOUTHCOM's door sought to temper whilst also undeniable honing his accusations by exhonerating Obama, publically saying he had doubted the US chief-of-staff had prior knowledge or in-depth understanding of the agenda of SouthCom and the lobby it serves.

Q : So who are these SOUTHCOM people? This bunch who Latin Americans call the "yankee empire" (seeing only one type of US) and I for some reason prefer to call the "dixie empire" (seeing clear differences between them and the sort of US I see elsewhere globally)?

A : SOUTHCOM is a joint command of more than 1,200 military and civilian personnel representing the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and several other federal agencies which operate under 3 "joint taskforces" : joint taskforce Bravo, joint taskforce Guantanamo and Joint Interagency Task Force South.

Q: How did they begin?
A. It depends on who you ask really.... They themselves : trace their origins to the decision to station US marines at the Panama canal in 1903 and guard the isthmus and thus trade passing from the Atlantic to the Pacific as well as its railroad.

I myself would put it this way The Panama railroad was the product of both shrewd investment on the part of southern USA businessmen and the slave labour conditions of local peasants and chinese migrants. That first deployment increased the following year with the arrival of US marines on what they proudly term one of their first humanitarian missions to ensure that their slave labour wouldn't die of yellow fever and something could be done about malaria. Within four years the civilian project had been militarised under president Theodore Roosevelt. Thus would the US marines seize strategic territory for the second time in ten years. They had already taken Guantanamo Bay in 1898.

Teddy Roosevelt is key to understanding the new Latin American century of this series of articles. I have made no attempt to describe a calendar century which conveniently began on any year ending in double zeroes. Roosevelt was a white supremacist and imperialist who had come to the fore for his adventures in the war in Cuba which formed part of the Spanish-American war of (1898). He arrived in the White House thanks to the assassination of Mc Kinley (by an anarchist incidently) and his career is inseperable from the development of the US Marines in the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico, the Boxer Rebellion in China, the Perdicaris Incident in Morocco, Veracruz, Santo Domingo, and the Banana Wars in Haiti and Nicaragua. Indeed without Roosevelt in the public eye telling the American people that history and God had brought them to the stage that their race ought expand and dominate, the experiences gained in counter-insurgency and guerrilla operations during that period would never have been consolidated into the Small Wars Manual which was the first military instruction book to be used by more than one branch of the US armed forces. Ergo, I would say - the birth of SouthCom.

Whenever they started or however, the joint forces entity headquartered in Howard Base, Panama would remain right unto our latter days or almost. SOA (the School of the Americas) was established in Panama in 1946. Oddly enough not much is ever recorded as happening in 1946 or 1947 either. Your Leaving Certificate books just skip those years. Presumably everyone was hungry and trying to rebuild their lives after the war. Just to confuse you all, SOA is no longer actually called SOA. IT is now called WHINSEC. Which is much easier to say if you speak with either a faint German or strong Dixie drawl. Anyway, SOUTHCOM adopted its current name and emblem in 1963.

Then along came a democratic president who though a cashcrop farmer (peanuts) had it appears little sympathy with the cashcrop (banana) concerns of his rivals for office. President Jimmy Carter did a deal with the Panamanian president Omar Torrijos in 1977. This deal came in two parts. The first was termed The Treaty Concerning the Permanent Neutrality and Operation of the Panama Canal . Maybe some day a future taoiseach of Ireland will sign something like that for Shannon. Though to be fair to any Irish Taoiseach, Mr Omar Torrijos had never been elected and had seized power in a (US backed) coup d'etat in 1968. Part one gave the U.S. the permanent right to defend the Panama canal from any threat that might interfere with its continued neutral service to ships of all nations. Certain of the older British and French establishment who could remember the Suez Canal crises and war of the 1950's must of choked on their brandy. The second part established that as from midnight on December 31, 1999, Panama would assume full control of canal operations and become primarily responsible for its defense.

Y2K came and Panama got its canal back for the first time in almost a century USSOUTHCOM packed up and left, going up north to hq itself in Miami Florida. Again as part of the Carter-Torrijos 1977 agreement to wind down US involvement in Panama (obviously) SOA was then moved from Panama to Fort Benning, Georgia USA in 1984 and as I've mentioned decided to change its name, perhaps to attract a new kind of student, who knows?.

SOUTHCOM then made the key policy decision along with all the other ten Pentagon joint command areas for our sweet blue planet to stop calling its bases, "bases" but instead call them "forward operating locations".

.
.
.
============__________US BASES IN LATIN AMERICA____________============
.
.
.

I trust most readers can imagine what Latin America looks like in their minds eye. If not the illustration with this article shows you a map of the southern continent and the northern continent as far as the border of Mexico with the USA as established since the USA annexed Texas, Arizona, California and New Mexico, way off - back then.

way out east - Puerto Rico

We began at the north-eastern most part of the Carribean sea on the island of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the northeastern Caribbean, meaning they rule the place but the residents don't get to vote in elections and some even think they are second class citizens because of that. But liberal minded Americans point out that though they were an imperial possession of 1898 and the Spanish-American war, they matured to "unincorporated territory" status by 1900 and have since the days of Teddy Roosevelt enjoyed home rule status which under the presidency of WW2 president FD Roosvelt (Teddy's nephew) would extend to rights which by 1946 included a dinky little flag.

The Roosevelt Roads US base occupies about three quarters of the island of Vieques to the west of Puerto Rico. It was established in 1943 on a site which since 1919, F.D. Roosevelt had thought good for an airstrip. We can see he thought ahead. What was once a big base hosting naval, army, marine corp and special forces was scaled down in 2004 as part of the relocation of most of SouthCom to the US states of Texas & Florida. Nonetheless the base is still active, off limits to snoopers and more than capable of supporting either a land or sea invasion of Atlantis should it reappear in the neighbouring Bermuda Triangle this side of Nostradamus.

due west - Guantanamo

Gitmo is so notorious as a prison camp set up by the Bush / Cheney presidency that many might over look its history, extension and other functions. GITMO consists of 49.4 kilometres squared of dry land and a further 68.4 kilometres squared of marsh land and sea. It counts on a waterfront of 17.5 kilometres and was seized by the USA in 1903 as a trophy of the war which for many began the US imperialist and undoubtedly supremacist project to control both continents of America and all its archipelagos. GITMO is 920 kilometres from Havana, the capital of Cuba and only 64 kilometres from Santiago the second largest city of the island. We hardly know anything about the place.

due south - Aruba & Curazo

The military bases of Aruba and Curazo are located due south of GITMO in the Carribean islands of the Lesser Antilles which are currently an autonomous region of the Netherlands. These former dutch colonies are 27 km or 17 miles north of the coast of Venezuela. Both centres are currently designated as “FOL”s and their primary function is satellite support. This is where the kind American tracks hurricanes so that they may be given names and responded to effectively should they endanger either the quality of life or property of white folks. Naturally such techno-wondrous gagdgets and gizmos (we're talking golfballs) also help eardrop on local communication in Venezuela and it seems from the complaints, the Dutch aren't too happy about it either.

back to the Central American mainland, Atlantic coast - Honduras

Soto Cano, Palmerola primarily described as a US radar station to monitor lost fisherfolk in the Carribean between Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula and the western tip of Cuba. It has also been credited with first rate assistance to tax evading residents of neighbouring Belize (formerly British Honduras) whose yachts have felt the pull of the Bermuda Triangle, yes – even so far away.

On the other hand, Wikipedia insists : "A large concentration of US troops and the Honduran Air Force academy use the airbase. The airbase became operational in 1981, changing the old location the Honduran Air Force Academy in Toncontin, Tegucigalpa to Palmerola. More info about Honduras Air Force Academy [[1]] (Spanish) Oliver North once used Palmerola as a base of operations for the U.S. backed Contras in the 1980s. Now the U.S. military uses Soto Cano as a launching point for its war on drugs efforts in Central America as well as humanitarian aid missions throughout Honduras and Central America. In addition to the Honduran Air Force Academy, the US military's Joint Task Force Bravo (JTF-B) is headquartered at Soto Cano. JTF-B consists of Medical Element - Military Hospital, Army Forces, Air Force Forces, Joint Security Forces, and the 1st Battalion-228th Aviation Regiment (consisting of some 18 aircraft, a mix of UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and CH-47 Chinook helicopters)." All the same I have found no evidence to suport the assertion that Wikipedia believes in Atlantis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soto_Cano_Air_Base

Central America, due west Pacific Coast - El Salvador

on the Pacific coast we find Comalapa FOL base which again does all the usual stuff: monitoring satellites, radar scanning of both ocean and sky and making sure the homemade submarines from the Colombian drug cartels don’t get lost as they take the pacific route to California. (I’m joking of course). Comalapa is for those interested in Shannon an installation which shares facilities and real estate if not canteen catering services with a commercial airport. got to save money somehow

South America Colombia - 3 current bases

Which brings us to Colombia where as we know there are now to be 7 new FOLs and which will bring the total of bases operated by the USA (which we know about) to 10 or “dix” as they say in French, hence “Dixie”. A nice round number I’m sure you’ll agree. The American is nothing but simple.

Aruaca base is located on the western border of Colombia with Venezuela. Its official purpose is monitor narco-traffic but its strategic location next to the primary oil and gas reserves of Venezuela has not gone without comment, nor has its perfect triangulation with the Puerto Rico and GITMO bases with the island FOL’s slap bang in the middle. Told you they’re simple folk.

Larandia base in the south of Colombia bordering Ecuador has one of those Knock airport size runways which the ungodly associate with the now quaint B52 long range bomber. It’s officially described as a helicopter training facility so young cadets can learn how to fly over jungles in a way which is possibly safer than how their forebears dropped LSD and then dropped Agent Orange on the Viet Cong.

Esquinas base in Colombia is due south east and sits in that corner of Colombia which
Borders both Brazil and Peru. Amongst its noble missions is the monitoring of rainfall, river flows and quite probably finding the lost civilizations rumoured by theosophists to this day to live around the source of the Nile, (or was it the Orinoco?). Anyway – when not doing that they simply just stay put, the usual, choppers, troops, sats – you name it – they’ve got it. Geographers checking all these locations on the map will notice the appearance of yet another “triangle”.

Peruvian Amazon bordering Colombia

If we fly like a condor due south from the last base in Colombia we find two adjoining bases in Peru, those of Iquitos & Nanay which form yet another little triangle with Esquinas Colombia or one bigger trianlge with Larandia Colombia, so big in fact that it takes in all of Ecuador. These bases are not US bases but belong to the Peruvian military in their Nanay Amazonian basin which have served recently to kick the shit out of indigenous communities protesting about oil and as a result of the top whack advice given to the Peruvians, far off –back then, by the US engineers when building the places, the Peruvians still feel beholden to welcome in their buddies whenever they’re around.

Ecuador Mantas base whose lease is up has been left out of this guide.

______________________________________________________________________

Fidel's letter today entitled:

The Empire and the Robots

Fidel quite rightly points out that US military spending is increasing immensely all the time and all talk of arms races in Latin America is ludicrous. He provides figures and wonders at the attempts of Obama "to sweat his paw" to provide health care when the Pentagon wants more than a thousand new F-22 and F-35 aircraft and aims to rely on drone craft by 2020.

As I wrote earlier this year when the secret defense estimates came out for the USA and offered us some idea of how much money they sink into "black budget" research - it's official Obama is 3% blacker than Bush
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/90449?&condense_comment...51513

I'm running out of time now so will not translate the whole Castro article, but here is a link to it on TeleSUR and as I wrote above it is generating much more positive feedback than most of his weekly musings, ramblings, memories and exhortations do. http://www.telesurtv.net/noticias/secciones/nota/56174-...undo/ Yep. I agree with Fidel on this one, Fidel agrees with me, & we are not alone.

Pity the US hadn't got their fisherfolk and common type saving radar systems up and running and could have saved the life of Camilo Cienfuegos back then, maybe the revolution would have turned out more anarchist and less commie. Pity the SOA trained Félix Rodríguez stopped Che. Pity the weather was so good in Latin America that half of ODESSA went there. Pity the Incas didn't have something nastier than syphilis and the flu to give the Europeans back.

___________________________________________________________________________

part one of the series :
The new Latin American century, FARC, arms races, US bases & sundry fibs
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/93553
part two of the series :
New Latin American century (part 2): Nixon, Pinochet, Brazil, Chile, US bases, declassified files
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/93578

Those interested in looking at the locations of these bases and FOL’s may do so by going to this flash illustration prepared by TeleSUR today which kindly includes thanks to the Indymedia global network amongst others in its sourcing credits. The accompanying explanatory texts are of course in Spanish, but this article has already provided you with more information.

http://www.telesurtv.net/multimedia/flash/infografias/I...6.swf

author by iosafpublication date Thu Aug 20, 2009 23:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I forgot to include the southern most FOL operated by SOUTHCOM which is in Paraguay. In May 2005 the USA signed a deal with Paraguay to creat a new base at Mariscal Estigarribia where the Paraguayan "Dr. Luis Maria Argaña International Airport" is located. Of course it's not a base it's not even designated as a"FOL".

According to this US publication at the time http://americas.irc-online.org/am/2991"Hundreds of US military personnel are rotated though Paraguay each year, though the military has stated that the total number in the country will not exceed 10-20 at any time". It all began with the arrival of 400 US troops in July 2005, shortly after the Paraguayan Senate granted US troops diplomatic immunity.

The opening of this "FOL" ought remind older Irish readers of the construction of Knock airport and all Irish readers of the way Shannon has turned into a "FOL".

from wikipedia whose English pages are woefully poor research material on US bases:

According to the Clarín Argentinian newspaper, Mariscal Estigarribia would be a strategic location for a military base because of its proximity to the Triple Frontera between Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina; the Guarani aquifer; and Bolivia (less than 200km_ at a time when "Washington's magnifying glass goes on the Altiplano and points toward Venezuelan Hugo Chávez—the regional demon according to Bush's administration—as the instigator of the instability in the region".http://www.clarin.com/suplementos/zona/2005/09/11/z-036...5.htm

The US and Paraguayan governments deny that the US military is establishing base at Mariscal Estigarribia.The US government said "...limited, short-term deployments of U.S. military personnel are scheduled to take place for a series of joint exercises with the Paraguayan military between July 2005 and December 2006. Most personnel deployed will not remain in Paraguay for more than 45 days." that was from the US Stat department of 2006, that depatrment is now in Hilary's paws - http://usinfo.state.gov/media/Archive/2006/Jan/12-62347....html

Now it gets interesting when one considers the history and neutrality issues of the wikipedia entry in English about this controversial place.

"A Brazilian weekly news magazine [ right wing pro US ] , CartaCapital, published an investigative article on April 25th, 2008, that dismisses what it calls a conspiracy theory about the base. A reporter actually visited it, interviewed Paraguayan military personnel in the area, as well as the airport director, and reached the following conclusions:

The base was built by the military in the 1970s on Alfredo Stroessner's orders; the air strip is indeed capable of receiving heavy aircraft, including the C-5 Galaxy, but no US personnel is anywhere to be seen, and no signs of military security are present; the airport is in the middle of nowhere, without infra-structure that could support ongoing military operations (as opposed to sporadic exercises like the one that took place with US Armed Forces between 2005 and 2006 in Paraguay); there are no signs of recent investment, US or Paraguayan, to modernise facilities; and the civilian administrator of the airport was actually eager to clinch deals to increase revenue. The only foreign entity that uses the basis regularly is British CDS Oil & Gas. The air strip is indeed big: 3,5 km length, 40 m width, all 35 cm-deep concrete. The reporter concludes that if there are any plans to lease the base to the US military, they have not been implemented to any extent yet and may have become unlikely to be given the recent election of Fernando Lugo. This essentially means that, when US personnel are expelled, in 2009, from the Eloy Alfaro air base in Manta, Ecuador, the only physical facilities of the US military in South America will be in Colombia: the radar unit at the Ernesto Esguerra Air Base in Tres Esquinas and the Forward Operating Location (FOL) at the military base in Larandia, both in the Department of Caquetá; and another FOL in the Arauca Department." .

Of course Hilary hadn't come along with her 7 FOLs April of last year.
________________________________________________________________

Wikipedia in its English version isn't really a good place to research US military bases of any of its ten combined combattant commands. But here is their list of US overseas bases which only has 8 sub-categories
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Military_bases_of...untry

Which compares starkly with the 2005 estimate of the Argentinian Clarin magazine and is accepted by rebellion.org, aporrea, ISRI, me & my mates as others as having been quite accurate if not an underestimate.

In 2005 the USA operated 757 bases no matter what you call them outside its territory worldwide.

The exposure of rendition flights linked up many of these FOL sites in Latin America with civilian airports as well as NATO airports in Europe.

Are we to consider Shannon a FOL?
Is Palma airport in Mallorca a FOL?


well if it isn't a solely civilian airport where the laws of the land apply
and it's obviously not a base coz they say so -
yet there are US military and secret service jets on the ground...............

it must be a FOL.


next appendix (if any) might be a translation of Fidel Castro's wonderful "Empire & Robots" piece to English.

a 2005 "Clarin" magazine illustration which locates many of the bases on an easy to understand map.
a 2005 "Clarin" magazine illustration which locates many of the bases on an easy to understand map.

author by iosafpublication date Fri Aug 21, 2009 21:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The list of fun stuff the Latin American has given rich Europeans whether they lived in North America or Europe for centuries is really long. That long list of fun stuff really only was produced and transported in great enough quantities to be enjoyed by the masses of "Europeans" in the last century. You know the stuff I'm talking about.

Cocoa for Chocolate, Coffee for every energy drink that's legal, Soya for animal footstuffs and vegans, Tobacco for those who can't bear the idea of getting a nicoteine hit from eating 7 kilograms of aubergines every three hours. Quinine to put in your tonic water. Rubber to put on your fast cars' tyres. Bananas to put in your third most favourite flavouring, Pineapples to put in your colada. Cocaine to put in your nose.

In the last fifty years this expanded to the petrol and gas north Americans put in their cars and home heating.

In the last forty years this expanded to include most the factories that ensure most pharmaceuticals can be produced cheaply and keep the pharmocorps the richest on the planet : viagra, paracetemol, aspirin.


The New Latin American century as conceived by Latin Americans counts on much more fun stuff.


They quite rightly see these as their "natural resources". In some respects they even dream of someday being able to feed, educate, house and lift from squalor their masses in a way the Arabs in their century did not bother to share their oil wealth with their own.

This illustration shows a resource so precious, so wonderful, it has already caused what was termed a "war" in Bolivia when the corporations attempted to privatise is. It's such an essential commodity that in Dublin in 1992 an international conference was held which saw a resolution adopted to propose it as a universal right. For their own reasons USA and Canada blocked the last joint proposal by Spain and Germany to include that right in the charter at Geneva in early 2008.
This stuff of rights, and privileges is such a good story it even went into the plot of the last 007 movie.

yep it's as clear as water.

as I wrote before in the second article of this series :-
"it's as clear as water.
the bottled spring water kind
not the cryptosporidium shit you get out of the tap in Ireland".


So the illustration with this comment shows you the aquifiers of Latin America. These are not only springs and rivers but also subsoil resources. The most water on the planet is locked up in the geological strata of the South American continent and the Central American isthmus. These aquifiers are not contaminated nor near depletion like their equivalents in the US mid west, central Europe or the east of Asia.

I'm sorry for the time it takes to read this comment and look at through the list of bases and compare it with the map and note the bases not on the last map and then look at the illustration with this one. It takes time. Meanwhile every 9 minutes a child, a human child, (whether an angelic creature or hellspawn head lice ridden anti-social langer) dies of thirst.

I wrote that when the USA & Canada blocked the inclusion of the Right to Water in the Human Rights charter of the UN last year . http://www.indymedia.ie/article/86927 I suggested blaming those North American states & keeping an eye on them over this precious resource. I felt moved to explain what thirst is.

...."Thirst is the technical term for the bodily sensation caused by not having H2O. Many Europeans think it has something to do with alcohol or tea. This is quite normal. We call it residual memory.

The European still remembers what water looks like with no artificial colourings. Brown like Tea or Amber like Beer. Canadians are easy to spot. They always put a Canadian flag on their luggage so people don't think their representative of the human rights abusing warlike people of the USA. The USA has less than 2 years left of deep water aquifiers for their arable land, a technical term used by amateur geologists to describe underground water which is tapped to help grow crops like wheat. You make bread from wheat & water. The USA opposed the resolution too. This will be the second time in a century they attempt to exterminate their farming population. It's easier to blame Canada for this than the USA though because we already blame the USA for too may things & people are beginning to notice & think we've a chip on our shoulder........"


So being fair to the US, I cited their "global newspaper of reference" 'The International Herald Tribune' :- "every 20 seconds a child dies from diseases associated with a lack of clean water"

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/03/21/opinion/edban.php
http://www.sott.net/articles/show/151958-UN-rejects-wat...right
http://www.thestar.com/article/349256
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19590.htm

background data -
http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/rightowater/en/
http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-122345-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html
http://www.protos.be/protosh2o/water-in-the-world/water...right
http://www.righttowater.org.uk/code/HumanRights.asp
http://www.freshwateraction.net/
http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/0/a5458d1d1bbd713fc125...ument


_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_

If you don't think water is much fun as cocaine, chocolate, tabacco, bananas and oil,

then you might have missed that Bolivia is the world's largest repository of Lithium.

the stuff they used to give depressed people but may need if the electric car gets off.


Alas, I don't have a map for the world's lithium deposits but I do have a recent chirpy article from the BBC which reflects the interest of the international kind of Briton in this kind of thing as well as the sensible concerns that the lefty Bolivians might want to not only extract this subsoil resource but have the cheek to make their own batteries and sell them to us at top whack.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_corr...8.stm

It's as clear as water why the new Latin American century states feel so threatened.
It's as clear as water why the new Latin American century states feel so threatened.

author by iosafpublication date Fri Aug 21, 2009 22:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Argentina refused to renew its leases on US "FOLs" after 2005. Equally Brazil refused US overtures to replace the Ecuador Manta base with one at Recife earlier this year. Today as Brazil's president Lulu appealed that Obama intervene in Honduras he also reiterated the concerns of the "triple frontier" at the strategic implications of the bases. The triple frontiers most precious resource is the big drop you can see in the illustration above. It is the Guarani aquifier . It's estimated extension in area is 1,194,000 kilometres squared. It's volume is as of yet unknown. To put that in perspective, the island of Ireland is 81,638 kilometres squared.

The little drop on the map in the illustration above this comment (third up from the botom of the right)
is 14.6 bigger than the island of Ireland.


It is a shared resource of pure clean water between with Brazil sitting on 839,000km sq (about ten times the size of Ireland) Argentina on 226,000 sq km, Paraguay on 71,700 km sq.(about the size of the Eire state) and Uruguay rests on 59,000km sq.

It is estimated the aquifier takes in between 160 and 250 kilometres cubed of water every year depending on weather conditions.

40 km cubed of clean water is enough for the needs of 360,000,000 people using 300 litres of water a day.

that is a big drop of water . I believe (though admit it coming after such cold hard facts such speculation and opinion may be foolish) that the Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner built that humungous air strip in the middle of nowhere that the USA wanted so badly because geologists had just realised the extension of the aquifier. Of course he only lived to 93 on the excellent medical care he enjoyed in Brasillia and can't have been thinking that far ahead.
Equally on a note of speculation and unsourced facts (as of yet) it might thrill Irish readers to know that the little drop of water at the bottom of the illustration above represents the shrinking glaciers of Patagonia as well as the aquifier strata which stretch to the malvinas or falklands islands which are also known to hold huge reserves of oil and gas as well which the British government insists ought be for their exploitation alone.

author by leftpublication date Sun Aug 23, 2009 01:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is a very interesting article on Obama and Latin America at the link below. It's clear he's better than Bush on the issues, but will that mean much in practise?

Related Link: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090511/grandin
author by iosafpublication date Sun Aug 23, 2009 01:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Two years ago the majority of Latin American states announced plans to re-equip their defense forces. This meant two thing, one of which ought be obvious : Latin American defense forces though in some cases very large were almost all using mostly antiquated equipment. The other thing it meant is somewhat less obvious : the legitimately elected democratic regimes of Latin America which had turned to the left of either Bolivarian hue or that of Chile, Brazil or even neo-Peronist central liberal Argentina had decided the time had come to trust their military institutions again and see in them opportunities to combine the traditional military estate's sense of "patriotism" with the emerging role Latin American states wish to play not only in continental co-operation but across the world. It is not for this series of articles on the "new Latin American century" to dwell too much on why these states did not choose to follow the example of Costa Rica and become one of the tiny minority of countries in the world which disbanded their military forces and count on no army, navy or air-force. However, as a significant sign of the non-bellicose nature of these upgrades I might touch upon the decision made by Lulu's Brazil to forego the Brazilian military's development of nuclear capability. Even though that decision might be better understood by putting it in historical context and reading part 2 of this series quite carefully just after wondering how the Brazilians could ever come so close to the dirty work of arming themselves with nukes.

2005 saw the appointment of a former leftist militant, Nilda Garré to the post of Defense minister of Argentina. In answer to her critics (of the traditional military estate and grass-roots who always think they hold a monopoly on "patriotism" - she answered that "she would work to ensure the armed forces reconverted themselves into a fecund role for society"......." in which the constitutionality and legitimacy of the elected executive was acknowledged by all as the commander in chief". One of her first acts was to refuse the renewal of US "FOLs" or any other fib on Argentinian soil and then hold out a reconciliatory hand to the British, whose long term strategic interest in Argentina's offshore untapped oil and gas reserves must surely figure in anyone's memory of the Falklands war.

I for one saw parallels to the surprise appointment of this female minister of Defense and her choice of words "fecund role" when Zapatero appointed not only a woman but pregnant woman and Catalan to boot (as well as supposedly "pacifist" in conviction) Carmen Chacon to the ministry of Defense of Spain in 2008.

Today Nilda Garré confirming the agenda for an upcoming extraordinary meeting of MercoSur the association of South American states which combines all levels of co-operation in Argentina in the city of Bariloche on the 28th of this month, also spoke of the concerns of her government and ministry at the tactical change in balance on the continent which the ten year leases on 7 new US bases agreed between President Uribe and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercosur

She revealed some details of a report by the Argentinian Defense ministry which estimate that the logistic range of these new bases would allow deployment or extra-territorial military operations as far south as the central provinces of Argentina (far beyond the strategic triple frontier or even the capital Buenos Aires) without stopping for fuel or even sandwich.

Her words were yet another demonstration of the alarm which crosses the board in South America and has even stretched as far as the ministry of foreign affairs in Spain who in June had described the proposals for the bases as "worrying and likely to lead to regional tension".

It is a foregone conclusion that Mercosur will pass a resolution or even a declaration of opposition to the 7 new bases. Just as they united to protest the recent coup d'etat in Honduras when they had their last extra-ordinary meeting in Quito on the 10th of this month.

It also taken for granted that together they will demand what already they are demanding seperately :

guarantees and assurances about the bases, promises and oaths. They are going to repeat many of the words of the US Senators who have already wondreed why these bases have sidestepped the US constitution (as explained in this comment to part 1 of this series of articles :http://www.indymedia.ie/article/93553?&condense_comment...58109 )

But one thing they might not say is that in a few years - they will be out of office. That to a one they have not passed ammendments to stay in presidential office. That unlike Zelaya who faced a coup at the suggestion, not even Chavez has assured his continued terms. That the swing to the left which brought co-operation, peace and the promises of prosperity this century will go back to the rightwing.

That in ten years time, when even Obama has left the White House and those bases remain,
only bespectacled little President Uribe of the narco-state may still be in presidential office.


 
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