Semana, Colombia

Hugo Chávez Isn't 'Paranoid' to Fear the U.S. Marines


"His fear of U.S. intervention in Venezuela cannot be dismissed as pure paranoia, particularly after the failed coup d'état in 2002. To ignore this would be to deny the long history of U.S. military intervention in Latin America."


By Juan Fernando Jaramillo*



Translated By Molly Smith


January 15, 2010


Colombia - Semana - Original Article (Spanish)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez: While many Latin Americans have qualms about his leadership, few would question his paranoia about U.S. interventionism.


BBC NEWS VIDEO: the dispute between Venezuela and Colombia 'rumbles on,' Nov. 11, 2009, 00:03:15RealVideo

In Colombia, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is often branded as crazy and unpredictable. I don't want to get into that debate. However, I think that in the case of the so-called U.S. bases in Colombia, President Chavez' response was extremely predictable. And given this predictability, the Colombian government's complaints regarding Chavez' reaction surprise me.


I'd like to clarify at the outset that I'm no fan of Chavez. I deeply dislike his authoritarian messianism, his bellicosity and his interventionist spirit. Moreover, I believe along with the vast majority of Colombians, that he collaborates with Colombian guerillas, which are partly responsible for the horrible tragedy we have experienced in recent decades.


However, a country cannot choose its neighbors or the rulers thereof. Nor can it move. So when you have a major difficulty with a neighboring country, one has to decide whether to address it through diplomacy so as to minimize it as much as possible, or opt for other measures, even if they may exacerbate the conflict.


In its agreement on the “U.S. bases,” the Colombian government - which hopes to strengthen its relationship with the United States - also accepted the exacerbation of its conflict with Chavez. As expected, he reacted harshly.



Since the beginning of his reign, Chavez has lost no opportunity to demonstrate his animosity toward Washington: sparing no insult against U.S. leaders, he has established relations with its worst enemies - many of which are recognized human rights violators - and in many ways he has interfered in the domestic affairs of other countries in the region in order to export his political model.


Because of this, his fear of U.S. intervention in Venezuela cannot be dismissed as pure paranoia, particularly after the failed coup d'état in 2002. To ignore this would be to deny the long history of U.S. military intervention in Latin America.


Some say that with Obama, a U.S. military intervention in the region is unlikely. I agree with that. But we can't forget that Chavez's messianic style compels him to govern Venezuela indefinitely. Besides, Obama isn't the first U.S. president to try and establish a new relationship with Latin America. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Jimmy Carter did as well. And they were succeeded by presidents who had no qualms about sending their Marines into the region.



Ultimas Noticias, Venezuela: Chavez: 'Prepare for War ... Colombia Now in U.S. Hands'  

The Times, U.K.: Chavez tells Venezuela Troops to 'Prepare for War' with Colombia

El Universal, Venezuela: 'Peace Prize' Winner Should Close All U.S. Military Bases  

Semana, Colombia: U.S. Military Bases are Alright, Under One Condition ...

La Jornada, Mexico: The Militarization of Latin America: Obama Already 'Ahead of Bush'  

Adnkronos, Italy: Chavez Lauds Oliver Stone; Wants to 'Help' Obama  

Clarin, Argentina: Resurrected U.S. Fourth Fleet Creates Suspicion in South America    

O Globo, Brazil: U.S. Navy Shows That What America Can Do, Brazil Can Do As Well

La Jornada, Mexico: U.S. Navy 'Resurrects' Fourth Fleet to Patrol Latin America


Bookmark and Share


The Colombian government says that the agreement doesn't contemplate a North American base in Colombia and in no way alters the cooperative relationship that already exists between Colombia and the United States. Likewise, it says that Venezuela has also signed several agreements with countries of dubious repute and that the U.S. wouldn't need bases in Colombia to intervene in Venezuela.


I'm not really interested in establishing whether the Colombian government's assertions are true or accurate. The important thing is that, quite predictably, the Venezuelan government believes that the agreement on the bases constitutes a threat to its sovereignty and has responded accordingly.  



The truth is that up to now, the folly of the two governments has led to a collapse of trade between the two countries - trade that's very important for Colombia. Let's hope that there is still enough rationality to prevent a military clash between us. It would be a conflict contrary to the desire for peace of both Colombians and Venezuelans. This would be a complete disaster that neither of our two peoples could forgive.


*Juan Fernando Jaramillo is a professor at the National University and a member of the Center for the Study of Law, Justice and Society - DeJuSticia– (



blog comments powered by Disqus




































[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US January 25, 11:09pm]


Live Support

Bookmark and Share