On March 1st Colombian government armed forces, supported by US military surveillance resources, massacred a group of over 20 people located at a FARC encampment on Ecuadoran territory near the border with Colombia in the area of Sucumbíos. Although most media reports describe the victims as members of the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces, some reports from Ecuador suggest that as many as five or six of the people murdered may have been Mexican students researching the Colombian conflict. (1) The complete sequel to the Bush-regime backed massacre will probably take many weeks to play out completely.
The Colombian cross-border raid posed a serious and immediate threat to its neighbours’ security and stability. It cut short for the time being well-advanced negotiations for the release of around a dozen prisoners of the FARC, including former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, three US mercenaries and various members of the Colombian security forces. The forceful response from Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa was backed by almost all the region’s governments and leaders. The Colombian government was left isolated and its arguments discredited.
Peace may seem to have been made at the March 8th Rio Group summit between the parties involved –
The Declaration (2) simply notes that
The governments of Venezuela and Ecuador are insisting on the correct application of international law, just as Nicaragua did during the US government organized terrorist aggression of the 1980s. But as
So they travelled far and fast during the day-long proceedings of the
The outcome of the latest Rio Group Summit provided a welcome breathing space, if not a full stop, to the developing drift towards regional instability and conflict. Not for nothing did both President Correa and President Chavez voice concerns that the
After having invaded
The UK Guardian newspaper continues to be a useful bellwether for Western Bloc propaganda in the liberal news media. In February, the Guardian/Observer web site carried baseless allegations by John Carlin alleging that the Venezuelan government was involved in narcotics dealing (7). In March, in a piece systematically misrepresenting the crisis, Isabel Hilton, whom some might see as a doyenne of British liberal media foreign affairs reporting, deploys classic British colonialist hauteur to denigrate Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.
The interesting thing about this is that Hilton and Carlin were both important media players in perception management of the Contra war against
So not only are the same old political Iran-Contra Reaganaut players in Washington driving the 4th generation war against Venezuela but the same media managers and writers are back in action as well. Gangster politicians like John Negroponte, Elliot Abrams and the rest have their messages reinforced by journalists like Carlin and Hilton. Managing rich-country mass opinion is part of the total war at grass roots level in which low-intensity conflict consists. Mainstream corporate media outlets by definition tend to favour views that reinforce the propaganda line of the corporate elite and their political front-persons.
So after a swift, skewed, de-contextualized, opposition-style account of the situation in Venezuela, Hilton writes, "Despite Correa’s leftwing credentials there is little love lost between him and Chávez, and Correa set about marking out the contrast, building diplomatic support in Latin America’s capitals where neither Uribe nor Chávez enjoy favour." In fact, Correa’s whirlwind tour in search of support took in
So much for Correa distancing himself from Chavez. Later on, Hilton recoups some credibility by grudgingly acknowledging Chavez’ role in negotiating the release of people held by the FARC and acknowledging that Uribe may have used the raid into Ecuador to boost his chances of a second re-election so as to serve a third Presidential term. But the main argument of her piece is that somehow Chavez was "humiliated" by Uribe when in fact as events turned out it was Uribe who was left isolated and lacking credibility. Meanwhile, President Chavez and his ALBA partners,
More broadly, in an important interview published by Ecoportal, Hector Mondragón has noted (10) that :
"The harvest of terror has isolated
Writers like Luismi Huarte (11) argue that current conditions include all the elements necessary for a Nicaraguan Contra style war of attrition. The objective is not to defeat
1. "Conflicto se trasladó a México,
2. Declaration of the 20th Summit of the Rio Group held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (toni’s tranlsation) :
" The Heads of State and Government of the Permanent Mechanism for Consultation and Political Cooperation – the Rio Group – together for the 20th Summit Meeting in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, alert to the situation prevailing between Ecuador and Colombia, have agreed to make the following Declaration:
1. The events that took place on March 1st 2008 are the cause of deep concern for the whole region, when forces of Colombia’s military and police entered Ecuadoran territory in the Sucumbíos province without the express consent of the Ecuadoran government, in order to carry out an operation against members of the irregular Combian Revolutionary Armed Forces group who were clandestinely camped in the Ecuadoran frontier area
2. We reject this violation of
3. We note with satisfaction the full apologies offered by President Alvaro Uribe to the Government and people of
4. We also note the commitment by President Alvaro Uribe in his country’s name that these events will not be repeated in the future under any circumstance in compliance with the dispositions of Articles 19 and 21 of the Charter of the OAS.
5. We note the decision of President Rafael Correa to receive documentation offered by President Alvaro Uribe and which would have reached the Government of Colombia following the events of March 1st, so that the Ecuadoran judicial authorities may investigate possible violations of national law.
6. We recall too the sacred priniciples of international law, respect for sovereignty, abstention from the threat or use of force and non-intervention in the internal affairs of other States, stressing that Article 19 of the Charter of the Organization of American States states that No State or Group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly for whatever motive in the internal or external affairs of any other. The foregoing principle excludes not just armed force but also other forms of intervention or tendency against the State’s personality or the political, economic and cultural elements that constitute it.
7. We repeat our commitment to peaceful coexistence in the region based on the fundamental precepts of international law contained in the Charters of the United Nations and the Organization of American States, as also is stressed in the essential objectives of the Rio Group, the peaceful solution of international disputes and its vocation to keep the peace and search jointly for solutions to conflicts that affect the region.
8. We repeat our firm commitment to fight threats to the security of all its States proceeding from the action of irregular groups or from criminal organizations, in particular those linked to narco-trafficking.
9. We support the resolution approved by the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States of March 5th 2008. Likewise, we express our support for the Secretary General in fulfilling the responsibilities that he has just been assigned, via the resolution mentioned, to head a Commission that will go to both countries to visit those places that the parties indicate and write up a report of his observations to the Consultative Meeting of Foreign Ministers and propose formulas for a rapprochement between the two countries.
10. We urge the parties involved to keep open respectful channels of communication and to seek formulas for lowering tension.
11. Taking into account the valuable traditions of the
3. (Video) "Correa: "No puedo aceptar las falacias de Álvaro Uribe" "Aporrea / TeleSUR / Yvke Mundial 07/03/08 – http://www.aporrea.org/tiburon/n110395.html
5. "Insulza: Intervención
6. "Alan García reconoce que Hugo Chávez promovió acuerdo pacífico en Cumbre de Río", TeleSUR, aporrea.org, 08/03/08
8. "It has been a farce, but this crisis needn’t end in tragedy", Isabel Hilton, The Guardian, March 7th 2008
9. "Rafael Correa: "Chávez sabe que cuenta con nosotros, cuando
10. "Entrevista a Héctor Mondragón, Convergencia Campesina, Negra e Indígena de Colombia", Aloia Álvarez Feáns, ecoportal.net, March 4th 2008
11. "Paramilitarismo colombiano en