Forwarded from Anthony (Colombia)

jacdon at jacdon at
Thu Nov 16 10:43:46 MST 2000


“....activists in the USA should do everything in their power to stop
U.S. intervention in Colombia, but should NOT think that things in
Colombia are going to be any sort of repeat of what happened in
Vietnam.  Anthony.”

The above was a comment on an earlier post about a meeting in which the
speaker mentioned the similarities between U.S. actions in Vietnam in
the early 1960s and its actions in Colombia today.  Anthony  is  an
astute observer for whom I have respect.  He makes good points to
demonstrate the particular differences between the Colombia and Vietnam
situations, with which I agree. There are many more points of that
nature--such as the great difference in supply lines from the U.S.

But there are also general similarities that simply cannot be ignored
(imperialism, a left-based guerrilla war in the developing world,
Pentagon “advisors,” counter-insurgency weaponry for waging war in rural
areas, gradual escalation, propagandistic justifications for a wider
involvement, etc.).

The struggle to develop a movement in the U.S. against a possible future
expansion of imperial adventures in Colombia is in its very beginning
stages. Vietnam is a potent symbol of U.S. military intervention in the
third world.  It rings a very loud bell in the minds of the American
people and triggers what remains of the Vietnam syndrome (which is not
inconsequential). In its particularity, Colombia will not be an exact
repeat of Vietnam.  In its generality, the similarities are too obvious
to ignore. Deploying the analogy between Columbia today and Vietnam
yesterday by emphasizing the general similarities is a legitimate and
useful tactic of organizing and agitation.

There is another factor about U.S. intentions toward Colombia that must
be emphasized.  The Latin American-Caribbean region of the world is
regarded by Washington as  its principal area of imperial domination (as
opposed to Southeast Asia at the time, but that’s another matter). An
important aspect of U.S. policy in Latin America and the Caribbean for
the last 41 years has been to prevent a “second Cuba” in the region, as
well as to sabotage the “first” Cuba.  Uncle Sam is simply not prepared
to accept a successful socialist revolution in Colombia (if that,
indeed, is what is at stake) because of the impact this would have upon
countries in the region where almost half the population of some 480
million people live in conditions at or near poverty. If I may be
excused the comparison with an earlier struggle, imperialism will do
everything it can to keep the Colombian domino from falling.  As such,
U.S. anti-imperialist forces must do everything possible to keep the
Pentagon out of Colombia--even at the risk of using a generalized
analogy to Vietnam.

Jack A. Smith

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