[Marxism] Venezuela strengthens border protection after Colombian spy flights increase
stuartmunckton at gmail.com
Tue Aug 3 01:20:11 MDT 2010
Venezuela Detects Increased Colombian Spy Flights, Increases Border Military
By James Suggett - Venezuelanalysis.com
Mérida, August 2nd 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – In response to the
detection of increased Colombian military aircraft near the border with
Venezuela, Venezuela created ten special military zones along its border to
defend against any potential armed aggression.
“It is with much concern that we have detected that the presence of aircraft
flying at either high or low altitude on the border with Colombia has
increased by more than 100%,” Chavez announced on Friday.
The flights were detected on the Colombian side of the border in the zones
of La Guajira, La Fria, and Alto Apure, as well as in areas near Aruba,
Curacao, and Bonaire in the Caribbean, the president said. The flight
patterns indicated the that the aircraft were possibly carrying out spy
missions rather than following direct routes, he added.
In response, Venezuela will deploy troops in military “districts” that
operate together to form “integral defense zones” along its 1,400 mile
(2,250 km) border with Colombia. The special zones, created by presidential
order, have an exclusively defensive purpose, consistent with the Law of the
Bolivarian National Armed Forces, which was passed last year.
The Venezuelan military has been on alert since July 22 when Colombia
brought accusations before the Organization of American States (OAS) that
Venezuela tolerates the presence of Colombian guerrillas in its territory.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, an opponent of United States imperialism
and victim of a US-backed military coup attempt in 2002, severed diplomatic
relations with Colombia, saying the accusations were aimed at setting the
basis for a future military intervention by Colombian forces, with the
support of the billions of dollars in military aid that the US government
provides to its primary South American ally.
Chavez reiterated this interpretation of events on Friday. “The strategy of
the Yankee Empire [the US] for which Colombia serves as a player, is for the
war [in Colombia] to be internationalized, in order to later have the excuse
to intervene in Venezuela,” he said, referring to the civil war between the
Colombian government and guerrilla insurgents that has raged since the
As a result of Colombia’s war, Venezuela has been victim to the presence of
paramilitary squads linked to the Colombian government, increased drug
trafficking carried out by the paramilitaries as well as the insurgents, and
the influx of an estimated 4.5 million Colombians fleeing the violence.
In official statements, Colombia denied that it has plans to attack
Venezuela and said its aircraft have remained in Colombian territory.
“Colombia has never thought of attacking the fraternal people of the
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” a press release from the Colombian Office
of the President stated. A Foreign Relations Ministry statement, released
separately, said, “Based on precise information provided by the Ministry for
National Defense, no Colombian military helicopter or aircraft has flown
over Venezuelan air space.”
Venezuelan Foreign Relations Minister Nicolas Maduro made a public plea for
Colombia to hold true to its statements, saying the Colombian government
“gave a guarantee with its word, which we hope will be a reality.”
Colombia has long claimed its military objectives are geared exclusively
toward combating drug trafficking and guerrilla rebels within its territory.
However, the Colombian military’s unannounced attack on a guerrilla camp
within Ecuadoran territory in 2008 raised suspicions and garnered widespread
criticism from other South American nations.
Last October, Colombia signed a military deal with the US to allow the US to
increase its troop presence on seven Colombian bases and to step up
espionage and military operations across the South American continent,
according to official US Air Force documents.
Last week, the Colombian military installed a new air base in the Casanare
province. The base will host aircraft that will carry out transport,
intelligence, and combat missions in Casanare as well as Arauca province,
which borders Venezuela’s Apure state, according to an official statement of
the Colombian Armed Forces.
Last year, Colombia increased its military expenditure by 11% and its
military spending as a percentage of GDP was the greatest in the region.
Venezuela reduced its military spending by 25% last year, and occupied fifth
place in the region in military spending as a percentage of GDP, according
to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
President Chavez said the intention of Venezuela’s recent troop deployments
has been “to speed up and boost political, economic, social, intelligence
and military measures throughout the length and breadth of the borderline,
which has always been violated by foreign and violent groups.”
In his Sunday opinion column that is published in several national
newspapers, Chavez wrote that his administration has “one supreme objective:
to detain the war-mongering craziness that has taken power in the Nariño
House [the Colombian presidential building].”
Chavez reiterated his call for the insurgents in Colombia to seek a peace
accord, and said the current situation consists of a “polarity: good sense
and prudent policies versus irrationality and militarist violence.”
On Thursday and over the weekend, many news sources reported that the FARC,
the largest guerrilla group in Colombia, said it was willing to talk to the
incoming president, Juan Santos. FARC leader, Alfonso Cano, said the group
was willing to look for a political solution. A spokesperson for Santos said
the government was prepared to talk to the FARC, on the condition that they
lay down arms and release all hostages.
“The dilemma is between words and missiles, that is to say, between bringing
the voluntary exercise of peace to the dialogue table of the peoples of the
South, or maintaining an environment of confrontation in the region with an
elevated danger of war,” Chavez wrote.
The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) held an emergency summit of
foreign relations ministers last Thursday to seek a solution to the
conflict, but no consensus was reached. Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa,
whose country currently holds the interim presidency of the two-year-old
integration bloc, called for a presidential summit in the coming weeks to
address the matter
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