Imperial terror in South America

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"The ”war on terror”, identified in Amnesty International's annual report as a new source of human rights abuses, is threatening to expand to Latin America, targeting indigenous movements that are demanding autonomy and protesting free-market policies and ”neo-liberalglobalisation.

"Pedro Cayuqueo, director of the Mapuche newspaper Azkintuwe, also from the city of Temuco, wrote that the growing indigenous activism in Latin America and Islamic radicalism are both depicted as threats to the security and hegemony of the United States in the ”Global Trends 2020 - Mapping the Global Future” study by the U.S. National Intelligence Council (NIC)." [1]

"The temptation to recycle these counterinsurgency strategies from Central America to Iraq is explained by the number of Reagan-era officials now back in prominent roles in George W. Bush's administration." [2]

"The militarized approach of U.S. drug policy exacerbates negative regional trends and further threatens democratization and human rights in the Andes." [3]


"Since the overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953, the CIA has engaged in similar disguised assaults on the governments of Guatemala (1954); the Congo (1960); Cuba (1961); Brazil (1964); Indonesia (1965); Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (1961-73); Greece (1967); Chile (1973); Afghanistan (1979 to the present); El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua (1980s); and Iraq (1991 to the present) -- to name only the most obvious cases. These operations have generated numerous terrorist attacks and other forms of retaliation -- what the CIA calls "blowback" -- against the United States by peoples on the receiving end. Because covert operations are secret from the people of the United States (if not their targets), when retaliation hits, as it did so spectacularly on September 11, 2001, Americans do not have the information to put it into context or understand it." --Chalmers Johnson for the San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Feb. 2004
Ref. why do they hate us?


In 1992, Martin Almada brought to light massive archives that document Paraguay's role in the U.S.-sponsored Operation Condor, a regional network of repression against opposition to the military dictatorships in the Southern Cone. The documents were also used to build the international case against Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. These reams of papers are not for the weak-stomached. Paraguayans call them "The Archives of Terror." [4]


The "Dirty War" in Argentina:

In October 1976, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and high ranking U.S. officials gave their full support to the Argentine military junta and urged them to hurry up and finish the "dirty war" before the U.S. Congress cut military aid. A post-junta truth commission found that the Argentine military had "disappeared" at least 10,000 Argentines in the so-called "dirty war" against "subversion" and "terrorists" between 1976 and 1983; human rights groups in Argentina put the number at closer to 30,000.

Note: documents at National Security Archive.


In Guatemala, the string of genocidal dictators began with the U.S.-abetted, cold war coup to overthrow democratically elected Jacobo Arbenz in 1954. [5] It's not over yet. [6][7]


U.S. congressional hearings have documented the U.S. government's role in the Chilean coup d'etat that brought Pinochet to power.
Refer to SourceWatch article on September 11, 1973


In Ecuador, ChevronTexaco stands accused of severely contaminating the surrounding region during 20 years of oil drilling and production in what once was untouched rainforest with pristine rivers and lakes. [8] The pillage threat continues today. [9], [10]


"Helicopters circling the city, combat planes roaring overhead; the streets, airports and public buildings patrolled by 13,000 police, soldiers, secret servicemen and spies, U.S. as well as Colombian.

The arrival of Donald Rumsfeld in Bogotá on August 19 [2003] did not portend anything but the further ratcheting up of imperial terror in South America." [11]

"For the past several years, South America's non-violent social movements--the Argentine piqueteros, the Brazilian landless, the Ecuadorian indigenous people, the Bolivian coca growers, Colombian and Peruvian trade unionists and community organizations--have offered a beacon of hope to the world, since they have blocked a series of neoliberal privatization efforts in the cities and held counterinsurgency in check in the countryside. As recently as nine months ago, there were reasons for relative optimism, since the movements had translated mass mobilization into electoral power: Lula and the PT had won in Brazil, Evo Morales and MAS had lost the Bolivian presidency by less than 1.5% but promised to form a formidable opposition, Lucio Gutierrez was going to have indigenous leaders in his government in Ecuador, Chávez was close to defeating the opposition in Venezuela.

Beginning with Plan Colombia, in the name of the war on drugs--which, after September 11, 2001, became the war on drugs and terror--the U.S. government responded to the growing challenge to the Washington Consensus: a military base in Manta, Ecuador, 'Plan Dignity' to eradicate coca in the Bolivian Chapare, a coup in Venezuela, offhand comments from U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill that rocked Brazilian financial markets as elections neared. But the cornerstone of the U.S. approach to the hemisphere was to be found in Colombia, the world's third most-important client-state after Israel and Egypt ($3 billion paid out since 2000). In late July 2003, the U.S. House of Representatives approved $731 million in FY 2004 for the Andean Regional Initiative (explicitly acknowledged as the continuation of Plan Colombia, under new auspices), two thirds of which will go to the Colombian government; more specifically, to its military and police.

International military assistance for Colombia through private security transnational enterprises is not exclusive of the United States or limited to Plan Colombia. This “cooperation” also involves enterprises from other countries, such as Israel, with the full knowledge of said governments and Washington. These significant multiple-million-dollar contracts are signed directly by the Colombian Ministry of Defense. Nonetheless, mercenary activity carried out as a part of Plan Colombia is the most publicized. In 2006, the US Congress published an official report on US enterprises that had signed contracts with the State Department or the Defense Department so as to carry out anti-narcotics activities as a part of Plan Colombia. Most the private contract enterprises are under the responsibility of the Defense Department, but the largest contract (DynCorp) is in the hands of the State Department. [12]


Bolivian President "Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada was the fourth South American president to have been forced out of office by popular protests since 2000, joining Ecuador, Argentina and Peru amid growing discontent on the continent with governments that are seen as corrupt an [sic] inept." ... Bolivia's new leader, former vice-president Carlos Mesa, "has made no mention of what he would do with Mr Sanchez de Lozada's US-backed drive to wipe out coca crops - the raw material for cocaine. Peasant farmers blamed the policy for deepening their poverty." [13]

"Goni now makes Bolivia the third country in the region (Ecuador and Argentina are the others) in which sitting presidents have been pushed out in as many years by a populace angry over neoliberal policies imposed on their countries by Washington." [14]

Related Developments

  • Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, a country where the coca leaf does not grow, today spoke for the first time publicly in defense of the right of the indigenous of Bolivia to cultivate their millenarian sacred coca plant.[15]
  • Antauro Humala, the retired Peruvian military officer who led a courageous uprising in 2000 against the dictator Alberto Fujimori, told reporters today that Peru's President Alejandro Toledo - another bat-boy of Washington - could fall the same way that Bolivia's Goni fell.[16]
  • "There is no question in my mind and in the mind of much of the world that this was the jackals, the C.I.A.-sanctioned assassins. I've seen them work in many places." The interview cites Panama and Ecuador during the Reagan/Bechtel regime.

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