Operation Condor Never Ended: Assassinations and Coup Plots Continue Across Latin America
Dedicated to Alexandra Valiente in appreciation of her great selection of coverage on Latin America at Libya 360°.
Latin America is an often forgotten theater in World War 4 America’s war on the planet that began with the collapse of the Soviet Union. In many ways World War 4 is merely a continuation of World War 3 aka the Cold War and nowhere is this more apparent then in Latin America. Wherever the US maintained it’s control it carried on with the horrific dirty war assassinating anyone who dares to dream and work for a better world. The recent murder of COPINH co-founder Berta Caceres has briefly drawn attention to this never ending wave of murder and assassinations.
In my October 2015 article, “Operation Condor“, based on J. Patrice McSherry’s excellent “Predatory States”, I dealt with this campaign of torture, murder and assassination that continues to this day to terrorize Latin America. Colombia is one of the most terrible examples where hundreds of thousands have been murdered, raped, tortured over the past 50 years. Millions have been driven from their lands and Colombia’s dirty war is second only to Syria in the number of refugees that have been created. Mexico is perhaps even worse where 160,000 have died in the ever expanding phony war on drugs. On a smaller scale the same things are taking place in Honduras the most dangerous country in the world for environmental activists.
Not even the attention Berta Caceres murder has drawn has slowed the wave of killings days later Nelson Noel Garcia was also killed; the 15th activist murdered so far this year alone in Honduras. As if this wave of terror is not enough the US is backing coups against the governments that continue to defy it in places like Venezuela, Ecuador, and Brazil. This is part of a much wider campaign aimed at the BRICS countries and their allies targeting Russia and China obviously but also South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Iran and many other countries. The empire of chaos has been quite successful in waging economic war on the planet by sending commodity prices tumbling they have managed to destabilize countries around the world. The future of the planet depends on halting this renewed imperialist offensive aimed at reversing all that the late Hugo Chavez was able to accomplish in liberating much of Latin America from US domination. Chavez’s death was perhaps the most high profile of these assassinations new details emerged recently about his death. His bodyguard has been revealed to be a CIA/DEA informant who likely was involved in his death. However since I plan to focus on the lesser known victims you’ll have to read about the details in the sources below.
Not content with murdering the great revolutionary Hugo Chavez the empire of chaos decided to humiliate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Brazil’s former president having him dragged away in handcuffs on nationwide television in order to prevent his political comeback aimed at stabilizing the Rousseff government who is the object of a political corruption witch hunt. Meanwhile Dilma Rousseff faces a US funded color revolution attempt funded by the Koch brothers among others. Pepe Escobar who is from Brazil wrote the definitive account of this shameful episode.
Basically the Right wing which is far more corrupt then Brazil’s workers party is hypocritically trying to oust Dilma using a trumped up investigation that selectively prosecutes only the left. I can’t help be reminded of the coup in Ukraine where the far more corrupt Yanukovych regime was ousted and yet the US somehow had managed to find even more dangerous thieves to replace him. Only the empire of Chaos could figure out how to make the most corrupt country in the world 10 times worse. Obviously corruption is the last thing in the world the US actually wants to combat; ask the Vietnamese, the Iraqis, Afghanis where the US set up some of the most corrupt governments imaginable. Along with the political war there is a media war using Brazil’s Oligarch owned media to constantly attack and attempt to discredit Dilma Rousseff. Luckily despite the Media barrage in Brazil against Rousseff many Brazilians were not fooled and thousands poured into the streets in opposition to this coup attempt. Seeing their beloved former President Lula being arrested was just too much.
Thousands of Venezuelans also took to the streets in a massive anti-imperialist march in response to Obama’s repeating the same absurd lie that made him a laughingstock last year, namely that Venezuela was a threat to United States national security. The murder of Chavez, the failed coup against Maduro and this current soft coup attempt by the opposition-controlled national assembly, are ample evidence that this was turning truth on it’s head. Meanwhile in Argentina where the soft coup has been a success, the new President Macri has declared all out class war on his own people firing thousands, smashing protests with riot police firing rubber bullets that can cripple or kill.
He has started a campaign to attempt to vilify former president Christina Fernandez-Kirchner. He also decided to hand over Billions to vulture capitalists for no apparent reason other then doubtless secret rewards and secret orders from his CIA masters. In Bolivia Evo Morales lost an important vote that would have allowed him to run for another term in office. In Ecuador another destabilization campaign is raging. All of the progressive governments of Latin America are under assault and Argentina is already fallen. The whole world must oppose the dangerous rebirth of fascism in Argentina where one of the ugliest chapters in the dirty war took place in the 70′s and 80′s. And it must oppose the dangerous threat that the whole continent could once again fall under the control of fascism repeating all the horrors of Operation Condor.
As you will see this is no exaggeration there is no limit to the horrors the US has been committing in those countries that never escaped their control like Colombia or Mexico. In Honduras a 2009 coup has unleashed a wave of murder targeting activists. Hillary Clinton oversaw a coup that lead to a massive increase in violence against women rape, torture, and murder are skyrocketing. Yet even in the face of this wave of repression activists in Honduras have been organizing the poor and the indigenous, to resist attempts to force them off their land so that the local elites can build a dam. Berta Caceres was one of the most important of these activists founding COPINH and struggling fearlessly in the face of death threats from dangerous death squads to fight on behalf of indigenous land rights. Her life had been in danger for many years but she refused to back down and was finally murdered one of her comrades Gustavo Castro was shot twice during the attack and then arrested. Yet despite drawing world attention the Dirty War on Honduras continues uninterrupted.
Another COPINH member Nelson Garcia was killed. Dozens more have been imprisoned beaten, tortured. Others narrowly escaped assassination attempts. Honduras remains the most dangerous country in the world for environmental activists. Meanwhile the death squads & their masters, the local oligarchs who are deeply involved in drug trafficking, retain complete impunity. Needless to say their American masters who were responsible for setting up the death squads in Honduras as part of Operation Condor’s expansion into Central America, will never be discussed let alone punished. I should note that Predatory States has an excellent chapter on the creation of Honduras’ Death Squads. Future “Queen of Chaos” as Diana Johnstone calls Hillary in her new book, bragged openly in her memoirs about her role in the 2009 coup. Just one of the countries she destroyed along with Haiti and Libya to name the most obvious examples. With the possible exception of the first Bush I’m hard pressed to think of an example since Nixon, where a presidential candidate has been involved in so many war crimes before even coming to office. Remember Berta Caceres and the many other heroic activists of Honduras who have given their lives in the fight for justice.
Colombia has been the scene of 50 years of Dirty War. 220,000 people have been killed 7 million displaced. 50 Years ago the American advisers arrived and since then their has been an ongoing dirty war. Actually the war began even before that with an earlier civil war known as La Violencia but I don’t have time to go into the complex history of Colombia birth place of one of my favorite writers Gabriel Garcia Marquez. In his famous novel “100 Years of Solitude” he depicted the massacre of workers by the United Fruit company better known for it’s later role in the Guatemalan coup which has lead to 60 years of dirty war in Guatemala that continues to this day with activists still being murdered. Apologies for the tangent I couldn’t resist pointing out the interconnected nature of the war on Latin America even then. Guatemala should not be forgotten even though I don’t have time to deal with it today.
To return to Colombia the advisers arrived before the revolution had even begun. Ironically the FARC would form in response to the dirty war being waged by the US in their country who were using it as yet another experiment in their counter-insurgency doctrine. Death Squads were formed to kill any potential opposition and the oligarchs used them to drive peasants off their lands so that they could expand their holdings. FARC was formed to defend the peasants and fought for years to defend the people of Colombia against the dirty war. Currently they are attempting to sign a peace deal with the Santos Government.
But of course peace is obviously the last thing the empire of chaos is interested in and doubtless have given the green light to the former President Uribe to disrupt things. Uribe is a close friend of the US he is also a major drug trafficker as the DIA admits in addition to being a former death squad commander. He oversaw the massive expansion of privatized death squads while in office. Of course it was the US itself which oversaw a massive expansion of this war back in the late 90′s as a result of their infamous Plan Colombia. Needless to say the “War on Drugs” is just as absurd as the war on terror with the United States spending billions funding the forces they are claiming to be fighting. Obviously I have more then enough to deal with in covering this dirty war being waged on two continents to go into the fraudulent nature of this war.
Check out Doug Valentine’s two books “Strength of the Wolf” and “Strength of the Pack” for an inside account of this war which is also responsible for putting millions of people in prison within the US itself. Also check out Peter Dale Scott’s “American War Machine” and “Drugs, Oil and War” for even more on the topic. The CIA creates drug dealing networks as part of their covert wars. They created first the golden triangle in south east Asia and then the golden crescent in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Today Afghanistan supplies 90% of the Worlds Heroin when the CIA first arrived they had only a tiny share in the global drug trade. The money ends up in the big banks the capitalists are in league with the gangsters and always have been. Hundreds of billions of dollars from the illegal drug trade are the only things preventing a complete financial collapse by the big banks. Meanwhile the money is used to buy politicians in the United States and around the world. In reality America is just as much of a Narco-State as countries like Colombia or Mexico.
Thus it should come as no surprise that the billions in military aid was sent to train the drug traffickers death squads so they could kill union leaders who threatened America’s corporate profits. They set up an incentive system for high body counts and the Army and the death squads started murdering random people and dressing them up as guerrillas so they could claim their reward. The Death squads were used to drive people from their lands so the big landowners could steal even more land leading to millions of displaced persons. The death squads were trained by CIA, Special forces, and mercenary companies to kill people in the most horrific manner possible in order to terrify the population into submission. Rape, torture, and ISIS Style mutilation became commonplace. As in Honduras violence against women has skyrocketed. Not content with terrorizing it’s own citizens Colombia has exported it’s death squads and criminal networks to Venezuela where they have sent the crime rate through the roof. But of course it is far worse then that! The United States regards Plan Colombia as a major success story. After all Colombia remains under their control. Thus Colombia has been selected as their proxy in spreading mercenaries and death squads around the world. The US recruits Colombian forces to train police and paramilitaries around the world. Colombia has also become a major recruiting ground for American owned mercenary firms like Xe formerly Blackwater; a fact that has been exposed as Colombian mercenaries have died as part of the US backed Saudi war on Yemen.
Unsurprisingly despite the peace negotiations with FARC or rather because of the peace negotiations Colombia has only further increased their terror campaign. So many activists have been murdered there in recent weeks that I can’t list them all. However I can give names to at least a couple recent victims. Klaus Zapata was a member of the Marcha Patriotica which is a huge coalition of progressive groups in Colombia. He was also a member of the Bogata Anti-Fascist Coordination. He had heroically tried to defend the people from the death squads on previous occasions and so was murdered while playing soccer. Only hours before his death Rigoberto Abello, and William Sanchez his comrades had been seized and tortured. Jorge Luis Sanchez was murdered by death squads riding motorcycles and wielding machine guns who attacked a group of artisanal miners to force them off the land then sprayed a panicked crowd with bullets. The latest victim is Luis Rodriguez Castro. This surge in killings is seen as an attempt to sabotage the peace negotiations by former President Uribe. The last time the guerrillas agreed to make peace they were simply murdered in cold blood. Unfortunately for FARC their desire for peace will prove impossible given the ruthless nature of the Colombian government and it’s even more ruthless backers in Washington.
Unfortunately I won’t be able to do justice to Mexico, perhaps the most complex of all the dirty wars. Mexico is bursting with revolutionary activity and the murder of activists by death squads is perhaps even more common there. Then there are the wars between the drug cartels, who often employ the police and military to fight for them, allowing for the illusion of a war on drugs in what is in reality an endless war between the oligarchs for control of the drug trade. Of course the United States is intervening to spread chaos and disaster so a weakened Mexico will be even more vulnerable for exploitation. They have secretly flooded the country with guns for the gangs while sending in the usual array of advisers to fight Mexico’s equally endless dirty war. To defend themselves from the drug Cartels people have begun forming self defense units.
The Government has responded by framing their leaders and locking them up. In addition there are still revolutionary movements like the Zapatistas and indigenous groups fighting to defend their lands like the Yaqui who have a fascinating history of resistance. To do it all justice would require books not a paragraph or two. However, I can recommend a new series I discovered on Libya 360 which attempts to document the many social movements in Mexico as well as describing the constant string of murders, tortures, and unjust imprisonment they face. It’s called Insumision and it’s written by Scott Campbell of the El Enemigo Comun site. Each one has been epic in scope but you’ll have to read it for yourself.
The fate of two continents lie in the balance. The Bolivarian bloc cannot afford to fall because not only would it destroy one of the few rays of hope in the world it would undoubtedly unleash the same nightmare in Venezuela, Brazil, and Ecuador that it has brought to Honduras, Mexico and Colombia. In Argentina it may already be too late but the people must be supported as they resist this new rebirth of fascism. Venezuela and Brazil must be defended at all costs. The world can no longer ignore the horrors of the war on the people of Colombia, Mexico, and Honduras. Despite the dangers they face, the people continue to struggle for justice and we must offer them our solidarity and support. Obama ironically is in Cuba where he asked us to forget the past. We must never forget the past or ignore the present. The revolutionary spirit of Latin America is an inspiration to the world.
The Forces behind the Murder of Berta Caceres
Wave of Assassinations of Activists in Colombia
New Details in the Assassination of Hugo Chavez
An analysis of Colombia’s Dirty War by James Petras
50 Years of War in Colombia 220,000 Killed
The Latest Insumision
The El Enemigo Comun Site
Eric Draitser has started a great series on the War on The BRICS the first one is on Brazil
Pepe Escobar on the soft coup attempt in Brazil
Repression continues in Honduras