The United States is Militarily Encircling Venezuela

The aircraft carrier USS Abrahm Lincoln (CVN-72) remains in operation near Florida, a few days sailing from the Caribbean region. Photo: AFP

Recent movements of U.S. troops, reported by public sources and the media, confirm that Washington is preparing to militarily encircle the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela under the pretext of a supposed “humanitarian intervention”.

Cuba confirmed on February 13, through a declaration of the Revolutionary Government, that the United States intends to fabricate a humanitarian pretext to initiate a military aggression against Venezuela and denounced military over flights in the Caribbean region as part of the preparations.

Although sources in Washington and some of the countries involved were quick to deny the Cuban accusations, the latest available information confirms and further expands the proof of a premeditated military siege against Caracas.

“The United States is silently accumulating its military power near Venezuela,” British journalist and military expert Tom Rogan said in the Washington Examiner. “An important U.S. naval and maritime presence is operating near Colombia and Venezuela. Whether by coincidence or not, these deployments give the White House a growing range of options.

According to Rogan, in less than a week the Pentagon is in a position to deploy 2,200 marines, fighter planes, tanks and two aircraft carriers in Venezuela.

The three points of the North American trident are the Caribbean, Colombia and Brazil. It is no coincidence that Admiral Craig Faller, head of the Southern Command, has visited Bogotá, Brasilia and Curaçao in recent weeks under the cover of the supposed organization of the delivery of “humanitarian aid” to Venezuela.

Infography: Edilberto Carmona / Cubadebate

The Caribbean: From the Abraham Lincoln Carrier to Curaçao

With the authorization of the Netherlands, the United States is organizing a distribution center for the supposed aid on the island of Curaçao, a few kilometers from the borders with Venezuela.

However, the military mobilization is much broader throughout the Caribbean region. In the Cuban report, it is explained how between February 6 and 10, 2019, military transport planes flew to Puerto Rico’s Rafael Miranda Airport, San Isidro Air Base in the Dominican Republic and other strategically located Caribbean islands.

Now comes the announcement that the U.S. Navy deployed an Aircraft Carrier Attack Group (CSG) in the Atlantic Ocean and off the coast of Florida.

https://i0.wp.com/media.cubadebate.cu/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/portaaviones-usa-venezuela.pngInfographics: Edilberto Carmona / Cubadebate

The fleet consists of the aircraft carrier USS Abrahm Lincoln (CVN-72), a missile cruiser and four destroyers, as well as a Spanish Navy frigate invited to participate.

“GSGs have multiplatform capabilities to operate when and where required. In addition to possessing the flexibility and sustainability to fight large-scale wars and secure the freedom of the seas, CSGs are visible and powerful symbols of America’s commitment to its allies, partners and friends,” an official U.S. Navy press release said.

Aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, a Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier, operates the Embedded Air Squadron (CVW) 7, equipped with the Lockheed F-35C Lightning II, the most advanced fighter-bomber in the U.S. arsenal.

On January 25, the group began COMPTUEX exercises, supposedly aimed at fine-tuning training prior to a military deployment.

Although its current location and the destination of its deployment are unknown, military consultants Stratfor and Southfront have located the GSG someplace in the Atlantic off the coast of Florida.

https://i2.wp.com/media.cubadebate.cu/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Captura-USNI-580x392.jpgIn recent days it was reported that the group had rehearsed a strait crossing, a necessary manoeuvre to enter the Caribbean Sea, from which it is separated by only a few days of navigation.

Ragan points out another interesting fact in his article. The United States could have not one, but two aircraft carriers in Venezuela’s operational range within a week.

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and the amphibious landing ship USS Boxer are ” coincidentally “, even now, in the port of San Diego, California, less than a week sailing from the Colombian Pacific coast.

“The USS Boxer is carrying the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), one of the 7 MEU of the U.S. Army. This Marine unit has approximately 2,000 men. The express purpose of an MEU is to provide a rapid military deployment capability,” said Ragan.

Colombia, where Bolton wants to send 5,000 troops

Since the time of Plan Colombia, inaugurated in 1999, Colombia has been one of the United States’ main military allies in the region. Washington came close to formally installing seven military bases in Colombian territory during Alvaro Uribe’s tenure, but a Constitutional Court decision blocked the plan.

However, Bogotá found a way to circumvent the controls and finally authorized a U.S. presence and logistical deployment in the Andean nation’s main military facilities.

That close alliance made headlines in late January, when White House National Security Advisor John Bolton “accidentally” displayed a note in his notebook with a plan to send 5,000 U.S. troops to Colombia as part of the operation against Venezuela.

https://static.americateve.com/adjuntos/179/imagenes/005/185/0005185968.pngBolton’s notebook showing the potential sending of 5000 troops to Colombia. Photo: AP

President Donald Trump himself did not rule out the idea and, when asked about it during a meeting with his Colombian counterpart, Ivan Duque, merely replied, “We’ll see”.

The Colombian president, for his part, preferred not to answer with a “yes” or a “no” to the possibility that Colombia would allow the entry of U.S. troops, despite the fact that the journalist Bricio Segovia, of the Voice of America, asked him the same question on several occasions.

During the interview, Segovia asks Iván Duque:

– Would Colombia be willing to receive 5,000 troops in its territory?

To which the Colombian president replied: – I am not good at interpreting other people’s notebooks.

Segovia insists: – You have been with him (John Bolton) recently.

– What I can tell you is that we are working intensely for the liberation of the Venezuelan people and we have been doing it with a successful diplomatic encirclement. That diplomatic encirclement is unprecedented. That diplomatic encirclement has isolated the dictator. That diplomatic siege is irreversible and the continuity of it will come from the domino effect that must be activated by the Venezuelan Military Forces – responds Duque.

– But is Colombia willing to receive military troops in its territory? – replied Segovia.

– I have been clear, the solution I believe in is the diplomatic encirclement. The continuity of the diplomatic siege must be the domino effect that will be generated in Venezuela when more members of the Military Forces give their loyalty to Juan Guaidó – emphasizes Iván Duque.

– So, Colombia is not willing to receive U.S. troops in its territory… – clarifies Segovia.

– We have been clear. The most important thing for Venezuela to achieve freedom is the diplomatic encirclement, says Duque.

– So it’s a no? – insists Segovia

– The diplomatic encirclement is the most important tool ever seen in the history of Latin America. So, I think this is a great triumph to celebrate. The continuity of this is represented in the fact that there are more military members as well as those who have already done so in the last few days, giving their allegiance and oath to Juan Guaidó.

– Excuse me, Mr. President, but you are not answering the question. Is Colombia willing to receive U.S. troops in its territory? – Segovia insists again.

– I answer you again… – says Duque.

but Segovia interrupts him – Yes or no? this question has no nuances.

– Since it has no nuances, I reiterate that I firmly believe in the importance of the diplomatic encirclement, concludes Duque.

Segovia asked his followers on his Twitter account to draw their own conclusions after the president’s evasion.

Although the arrival of the 5,000 military troops has not yet been confirmed, the United States has a functioning air bridge from the Homestead military base in Florida to the Colombian town of Cúcuta, 2,600 kilometers away.

At least three C-17 Globemaster III long-range heavy military transport aircraft, manufactured by Boeing and capable of carrying 180 tons and between 80 and 100 crew members, are being used for the operations.

The Homestead is also home to the controversial U.S. Southern Command.

Southern Command

It is the Unified Command of the U.S. Armed Forces operating in Latin America and the Caribbean and one of the nine commands that are directly linked to the top management of the U.S. Department of Defense.

It operates in a radius of action of 32 countries, 19 of them in Central and South America and the rest in the Caribbean. Since 1997, its headquarters have been in the State of Florida.

Previously, since 1947, it was based in Panama. Its own history recognizes as a “glorious” antecedent the disembarkation of Yankee Marines in that country at the beginning of the twentieth century. The Southern Command, also known by its English name USSOUTHCOM, has become a symbol of U.S. interference in the region and has been an ally of the military and paramilitary forces that have left such a disastrous record of deaths, torture and disappearances in Latin American and Caribbean peoples for more than a century.

In recent years, USSOUTHCOM has been arming, training and indoctrinating national armies to serve U.S. interests under its leadership. The aim is to avoid the use of American troops and thus reduce political opposition in the United States.

The model is that Washington directs and trains Latin American armies through extensive and intensive “joint programs,” and subcontracts private mercenary companies that provide specialized militaries, all of them “retired” U.S. military officers. (Taken from the Encyclopedia Against Terrorism)

Bolsonaro’s Brazil, a new ally of the Pentagon

Brazil, the largest country in South America with the largest military forces, has in recent years become an unexpected ally of the Pentagon’s expansion in the region.

The governments of Michel Temer (interim after a parliamentary coup d’état) and Jair Bolsonaro, intend to replace the matrix of robust nationalism that was consolidated during the governments of the Workers’ Party.

In one of the first interviews after taking office as president, the far-right Bolsonaro assured the SBT channel of the possibility of installing a U.S. military base in the country.

But Bolsonaro, a lower-ranking former captain, retracted part of his original plan when he received strong criticism from his own generals.

However, no one doubts the proximity of the new Brazilian president to his American counterpart, nor the admiration of two of his sons for the Mossad ( Israeli intelligence) and the Israeli army.

The head of the U.S. Southern Command was in Brazil last week and was received by Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo, with whom he discussed the “Venezuela affair”.

Bolsonaro promised to use the state of Roraima as a collection centre for the alleged humanitarian aid for Venezuela, and therefore for the U.S. logistical deployment.

Whatever the objective of the military mobilization ordered by the White House – from the preparations of a direct aggression to another measure of psychological pressure against its legitimate authorities – what is undeniable at this moment is that the United States are moving their pieces in the region to encircle Venezuela by all means within their reach.

Faced with this scenario, Cuba called on all the peoples and governments of the world to defend Peace and resist united, regardless of political or ideological differences, in order to stop a new imperialist military intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean that will jeopardize the independence, sovereignty and interests of the peoples from the Rio Bravo to Patagonia.

Cuba Debate

Translation by Internationalist 360°