Stella Calloni: “We Are Allowing Them to Plunder Our Historical Memory”

Rudy Lopez Argentine journalist and writer, Stella Calloni, recipient of countless regional recognitions as a fundamental piece of the communicational articulation between peoples, possessor of a long trajectory as a war correspondent and fighter for peace, granted an interview to Correo del Alba, and sat down with us to share her analysis on the region.

Latin America today exhibits a majority of right-wing and, in the case of Brazil, extreme right-wing governments. How did this dizzying turn come about in the region?

In the first place, all the progressive or popular governments that have emerged since the beginning of this century, especially with the appearance of Commander Hugo Chávez on the stage, as president of Venezuela, were subjected to a “low-intensity war” of continuous destabilization and to the test of the new pivotal weapon in the psychological war, which is that the hegemonic imperial power seized the almost absolute majority of the media, to precisely cultivate isolation and control “hearts and minds”.

Control was also applied to culture, education, and the Academia, in order to facilitate the process of recolonization of Our America, since the Document of Santa Fe IV, designed for the conflicts of the 21st century, began with the Monroe Doctrine.

On several occasions you have denounced the work done by the foundations in bringing the right to power.

Well, it was precisely in the 1980s that the National Endowment Foundation (NED) was created. Of course there were existing foundations, such as Ford and so many others, with a vast Trojan horse effort in our towns and villages that controlled intellectuals and various social sectors.

There was also the Heritage Foundation, which developed the documents of Santa Fe I, II, III and IV, intended at first to draft an outline of foreign policy, explaining to President Ronald Reagan that he understood nothing.

The silent invasion of foundations and NGOs made possible a work of brutal interference, disguised as aid, which confused many and served to buy others. Some sectors of the left or supposed left were infiltrated or co-opted. Any militant should now know that the United States, along with Israel and Britain, are behind all the electoral processes. They were in Brazil in 2018 and in Argentina in 2015, which was proven.

In your writings you often speak of a “counterinsurgency war” and have explained the role of the Southern Command and the U.S. military bases in the region. What role do they play?

In principle, the departure of the Southern Command from the Panama Canal Zone at the end of 1999, after the US invasion of that country in 1989, in addition to being a long-standing demand in the people’s struggle against colonial occupation, was also due to the fact that it was obsolete and dangerous to maintain so many strategic bases in territory outside the US.

In this way, they decided to create the Rapid Deployment forces. This means being able to be there before they start a conflict with countries that they consider “their periphery”. In order to do this, bases and facilities related to military needs were established in all Latin American countries, where they were allowed to do so.

This is a very long story, but let’s say that bases and other establishments called Forward Operating Locations (FOLs) were disseminated, created from 1990, when they could not build the Multilateral Anti-Drug Center in Panama. FOLs are smaller bases and can be multiplied, but they are relevant and of key importance. The issue of militarization is extensive and little is said about Israeli militarization in Latin America, which is increasingly far-reaching and hidden.

The FOLs are strategically located. That is why when we talk about more than 70 bases in Latin America, they are not like the immense and strategic Palmerola in Honduras or the bases in Colombia.

In general, many of the U.S. bases are hidden in the barracks of nations that the United States has been actively occupying, such as Colombia, Peru or Paraguay. Small FOL bases are known as in Aruba, Curaçao in the Netherlands Antilles, and Comalapa in El Salvador.

Under the pretext of an invasion of Venezuela, the deployment of bases and the establishment of air force, helicopter and equipment forces in the countries surrounding that nation is staggering. The trap is perfect.

“They are applying the old counterinsurgency against us and suddenly inventing names for those old conspiracies, as if they were new”.

Are these bases related to the war on drugs? This is the pretext that is usually used from Washington.

In Mexico, the United States managed to get the Army, Navy and Aeronautics, the whole of that country’s armed forces, placed at its disposal to fight drug trafficking. The result was that between 2006 and 2012, more than 150,000 Mexicans were murdered and 40,000 disappeared, figures that today have reached 240,000 dead and more than 40,000 disappeared.

Entire peoples have been displaced fleeing terror and others have vanished outright. This is what the new President Manuel López Obrador is facing today, who warned that the fight against drug trafficking is not a military issue, but one of security.

Of course it is impossible to fight drug trafficking, which feeds the largest transnational corporations in the world with tanks, machine guns and so on, but this story has served Washington to disseminate its bases across the continent, occupying countries.

As is known, where there are U.S. bases, there are also intelligence agencies to “protect” them and the circle of occupation extends to all daily activities. The typical example is Colombia, which has the largest National Security Doctrine (U.S.) army in the 21st century and the largest paramilitary complex in the region.

The countries with the greatest military occupation are undoubtedly Colombia (with 7 to 9 bases), Peru with bases and troops throughout its territory, Panama, where in 2009 former President Ricardo Martinelli signed with Hillary Clinton the installation of at least 9 bases on the Atlantic, the Pacific, the northern and southern borders and adjacent islands.

You have also said that this situation is not one of conservative restoration, but that it would be a process of recolonization. Why?

Truly it is not a conservative restoration, from the moment they mention taking absolute control of the region, with a discourse that refers to a sort of “society of peoples and countries that have the same democratic interests in common,” as the Southern Command describes it.

In reality, the recolonization project comes from the 1990s, when plans were drawn up within the renewed scheme of war and low-intensity conflicts and it was proposed to maintain the greater dissemination of military bases by “sowing” the Southern Command throughout the Americas. At the same time it was stated that by managing the absolute majority of the media, infiltrating the judicial structures throughout Latin America, the business sectors, and the “manageable” political parties and movements, opponents of any government that resists the control of the United States, it is not necessary to exhibit any presence of troops.

Finally, we see how in the international arena a multipolar scenario is configured with actors such as China, Russia and India. What role and impact do these have in Latin America?

The dream of the global expansion of the empire, so well described by the most eminent advisors to U.S. power, is over. The dream was stopped at the gates of Damascus, Syria, when the government of Bashar Al Assad asked Russia for help in the tragic situation in which that country was besieged by the mercenary criminals of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), disguised as the Islamic Army or the Free Syrian Army, supposed rebels, who never existed as such, led by the Special Forces of the United States, Great Britain, Israel, France and others.

We are at another key moment in history. And Washington is playing a game of fireworks. They are applying the old counterinsurgency against us, and suddenly inventing names for those old conspiracies, as if they were new. Lawfare is very old. This has been around for a long time, like psychological warfare. Using justice to arm false cases against our leaders comes from the Roman Empire and beyond.

This is happening to us because we are allowing them to plunder our historical memory, because we are colonized to the core, because we do not dare to be what we truly are, to say what we feel in our own words. After the truth, there is only the truth. The other thing is a long philosophical becoming that leads us nowhere.

Conservative restoration? Is Bolsonaro a conservative? Macri? Duque? The Italian right? Why don’t we dare to think according to our own ideas? When the empire is trapped in its own technological rules, the best thing we have to confront it is our imagination, the footprints of the past: Sandino shooting at Yankee aircraft with a shotgun. And defeating the enemy.

Conservative restoration? Is Bolsonaro a conservative? Macri? Duke? The Italian right? Why don’t we dare to think with our own ideas? When the empire is trapped in its own technological rules, the best thing we have to face it is our imagination, the footprints of the past: Sandino shooting at Yankee aircraft with a shotgun. And defeating the enemy.

The survivors of Granma, wet, muddy, unarmed, walking towards the Sierra Maestra and winning the war of liberation only three years later. Is it a miracle or is it really the imagination to power? Venezuela, resisting the 400 attacks from the world’s greatest power, is it a miracle or imaginative resistance?

We can cite thousands of examples. But I only say this to remind you that there has never been a continent with a capacity for resistance like ours, for more than seven centuries and we are still standing.