NATO Threats to the Heart of Abya Yala

Jorge Capelán

Hydrographic basins of South America: In green, the Amazon basin,and in purple, the Rio de la Plata basin.

In the face of a new wave of governments of self-defined progressive orientation in recent years in several countries of the region, there are alarming maneuvers by the United States and NATO to prevent a rapprochement between the countries of Abya Yala and China and Russia, especially since the current war in Ukraine, which threatens to overthrow Western hegemony in the world.

These maneuvers seem to be focused mainly on the Amazon rainforest given its global strategic significance from the climatic, ecological, biogenetic and economic points of view.

Green” Black Hawks over Colombia

So Com commander Laura Richardson meeting with Colombia President Gustavo Petro

In Colombia, newly elected President Gustavo Petro announced in early September an agreement with General Laura L. Richardson, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, to deploy Black Hawk helicopters to “fight fires” in the Amazon.

In an interview for the Spanish newspaper El País, the Colombian president said:

“What I am trying to do is to take the dialogue with the United States to a different axis, which is the issue of the climate crisis and hence the importance of the Amazon rainforest. I have achieved some things: the conversation with NATO -of which we are members, I don’t know, a very rare status there, but we are involved there, I think we are the only Latin American country in that- which is taking NATO to the care of the Amazon rainforest, providing technological collaboration in this.

With the United States we have managed to create the first military unit with these Black Hawk helicopters -twelve of them-, the first unit, more than military, police, to extinguish fires in the Amazon jungle. It is a complete change in what has always been the U.S. military aid (…) it is already an achievement, there are already three helicopters for this function, and I want to continue pulling a little of this thread because it seems to me that a much more positive dialogue can be built with the United States than what until now has been the misnamed war on drugs”.

According to Roger Harris of the anti-imperialist human rights organization Task Force on the Americas, “NATO is a primary instrument of U.S. imperial dominance. It is Washington’s praetorian guard projected on a global scale.”

Harris says that in 2017, Colombia became one of NATO’s Global Partners and the first in Latin America. In February, Colombia conducted a provocative joint naval drill with NATO near Venezuela, which included a nuclear submarine.

Richardson’s visit to Colombia was part of a tour of several countries in the region with the express purpose of countering the influence of China and Russia, and to promote the isolation of, especially, Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela.

France and the Amazon

Macron and Petro discuss peace and climate change in Paris

On November 11, the Colombian president said that French President Emmanuel Macron offered him “assistance” in the preservation of the Amazon and with his Agrarian Reform project -one of his key campaign promises.

It is not known exactly what Macron asked Petro in return, but to get a sense of his commitment to the Amazon, in 2019 the Frenchman imperiously urged the G7 nations to intervene: “It’s an international crisis,” he said. That call was echoed by UN Secretary General António Guterres, as well as political leaders of other former colonial powers, such as Germany.

As a nuclear power and former colonial power, France has its overseas department of French Guyana, bordering Brazil and just 500 kilometers from the mouth of the Amazon River.

From there, France launches space rockets. In addition, France has one of the strongest biotechnology sectors in Europe, so preferential access to the biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest, with abundant species still unknown to science and genes to patent, would represent enormous profits for its companies in this sector.

Another source of interest for France is the vast oil wealth in neighboring Guyana and Venezuela. At the current juncture of the war in Ukraine, Macron -with a parliamentary minority- faces a difficult situation after the intense mobilizations and intersectoral strikes during the months of September and October in his country due to electricity, gas and oil prices.

This has prompted the French president to reach out to his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolás Maduro, during the last climate summit in Egypt. At the meeting, Macron addressed Maduro by calling him “Mr. President” and thus dissociating himself in practice from the position of NATO countries that do not recognize the Bolivarian government and recognize the illegitimate Juan Guaidó.

Whatever the underlying reason for French interest in the Amazon, an agreement with Petro’s government places France in a position of influence over both ends of the globally strategic basin.

Lula: another lamb among wolves

Brazil is another country where the Amazon has been relevant as it has become a topic of global and especially local debate, as it was one of the most important issues addressed in the recent electoral campaign that marked the return to government of Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva.

On the one hand, the antipathy of the current Democratic administration and European elites towards the defeated President Jair Bolsonaro and the latter’s disdain for the climate emergency was evident, opening wide the doors to the indiscriminate clearing of the rainforest for the benefit of large landowners and all those who have profited from the theft of public lands of virgin forest (known as grilagem) throughout the country’s recent history.

On the other hand, Lula has invited Europeans to “invest” in ecologically sustainable projects in the region and has assured that this will be done respecting Brazilian sovereignty. However, there are not many details on the matter.

What is certain is that Lula faces a very difficult future scenario, as he does not have a parliamentary majority, depending on agreements with sectors of big capital (including agribusiness, so much benefited by Bolsonaro), and a fierce opposition from the ex-captain of the army himself inside and outside the Parliament.

The successful reduction of poverty achieved by Lula in his first term of government (2003-2010) took place in a context radically different from the current one.

Economic data from Brazil and the rest of the world show that the rate of profit and financial profitability since 2010 have done nothing but fall, thus destroying the class alliance built by Lula during his first term in power.

If in the past Lula and the PT had become experts in alliances with hostile political forces or those of dubious loyalties, the current situation is much more unfavorable for a popular project.

On the other hand, analyst Andrew Korybko warns that “a fraction of the PT could be used by the US for its interference purposes”. For the author of the book “Hybrid Wars: color revolutions and unconventional warfare”, the US intervention in Brazil will not cease under the new Lula government, but it will change its form.

Could this “new form” of interference involve the radical destabilization of the South American giant in order to give NATO pretexts to intervene and “save” a politically handcuffed Lula?

We can see that all the elements for a total destabilization of Brazil are in place, given the structural problems of the economy, the scarce parliamentary weight of the ruling party and the serious polarization in the streets between Bolsonaro’s supporters and Lula’s supporters.

The end of Western reformism

Neither the Brazilian oligarchy, nor the Western capitals, submitted to the dictatorship of finance, will support a new developmentalist wave, neither of the PT in Brazil, nor of Petro in Colombia, nor anywhere else in Abya Yala (nor in the world).

There cannot be a “new green deal” with Westerners, neither in its Anglo-Saxon variant (USA/England), nor in its European variant. Moreover, the technological elites of Sillicon Valley in the United States have deep ties with the Western agro-industrial complex of companies like Monsanto. Bill Gates is an example of this allegedly green elite. In the wake of the Covid pandemic, Gates became one of the largest agricultural landowners in the US. His close ties to Monsanto and his “green capitalism” projects in Africa are also widely known.

The secessionist plan against Bolivia is alive and well

At the same time, in Bolivia, the coup-secessionist movement is reactivated in the department of Santa Cruz with another violent and indefinite “civic strike” with the bizarre demand to bring forward by one year a national census promoted by the Government.

In general, national censuses arouse the resentment of the opposition because of their cost or the content of the questions posed to the population, but they rarely become the cause of violent protests with roadblocks, attacks on civilians and public buildings, etcetera.

The promoter of the strike is none other than Governor Luis Fernando Camacho, one of the main operators of the 2019 coup that overthrew elected President Evo Morales and barely lasted a year in power. Camacho’s main support is (again) the Juventud Cruceñista, a fascist paramilitary group with many violent attempts to overthrow the indigenous and socialist MAS government to its credit.

Likewise, the theater of the so-called civic strike is none other than the department of Santa Cruz, the privileged axis of the so-called “half moon” of secessionist Amazonian departments in Bolivia. The Bolivian Amazon constitutes 43% of the national territory and from the ecological point of view it includes the departments of Pando, Beni, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz and La Paz, in a total of 88 municipalities.

The partition of Bolivia was planned long before Evo Morales came to power in late 2006.

Mark Falcoff, the Bush administration’s Latin America advisor and a leading figure in U.S. Latin American policy for 30 years, is seen as one of the ideologues of the imperial plan to destroy the country. In his article “Bolivia’s Last Days?”, published in American Outlook in May 2004, Falcoff predicted the ethnic division of Bolivia following the wave of popular uprisings that led to the overthrow of President Sanchez de Lozada in 2003.

In his article, Falcoff notes: “…a fundamental fact about Bolivia, namely, that it is a society divided along two major fault lines: race and geography. The republic has two distinct regions: the Andean altiplano (departments of Potosí, La Paz, Cochabamba and Oruro) and a crescent of departments located in lower, tropical or semi-tropical zones (Pando, Beni, Santa Cruz, Chuquisaca and Tarija).”

Falcoff contrasts the situation in Andean Bolivia, poor, with coca cultivation to manufacture drugs, violent, underdeveloped and levantisca with prosperous Santa Cruz, which generating 51% of the country’s income only received “a small percentage” of the profits generated by oil and gas.

That is why Falcoff recommends a new constitution that should “remedy the need to decentralize authority and resources” accompanied by “a true attempt at a federal solution, with a regional redistribution of resources and a rational energy policy”, i.e. let the poor of Bolivia stew in their own misery while the Europeanized “Amazonian” Bolivians of Santa Cruz and its satellite departments embrace the benefits of natural resource exploitation and investment by Western multinationals.

The so-called “Lithium Triangle”, between Bolivia, Argentina and Chile, which concentrates more than 85 % of the planet’s lithium reserves.

Now the imperial plan for Bolivia has changed a little, because the immense lithium deposits that have been discovered in recent years are not in the Amazonian crescent but in the west and southwest of the country, but the implications of the energy and mining power that Bolivia is becoming make it more urgent than ever for the empire to divide the Andean country that is the driving force behind radical social transformations.

NATO targets the heart of Abya Yala

At the end of October, MERCOSUR parliamentarians warned about the existence of an agreement on the possible participation of US army engineers in the dredging and widening of the Paraná-Paraguay waterway, an important outlet for agricultural and mining production in the Southern Cone.

La Plata River Basin.

This waterway belongs to the La Plata river basin, one of the longest in the continent in a north-south direction, bordering the Amazon basin. The complaint was taken up by the Argentine Government, which immediately made a claim to the Paraguayan State, responsible for the agreement with the United States.

The purpose of the waterway is to allow the navigation of large vessels with large volumes of cargo 365 days a year, rectifying the route and eliminating islands and other obstacles. The presence of U.S. Army specialists gives the project a very different character from what was originally presented as a civilian project.

Why would the U.S. Army be interested in participating in this work? “We all know that one of the excuses used by the United States to disembark in countries, if not for humanitarian aid, is the fight against drug trafficking”, pointed out Juan Manuel Pedrini, the national deputy for Chaco.

According to Pedrini, the growing Chinese presence in Latin America makes Washington uncomfortable and Paraguay is the only country in the region that does not have diplomatic relations with Beijing, which means that the US Master Plan also responds to the movements of global geopolitics. To all this we can add that this waterway represents an exceptional means of access to the heart of South America.

The empire is seeking to dominate all agendas.

The West is not interested in helping Abya Yala but in controlling and exploiting its resources. The Amazon is a vital region for the planet and the seat of extraordinary wealth. It would not be surprising if the United States and NATO were preparing the planned demolition of one or more states in the region that would allow them to control the Amazon rainforest, lithium sources, oil fields or other areas that the imperial planners deem of interest.

Although a number of progressive governments have been installed in the south of Abya Yala in recent years, their fragility in many respects is evident. There are cases such as that of Gabriel Boric in Chile, who came to government with promises of transformation that he betrayed from the very first moment, to others such as that of Professor Pedro Castillo in Peru, effectively hostage to a parliament, a political class and an oligarchic power totally contrary to the program on the basis of which he was elected.

These governments are often forced to negotiate under very disadvantageous conditions with Western governments and the international organizations they control (UN, IMF, WB, IDB, WTO, etc.) despite China’s advance on the world stage in recent years.

At the same time, the West invests large sums of money to politically influence the countries of the region from apparently totally antagonistic positions.

For example, at the beginning of October, the former Kurdish revolutionary guerrilla, today recycled as a NATO front to destroy Syria (See here and here), the PKK, was invited to participate in the 35th Plurinational Meeting of Women, Lesbians, Trans, Transvestites, Intersex, Bisexual and Non-Binary in the Argentinean province of San Luis, Argentina.

It seems that, via Europe, Argentine Trostkyists and anarchists opened the doors to this group, whose activities have nothing to do with anti-authoritarianism, the autonomy of peoples or the rights of sexual minorities.

The tragedy of the Kurds is very real but has geopolitical causes: they are landlocked, so no regional power will simply accept their nationalist pretensions, but neither does the historical submission of their leaders to the West help their cause.

But on the other side of the political fence, the United States also has an influence. For example, in the movement of people critical of the official discourse on Covid (including many followers of conservative movements of various stripes), publications are circulating in different languages on the website The Epoch Times.

It combines news critical of Western medicine with political analysis close to U.S. Trumpism and a deep hatred of China. Beyond accusing China of having caused the coronavirus pandemic, the publication has a clear bias against everything Chinese.

The Epoch Times is actually not a group controlled by Trumpism but by U.S. intelligence services. The owner of the publication is none other than Falun Gong/Falun Dafa, a sect created by the CIA in the 1990s as a way to destroy the Chinese Communist Party.

In 1996, the sect’s founder Li Hongzhi emigrated to the United States from where he engaged in anti-Chinese propaganda and influencing the Chinese abroad.

Since 1999, the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom in the World (an advisory body to the State Department) has been conducting an ongoing campaign against the alleged “religious persecution” of this sect in China.

Why is it in the interest of a White House, now controlled by the Democrats, to pursue a policy that is actually held in its heart by the most conservative Republicans?

The FBI counterintelligence site today says the following: “The Chinese government no longer limits repression only to the population within its own borders. The People’s Republic of China routinely persecutes, threatens, and harasses U.S.-based Tibetans and Uighurs, Falun Gong members, democracy advocates in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and anyone else who questions the legitimacy or authority of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).”

Obviously, the interest of the United States is not to help Tibetans, Uyghurs, Falun Gong members or democracy advocates, but to prevent countries like China, Russia or the rest of the BRICS from moving the world towards multipolarity.

All this is very dangerous, let us not be surprised that groups with sectarian and violent agendas emerge, either “from the left” or “from the right”, to divide our peoples. Nothing better to advance the plans of the empire in Abya Yala than a string of wars of poor against poor.

Only civilizing conscience will save the Abya Yala.

Only the peoples of Abya Yala can build their own just, inclusive, diverse civilizational project in harmony with the Pacha Mama. This cannot be done by the Chinese, nor by the Slavs, nor the Arabs, nor the Africans, and much less by the Europeans. This project, as Mariátegui said, is neither a copy nor a copy, but a heroic creation of the peoples.

Faced with a Western empire in decline that corrupts all debates with its constant interference, it is essential to develop a massive awareness of the mechanisms of domination and the constant cognitive warfare to which they are subjected.

Cognitive warfare is more profound than psychological warfare. Cognitive warfare is aimed at achieving short-term effects on people, for example, by terrorizing them or provoking their anger for purposes alien to their interests.

Cognitive warfare, however, is a cultural war that makes us distrust other peoples so that we will ultimately do what the imperial master wants. Not only does it implant harmful ideas about the other peoples of the world, but it also conditions us to see the empire’s way of operating as natural and desirable.

Today, this war is carried out with powerful technologies, wrongly called “information and communication”, which at the same time that empower us, manipulate us, subjugate us and ultimately defeat us. Social networks are not only a means of transmitting ideas, but also a means of gathering intelligence from users’ communication and of social control through the compartmentalization of social interactions and the dynamics of addiction they generate.

Fortunately, peoples can defeat imperial manipulation, as demonstrated by the defeats of the imperial “color revolutions” in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia and recently in Cuba.

To get out of the perverse vicious circle of the empire’s cognitive warfare, the peoples need to have a civilizational conscience and a better knowledge of the current mechanisms and technologies of imperial domination, but they must also know their own roots. Peoples who know who they are cannot be defeated by the culture war of empire.

NATO in the Amazon: Petro Plays with Fire