Posted with permission from Green Left Weekly
by Federico Fuentes, Caracas
25 July 2009
The US State Department and the coup regime in Honduras have publicly stated what many of us already knew: the June 28 military coup was not just directed against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, but also Venezuela and the unfolding Latin American revolution.
On July 20, US state department spokesperson Phillip Crowley said he hoped Zelaya now understood that in “choosing a model government and a model leader for countries of the region to follow”, the US believes “the current leadership in Venezuela would not be a particular model”.
“If that is the lesson that President Zelaya has learned from this episode, that would be a good lesson.”
The same day, vice foreign minister of the Honduran coup regime, Marta Alvarado, said: “Honduras is playing a very important role in the sense that the continuity or otherwise of the avalanche of the ALBA [Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our Americas] countries depends on Honduras, and whether the people who are under the pressure of the ALBA countries wake up.”
ALBA, an initiative of the revolutionary Venezuelan and Cuban governments, unites nine Latin American and Caribbean countries into an anti-imperialist bloc that combines solidarity-based trade agreements with a coordinated political intervention into regional politics.
In response to the global economic crisis, the ALBA bloc has denounced the capitalist system. It has proposed radical measures that place the burden for the crisis on the capitalist elites who created it — not the workers and poor.
This revolutionary challenge is a dangerous threat to an empire in decline.
The June 28 coup in Honduras shows that, as the crisis deepens, Washington is increasingly turning to military solutions to “solve” this problem.
With two failed coup attempts so far this century (Venezuela in 2002 and Bolivia in 2008) and one successful one (Haiti in 2004), this strategy is not new. But extending this strategy is becoming more likely — and more dangerous, as military incidents threaten to spill over the borders and become a regional conflict.
Pro-imperialist governments in Latin America are aiding the US in this task.
Colombia, which in March 2008 bombed Ecuadorian territory, has just opened the door to five new US military bases on its territory. This occurred just days after the US began to move out of its base in Ecuador, from which the government of President Rafael Correa expelled it.
This move has been combined with a heightened propaganda campaign against Venezuela, not unlike the one that preceded the Iraq invasion.
Venezuela has been accused by Washington and the Honduran coup regime of “interference” in Honduras. The US Congress Foreign Relations Commission decided that Venezuela is a “narco-state” that protects guerrilla and criminal organisations.
A tampered video has been released purporting to show a leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) admit they funded the election campaign of Ecuador’s Correa, whose government has joined ALBA.
Israel joined in, claiming a Hezbollah cell is now operating in Venezuela near the border with Colombia.
These are just the latest shots fired against ALBA and specifically Venezuela.
Venezuela has initiated a review of its diplomatic relations with Colombia in response to the new US bases.
Bolivia has called for ALBA to increase military integration and denounced governments that allow US bases as “traitors to the homeland”.
It is essential that there is a clear rejection of the US war drive from those within the belly of the beast. This includes Australia, whose government continues to be one of the few globally to not condemn the Honduran coup.
An important task for anti-war and anti-imperialist activists is to build a movement that can hold back US imperialism in Latin America. Immediately, this means opposing the US bases in Colombia, the disinformation campaign against Venezuela and solidarity with the Honduran people.