by James Suggett
December 19th 2009
Mérida, December 18th 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – During a meeting with trade unions, political organizations, and social movement leaders in Copenhagen, Denmark on Thursday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez accused the Netherlands of allowing the United States military to plan a future attack against Venezuela from its island territories in the Caribbean, known as the Dutch Antilles.
“I am accusing the Kingdom of the Netherlands together with the Yankee empire of preparing a military aggression against Venezuela,” said Chavez, who came to Copenhagen to participate in the XV United Nations International Conference on Climate Change this week.
“The islands of Aruba and Curacao, both of which belong to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, have permitted the installation of United States military equipment on their soil, placing Venezuela under the watch of the United States,” Chavez explained. “It would be good for Europe to know that the North American empire is arming these islands Aruba and Curacao to the teeth, filling them with war planes, war ships, and CIA spies.”
“Since the Kingdom of the Netherlands is a member of the European Union, I would like to see what the European Union has to say about this,” Chavez declared.
In response, a spokesperson for the Netherlands Foreign Ministry, Bart Reis, called the accusations “groundless.”
“As Venezuela knows,” said Reis, “the United States only uses civilian airports” and “unarmed planes for the fight against drug trafficking” in the Dutch Antilles.
Reis said the Netherlands Foreign Ministry would seek a meeting with Venezuelan government officials to discuss the issue.
President Chavez emphasized that the U.S. military presence in the Dutch Antilles, which are located approximately one hundred kilometers off the Venezuelan coast, is only part of broader U.S. strategy to expand its military power in Latin America in order to crush the socialist movements and progressive governments that have been democratically elected in countries across the region over the past ten years.
Last year, the U.S. military re-activated the Fourth Naval Fleet of its Southern Command. In October of this year it signed a military pact to use seven Colombian military bases as a launching pad for “full spectrum operations” across the South American continent, according to U.S. Air Force budgetary documents.
“This new Yankee military deployment that is now in full scale development threatens not only Venezuela,” but also other countries whose governments openly support socialism and are members of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), Chavez said on Thursday. Several of the nine ALBA member countries, including Ecuador, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Bolivia, sent representatives to Thursday’s meeting with social movements in Copenhagen as well.
Shortly after Chavez made his announcements in Copenhagen, U.S.-Venezuelan lawyer Eva Golinger testified to the truth of Chavez’s accusations on a nightly Venezuelan talk show.
The U.S. has had a “contract” with the Dutch government since 1999 to use air and seaports in the Dutch Antilles for what the U.S. military calls “advanced operations,” said Golinger, who has used the U.S. Freedom of Information Act many times to find information on U.S. intervention in Latin America.
Since the creation of the ALBA in 2004, the re-election of Chavez to a second presidential term in 2006, and Chavez’s increasing advocacy of “21st Century Socialism”, the U.S. has placed more than a hundred warships in Aruba and Curacao, an increase of 1000%, said Golinger, holding up newspapers from 2005 and 2006 in Curacao as evidence of her assertion.