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Venezuela-US Tensions Rising

January 10, 2010

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has claimed that a US military jet has violated Venezuelan airspace recently.  Read about the story here and in Spanish here.  Chavez made the claim on Friday, January 8 and said the jet made two separate incursions lasting 15 minutes and 19 minutes respectfully.  The US for its part has denied the claims.  The US Defense Department  denied the claim as ‘a matter of policy’, meaning that violating another nation’s airspace without prior consent or coordination is outside the bounds of national policy.  (Not that ‘national policy’ prevented torture, rendition, secret wire-tapping, and any other number of actions that directly contravene US ‘national policy’).  From the Obama administration came the assertion that they were ‘unaware’ of any incidents involving US government aircraft in Venezuelan airspace.

This is the second time in the past year that Venezuela has asserted that US military aircraft have violated Venezuelan airspace.  The other incident occurred on May 17 of 2009.  Both incidents have centered around the Caribbean island of Curacao, a territory of the Netherlands.  Chavez has repeatedly charged that the Netherlands has been providing the US military with use of the island and others it controls off the northern coast of Venezuela as possible deployment points for military provocation and/or invasion.  Coupled with the recent DCA agreement signed between Colombia and the US granting the latter access to seven Colombian military bases, the Venezuelan government has become increasingly vocal about its concern that it is being encircled by US forces.  While the Netherlands and Colombia have both conceded that they are indeed working with the US military both countries deny any hostile intentions on their parts.  The official reason for the military cooperation is to fight drug trafficking.  While all partisans in the dispute have avowed to adhere to international law and maintain peaceful relations, tensions are steadily rising in the oil and natural resource rich region.  Venezuela for its part has declared its intention to do everything possible to work for peaceful relations in the hemisphere but has vowed repeatedly to protect its sovereignty and respond to any attempted violation of it on behalf of Colombia or the US and its allies.  While the US has also echoed its intentions to maintain peace in the hemisphere (the recent tacit support for the coup that toppled the democratically elected government of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras not withstanding) it is undeniable that the imperium is marshalling it’s forces in the region and slowing but surely positioning them in strategic points around the Venezuelan frontier.  It doesn’t take much to make a parallel between the current encirclement of Venezuela and one that took place around Iraq in the decade following the end of the Cold War.  That process culminated in the invasion, destruction, and occupation of that country in 2003 and continues to this day.  Venezuela is a different country with completely different historical and social conditions so a repeat of the Iraq debacle will be unlikely.  But this is a question of applying different tactics to the same strategy, namely that of exercising control over the world’s energy reserves.  The tactics of full-scale invasion/occupation will in all likelihood be replaced by attempts to destabilize the Bolivarian revolution and secure a power structure in Venezuela that is more amiable to the imperial dictates of Washington.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. JRicht permalink
    January 23, 2010 10:58

    I’m almost certain that the United States political community didn’t even look into the claim made by Chavez. To deny these incursions is a “matter of policy”. It’s like an auto-response on their voice mail, “Chavez? Fuck it, don’t even answer”. That said the US is definitely interested in the region and I predict after this war in Afghanistan comes to an end (the US stooge government solidifies power) the troops will be moving to Venezuela. To what extent the US military pressure will push is undetermined. The region has plenty to interest the US, and the drug trafficking history of the Bolivarian states will provide an easy excuse. However, Venezuela is much wealthier and more developed than other parts of the world where the US has applied the same tactics to gain control of the resources. This may force the US to resort to plan B, which usually results in several assassination attempts, and a prolonged smear campaign accompanied by harsh economic sanctions. Oh wait, that began ten years ago.

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