Álvaro Uribe – Bush’s hot potato

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By Guillermo Almeyra for La Jornada – translation by Machetera

When “Uribe” is Written, Read “Oil”

Shell, the Anglo/Dutch oil company that is one of the Seven Sisters recently published a brief statement for U.S. specialists which is key to interpreting the criminal attack by the Colombian army against Ecuadoran territory. According to this statement, given the forseeable and constant decline in Mexican petroleum production, for its own security, the United States will need to count on a permanent supply of Venezuelan petroleum. That is precisely what is endangered by Washington’s repeated attempts to destabilize and topple the government of Hugo Chávez. This in effect, has already been spelled out by Chávez (not a man given to exaggeration): that if the aggression continues and worsens, the petroleum supply to the country’s main client – the United States – will be cut. This, in spite of the fact that this relationship offers more advantages (a bigger market, refining capacity, for example) than any other.

For this reason, if the conservative Colombian president Álvaro Uribe provokes a warlike situation with Ecuador, it’s not so much to strike a military blow against the Colombian Armed Revolutionary Forces (FARC) as it is to give a political punch to the rapidly growing leftist Colombian opposition that doesn’t identify with the FARC nor with its methods, and has already won elections in Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, repudiating the ties Uribe and the army have with the paramilitaries, and through them, narcotrafficking. One of the reasons for the military incursion into Ecuador to kill Raúl Reyes, was the need to cut the movement for hostage liberation (including the more than 500 held by the government) off at its roots, as well as that of a peace accord between the government and the FARC. This movement is far more dangerous than the enemy’s military force, just as much for the fascist military backed up by the United States which wants the war to continue and hopes to win it by using the greatest repression, as it is for the military adventurers within the FARC itself.

But the essential reason lies in compliance with its master’s voice; that of the U.S. government. Because the governing U.S. team can’t afford to enter a recession, which would provoke social unrest, with the oil supply dependent on Chávez’s radicalism not to mention that the price of fuel continues to escalate and remains high even when consumption falls. Furthermore, the combination of its hegemony crisis (as it remains swamped in Iraq), its economic crisis, and its political crisis (the possible win by the Democrats) creates an explosive mix that a Venezuelan spark could help to ignite. Like Cato, who said “Carthaginem est delenda” (Carthage must be destroyed), the White House never tires of repeating “Caracas est delenda,” “Havana est delenda.” There’s hardly a speech where Bush fails to mention the necessity of destroying the Cuban revolution and now, the Bolivarian one. Uribe is nothing more than an instrument of this provocative policy and is looking to create a climate of war in the region in order to justify border incursions, bombings (from U.S. airplanes disguised as Colombian ones), infiltrations and sabotage in order to support the Venezuelan bourgeoisie, the new Boli-bourgeoisie and the rightists within the Venezuelan armed forces in fomenting another coup d’etat against Chávez. Aside from Caracas’s own policy errors, the difficulties that Venezuela faces – from the diversion of basic supplies to the black market, to rising crime – have their basis in destabilization, both provoked and induced, just as has happened in every revolutionary process since the French Revolution.

In the OAS – despite the fact that this organization has always been a Latin American colonial ministry run from Washington – the repudiation of Bush as puppeteer and Uribe as shameless puppet has been too great for Bogotá to continue with its murders and provocations. For now, it’s made Ingrid Betancourt’s liberation impossible – something that had already been resolved with the FARC – and Bogotá has even managed to put itself at odds with the French government, a conservative government albeit one of national conservatism. Its opposition to hostage exchanges will feed the militant protests of its opposition. Washington, which applauded the bombing of Ecuador, continues to maintain a low profile and might well leave Uribe as its scapegoat, making itself content with the reinforcement of the fascist wave within the Colombian army. A war in which it would have to fight all at once against the FARC, Venezuela and the Ecuadoran Army, last allied in victorious combat against Peru, is highly unlikely. On the other hand, the destabilization of the Chávez government (and that of Evo Morales and Rafael Correa) among other more subtle measures, is foreseeeable, as is an alliance between the military/paramilitary/narcotraffickers (the real power in Bogotá) and Washington, rather than with an unmasked and weakened Uribe. The struggle for peace by the Colombian civil opposition, for a political solution to those kidnapped by the FARC and of the political prisoners that the government is holding, concentrated against Uribe, may permit a rearrangement within the government so that everything stays the same, in other words, so that the political and social class that is today represented by Uribe can continue in power without him, should he become too much of a hot potato.

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