America's Other War: Terrorizing Colombiaby Doug Stokes
Pub. Date: 04/02/2005
Publisher: Zed Books
'Colombia is the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the hemisphere. The sources are deeply rooted in Colombia's own history, and in policies of the hegemonic power that are no less deeply rooted in its own history and institutions. This study provides a uniquely perceptive analysis of the tragic interaction, and its far-reaching implications for understanding the
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This excellent book tests the conventional theory that US foreign policy has always been driven by its commitment to spreading democracy. It looks at the evidence, examining US policy towards Latin America, focusing on Colombia. Chapter 1 explores various interpretations of US foreign policy, conservative, liberal and radical. Chapters 2 and 3 show how the USA's aims in Latin America were the same during and after the Cold War. Chapter 4 shows how in the 1980s the US state backed state terrorism across Latin America, including in Guatemala where government forces killed 200,000 people. During Colombia's 1980s peace process, the US state aided and trained Colombia's army: by the end of the 1990s, Colombia got the third largest amount of US military aid, helping its army and its allied paramilitaries to kill tens of thousands. The US state's motives were and are material: the open door for US and European corporations, access to oil. Colombia supplies 3% of US oil imports. BP pays paramilitaries to protect its pipelines. Attacking Colombia also puts pressure on Venezuela, which has 7.4% of the world's oil reserves - and also has a patriotic government that runs its own oil industry. Only the US state's pretexts for aggression have changed. Until 1991 it was anti-communism. In the 1990s it was the 'war on drugs' - as a US Special Forces trainer said, 'the counter-narcotics thing was an official cover story.' After 9/11 it was the 'war on terror'. The US Drug Enforcement Administration 'has no evidence that [the insurgents] have been involved in the transportation, distribution, or marketing of illicit drugs in the United States or Europe.' The Council on Hemispheric Affairs and the UN Drug Control Programme agree that drugs are smuggled into the USA by the US state's allies - 'right-wing paramilitary groups in collaboration with wealthy drug barons, the armed forces, key financial figures and senior government bureaucrats.' The US state's allies are also the main terrorists. The US State Department concedes that the Colombian army and its allies have committed more than 80% of the country's many human rights abuses.