Invited paper to be presented at the national conference on “Multinationals, Violence, Trade Union Freedom and Democracy in Colombia” organized by the SINALTRAINAL International Trade Union on its 30th anniversary, July 26, 2012 at Autonomous University of Colombia in Bogota, Colombia.
Information Clearing House
June 05, 2012
When in the immediate post WWII period a dynamic nationalist- populist figure emerged, Jorge Elicier Gaitan, he was assassinated and the country entered a period of a society-wide blood bath, dubbed “La Violencia”.
To ‘fence in’ Colombia from the “contagion” of the anti-neo-liberal revolution which had undermined the proposed US Free Trade of the Americas agreement.
Plan Colombia served to build-up Colombia’s capacity to threaten and pressure Venezuela’s anti-imperialist government and to provide the US with multiple military bases from which to launch a direct intervention in Venezuela if an ‘internal’ coup took place.
‘Plan Colombia’ had an important internal political and economic function.It was designed to militarize society and to empty the countryside; 300,000 soldiers together with 30,000 death squad paramilitary forces, forced millions to flee guerrilla controlled territory. The guerrillas lost important intelligence and logistical support but gained new recruits. As a result of the Uribe/Santos “scorched earth policy” and the mass violence, entire new economic sectors, especially in mining, oil and agriculture, were secured for foreign investors, laying the groundwork in 2012 for the Obama-Santos free trade agreement.There is a direct connection between Plan Colombia (2001), militarization of the state, mass repression and dispossession (2002-2011), the deepening of neo-liberalization and the free trade agreement (2012).
Colombia serves a strategic geo-political role in the US militarized empire.In the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa the US has used the pretext of the “War against Terrorism” to invade and establish an empire of military bases, in alliance with Israel and NATO. In Latin America, the US in alliance with Colombia and Mexico and under the pretext of the “War on Drugs” has built an empire of military bases in Central America, the Caribbean and increasingly in Latin America. Currently the US has military bases in Colombia (8), Aruba, Costa Rica, Guantanamo (Cuba), Curacao, El Salvador, Honduras (3), Haiti, Panama (12), Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico (several).