Because Santos is Like Uribe, Latin America Must Not Fail Venezuela


By Carlos Aznárez

If there is one positive aspect of the serious events that led Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to close the border with Colombia it is that Juan Manuel Santos has actively revealed himself before those who still had doubts about his real repressive nature and his close ties with the reactionary bourgeoisie of Colombia.

These days, President Santos has shown openly just how much he is like his predecessor Alvaro Uribe when he served as his Minister of Defense and collaborator of narco-trafficking and para-militarism in Colombia.

Now, as in those years of attacks on the popular sectors, Santos is threatening Bolivarian Venezuela by criticizing the inclusive policies of Venezuela that began under the leadership of Hugo Chavez and continues today under Maduro. Together they have welcomed more than 6 million Colombians who they granted identity cards to. Also the Venezuela government made these Colombians homeowners of 180 thousand homes out of the 800 thousand built by Bolivarian socialism.

Santos has even taken his warmongering further by threatening Ecuador, Bolivia and any other country that does not agree with his bosses in Washington who he has allowed to establish a dozen permanent military bases in his country. With his current behavior Santos is reminding us of the period from 2006 -2009 when he donned his military uniform and massacred villagers and then applied the “law of false positives” by counting the dead as casualties of the guerrillas forces. His troops combined their operations with the U.S. Army and Israeli advisers to dismantle insurgent camps. One just has to remember his celebrating with his boys after the invasion into Ecuadorian territory to bomb the site of the guerilla commander Raul Reyes who was making efforts to open peace talks. His death wiped out any gains at the time and showed the dramatic image of just what type of “peacekeeping” that Uribe and his Defense Minister had it mind.

This is not to even mention the other “Army”, the self-defense paramilitary groups sponsored by Uribe and tolerated by Santos and his generals. It is there, and nowhere else, where you can find the reason for the thousands killed and the millions of displaced people in Colombia, many of whom were welcomed into Venezuela as blood brothers connected through history.

There was a moment when there was some confusion in the conflict between Colombia and Venezuela when in the last elections Santos disguised himself as the dove of peace (the universal poet Rafael Alberti from somewhere will be cursing at him), and offered himself to friends and strangers as the man who could stop the advance of Uribe. A sector of the Colombian left, and also other brothers of similar thinking in the continent, as usual called for the tactic of “voting for the lesser of two evils”. One popular leader said, “If Uribe wins we will be ejected the next day, with Santos we will last one year”. And as it is in all cases the lesser general cannot bring about anything good. Santos has spooked the white dove of peace and has assumed his familiar position of arrogance and cynicism.

Santos is Uribe and Uribe is Santos. We have no doubt about it. They are part of the same pro-imperialist and capitalist accumulation policy that has sustained Colombia for decades. Sometimes they may confront each other and even seem angry with one another, but both are still united by the terror that they caused to peasant, worker and student populations in the country. Did they differ when it came to suppressing thousands who had mobilized during the last agricultural strike? Or were there disagreements among them when they tried to send to prison popular leaders like Hubert Ballesteros, and the militants of the patriotic march or the recent young fighters of the people’s Congress?

Can anyone believe in good faith that either Uribe or Santos are not behind the corruption and money laundering that brought down many of the ministers of the last Cabinet along with paramilitary figures who are now subject to trial and prison.

There is no policy of Álvaro or Juan Manuel that views the future relations with Venezuela differently. And in these days Santos has reaffirmed that with threats to take Venezuela to international courts to place them on trial for “crimes against humanity”. This is just adding fuel to the fire in the hopes of bringing down the Bolivarian and Chavista Government so Obama or the next president can take over the oil that they covet so much.

The growing attacks of Santos-Uribe are periodic and do not happen all the time. This up tick in hostility coincides with the current political, economic and military imperialist offensive going on in the continent. Some examples of that are the landing of marines in Peru, and the very close military relations taking place with Paraguay and Uruguay and the United States through large scale on site military maneuvers. New programs such as the Capstone (recently signed by U.S. officers with their Paraguayan counterparts), or “joint training” operations of U.S. military experts with the Uruguayan military of Tabaré Vázquez have been activated. It should be pointed out that Vazquez is the president who contacted Santos – not with Maduro – to volunteer as a mediator in the border conflict.

But also, and this is a fundamental issue, behind the position of the Colombian Government is its intention, that sooner or later, it wants to end the peace process that is taking place in Havana. Santos is not interested in peace with social justice as the FARC, the ELN, and the vast majority of the Colombian people are aspiring to. They are looking for any excuse to bring it down.

Despite coming late, there can be no doubt the reason why President Marduro felt compelled to close the border. Within this framework of gravity the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela must be backed by all the peoples of the continent. And also it must be backed by all the Latin American alliances like UNASUR and CELAC.

It is a logical reason of self-defense, raised by a country whose economy is being stolen drop by drop through a non-declared but effective war. It’s a healthy measure that seeks to destroy the pockets of paramilitary groups and death squads implanted by the Santos-Uribe alliance at the border of the states of Tachira, Zulia or in an infinite number of pockets in Venezuelan cities.

Venezuela, a nation that all these years has openly lavished solidarity with every country or Government that needed it, through its health and literacy missions or with the important Petrocaribe project, does not deserve this infamy. And Venezuela does not deserve the criticism from internal and external NGO’s, calling themselves human rights defenders and of course it is without a doubt that the “pro democratic” lobby of the U.S. is losing no time in adding wood to the fire.


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