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Name of Our Country is América"
CIA Apologist Rohter Invades Venezuela Territory
Narco News Commentary:
What happened to Larry
Rohter? Like so many "official" US journalists, he
went over to the dark side years ago. His latest report, today,
so steeped in fiction and fabrication, a report that answers
only to Langley, Virginia and Washington, DC.
A report, written by Larry
Rohter of the NY Times, that defends United States corporate
construction of a satellite-launching site on territory long
disputed between two nations -- Venezuela and Guyana -- a provocation
to expand the "Plan Colombia" phony drug war to other
lands. The site, as planned, requires US military presence.
Instead of raising the
questions that any serious journalist would raise about US plans
to build a military base in territory disputed between two sovereign
nations, Larry Rohter claims that the dispute over territory
is "rekindled" (in fact it is generations old) and
ignores the obvious: This is a US provocation aimed at spreading
"Plan Colombia" to other countries, with the help of
Langley's corrupt house organ, the New York Times.
From the NY Times
September 18, 2000
Venezuelan Is Rekindling
Land Dispute With Guyana
By LARRY ROHTER
CARACAS, Venezuela - Irritated
by the decision of neighboring Guyana to allow an American company
to build a satellite-launching center in territory that Venezuela
claims as its own, President Hugo Chávez has revived a
long-dormant border dispute.
Mr. Chávez maintains
that the planned space site is a Trojan horse that threatens
Venezuela's security by enabling the United States to establish
a military presence along his country's vulnerable eastern flank.
But he also describes
the project as an affront to Venezuela's sovereignty, arguing
that the real border between the two countries is the Essequibo
River and that Guyana should be forced to relinquish some two-thirds
of its 83,000 square miles.
"That territory is
ours," he said last month.
Though he pledged "a
policy of peace and calm" and promised there would be no
war, he also accused the Guyanese government of having made a
deal under the table and warned that Venezuela "will not
allow this base" to be built.
Since taking office 19
months ago, Mr. Chávez, a former army colonel who in 1992
led an unsuccessful coup, has made the Essequibo issue a personal
crusade. In what is clearly a reference to the dispute, a new
constitution drawn up at his insistence states that the only
borders Venezuela recognizes as valid are those established by
"treaties and arbitrators' rulings not flawed by nullity."
Venezuela has claimed
the region, believed rich in minerals and oil, since gaining
independence from Spain early in the 19th century. In 1899 an
international tribunal awarded most of the territory to Britain,
then the colonial power in Guyana, but Venezuela has periodically
protested the outcome, and in 1983 the matter was referred to
the United Nations. The latest United Nations envoy appointed
to try to resolve the dispute, Oliver Jackman, called on both
sides last month to "tone down the rhetoric." The recent
increase in tension has created "grounds for alarm,"
he said on a visit here.
Although Mr. Chávez
has repeatedly described the site as an American military base,
both Guyana and the American company involved in the deal, Beal
Aerospace Technologies, say that is not correct. In May, the
Guyanese government signed an agreement with the private concern
that would allow it to launch satellites from the site if the
United States government approves the export of sensitive technology.
"We will need to
get export licenses in order to build on the site and bring rockets
out of the United States for launching from the site," chosen
because of its proximity to the Equator, said David Spoede, a
spokesman for the company. "Typically, the State Department
requires that a U.S. government observer be present to prevent
proliferation of missile technology," but Mr. Chávez's
accusation of a military base "couldn't be further from
President Bharrat Jagdeo
of Guyana met with Mr. Chávez at a conference of South
American leaders in Brasília this month. "I gave
him a copy of the contract so that he could see for himself that
there is no intention, or anything written into it, that would
allow the establishment of an American base," Mr. Jagdeo
said after the meeting.
Some Venezuelan critics
of Mr. Chávez, like former President Carlos Andrés
Pérez, have dismissed the campaign as part of a "policy
of permanent confrontation" intended to distract the country's
24 million people from mounting economic and social problems.
"It's absurd," Mr. Pérez said of the border
claim in a television interview. "It is impossible to regain
Mr. Chávez's insistence
on pursuing the claim has generated concern throughout Latin
America, where several other border disputes remain unresolved,
and in the English- speaking Caribbean.
Despite the Venezuelan
warnings, Guyana has made it clear that it intends to move ahead
with the space project. With only 850,000 people, the country
is trying to attract foreign investment and diversify its economy,
which depends heavily on mining and agriculture.
Proposes $4.5 Billion "Plan Bolivia"...
Clean Up Damage Caused by $1.3 Billion Plan Colombia
Today's Reports From: La Paz, Bolivia; Bogotá, Colombia; Buenos
Aires, Argentina; Quito, Ecuador; London, England; Tokyo, Japan;
Washington, DC; and from somewhere in "Farclandia"
from the frustrated libido of TIME correspondent Tim McGirk
Today's Summary: The Clinton administration and key members of the
US Congress continue to break the promises they made when they
convinced the wider Congress to support the $1.3 billion "Plan
Colombia" military intervention.
Clinton himself has proposed spending
$4.5 billion dollars more to prevent the coca crops from returning
to Bolivia and now uses this bribe money to buy off and consolidate
the most repressive and undemocratic regime in Latin America,
headed by the violent and authoritarian Hugo Banzer, because
every other Américan nation has already rejected Plan
Meanwhile, the new US Ambassador to Colombia
admitted to that nation's press that Plan Colombia's projection
of eliminating the coca crops by the year 2005 is an impossible
goal (the administration had assured Congress that the Plan would
accomplish that goal in five years when wooing its support.)
And now a SECOND US General has been installed
in Colombia to join General Keith Huber: his name and other information
appears in today's briefing.
Across the globe, rejection of Plan Colombia
is now being voiced in traditionally hawkish and US-allied nations
from Great Britain to Japan.
And this week's Yellow Journalism award
goes to Tim McGirk of TIME magazine.
From the daily Los Tiempos, La Paz, Bolivia
September 15, 2000
The US officials said they had informed
(Bolivia's Vice President) Jorge Quiroga about the desire of
President Bill Clinton to develop a "Plan Bolivia"
that involves the peasant population in the production and sale
of food and in civic and community activities.
The sources, who spoke on the condition
that they not be identified, said that the process could be delayed
due to the necessity to wait for the next government that can
solicit funds from the next Congress.
Quiroga advanced in this theme with illuminated
visits with Senator Christopher Dodd, the ranking Democrat of
the foreign affairs committee and Republican US Rep. Benjamin
Gilman, chairman of the subcommittee on hemispheric affairs in
the House of Representatives.
Will Cost $4.5 Billion
from the daily Clarin, Buenos Aires, Argentina
September 15, 2000:
seeks to forgive the external debt of Bolivia
By Ana Baron, Washington correspondent
With the regional turbulence provoked
by the Colombian crisis at its root, President Bill Clinton yesterday
urged the Congress of the United States to designate the necessary
funds to pay off the external debt of Bolivia.
During the traditional breakfast held
with religious leaders every year, Clinton said: "This is
about a surprising history. It is the poorest country but it
does the maximum to end drug production. And for this Bolivia
deserves that we relieve its debt, that we relieve it totally."
The external debt of Bolivia amounts to
$4.5 billion dollars, equivalent to half the total gross national
After the Latin American Presidential
Summit convened by Brazil, where there was much reluctance to
support "Plan Colombia" against drug trafficking, Clinton's
gesture yesterday regarding the Bolivian debt did not go unnoticed.
The message is clear: "The countries that help us in the
drug war will be rewarded."
If Clinton's reference to forgiving the
Bolivian debt was in the context of the year-old iniciative to
forgive the debt of 33 impoverished nations that are highly in
debt, it leaves no doubt that the mention of the Bolivian case
in particular was not by chance.
During the breakfast, Clinton explained
that the relief of the debt of countries like Bolivia is essential
because it helps young democracies to consolidate.
"There are many countries that for
internaal problems or because they had bad governments that accumulated
a lot debt that today they cannot pay," said Clinton. "Today
those countries must spend a lot of money from their national
treasuries only to be able to pay the interest on the debt. And
all this money cannot be spent on education or on the health
of their kids."
Clinton explain that the United States,
together with other developed countries, established the iniciative
to relieve the debt of poor countries when and only when they
promise to apply the economic recipes of the International Monetary
Fund in invest the money they save into education and health.
Bolivia complies with all these requirements
but, according to Clinton, the Bolivians deserve the pardon fundamentally
for the good example they have been in the drug war.
US Congressional "Leaders" Also Lobby for More Military
from the WASHINGTON POST
Saturday, 9 September 2000
Considers More Aid for Colombia
By Eric Pianin and Karen DeYoung
Just a week after President Clinton delivered
$ 1.3 billion in aid to
Colombian officials for military equipment, counter-drug training
economic assistance, House leaders are considering whether to
approve millions of dollars more for anti-drug assistance to
Colombian national police.
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.),
a strong advocate of anti-
drug aid to Latin American countries, said this week he is
reviewing a request for an additional $ 99.5 million to purchase
more aircraft, ammunition and other equipment for the Colombian
"We're just looking at the feasibility,"
Hastert said. "I don't know if
we can do it or not and what the need is...."
Military Aid to Ecuador Dwarfs Talk of Humanitarian Aid
from the daily Hoy, Quito Ecuador
September 11, 2000
The governments of Ecuador and the United
states defined three priority areas to invest the donations of
US economic resources: reduction of poverty, protection of the
environment and the consolidation of democracy... but the donations
for the year 2000 register a hike of 1,200 percent in the military
In 1997, US military aid to Ecuador was
$3 million dollars per year. This year it will be $40 million...
The donations are channeled through the
US Agency for International Development (USAID).
Concrete about Albright's Offer"
The offer of the US Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright to deliver $15 million dollars to Ecuador
to confront the issue of citizens displaced by Plan Colombia
has not been made concrete in any respect.
According to the representative of USAID
in Ecuador, Hilda Arellano, at this moment nothing is definite
but the will to support Ecuador in case this problem surges does
From the Colombian news weekly Semana
Septiembre 11 - 17, 2000
come the 'Rambos'
US generals of the hardliners faction are in charge of the military
operation of Plan Colombia
The majority of Colombians believe that
with Plan Colombia will come US advisors with the responsibility
to train the Colombian Armed Forces to initiate a frontal assault
against drug trafficking and indirectly against the guerrilla.
What few know is that this is already
happening. For the past year, they have discreetly spent time
in Colombia, not only advisors, but two US generals that, with
their Colombian partners, have elaborated the military strategy
of Plan Colombia.
The two generals are important. Both are
"Rambos." The two are experiences and the two are going
to cause a lot to talk about. The sending of officials of this
rank to Latin American countries is uncommon and is considered
a recognition of the gravity to which the conflict has come.
The generals are James N. Soligan and
Keith M. Huber. These two personalities will work together with
general Peter Pace who has just been designated as the new commander
of the US Southern Command, replacing general Charles E. Wilhelm.
This official has been a specialist in
Colombia and it is known that his chosen successor is his protegé
to guarantee continuity in the military strategy of Plan Colombia.
US Commander Arrives in Colombia Sunday
from the daily El Universal, Mexico City
September 16, 2000:
The chief of the US Southern Command,
Lieutenant General Peter Pace, will visit Colombia next week
to place himself at the center of activity in anti-drug cooperation,
the US Ambassador informed today. The diplomat indicated in a
press release that General Pace will arrive on Sunday and sustain
meetings on Monday and Tuesday...
Congress Squabbles and Lobbyists War over Which Corporation's
Weapons to Buy
From Associated Press
September 14, 2000:
By KEN GUGGENHEIM, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - Four powerful, expensive
machine guns bought to defend U.S.-made drug-fighting helicopters
in Colombia have been "a big disappointment," repeatedly
malfunctioning and throwing the aircraft off-balance, according
to a U.S. Embassy cable.
The State Department reluctantly bought
the Gau-19 Gatling guns at the urging of key Republicans and
Colombian police. But just months after being purchased for $2.1
million from General Dynamics, the guns had all broken down and
could not be used.
The embassy cable, sent to the State Department
last month, described the .50-caliber weapons as "temperamental"
and so heavy, they "can tip the aircraft dangerously forward."
It said they are so expensive to operate they threaten to "eat
up our budget ... faster than it could possibly chew up narco-terrorists."
A copy of the cable was obtained The Associated Press.
The guns were bought to protect the U.S.
Black Hawk helicopters provided to Colombian anti-narcotics police.
The helicopters often face fire from heavily armed leftist guerrillas
protecting cocaine laboratories and coca fields.
The guns' manufacturer, General Dynamics,
sent a team to Colombia this week to examine the problems and
company spokesman Kendell Pease said the guns would be operable
very soon. He said the weapon has a good track record and the
Colombian air force has used it without major problems.
The staffs of two key House Republican
chairmen suggested the difficulties with the Gau-19 likely stem
from faulty installation and misuse.
The chairmen, Reps. Benjamin Gilman, R-N.Y.,
and Dan Burton, R-Ind., have been the leading advocates of the
weapons and are urging that more be bought in the next fiscal
Their aides say the Gau-19's rapid fire
and large rounds are needed to penetrate Colombia's dense jungle.
"The other weapons tend to be just
noisemakers that scare the crows away," said John Mackey,
an aide to Gilman, chairman of the House International Relations
Gilman and Burton, chairman of the House
Government Reform Committee, have repeatedly criticized Clinton
administration efforts in Colombia, accusing the State Department
of trying to foist unsafe, outdated equipment on the Colombian
The questions about the Gau 19s come as the Clinton administration
is considering what weapons to buy for 60 helicopters - Black
Hawks and Hueys - included in a new $1.3 billion U.S. aid package
State Department officials said the Gau-19
problems haven't been a major setback to counternarcotics efforts
because the helicopters have been using other weapons.
The U.S. Embassy's Narcotics Affairs Section in Bogota originally
opposed the purchase of the Gau-19s because it didn't want "to
be the guinea pig" for what the cable described as an "unproven
The State Department, however, acquiesced
to the wishes of the Colombian police and congressional staffers,
said a senior department official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Black Hawks were altered to accommodate
the Gau-19 at an added cost of $541,000. Those alterations were
approved by the helicopters' manufacturer, Sikorsky Aircraft
The embassy cable said the weight of the guns and ammunition
leave the helicopters off balance and the guns' electric control
boxes frequently burned out.
In addition, their 2,000-round-per-minute
fire rate made them "incredibly expensive" given that
the .50-caliber ammunition can cost up to $4 a round, the cable
Mackey said the expense is justified given
the value of the helicopters they protect.
He said the electrical problems may stem from the pairing of
two different machine guns on helicopters: the Gau-19, using
AC current, on one side and the smaller-caliber MK-44, using
DC, on the other. He said that may also explain the balance problems.
A Sikorsky spokesman, William Tuttle,
said the Black Hawks should be able to accommodate the Gau-19s.
Pease of General Dynamics said the Colombian
air force has bought 34 Gau-19s in recent years and hasn't had
The air force guns were installed by General
Dynamics; the police guns were installed by contractors not supervised
by the company, he said.
From the Times of London
September 15, 2000:
Even Britain Opposes Plan Colombia!
Mowlam criticises Colombia cash aid
By DAVID ADAMS IN MIAMI
MO MOWLAM has left a dent in US-backed
plans for an intensified military campaign against the Colombian
cocaine industry. She gave a warning after a four-day visit that
Colombia needs to make human rights improvements before Europe
can be confident enough to contribute.
"For us to feel easy about putting
more money in social and economic programmes, we need to see
more progress," said Dr Mowlam, the Cabinet Office Minister,
who led a British fact-finding mission. Dr Mowlam's remarks were
a bitter disappointment to Colombia's cash-strapped Government,
which is counting on heavy European funding for a proposed $7.5
billion (£5.3 billion) counter-drug offensive.
While America has already committed $1.3
billion in mostly military aid, Colombia is counting on Europe
to help to fund alternative development projects to wean peasant
farmers away from growing coca plants. A senior adviser to President
Pastrana said that it would be hard to make progress in the war
on drugs without a commitment from Europe.
Colombian officials note that although
most of the cocaine and heroin produced in their country ends
up in the US, increaing quantities are being smuggled to Europe.
Dr Mowlam was also critical of a recent decision by President
Clinton to approve huge funding for Colombia's military, despite
that country's failure to meet human rights conditions required
From the Japan Times, September 5, 2000:
Japan Times Editorializes Against Plan Colombia
US Should Clean its Own House First
...Washington says its assistance will
be used against drug traffickers, not the rebels. The aid package
contains $238 million to be used for crop substitution, judicial
reform and protection of human rights. But 80 percent of the
U.S. assistance is military, in the form of 60 attack helicopters
and 500 army and intelligence instructors. If the rebels and
drug traffickers are working together, no reasonable distinction
can be made between the two and it will be impossible to avoid
getting sucked into the civil war.
That fear prompted Mr. Clinton's assurance
last week that a condition of the aid is that the U.S. would
not get drawn "into a shooting war, that it is not Vietnam."
It was also a source of concern for the dozen Latin American
leaders who gathered in Brasilia last weekend for a regional
summit. They worry that a civil war in Colombia will spill over
into their countries: Either the guerrillas or the narcotics
traffickers will flee to safer areas. Ecuador's foreign minister,
Mr. Heinz Moeller, voiced a common fear when he said that "the
cancerous tumor being removed from Colombia [is] metastasizing
in Ecuador. Ecuador does not have drug plantations, and we do
not want them."
No one does. Unfortunately, no one has
the strength to eradicate them -- yet. U.S. aid can help, but
the lesson of Vietnam is that assistance is no substitute for
political will in the nation concerned. Colombians must want
to end the civil war. The politicians must end their squabbling
and concentrate on the real threat to their country.
And if Americans want to end the drug
trade, they should do something about the demand side of the
equation. It is America's hunger for illegal narcotics that sustains
Colombia's drug trade. Eliminating that will do more damage to
the traffickers than any number of raids on Colombia's coca plantations.
from the daily El Tiempo, Bogotá, Colombia
September 15, 2000
Ambassador to Colombia Inadvertently Admits:
Colombia Sold to Congress Under False Pretenses
The US government hopes that the first
payments for Plan Colombia can be sent in early October, a date
in which close to $300 million dollars can be spent.
The US Ambassador to Colombia, Anne Patterson,
said so after a meeting she held with the Senate President, Mario
About the approved aid for Colombia, Mrs.
Patterson said: "God willing we will be able to begin sending
the resources in early October, but it is a long process and
I don't want to create false expectations. We want to begin to
spend the money in early October. We are going to spend close
to $300 million dollars in that month."
The chief of the diplomatic mission said
that in the coming days she will travel to Washington with Gonzalo
de Francisco, presidential security advisor, to promote Plan
Colombia and commented that some members of the US Congress "are
very interested in the implementation of Plan Colombia and also
in human rights."
She also referred to the process of erradication
of illicit crops. About this, she said: "the goals of the
law that authorized Plan Colombia are too optimistic. We don't
believe it will be possible to erradicate coca by the year 2005...."
...Ambassador Patterson did not want to
mention the peace process directly. "The negotiation process
belongs only to the government of Colombia. We support it, but
we are not playing any role in the process...."
And This Week's Yellow
Journalism Award Goes to...
magazine's Tim McGirk
(In an attempt to discredit
the Colombian Guerrilla, TIME magazine published a title that,
to us at Narco News, makes us want to join! Here, some of our
favorite excerpts from this cartoon-like story posing as journalism.
Our analysis: Tim McGuirk basically admits it: He's jealous,
and like the jealous man in his story, McGirk "went a little
Cream, E-mail and Casual Sex: Life Among Colombia's Guerrillas
is the enemy of President Clinton's friends in Colombia? TIME's
Latin America bureau chief, Tim McGirk, went into their lair
to find out..."
Watch out for the worm in "Farclandia."
The unofficial name of this Tennessee-sized
swath of jungle officially controlled by the guerrillas of the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) evokes a sinister
amusement park, and that impression was certainly underscored
on my first night there: In the town of San Vicente de Caguan,
alongside the FARC's House of Culture - a mostly empty building
in which camouflage-clad teenage guerrilla boys and girls flirted
- there was an actual carnival...
Says FARC ideologue Alfonso Cano, a bearded
former anthropology professor, that's not much different from
the way things had always been. "The only thing that's changed,"
he notes, "is that we can now go into the town of San Vicente
and get us some ice cream."
Aside from their ice cream expeditions,
the FARC guerrillas maintain a discreet profile in San Vicente.
Everyone is so scared of them, anyway, that they don't need to
bully the townsfolk. Locals whisper that when the guerrillas
ask for anything - a cow, free gasoline, a ranch - it's not advisable
to refuse. "Up until yesterday, these commanders had spent
their lives in the jungle, walking around in mud," says
one shopkeeper. "Now they have the best houses, the prettiest
The sinister funhouse ambience extends
to FARC headquarters, some eight miles up a dirt road in Los
Pozos, where I found jungle-hardened guerrillas hunched over
computers, rifles hanging off the backs of chairs as they answered
their e-mail. (FARC's commanders maintain their own Hotmail accounts.)
I was introduced to several FARC commanders,
but none was as colorful as Julian Conrado, a balladeer with
a goofy mustache who manages to rhyme "Americano" with
"imperio romano." He's lost three guitars in battle,
he says proudly. "One of my guitars was held up by a Colombian
general as a war trophy on TV."
Having been at war for 36 years and flush
with cash from taxing the narcos, the FARC maintains a sophisticated
fighting force of more than 15,000 guerrillas. They control some
40 percent of the country, and are engaged in turf wars with
a smaller rival leftist group, the ELN, as well as with right-wing
paramilitaries accused by human rights organizations of committing
some of the worst massacres of the long-running civil war. Ideology
aside, they all are battling for control over the coca fields
and the power to tax the drug trade and everything else in their
So how do these millionaire Marxists view
Plan Colombia - President Clinton's $1.3 billion aid package
that includes 60 military helicopters, ostensibly to help the
government fight narco traffickers?
"It's inevitable that one of our
boys will shoot down one of these helicopters," says Cano.
"And when that happens, the U.S. will become more involved."
I didn't get to meet FARC's leader, the canny 72-year-old peasant
Manuel "Sureshot" Marulanda. While his minions entertain
the media, government negotiators, leftist groupies from the
U.S. and Europe and such occasional visitors as the president
of the New York Stock Exchange, Marulanda prefers to lay low
in the jungle, guarded by female guerrillas.
The "FARC-ettes," as the women
fighters are nicknamed, fascinated me.
Before covering Latin America, I'd reported
on the Tamil Tiger guerrillas in Sri Lanka. The Tiger women were
spooky: They wore cyanide pills around their necks to be consumed
in the event of capture, and dozens of them trained as suicide
bombers. The FARC-ettes were, well, more Latina. Even when in
their fatigues, they wore earrings and pink scrunchees to keep
their hair in place, and listened to music on tiny radios. While
sex had been forbidden among the Tigers, the FARC's more relaxed
view is evidenced by the fact that many of their women fighters
wear Nor-plant contraceptives to avoid pregnancy. There's no
prohibition on casual sex in the hammocks and wooden plank beds
where coed units bivouac, but any permanent coupling requires
prior approval from the unit commander. "When you're so
close to death," said one guerrilla named Sandra, "your
relationship is very intense, very intimate. None of us have
any money, so if you want to show somebody you love them, you
share your food with them, eat off the same dish."
What about jealousy? One comely Farc-ette
wanted to switch partners, and waited until the evening culture
hour (after a Marxist study session), when she broke the news
to her old boyfriend in a song. "He went a little crazy,"
one witness recounted.
And after a few hours at the FARC headquarters,
I was beginning to feel the same way myself, so I went back to
San Vincente and its funfair. As night descended on Farclandia,
I passed the evening watching the looks of disbelief on the faces
of the cowboy drunks as they lurched out of the brothels to be
nearly flattened by a giant grinning worm careening through the
is your war. This is your war on drugs. Any questions?
E-mail and Casual Sex?" It Sure Beats the Drug War