The Bolivarian Revolution and peace

By Fidel Castro Ruz

(November 28, Havana, Sri Lanka Guardian) I know Chávez very well; no one would be more reluctant than him to allow bloodshed between the Venezuelan and Colombian peoples. These are two peoples as fraternal as Cubans who live in the east, center and extreme west of our island. I can find no other way of expressing the level of fraternity that exists between Venezuelans and Colombians.

The slanderous yanki accusation that Chávez is planning a war against neighboring Colombia led an influential Colombian newspaper to publish an article last Sunday, November 15, with the headline "Drums of War." It was a derogatory and insulting editorial against the Venezuelan president asserting, among other things, that "Colombia should take very seriously the gravest threat to its national security in more than seven decades, given that it comes from a president with a military background…"

"The reason," it continues, "is the growing potential for a provocation that could escalate from an incident along the border to an attack on civilian or military installations in Colombia."

Further on the editorial claims that it is likely "…that Hugo Chávez will intensify his attacks on the "escuálidos" – the nickname he gives to his opponents – and attempts to remove those who contradict him from regional and local governments. He has already done so with the mayor of Caracas… and now he wants to try it with the governors of the states which share borders with Colombia, and who are refusing to submit to his rule…A clash with Colombian forces and or the accusation that paramilitary elements are planning actions on Venezuelan territory could be the excuse that the Chávez regime needs to suspend constitutional guarantees."

Such words can only serve to justify the aggressive plans of the United States and the blatant treachery of the Venezuelan oligarchy and counterrevolution to their homeland.

Coinciding with the publication of that editorial, the Bolivarian leader had written his weekly article "The lines of Chávez," in which he indicts the shameless concession of seven military bases to the United States in Colombia, a country that shares a 2,050-kilometer border with Venezuela.

In this article, the president of the Bolivarian Republic clearly and courageously explained his position.

"…I said it this Friday during the rally for peace and against the U.S. military bases on Colombian territory. It is my duty to appeal to all of you, men and women, to defend the homeland of Bolívar, the homeland of our children. If we do not, that would be to commit an act of high treason… Our homeland is free today and we shall defend it with our lives. Never again will Venezuela be anyone’s colony: never again will it kneel down before any invader or empire…the extremely serious and transcendental problem that is taking place in Colombia cannot be overlooked by the governments of Latin America…"

Further on, he adds some important concepts: "…the entire gringo war arsenal, included in the agreement, responds to the concept of extraterritorial operations… it converts Colombian territory into a massive yanki military enclave…the greatest threat to peace and security in the South American region and in the whole of Our America."

"The agreement… prevents Colombia from offering guarantees of security and peace to anyone: not even the men and women of Colombia itself. A country that has lost its sovereignty and which is the instrument of the "new colonial power," as envisioned by our Liberator, cannot offer such guarantees."

Chávez is a true revolutionary, a profound thinker, sincere, courageous and a tireless worker. He did not come to power via a coup d’état. He rebelled against the repression and genocide of the neoliberal governments that handed over his country’s vast reserves of natural resources to the United States. He endured incarceration; he matured and developed his ideas. He did not come to power through weapons despite his military background.

It is to his great merit that he set off along the difficult path of creating a profound social revolution, based on a so-called representative democracy and absolute freedom of expression, at a time when the country’s most powerful media resources were and are in the hands of the oligarchy and at the service of the interests of the empire.

In just 11 years, Venezuela has achieved the highest educational and social advances attained by any country in the world, despite the coup d’état and destabilization plots and slanderous campaigns imposed by the United States.

The empire did not decree an economic blockade of Venezuela – as it did in the case of Cuba – after the failure of its sophisticated blows against the Venezuelan people, because it would have blockaded itself, given its dependence on foreign oil. But it has not relinquished its aim of destroying the Bolivarian process and its generous support in terms of oil resources to countries of the Caribbean and Central America, its extensive trade relations with South America, China, Russia, and many countries in Asia, Africa and Europe. The Bolivarian Revolution enjoys support in broad sectors across all continents. Venezuela’s relationship with Cuba is particularly painful for the empire, which has sustained its criminal blockade of our country for half a century. Through the ALBA, the Venezuela of Bolívar and the Cuba of Martí are promoting new forms of relations and trade on rational and fair bases.

The Bolivarian Revolution has been particularly generous with the Caribbean countries in times of an exceptionally grave energy crisis.

In the new era in which we are living, the Venezuelan Revolution is facing entirely new problems that did not exist almost exactly 50 years ago, when our Revolution triumphed in Cuba.

Drug trafficking, organized crime, social violence and paramilitary activity barely existed then. The United States had yet to become the massive drug market that capitalism and the consumer society have made it today. For the Revolution, it is not a serious problem to combat drug-trafficking in Cuba and prevent the country from being drawn into production and consumption.

For Mexico, Central and South America, these scourges currently represent a growing tragedy which is far from being overcome. Unequal terms of trade, protectionism and the plundering of their natural resources have been compounded by drug trafficking and the violence of organized crime which underdevelopment, poverty, unemployment and the huge U.S. drug market have created in Latin American societies. The inability of that imperial and rich nation to prevent drug trafficking and abuse has paved the way for the widespread cultivation in Latin America of crops whose value as raw material for drugs was far in excess of other agricultural products, thus creating extremely grave social and political problems.

Colombian paramilitaries now constitute imperialism’s shock troops for combating the Bolivarian Revolution.

It is precisely thanks to his military background that Chávez knows that the battle against drug trafficking is a crude pretext on the part of the United States to justify a military agreement that fully responds to its post-cold war strategic concept of extending its world domination.

The air bases, the means, the operational rights and total impunity granted to yanki military and civilian personnel by Colombia in its own territory have nothing to do with combating the cultivation, production and trafficking of drugs. Today, this constitutes a world problem; it is not only extending through South American countries, but also to Africa and other regions. It already rules in Afghanistan despite the massive presence of yanki troops.

Drugs should not be used as a pretext for establishing bases, invading countries and taking violence, war and plunder to the countries of the Third World. This is the worst environment for sowing civic virtues and taking education, healthcare and development to the peoples of other nations.

Those who believe that dividing Venezuelans and Colombians will lead to the success of their counterrevolutionary plans are deceiving themselves. Many of the best and poorest workers in Venezuela are Colombians; the Revolution has afforded education, healthcare, employment, the right to citizenship and other benefits for them and their loved ones. Together, Venezuelans and Colombians will defend the great homeland of the liberator of America; together, they will fight for freedom and peace.

The thousands of Cuban doctors, educators and other collaborators fulfilling their internationalist duties in Venezuela will be there with them!
-Sri Lanka Guardian