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Pepe Escobar: Latin American leaders bypass US and find solutions to internal conflict

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PEPE ESCOBAR, THE REAL NEWS ANALYST: Hillary Clinton’s campaign 3 a.m. phone call ad was devised to press the point that Hillary’s the only one with enough experience to deal with all the horrors of the world exploding and not contaminating American kids when they are fast asleep. Well, the phone actually rang a few days ago regarding Colombia’s invasion of Ecuador sovereign territory in hot pursuit of FARC guerrillas. Let’s see how the main players responded to it, from the Bush administration to Hillary and Obama. It’s an object lesson in US foreign policy and an object lesson in how US foreign policy will not change, even if Obama or Hillary are elected president. The Bush administration, of course, they condoned the invasion of Ecuador by Alvaro Uribe’s Colombian special forces, actually, because this is basic Bush administration counterterrorism doctrine: you are allowed to invade or bomb a foreign country as long as you are in hot pursuit of terrorists. And, of course, the US is the only one who defines who’s the terrorist and who isn’t. The bombing raid on Ecuadorian territory to kill FARC guerrillas was conducted with US smart bombs and based on US intelligence, because it was US intelligence who intercepted the satellite signals of Raul Reyes, the number two of FARC, when they were nested in the Ecuadorian jungle. Obama’s campaign, they said that the Colombian government had every right to defend itself against FARC. So this would mean that Obama himself would be condoning what the Bush administration is condoning. That means we can invade and we can bomb a foreign country as long as we are in hot pursuit of terrorists. Well, Obama had already said that he might consider bombing areas in Pakistan, tribal areas in Pakistan that would be basically south and north Waziristan, which is sovereign Pakistani territory, even if it’s a tribal area, if he had enough intelligence saying that al-Qaeda was on the terrain. Hillary Clinton went even further than Obama. She said—in fact, she blamed Hugo Chavez for the whole thing. She didn’t even consider the fact that it was Colombian forces that attacked somebody or some forces inside Ecuadorian territory, and she blamed Hugo Chavez of Venezuela of taking some tanks and troops to his own side of the border in Venezuela, and not even considering an attack on Colombia. This was made inside Venezuela. And Hillary also said that when she becomes president, she will work with our partners in the region, which in this case would be only Colombia, because Colombia is basically a staunch US ally, and almost like a puppet regime of the Bush administration. The OAS, the Organization of American States, which sits in Washington, is basically controlled by the US. And she would do everything, I quote, to press Chavez to change course. And, of course, it’s amazing, because can you imagine if Hugo Chavez had bombed sovereign Colombian territory in pursuit of, let’s say, a Venezuelan indigenous opposition movement trying to destabilize them? There would be a major international incident. And what happened actually was condoned by the Bush administration, and condoned by the two major Democratic candidates for president. What did South America do in relation to all this mess? Well, they decided to find a solution not in the OAS, the Organization of American States, because they knew they would be subjected to a lot of pressure by the US. They used the Rio Group, which is an alternative mechanism founded in 1986. And now it’s proving to be very useful to South American and Latin American countries, because they decided among themselves, they found a consensus, Colombia was totally isolated, and Uribe was forced to apologize to both Rafael Correa and Hugo Chavez, and there was not direct American interference, because South American countries, they all knew the official position of the Bush administration, and also Obama and Hillary’s position. So the South Americas and Latin Americas decided among themselves. And this proves that from now on, for every major international incident, Latin America will use its own mechanism without dependency on the United States. This is reflected in many instruments and many mechanisms. Mercosur is getting more and more independent. It’s a very strong commercial block. Venezuela’s going to be part of it. It’s about to be admitted. There’s Alba, the Bolivarian alternative of the Americas, which congregates Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and soon some other Latin American countries, which is a counter-mechanism against the American idea of a free trade of the Americas. So ALBA relies a lot on direct exchanges, barter. And there is an advanced point in Central America, Nicaragua. So it’s an alternative integration mechanism as well. There is the Rio Group for political decisions, very subtle political decisions, which the South Americans especially don’t want Washington interference. US foreign policy, by the responses of the Democratic candidates, is not going to change. And Latin Americans as a whole already know how to deal with it, because take for instance Philip Goldberg, who’s the current US ambassador to Bolivia. His basic experience is his dismembering countries. He is a Balkanization expert. He used to be the head of the US mission in Kosovo, now independent Kosovo. And now when he is in La Paz, he is working very closely with an array of an umbrella organization, which is basically a Balkanization international. This organization sits in Santa Cruz, and they are basically fighting for the dismemberment of Bolivia, for the autonomy of the eastern lowlands of Bolivia, which are basically aligned with US policy, and they profit enormously from globalization. So if anybody expects that US foreign policy is going to change with Obama or Hillary in the presidency, bye-bye. It’s not going to happen.


Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

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Pepe Escobar, born in Brazil is the roving correspondent for Asia Times and an analyst for The Real News Network. He's been a foreign correspondent since 1985, based in London, Milan, Los Angeles, Paris, Singapore, and Bangkok. Since the late 1990s, he has specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central Asia, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has made frequent visits to Iran and is the author of Globalistan and also Red Zone Blues: A Snapshot of Baghdad During the Surge both published by Nimble Books in 2007.