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  Reflections of Fidel

 The Yanki Bases and Latin American Sovereignty 


The concept of nation emerged from the sum of common elements like history, language, culture, customs, laws, institutions and others related to the material and spiritual life of human communities.

The peoples of America, for whose freedom Bolívar undertook the great feats which made him the liberator of the peoples, were called on by him to create, as he said: “The greatest nation of the world, less through its extension and wealth than through its freedom and glory.”

In Ayacucho, Antonio José de Sucre waged the final battle against the empire that had converted a large part of this continent into the royal property of the Spanish crown for more than 300 years.

It is the same America that dozens of years later, and after it had already been encroached on by the nascent yanki empire, Martí named Our America.

It is worth noting once again that, before dying in battle for the independence of Cuba, the last bastion of the Spanish colony in America, on May 19, 1895, a matter of hours before his death, José Martí prophetically wrote that everything that he had done and would do was in order “…to prevent in time, with the independence of Cuba, the United States extending into the Antilles and falling, with that additional force, upon our lands of America.”

In the United States, where the recently liberated British colonies wasted no time in extending in a disordered fashion toward the West in search of land and gold, exterminating the indigenous population until they reached the Pacific coast, the agricultural slave states of the South were competing with the industrialized states of the North that were exploiting wage labor, by trying to create other states in order to defend their economic interests.

In 1848 they seized more than 50% of Mexico’s territory in a war of conquest against that militarily weak country, which resulted in them taking the capital and imposing humiliating peace conditions. The snatched territory contained large oil and gas reserves that later would supply the United States for more than a century and continues in part to do so.

Encouraged by the “manifest destiny” proclaimed by his country, the yanki filibuster William Walker landed in Nicaragua in 1855 and proclaimed himself president, until he was expelled by the Nicaraguans and other Central American patriots in 1856.
Our national hero perceived how the destiny of Latin American countries was being destroyed by the nascent empire of the United States.

The military intervention in Cuba came after Martí’s death in battle, when the Spanish army had already been defeated.

The Platt Amendment, which conceded the powerful country the right to intervene in the island, was imposed on Cuba.

The occupation of Puerto Rico, which has lasted for 111 years and which today constitutes a so-called free associated state, which is neither a state nor free, was another of the consequences of that intervention.


Worse things were to come for Latin America, confirming Martí’s brilliant premonitions. The growing empire had already decided that the canal that was to link the two oceans would pass through Panama and not through Nicaragua. The isthmus of Panama, the Corinth dreamed of by Bolívar as the capital of the greatest republic of the world as conceived by himself, would become yanki property.

Even so, the worst consequences were to come throughout the 20th century. With the support of national political oligarchies, the United States subsequently took over the resources and economies of the Latin America countries; interventions multiplied; military and police forces fell under its aegis. Yanki transnationals seized basic goods and services; banks, insurance companies, foreign trade, railroads, shipping, warehouses, electricity and telephone services and others passed into their hands to a greater or lesser degree.

It is a fact that the profundity of social inequality led to the explosion of the Mexican Revolution in the second decade of the 20th century, and which became a source of inspiration for other countries. The revolution prompted Mexico’s advance in many areas. But the same empire that devoured a large part of its territory yesterday is today devouring important natural resources taken from it (Mexico), a cheap labor force, and is even making it spill its own blood.

The NAFTA is the most brutal economic agreement imposed on a developing country. For the sake of brevity, the U.S. government has just affirmed: “At a moment when Mexico has suffered a double blow, not only due to its failing economy but also the effects of the A H1N1 virus, we would probably want to have the economy more stabilized before having a long discussion on new trade negotiations.” Of course, not a single word has been said on how, as a consequence of the war unleashed by drug trafficking, in which Mexico is deploying 36,000 soldiers, close to 4,000 Mexican have died in 2009. The phenomenon is being repeated to a greater or lesser degree throughout Latin America. Drugs not only produce serious health problems, they produce the violence that is tearing apart Mexico and Latin America as a consequence of the insatiable U.S. market, an inexhaustible source of hard currency that foments the production of cocaine and heroin, and it is the country from where the weapons are supplied that are being utilized in that ferocious and unpublicized war.

Those who are dying from the Rio Grande to the limits of South America are Latin Americans. In this way, generalized violence is beating the record in deaths and its victims are in excess of 100,000 per year in Latin America, basically engendered by drugs and poverty.

The empire is not fighting a war on drugs within its borders; it is waging it in Latin American territories.

Neither coca nor poppies are cultivated in our country. We are fighting efficiently against those who are attempting to introduce drugs into our country or to utilize Cuba as a transit point, and figures of persons dying on account of violence are falling every year. We do not need yanki soldiers for that. Fighting drugs is a pretext for establishing military bases throughout the hemisphere. Since when did the ships of the 4th Fleet and modern fighter planes serve for combating drugs?

The real objective is control of economic resources, domination of markets and fighting social changes. What need is there to reestablish that fleet, demobilized at the end of World War II, more than 60 years ago, when neither the USSR nor the cold war exist any longer? The arguments being utilized for establishing seven airbases in Colombia are an insult to human intelligence.

History will not forgive those who commit such acts of disloyalty to their peoples, nor those who utilize the exercise of sovereignty as a pretext to explain away the presence of yanki troops. To which sovereignty are they referring? That conquered by Bolívar, Sucre, San Martín, O’Higgins, Morelos, Juárez, Tiradentes, Martí? Not one of them would have ever accepted such an invalid argument for justifying the concession of military bases to the armed forces of the United States, an empire that is more dominating, more powerful and more universal that the crowns of the Iberian peninsula.

If as a consequence of those agreements being promoted by the United States in an illegal and unconstitutional manner, any government of that country should use those bases — as was the case with Reagan with his dirty war and Bush with that of Iraq — to provoke an armed conflict between two sister peoples, that would be a great tragedy. Venezuela and Colombia were born together in the history of America after the battles of Boyacá and Carabobo, under the leadership of Simón Bolívar. The yankis might promote a dirty war as they did in Nicaragua, including the use of soldiers of other nationalities trained by them, and might attack one country or another, but the combative, courageous and patriotic people of Colombia would not easily allow themselves to be dragged into a war against a sister people like that of Venezuela.

The imperialists would be committing an error if they likewise underestimate the other peoples of Latin America. None of them will be in agreement with yanki military bases; none of them will lose their solidarity with any Latin American nation attacked by imperialism.

Martí had an exceptional admiration for Bolívar and was not mistaken when he stated: “… and so, there is Bolívar, in the skies of America, vigilant and with his brow furrowed… still wearing his campaign boots, because what he did not complete, is still incomplete today: because Bolívar still has much to do in America.”

Fidel Castro Ruz
August 9, 2009
6:32 p.m.

Translated by Granma International



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