World Social Forum condemns US militarization of Latin America

Meeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Jan. 24-29 for the 10th annual World Social Forum, 24 Latin American social organizations issued a statement denouncing what they called a “new, aggressive escalation of imperialism.” The groups charged that there is an “expansion of the US military presence in the region” that “seeks, in addition to intimidating the political transformation processes in the region, to position [US] military force in strategic areas of great natural wealth.”

The statement cited the creation of seven new military bases with US participation in Colombia; Panama‘s agreement to set up 11 bases, also with US involvement; and the “military invasion in the name of humanitarian aid after the catastrophe that occurred in Haiti,” a reference to the deployment of thousands of US troops to Port-au-Prince in response to a magnitude 7.0 earthquake there on Jan. 12. Further evidence of US militarization of the region includes, according to the statement, the reactivation of the US Navy’s Fourth Fleet in the South Atlantic and Caribbean, and “coup initiatives, such as occurred in Honduras with the logistical support of the US military base in Palmerola.”

The groups signing the statement included Vía Campesina (Campesino Way), World March of Women, Jubilee South, Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement (MST), the Honduran National Front of Resistance Against the Coup d’Etat and a number of national and regional labor and grassroots organizations. (Adital 2/4/10; EFE 1/29/10)

Argentines march for Haiti solidarity
“Humanitarian aid, yes! Military occupation, no!” was one of the slogans when leftist parties and groups marched in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Feb. 5 from the Plaza Italia to the US embassy to protest the presence of foreign troops in Haiti—both US troops and the 9,000-member Brazilian-led United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Argentina supplies hundreds of the MINUSTAH soldiers. (Adital, Feb. 4; Terra, Feb. 5 from Noticias Argentinas)

See our last post on the World Social Forum

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Feb. 7