The broad response to the March 1st Columbian air and ground attack on Ecuador to assassinate FARC leader Raul Reyes is reflective not of a threat of war but rather a new South American alliance against US regional influence.

Venezuela, led by anti-US President Hugo Chavez, was quick to respond to the territorial violation. Amid rumors that a similar strike was planned on FARC camps along the Venezuelan border Chavez withdrew all diplomats and ordered 10 battalions to the Columbian border.

Ecuador also withdrew its diplomats and sent troops to the border while Nicaragua broke off diplomatic ties. Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Cuba and Bolivia all made statements condemning the violation of national sovereignty.

This response was in all likelihood far more severe than Columbia had expected. In objecting to the violation of sovereignty after the FARC attack Ecuador also claimed past border violations, some of which occurred without official objection. Clearly Chavez’s posturing has made an issue of the event.

Chavez’s assertive response can best be explained as opposition to US influence in the region. Columbia is home to an American military presence of up to 1400 troops and contractors working in conjunction with the US supported Columbian military to implement ‘Plan Columbia’. Plan Columbia works to counter leftist opposition groups such as FARC with a combination of military strikes and the aerial fumigation of coca crops and peasant farmers in the FARC controlled south. Oil and virtually all of the United State’s cocaine come from Columbia.

The CIA (and affiliated US intelligence) have been linked to the multi-Billion dollar cocaine industry [1] while FARC affiliated coca producers are reported to have refused to invest their profits in American stock markets. [2]

The high stakes in Columbia have turned the country into a beachhead for American influence in the region. Chavez and other socialist South American leaders are ideologically aligned with Columbian left-wing opposition and oppose the United States and the pro-US Columbian government.

Allegations of Venezuelan financial support for FARC were made subsequent to the attack in Ecuador. Laptops seized during the raid on Raul Reyes’ camp allegedly contain information showing that Venezuela provided the group with $300 Million. Others allege that this is a groundless attempt to demonize Chavez and divert attention away from Columbia’s role in the cross-border raid.

Columbia has threatened to take Venezuela to the World Court for supporting terrorism while the United States has threatened to put Venezuela on a ‘terrorist blacklist’ that would include financial sanctions. Chavez responded to the American threat by saying “let them make their list and shove it in their … pocket,”

Chavez, who, after a failed coup attempt in 1992, was voted into power in 1998, has been using his country’s influence to unite South America against American influence and neo-liberal economic policy.

Through ALBA, the Bolivarian alternative for Latin America, Chavez has called for a South American economic development bank, a joint military force to defend against American aggression and divestment from American banks. In 2002 a CIA backed coup attempt failed to remove Chavez from power.

Venezuela is a member of the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and is a major exporter of oil to the United States. It holds one of the world’s largest oil reserves.


[1] For more information investigate Iran-Contra and subsequent Contra support and see:

[2] As reported by Michael C. Ruppert:


SUMMARY OF EVENTS: March 3 – March 10, 2008


Gold prices surged as poor US data weakened the dollar and high oil prices fueled inflation jitters.


OPEC is set to maintain its official oil output level ignoring US pleas to raise production to cool record-high crude prices threatening to dampen economic growth.


United States

A stumbling US economy lost 63,000 jobs in February, according to a shockingly weak report released Friday.


Canada, the US and Mexico are planning a massive joint military exercise in April 2009 to “focus on terrorist events that could affect [the] 2010 Olympics,” according to Public Safety Canada documents.


Venezuela / Columbia / Ecuador

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez moved tanks to the Colombian border and mobilized fighter jets on Sunday, warning Bogota could spark a war after its troops struck inside another of its neighbors, Ecuador.

Minister of Agriculture and Lands Elías Jaua Monday said the Venezuelan government has ordered closing down the border with Colombia, following President Hugo Chávez’s instructions to move 10 tank battalions to the border area and to expel the Colombian Ambassador and diplomatic staff from Caracas.

Colombian rebels bombed an oil pipeline and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he may seize assets of the neighboring country’s companies after a Colombian raid into Ecuador killed a rebel leader.

The presidents of Ecuador, Venezuela and Colombia have shaken hands at a regional summit, marking the end of a diplomatic crisis in the Andean region.


Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim Tuesday denied charges from an opposition politician that Brazil had been exporting a relatively large amount of weapons to Venezuela.



Dmitry Medvedev, President Vladimir Putin’s hand-picked successor, won a landslide victory in Russia’s presidential polls, preliminary results showed on Monday, as critics charged the vote was rigged.

Dmitry Medvedev has won Russia’s presidential election with over 70 percent of the vote, according to final results released Friday.


Russia halved natural gas supplies to Ukraine on Tuesday and threatened further cuts in a debt dispute as the two countries slid towards a new energy war that has put Europe on alert.


Israel / Palestine

The US plotted to overthrow the democratically elected Hamas government in the Palestinian territories, according to leaked documents obtained by Al Jazeera.

British humanitarian agencies on Thursday said the situation in the Gaza Strip was the worst in 40 years and urged the European Union to hold talks with Hamas, which runs the impoverished territory.

A Hamas delegation has returned to Gaza after talks with Egyptian mediators about a possible truce with Israel.


Iran’s capability to defend itself against air strikes will take a “quantum leap” when it deploys the export model of an advanced Russian anti-aircraft system, US General Michael Moseley, Air Force chief of staff, said today.

The UN Security Council has voted to impose a third set of sanctions on Iran over its refusal to suspend its nuclear power program.

Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili has urged the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on the US for developing nuclear weapons.


Iraq and China are close to re-signing a $1.2 billion oil deal that was called off after the 2003 US invasion, an Iraqi Oil Ministry official said Thursday.



Myanmar’s government flatly refused to amend its proposed constitution, which bars democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from elections, while accusing a UN envoy of “bias” against the regime.



China is speeding up its military buildup and developing high-technology forces for waging wars beyond Taiwan, according to the Pentagon’s annual report on Chinese military power.

China announced its largest ever defense budget Tuesday, a day after the Pentagon warned that China’s burgeoning military is fine-tuning its abilities for cyber-warfare and in disabling the satellites of potential enemies.



The ringleader of the Bali bombers claims that the attack on the nightclub district in 2002 was much larger than he had expected and that the only explanation for so much carnage was that the bombers were aided by the CIA, KGB or Mossad.



The US launched an airstrike Monday on a Somali town held by Islamic extremists, US defense officials said.

Marsha Reid is a contributor to