Comments, Globe, In Focus, Latin America

The ‘Comfort’ in Venezuela: Peace as an excuse for waging war

Venezuela finds itself besieged on all four flanks. Under the pretext of helping Venezuelans, the United States has extended its hand of generosity. But it is clear that a military intervention is looming, aided by other governments in the region.

 

‘Comfort’.Photo: Wikipedia

Odette Díaz Fumero

 

Washington’s designs on Latin America are worrisome because, despite the fact that the country is besieged economically, commercially and financially, Venezuela is nonetheless successfully deploying strategies internally to deal with the situation brought about by external aggression.

This position of resistance expressed by the Bolivarian authorities, taking vigorous steps in response to interventionist measures, is forcing the United States to up its militarisation in the area as part of a modern-day Monroe Doctrine in defence of US economic interests in the Latin American region. Venezuela is constantly surrounded at the moment both on its land as well as sea borders where military exercises are being carried out and hospital ships have been deployed, all backed by the US administration which is aiming to establish bases for military intervention.

The authorities in countries like Colombia, Brazil, Chile and Argentina along with the right in Venezuela, encouraged by Washington, are devising scenarios in which they attempt to act out wars – that is, tactical simulations of what real armed confrontation might be like.

Photo by Marcos Ortiz

In order to study the possibilities for intervention, in mid-August the US Secretary of Defence, James Mattis, toured several Latin American nations with the alleged aim of strengthening cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking and terrorism.

The chief of the Pentagon explained that the maritime vessel ‘Comfort’, which is close to Colombian waters, is constantly crossing Caribbean water as a show of “good will” on the part of Donald Trump’s administration.

Mattis pointed out that the vessel’s location on the borders with Venezuela means it can assist emigrants from this country who cross the border with Colombia, in the alleged context of ‘a humanitarian crisis’ condemned by Colombia’s administration both under its current president Iván Duque and his predecessor Juan Manuel Santos who have blamed the situation on the Government in Caracas.

The ship is, it appears, leaving the Naval Station of Norfolk in Virginia for Caribbean waters – at a moment of geopolitical tension between emerging Eurasian powers (China and Russia) and the United States – in order to secure greater influence in the Latin American region, while Venezuela is currently experiencing structural modernisation of its economy which is crucial for its future.

Photo by Marcos Ortiz

Military harassment

The ship was built by NASSCO (National Steel and Shipbuilding Company), a division of General Dynamics Corporation, one of the US Government’s largest military contractors.

Since it started operating in 1976, it has served the US Navy. This is what a retired captain and a commander of this branch of the armed forces have stated in an article published on the website of the Center for International Maritime Security, a military think tank.

They stressed that tactically speaking the boat has no weapons for mounting a military offensive, but it does carry weapons for self-defence. The ship is even covered by the Geneva Convention, so if it is attacked it is considered a war crime.

According to the publication, ‘humanitarian aid’ operations carried out by the hospital ship ‘are a vital part of US Navy strategy to guarantee regional stability through the building of ties with partners thereby broadening military influence’.

Usually, the Comfort is used to assist US soldiers under fire, but it is also used to assist in other operations.

Photo: Pixabay

According to the article in question, the ship ‘has 12 fully equipped operating theatres, a 1000-bed hospital facility, a digital radiography department, a medical and optometry laboratory, a pharmacy, a tomography department and two oxygen plants. In addition to being equipped with a heliport for large military helicopters’.

The decision of the Pentagon is linked to its Military High Command’s plan to surround Venezuela’s borders so as to destabilise the peace enjoyed by the Bolivarian Government.

War games

It would appear that the arrival of the Comfort in Colombian waters will, as a serendipitous corollary of the government’s efforts, coincide with the Unitas-2018 Multinational Exercise with Bogotá playing host, set against Venezuela’s maritime façade.

According to the Southern Command of the United States, this training exercise is intended to assist and stabilize countries under the pretext of assisting them in the event of natural disasters and humanitarian crises.

The articulation of the message as well as the very nature of these exercises indicate that – and the military manoeuvres coordinated by the Pentagon suggest it – they are seeking to undertake a possible intervention in Venezuela via the “humanitarian” route.

Photo: Pixabay

The importance of Unitas-2018 is that the US military high command is demanding the region be protected from catastrophes, but at the precise moment they are instigating – via the media and even official spokespersons of some governments, especially those that are members of the Lima Group – propaganda concerning a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in Venezuela.

In light of Venezuela’s supposed precarious situation, the ‘international community’ would be forced to take diplomatic action against Nicolás Maduro’s Executive. A euphemism for saying that they are in favour of military intervention against the South American country. (PL)

(Translated by Nigel Conibear – DipTrans IoLET MCIL – nigelconibear@gmail.com)

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