By Misión Verdad – Jul 2, 2021
Colombia’s role in the already permanent regime-change operation against Venezuela is extensive and significant. Some recent events in Colombia may be worthy of attention and analysis, however, and give rise to a series of questions that help to clarify what is behind these events and where they are headed.
Perhaps the most curious event was the visit of the head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States, William J. Burns, to Colombia to participate in a “sensitive” security mission, as part of the cooperation between both countries. The visit followed a telephone conversation between US President Joe Biden and his Colombian counterpart Iván Duque.
Colombia’s ambassador in Washington, Francisco Santos, declined to give further details about Burns’ visit to Bogota. When questioned about the mission, Santos said, “I prefer not to tell you that it is a delicate mission, an important intelligence mission that we managed to coordinate.”
He added that the visit of the US official to Colombia was made by a contact, after having already had three meetings with the agency, and that in those meetings the agency told them where they are going and what is happening, therefore they consider his visit as “very important”.
Smoke around a car bomb?
Another disturbing event was the alleged attack on a base used by the 30th Brigade of the Colombian Army in Cúcuta, 10 kilometers from the Venezuelan border. Without evidence, the Colombian Minister of Defense, Diego Molano, blamed the event on the guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). “We reject and repudiate this vile terrorist act that intended to attack the soldiers of Colombia,” said Molano. “Thirty-six people were wounded. Three of them seriously.”
According to official versions, two men drove a white Toyota van to the base, after posing as officers, and subsequently there were two explosions that, in addition to causing injuries, damaged the infrastructure of the military base. Videos on social media networks showed what appeared to be US military personnel at the base after the attack.
According to opinions of ex-officials and journalists, there are elements of the story that do not add up. Some claimed that the Army was carrying military explosives of the penthrite type (pentaerythritol tetranitrate, which does not need a detonator) that were activated.
Commentators also wonder why the paramilitary groups did not act on other occasions, but in the midst of a two-month long period of national strike and demonstrations in which the Duque government has unleashed a wave of repression. The brutal repression has resulted in at least 327 missing persons and 83 homicides, 44 of these with presumed responsibility of the security forces.
Others, such as journalist Gonzalo Guillén, have expressed doubt about the details, such as the fact that the car bomb did not leave any mark on the post next to the car, or on the car behind, and that the tires were left intact.
Hence the suspicion that this was a smokescreen to distract from some controversial decisions, such as the sinking of the “Zero Tuition” project that would have provided free education to 140,000 young Colombians annually. The traditional parties also scuttled the law that would prohibit fracking, the basic income project for those most affected by the pandemic, and increased the budget of the Attorney General’s Office, criticized for a lack of transparency in its contract policy and for political persecution.
According to the blog La Tabla, the ELN assured in a brief communiqué that they had nothing to do with the attack.
The 11 agents of the SFAB Mission (1st Assistance Brigade and Security Force attached to the Southern Command) of the US Army who remained at the military base were unharmed by the attack. This is a military command that has been advising on-site in the fight against drug trafficking since June 2020. It is made up of specialists in operations analysis, tactics, and strategy against “destabilizing threats or factors,” and comes from the Military Advisors Training Academy at Fort Benning, Georgia. Such presence has been rejected by the Venezuelan government and different social movements on the continent.
Duque offered a reward of 500,000,000 pesos ($133,000 USD) for those who provide information on the perpetrators of the “attack” and announced military assistance for the patrolling of Cúcuta. He traveled to that city the following night, made a statement on the possible perpetrators of the action, and gave an account of the plans to catch those responsible.
The Colombian head of state also announced the creation of a special criminal group, supported by specialized personnel from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States, to carry out the investigations. He also announced the creation of a “wall plan” on the border to prevent the possible perpetrators of the attack from fleeing to Venezuela to hide.
Ten days later, an attack on the presidential helicopter
Much more disturbing was the alleged attack on President Iván Duque himself. Last Friday, June 25, the Black Hawk helicopter in which he was traveling was attacked while the president was fulfilling a commitment in the municipality of Sardinata, border zone of Catatumbo, in the department of Norte de Santander.
Official sources revealed that he was traveling with the Ministers of the Interior, Daniel Palacios, the Minister of Defense Diego Molano, and the governor of Norte de Santander, Silvano Serrano, who were attending the event “Peace with Legality: Sustainable Catatumbo Chapter.”
According to reports, the helicopter was reportedly hit by six bullets and all crew members completed the trip safely. Minutes after the incident, through a video posted on social media networks, the Colombian president described the incident as a “cowardly attack,” stating that he instructed the entire security team to go after those who shot at the aircraft and said that “both the aerial device and the capacity of the aircraft prevented something lethal from happening.”
Duque added that “they do not intimidate us with acts of violence or terrorism,” and the Colombian Presidency published a video of the damaged aircraft.
A few hours after the events, Colombian authorities published the identities of two alleged perpetrators of the attack, drawn up by the Attorney General’s Office and different police agencies.
The Minister of Defense, Diego Molano, confirmed they fired AK-47 and FAL 7.62 rifles which were found near the area where the attack took place, and reported that he considered this not an isolated attack, but connected to “what has been happening throughout the last two months,” as “the attacks on governorships and mayors’ offices reached their peak with this attack on the president.”
Molano said that “information has been received of a possible criminal drug trafficking alliance between the urban front of the ELN and the dissidents of FARC’s remaining armed group, the 33rd Front. Local media announced that 102 ballistic and forensic criminal studies, 45 judicial interviews, and analysis of 22 cameras with 160 hours of recordings took place.
The director of the National Police, General Jorge Luis Vargas, confirmed the details and added that one of the weapons found has markings of the Venezuelan Armed Force (FANB) and that the shots were fired from a sector adjacent to the air terminal, a neighborhood bearing the same name of the airport, Camilo Daza.
Analysts have expressed doubts regarding some forensic data including the fact that none of the shots shown hit the lower part of the fuselage of the aircraft, but instead managed to impact the upper part.
Other analysts have explained the need of the pro-Uribe government to unleash more aggression and instability against Venezuela by making the public believe that Venezuela has attacked them, typical of a false flag operation.
Pointing to Venezuela as a distraction?
Although so far the Casa de Nariño [seat of the presidency] has not accused the Venezuelan government of planning these events, we already know that the Duque administration is always quick to point the finger at Caracas, without any evidence, in every negative event that occurs. The seriousness of the alleged recent events has not prevented the president from continuing to participate in public events. The expected withdrawal or protection that events of such nature would imply has not been implemented.
Someone who did target his own country, without evidence, was the former deputy Juan Guaidó, who wrote on his Twitter account that “the rise of attacks in our brother country is related to access to resources and protection of the narco-guerrillas from the dictatorship in Venezuela.”
There are many questions to ask regarding the motivation of such a statement. The most obvious one is whether the spokesman of the pro-US anti-Chavista sector seeks notoriety after both Biden and Duque have continuously ignored him in recent months, to the point that he was not mentioned in either of the two communiqués produced by the call between the two presidents.
As it was reported, last Monday, June 28, Biden offered Duque “his support to face terrorist actions” and, as communicated by the Colombian presidency, “expressed his concern for the situation in Venezuela and its regional impact, and stressed the importance of seeking an international consensus for free and fair elections.” Biden also “recognized Colombia’s effort in offering Temporary Protection Status for Venezuelan migrants who have had to leave due to the situation in their country.”
Although Guaidó went straight to the point, officials in Washington and Bogotá seem to flirt with the temptation to involve Venezuela but no concrete accusations have yet been issued. For his part, the former president and operator of the global right, Andres Pastrana, said he is clear that the origings for the strike in Colombia are not in his country but in the interference of “Castro-Chavismo.”
The conservative politician has claimed that President Nicolás Maduro was implicated in the violence of the demonstrations in Colombia. This assertion was based on the fact that Maduro said in 2019 that “the Bolivarian wind would arrive in Colombia,” and that same year there were protests. Pastrana stated at the beginning of last June: “This is a criminal network that wants to set Colombia on fire. The enemy of Colombia is not the trade unionists or the students, the enemy of Colombia is called Venezuela and directly Nicolás Maduro, Diosdado Cabello, that entire narco-dictatorship that is in Venezuela.”
Colombia as an imperial outpost and Venezuela on permanent alert
On the afternoon of July 1, President Maduro warned about the visit of the CIA chief and the actions of the Southern Command stating that “the commander of the Southern Command, Craig Faller, was there, and I am told that the director of the CIA was in Colombia recently. They are working on a secret plan to harm Venezuela.”
Of more than 70 military bases located in Latin America, US Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) maintains seven in Colombia. USSOUTHCOM is deployed in Colombian territory and is active on the Colombian-Venezuelan border, as demonstrated by reports concerning the car bomb.
The presence of the US military so close to Venezuela is justified by Colombia and the United States under the pretext of the fight against drug trafficking. However there is no official source that documents their presence at any military base in the department of Norte de Santander.
In 2009, a Washington-Bogotá agreement was signed by then President Álvaro Uribe. Venezuela denounced it as part of an imperial strategy to regain the hegemony lost in Latin America after the progressive cycle of the so-called Pink Tide. This was the decade in which several leftist and nationalist governments came to power through the ballot box. The agreement between Bogotá and Washington stipulates that the troops will be stationed in facilities located in departments far from Venezuela.
The most recent false flag attempt was the attempt to enter a convoy of trucks with supposed “humanitarian aid” on February 23, 2019, from the same department of Norte de Santander. Seeking to undermine the authority of the constitutional government of President Maduro, the cartelized media imposed the false narrative of a catastrophe scenario on the border and in the rest of Venezuela.
For its part, the United States has a long history of false flag attacks, from the Battle of Fort Sumter (1861), the blowing up of the battleship USS Maine (Cuba, 1898), Operation Gladio (Italy, 1945-1992), the Gulf of Tonkin incident (Vietnam, 1964), and the staging of the seizure of Tripoli’s Green Square (Libya, 2011).
It remains to be seen what the next steps of Colombia—acting under the auspices of the United States—will be. On this may depend the stability of the region, and the progress of Venezuela in its quest for both national independence and Latin American integration.
Featured image: Duque and US Southern Commander Craig Faller.
Translation: Internationalist 360° and Orinoco Tribune