The Days Before 23-F and the Days to Come. A View From the Border

By: Oscar Javier Forero

Táchira and Norte de Santander share just under 149 kilometers of international border line, a small percentage if we compare it with the 2219 kilometers shared by Colombia and Venezuela .

However, it is between this Department on the Colombian side and this state on the Venezuelan side, that originates the bulk of the information traditionally held by the binational media, the current crisis is not the exception.

The political, economic and social situation of Venezuela has crossed its borders. That is, it has ceased to be a problem for Venezuelans to become a problem for the region, the continent, and why not, the world.

The foregoing undoubtedly represents a losing battle for the National Government and a victory for the opposition in an issue that is clearly strategic for the interventionist plans that are underway.

The trigger that led to the internationalization of the conflict is multidiverse: From political groups based in Miami, some exiles or self-exiled for a few months linked to the US Republican Party, through mass media from around the world that magnify the not easy Venezuelan situation, but hypocritically silent about what happens in other countries, and obviously, to all this we must add the share of responsibility that the Venezuelan State has to the outcome, slow death, which has had and still has this crisis.

The mixture between lethargy and indolence on the part of the Venezuelan Executive to confront problems that were solvable, if they had been attended to on time, was the ticket that served to justify the so-called ” humanitarian aid “, also served to move governments that in other circumstances would not they would have manifested in favor of the self-proclaimed Guaidó.

It is not understood as a government, like that of Venezuela, which has been so intelligent and even bold in electoral political issues, had a position so limited and even clumsy when facing the vicissitudes of a crisis that was inevitable and even predictable taking into account the vicious circle that for decades has accompanied the Venezuelan economy of bonanza-waste-crisis .

Of course, there are aggravating factors that have accelerated the collapse, such as US sanctions and financial asphyxia, the latter going from the blockade of accounts and resources of the nation to the installation of a parallel central bank in the city of Cúcuta.

But was not this predictable? Or were we expecting the enemy to sit idly by? Over and over again, examples have been repeated of countries that, being more blocked than Venezuela and immersed in the war, do not present the catastrophic and painful figures that we have been carrying to date such as inflation, workers’ purchasing power, health, transportation, services and stop counting

It is more than proven that pretending to justify the systematic plundering of power groups that identify themselves as ” chavistas ” and that climb from ministry to ministry leaving a long trail of corruption and inefficiency has done a great favor to the opposing factors.

Now, the US corporacy focuses its eyes on Venezuela not because the economic crisis affects the people, as Mr. Trump and his spokesmen want to show, but because Venezuela has reserves valued in oil, gold, diamonds, coltan and gas for the order of 58.8 trillion dollars (US $ 58,800,000,000,000).

What is played in Venezuela is no small thing, we are talking about 4/5 of the world GDP or three times the GDP of China or the US itself, hence the interest of large corporations and governments, because who manages to take over the gigantic Source of resources represented by Venezuela will be the power that is homogenized, or will remain as a hegemonic power in the case of the United States, during the next decades. Venezuela represents the lever of expansion of these powers in military, technological, commercial, energy and even financial issues.

For this reason, it is important to understand that, with crisis or without crisis, both the media and factors with ancestry in the Republican Party would be generating conditions to extrapolate the Venezuelan case, most likely with elaborate arguments as they have done in the past. other latitudes with very good results, see, in case of doubts, the reasons that justified the invasion of Iraq or Libya.

Let’s not forget that already by the beginning of 2015, when the economic crisis was little perceived by the general population of Venezuela and when the term ” humanitarian aid ” was unimaginable even for the opposition speech, the administration of Barack Obama had declared Venezuela as ” an unusual and extraordinary threat to national security . ”

The role of Colombia
The role that Colombia has been playing in the Venezuelan crisis is not new, some historians speak of the ” Santanderismo ” that has prevailed within Colombian politics since the independence of the Kingdom of Spain, something with which I agree. Any threat from the left (or even with purely nationalistic airs) to the oligarchic domination of the encopetadas families that take turns the power of the House of Nariño has been annihilated with ferocious cruelty.

That santanderismo that is characterized by the deplorable submission to the designs of the United States acts and has acted with equal force when the interests of the White House have demanded it or when to break the Latin American unity.

For several years Colombia has been becoming the Israel of the region, not only because of the installation of nine US military bases in its territory and because of the immunity enjoyed by the thousands of soldiers and mercenaries of the war who say they fight against terrorism and drug trafficking, but because of the close military alliance with both Washington and NATO that proudly stand out every time they can the leaders of duty, without forgetting that Colombia supported the United Kingdom in the Falklands War, as well as supported the invasions of Iraq, Libya and Syria, now more recent emulating Israel has stood out for exporting mercenaries. To date, at least 600 former New Granada soldiers are desolate what was once Yemen.

In the specific case of Venezuela, the different governments in turn have turned a blind eye to the huge smuggling of food, fuel, medicine and strategic materials that enter their territory, this attitude has increased in the governments of Alvaro Uribe Velez , Juan Manuel Santos and Iván Duque, because it has been dared to generate legal tools to promote looting, in a clear violation of the regulations created for that purpose.

With this I do not want to divest the Venezuelan authorities of their responsibilities, only that it can not be ignored that, according to the regulations governing international trade, contraband must be fought mainly by the country that receives the goods, in this case Colombia.

There is a very close relationship between the presence of US troops and mercenaries, the Uribe governments and the permissiveness towards the smuggling of fuels from Venezuela.

Figures from the Office of National Drug Control Policy of the United States (ONDCP, for its acronym in English) report that between 2013 and 2017 coca cultivation in Colombia has gone from 40,000 to 209,000 hectares, that is, 422% more in Only 4 years.

It is a truth afloat that in Colombia more coca is grown and produced than during the reign of Pablo Escobar, personal friend of the now Senator Uribe Vélez.

The bulk of this is sown, with increasing intensity, in the sub-region of the Colombian Catatumbo, bordering the Táchira and Zulia states and which is a few kilometers from the city of Cúcuta.

To transform the coca leaf into cocaine requires, among other inputs, lime, sulfuric acid, caustic soda and gasoline, a lot of gasoline and Venezuela has cheap and quality.

That Ecopetrol recognizes in its reports that departments like the Guajira, of 900 thousand inhabitants, do not receive even a single drop of fuel is more than enough to verify that from the neighboring country the contraband of hydrocarbons (and the production of drugs) is promoted, In the same way, own calculations, based on official information, to which I have had access, account for the fact that to the North of Santander enter, every month, from the Táchira state, at least 60 million liters of fuel.

This represents annual losses for the Venezuelan nation of 480 million dollars that go only by the state Táchira, in the case of Zulia state these figures could be tripled.

Every time that Venezuela has wanted to attack the scourge of fuel smuggling, the Colombian State has been in charge of boycotting these attempts.

During the last quarter of 2016, the government of Nicolas Maduro presented several proposals to wrest this market from the criminal groups: it was proposed to sell the fuel, in pesos, and directly to Ecopetrol or, failing that, to the companies that Ecopetrol decided, also it was considered to allow the passage of vehicles, with Colombian registration to Venezuelan territory, specifically to service stations of Ureña and San Antonio del Táchira, so that they could supply directly and without intermediaries, for this the Venezuelan government reopened the border for the passage vehicular

These attempts to reactivate formal trade between both countries were rejected by Colombia, in the first case it delayed the contacts that were made, in the second case it decided, with the silence of the media, to close the border for motor vehicles, it is To say that he preferred illegality to continue making his own. All with the aim of helping the drug cartels, bleed the economy and the productive apparatus of the neighboring country.

The same happens with the arbitrary depreciation of the currency, where undoubtedly our economic authorities also have responsibility: In the last 10 years the exchange houses posted in Colombian territory, especially in the North of Santander, have achieved that the sovereign bolivar of 2019 is worth 9.6 billion times less than the bolivar at the beginning of 2009. Recognized and impartial organizations such as ECLAC have warned that there is an artificial alteration of the border exchange market that affects, with special emphasis, the Venezuelan economy.

put a stop to the illegality that is doing so much damage to the formal economy on both sides of the border? by this I mean not only the contraband but also the gross manipulation of the bolivar that has paralyzed any binational private initiative.

Until a few years ago formal trade between Venezuela and Colombia was at least 7 billion dollars, to date that formal trade does not even reach 500 million dollars, do you really want to help us, not only Venezuelans, but also their own fellow citizens who in the poor neighborhoods of Cúcuta have equal or worse needs than their Venezuelan counterparts?

Colombia, as has been announced by some well-known media in the continent, and as different spokesmen have been declaring, has been the hinge in the strategy used to try to leave Maduro. A good part of the contact meetings have been held in Bogotá, where it operates, within the facilities of the Congress of the Republic, with all the logistical and economic support the impostor ” Supreme Court in Exile “, also from Colombia has been created the lobby to gather failed members of the Venezuelan opposition with characters like Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo or Jhon Bolton, this work has been done by the New Granadaan Embassy in the US, at the hands of Francisco Santos, with the support of the senator (former political rival of Trump) Marcos Rubio.

The new ambassador of Colombia in the US, is a confessed paramilitary, member of the wealthy Santos family, owner of the influential newspaper El Tiempo and the magazine Semana. This character, who is accused by the Colombian prosecutor’s office, is the promoter of the Capital Bloc, also called the Death Squads of the AUC in the city of Bogotá, recently appeared, very “good-natured” he, in the middle of the border giving hugs everywhere “Pacho” as you are known, was Vice President of the Republic in the second term of Alvaro Uribe Velez and is the cousin of former President Juan Manuel Santos and gave him the toupee, in his first official intervention as a diplomat, to ensure that it should be considered ” The military option against Venezuela . ”

He also stands out for being a member of the traditional political oligarchy (his paternal grandfather was President of the Republic) that has flowed very well within the rising narco-paramilitary bourgeoisie led by Uribe. Hence the political power that has and the ability to rub shoulders with many of those who pull the strings in Washington.

The strategic importance of Táchira
The Táchira state and the southern zone of Lake Maracaibo represent a great weak point for Venezuela, not only because of its geographical position, vulnerable to any invasion that can easily lead to the ” liberation ” of important cities such as San Cristóbal, Mérida or Maracaibo , but because of the permanent collapse in the management of government, namely mainly fuel shortages, domestic gas and continuous power outages.

The media of the neighboring country also play their role, maintain a discursive line of attack and hatred towards Venezuela, this is nothing new, since anti-Neoliberalism was seen from the time of the fourth Republic, as well as from Venezuela, anti-Colombianism was promoted, also mention the permanence and dominance of territories by groups outside the law and the absorption of thousands of people into the criminal economy that moves around smuggling and that it would seem, before the pauperization of the Venezuelan salary, lead us to all border inhabitants, directly or indirectly there.

All these mixed variables generate the breeding ground to keep a community not only annoying, but with positions very close to fascism:

It is common to hear ordinary citizens openly expressing opinions that mix visceral hatred towards everything that smacks of chavism or left, with positions in favor of military invasion and a jingoism that completely clashes with the previous.

San Cristóbal with its 350 thousand inhabitants is the most opposition state capital of Venezuela, becoming to today a true antichavism stronghold. The destruction, violence, deaths and backwardness generated in 2014 by the guarimbas instead of wearing down the opposition support has impelled it to continue on the rise.

The former city of cordiality was completely dominated by mercenary groups that established a true curfew for more than a month, several people died trying to go to a hospital, dozens of vehicles were burned, public facilities suffered the same fate and Anarchy reigned, all this in the name of ” freedom “.

That same year the mayor of the city Daniel Ceballos was removed from his post, among other crimes he was accused of instigating hatred. Immediately dismissed the CNE carries out a new electoral process, in the process the wife of former Mayor Ceballos, without having the slightest experience and being a stranger in the political arena, swept 89,000 votes, exceeding the vote obtained by her husband a few months ago.

The message that gave the majority of the people of San Cristobal with this accolade to the disaster of the Ceballos was more guarimbas , in 2016, 2017 and 2018 the destruction was repeated. Today the city is in apathy, while the mass continues to cry out for violence.

It is not by chance that the city of Cúcuta, located just one hour from San Cristóbal, has been chosen for the entry of the ” humanitarian aid “, it is not coincidental that we talk about using the San Antonio del Táchira-Ureña axis when it is in this space that the illegal armed groups close to Uribismo have a greater presence.

Between Táchira state and Norte de Santander there are five legal border crossings, all bridges, and at least 70 illegal crossings or trails. Of the five legal steps four are open for the pedestrian crossing, remember that Colombia since 2016 does not allow vehicular movement, and one, the International Bridge of Tienditas, located between Ureña and San Antonio, is completely closed because it was completed already about three years, but it has not been officially inaugurated. Precisely on this international bridge was created an endless fake news or false news that gave him and continue to go around the world.

The International Bridge of Tienditas and humanitarian aid
As already said, the International Bridge of Tienditas was world news through false information; no wonder, the scenario that has been mounted against Venezuela is saturated with many of these, some in favor and others against, seem to want to lead us to hatred and violence through the most absurd irrationality.

In the last 15 days a broad opinion matrix was placed to testify that the arrival of US troops stationed in the frontier line for the invasion, war tanks, warplanes and even aircraft carriers were already a few kilometers from Venezuela, At the same time, the adviser Jhon Bolton left in his agenda the supposed delivery of 5 thousand troops to Colombia. The invasion was imminent, a couple of hours. There was also talk of Russian planes with capacity for 500 passengers who had landed urgently to get the President, Ministers and others out of the country, everything turned out to be a farce to demoralize the Chavista mass.

The arrival of humanitarian aid for the ” starving people of Venezuela ” was also announced with great fanfare , in the words of Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States. This humanitarian aid, which breaks with the basic principles to be considered as such by the International Red Cross and the UN itself, had a huge impact through the media, as happened with politicians and even Presidents of the member countries of the Group of Lima.

However, there was talk of the arrival of food and medicine in Cúcuta, but the amounts that arrived were rarely mentioned.

In total there were 90 tons, including food and medicines, which arrived in two trucks and seven trucks.

This amount is insignificant to meet the 250 thousand people who said they were going to benefit at first, because they only reach for the misfortune of a maximum of 6 thousand families, they would also be insufficient to cover the Pedro María Ureña and Bolívar municipalities (San Antonio del Táchira), since both territories bordering the city of Cúcuta have at least 30 thousand families.

Just to finish demonstrating the show that has been mounted around a clearly provocative action, the Venezuelan government, through the Local Supply and Production Committee, distributed in January and so far from February 2019 a total of 5000 tons of food, only for the state Táchira, and even then the amounts to be distributed are insufficient to benefit all Andean families.

So, the gigantic deployment of the media to cover the arrival of food in Colombian territory was and is another way of fabricating false news that is intermingled with half truths.

It is important to note that the objective is not only to create a stir through rumors or exaggerations, but, in this case, to mobilize thousands of Venezuelans who, believing in good faith in the vaunted humanitarian aid, go to the International Bridge of Tents to press and provoke the government and the Bolivarian National Armed Force. To give continuity to the show, a concert has been called with recognized international artists, very concerned about Venezuela, as anguished as Pence, Pompeo, Duque or Trump.

The Venezuela Aid Live concert as a prelude to an unprecedented provocation
To complete the scene, multimillionaire Richard Branson offered to organize a concert, but not before guaranteeing juicy contracts from the “new” government for his already bulging coffers, during the activity will also be present the President of Chile Sebastian Piñera, about the latter the Chilean Senator Alejandro Navarro has said an undeniable truth about the strange good intentions of the President of the southern nation:

” For Piñera it’s just a business trip. He is a born investor, he is used to seeing opportunities in any crisis. An eventual US invasion of Venezuela and the possibility of defeat of President Maduro, would give him the opportunity he has always sought: buy cheap and sell expensive. It is not just oil, it is also the privatization of Venezuelan public companies, which has many millionaires pending what will happen in Venezuela ”

This concert, called Venezuela Aid Live, in reference to the simultaneous concerts held in the United States and England in July 1985 to help alleviate the effects of the drought in Ethiopia and Somalia, will attract thousands of people eclipsed by the popularity of the participants. and because of the huge media that surrounds it (MTV Latin America will broadcast the live concert).

This event will be used by Iván Duque, President of Colombia to formally deliver the aid to the large group of Venezuelans who will attend, accompanied by Guaidó, who with the face of tormented despair and impotent pain will implore for the saving hand of Trump, USAID, Duke and a long etcetera.

The deputy Guaidó announced his presence in the area, for which he will be mobilized escorted by supporters from Caracas. It is the task of the National Government to prevent its objectives from being achieved. Otherwise, they will achieve their first objective: Declare Táchira as a “liberated” space, we hope this is not the case.

As little is known about the event to be held this Friday, it will serve as a prelude to the passage of the 90 tons of food that will be transported to Venezuelan territory on Saturday morning. For this, the Venezuelan opposition claims to have more than 700,000 volunteers as well as a large team of firefighters, doctors, nutritionists and specialists in the area. The final destination of the shipment is unknown, in case it crosses the border, it is believed that the bulk of the medicines would arrive at the Central Hospital of San Cristóbal. Hermeticism reigns in these details, the organizers themselves have refused to offer statements that commit them.

The Bolivarian National Armed Forces have repeatedly stated that they will not allow the violation of our territorial sovereignty, something that, in honor of the truth, can hardly be fulfilled. Although the Venezuelan-Colombian border, including the trails, will be widely guarded that and the days after, the military troops must avoid, at all costs, falling into provocations.

In recent days, on the occasion of the caravan of Central American migrants traveling to American lands, President Donald Trump said without the slightest scruple that ” I give the order (to the military forces) to use lethal force, in case of be necessary “, such a threat, completely violating human rights, passed without penalty or glory through the media, governments (including Central Americans) and multilateral organizations. Nobody even flinched.

The Government of Venezuela in the hands of President Nicolas Maduro can not, and should not, apply the same strategy. Unfortunately, the only tool that armed force would have to repel the unbridled attempt of thousands of people who, with violence included, will pretend to pass the so-called humanitarian aid is through the use of force, and that is precisely what they will be waiting for. the US hawks and the media to replicate to the whole world that “from Venezuela, peaceful volunteers were being slaughtered, crying out for humanitarian aid.”

This scenario would be the most catastrophic for the country, easily and with this pretext it could be invaded militarily to the state Táchira, turning it into a kind of Venezuelan Bengasi as it has been warning, the rest, in case of giving that real and latent possibility and we know : fragmentation of the homeland, annihilation, looting and destruction.

Manos Fuera de Venezuela and the role of the Chavista people
In response, the Venezuelan Government has announced the holding of a concert called ” Manos Fuera de Venezuela “, which will also be the prelude to the delivery of 20,000 CLAP boxes, that is, 300 tons of food, to families from Norte de Santander, in a kind of game: ” if you violate my territorial sovereignty I also violate your sovereignty “.

Initially the celebration of this concert was scheduled for the Simón Bolívar International Bridge, which is 6.5 kilometers away, in a straight line from the Venezuela Aid Live event, however at the last minute, and for reasons that I do not know, the event was changed to the Venezuelan side of the Tienditas bridge, that is, about 500 meters from the Colombian activity.

In particular, and taking into account that I know the terrain, its environment and the need not to fall into the trap of the enemy, I consider that having mobilized the concert for the same place as those who intend to violate our sovereignty is a serious risk.

In 2002 President Hugo Chávez was deposed from power, for 48 hours, thanks to a false positive. Repeatedly, media outlets from around the world recorded in images “groups of revolutionaries firing at the peaceful protesting crowd”, the scenario served to justify the coup d’état, the persecution of members of Chavez and even the brief dictatorship.

On this occasion, something similar is being sought, the self-proclaimed Juan Guaidó has openly stated that ” they have nothing to lose “, in a scenario of violence, and that the dead there are “not a cost but an investment in the future .”

It is up to the Chavism not to step on the comb, falling into the trap of the enemy would be devastating. If Guaidó was a politician and not a puppet of Trump, he would also seek wisdom and understanding for the good of the country, but the submission that shows towards the interests of the United States, the only one in this game, is more evident. he is interested in violence. They know that the more the dead, the easier it will be for them to appropriate our riches.

Source URL: 15 y Ultimo

Translated by JRE

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