War-Mongering US Military Has Surrounded Brazil, Says Brazilian Analyst

    For over 50 years, Brazilian retired professor Luiz Alberto Moniz Bandeira has studied the United States. In a recent interview he talked about the 6,300 American soldiers he says undertook operations in the Amazon region between 2001 and 2002.

    The details are in the professor’s most recent book, "Building the American Empire: From the Spanish-American War to Iraq" ( Formação do Império Americano. Da guerra contra a Espanha à guerra do Iraque).

    What do you think about the US presence in South America?

    Moniz Bandeira: The fact is that the US has been circling Brazil for a number of years.

    With military bases?

    Moniz Bandeira: Military bases, yes. There is the Manta base in Ecuador, along with others in Peru and in Bolivia. Some of the bases are permanent, while others are for temporary occupation.

    An example of the latter is the base in Paraguay, which is not exactly a base; it’s really just a huge airstrip that is bigger than Galeão (the international airport in Rio de Janeiro, which has the biggest landing strip in Brazil with 4,240 meters).

    Now there are reports of 400 American soldiers in Paraguay where they are holding joint military exercises near the border with Brazil and other areas. There are three curious things about this, that raise suspicions.

    First, the concession of immunity to American soldiers [by Paraguay]. Second, the Donald Rumsfeld visit to Assunción. And, third, the fact that vice president Dick Cheney had a private meeting with the President of Paraguay [Nicanor Duarte] when the latter was in the US. So, just what does Paraguay mean to the US? This is very disturbing for Mercosur.

    Some analysts say that nowadays Paraguay is playing the role of US ally that was once played by Argentina, under president Carlos Menem, and then Uruguay, under Jorge Batlle.

    Moniz Bandeira: Yes, that is what they tried to do in Argentina with Menen, and later in Uruguay with Batlle. Now they want to manipulate Paraguay. It is a delicate situation. Paraguay is weak.

    As a matter of fact, if Brazil cracked down on smuggling across the border with Paraguay that country’s economy would collapse because most of its exports consist of contraband goods that go to Brazil.

    Officially 30% of Paraguayan exports go to Brazil, but in reality it is more like 60%. [Landlocked] Paraguay also depends on export corridors to the Brazilian ports of Santos, Paranaguá and Rio Grande. Paraguay is a country with a lot of difficulties that is out of its depth [in its relationship with the US].

    Countries have an obligation to see their own limitations and understand power relationships as they really are. Paraguay is not viable without Brazil and Argentina. Argentina stands with Brazil on this issue. Argentina is not interested in seeing Paraguay used as a tool by the US to harm Mercosur.

    Exactly where are the American soldiers who have surrounded Brazil, forming what you call a "belt" ( "cinturão") around Brazil?

    Moniz Bandeira: They occupy an area extending from Guiana into Colombia… Most of them are not uniformed soldiers, but employees of what are known as private sector military companies. The Pentagon has been outsourcing war operations since the 1990s.

    These private military contractors have been playing an important role in military operations exactly because they are outside restrictions imposed by the US Congress.

    They pilot airplanes in Iraq, for example. They do everything, even torture people. They are outside the law. [One of the best known military contractors is "Blackwater". It advertises the following services: "Basic and Advanced Law Enforcement and Military Training; Design and Operation of Law Enforcement, Counterterrorism, and Military Training Facilities; Counterterrorism, Antiterrorism, and Force Protection Programs; Humanitarian, Peacekeeping, and Stability Operations; Military Transformation Programs; High-threat Security Operations (Ambassadors, Generals, CEOs, etc.); High-value Asset Security and Threat Assessment; Fixed and Rotary-wing Aviation Operations and Logistics Programs; Training Doctrine and Policy Development; Foreign Internal Defense Missions"]

    Are there secret operations?

    Moniz Bandeira: Yes, but that is another story. However, it is possible to get information about these things. If you read the newspapers, sometimes there is something about an American plane being intercepted in Brazil as it was flying from Bolivia to Paraguay clandestinely. This is information that can be found in various places.

    Why are American military personnel in South America?

    Moniz Bandeira: There are many reasons. One of them is the vicious cycle formed by the US industrial-military complex, or war industry. The bases cost money, they need supplies so the Pentagon needs a big budget because of the bases and the supplies.

    The war industry is a big part of the US economy and as its products are used – supplying bases around the world – more orders come in. It is a vicious cycle. Now the best market for military equipment is a war. So the US has a vested interest in promoting wars.

    Some regions of the US depend heavily on military contracts. There is a symbiotic relationship between the war industry and the state. The state finances the war industry and the war industry needs the state to use up its production.

    Is there any strategical reason involving natural resources for the American military presence in South America?

    Moniz Bandeira: The Andean countries [in a strict geographical sense, the Andes extend 8,900 kilometers from the tip of Chile to the border of Panama and would include Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. However, as a political unit, the Andean group consists of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela] supply 25% of the petroleum consumed in the US.

    Venezuela alone supplies 15% of US consumption. On one hand, the Americans would like to remove the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez. But on the other hand, they know that would cause a civil war [in Venezuela] pushing the price of a barrel of petroleum up to US$ 200.

    Agência Brasil

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    • Show Comments (11)

    • Guest

      Opposing American Tyranny
      There are a couple of ways of viewing the USA, either of which are equally apt. First, as a nation which ceased being a democracy at the time when the American military-industrial complex effectively siezed power… and is now a virtual fascist state. Second, as a nation that resembles nothing else so much as a Mafia, that cares for nothing except power and money. Both fascism and criminality (economic, social and environmental) have now reached a zenith with BushCheney and their disgusting neo-conservative cadre, ever-supported by a putrid, paid-off media cartel.

      All of the nations and peoples of South and Central America, together with Mexicans and Canadians – and progressive Americans – need to unite in cooperation to work to defeat this world-destroying enemy.

    • Guest

      Saddened
      The US is building military bases in South America to eventually control what they see as “unruly” continent. Can one doubt, in light of Bush, Cheney, rapicious American corporations and the evil that has become the United States, that this is the plan. I predict Bolivia first.

      Welcome to BushWorld!

    • Guest

      The Observer
      I will not get into this petty Brazilian politics and am merely trying to think of the Best interest of Brazil.

      I am just giving my opinion as a free person living in an open free democracy so I do not want to get into the technicalites of the politics in South America because we will just go round and round with not end.

      All i am basically saying it that Brazil has to think of its own interest or what is best for its people the rest will have to be done by people who live in Brazil as you elected your Governement in the first place.

      Good Luck

    • Guest

      Cuba has a U.S. military base ??????
      DEAD WRONG !

      Guantanamo is not considered part of Cuba for the last 40 years or so, even if the land in on Cuba territory.

      That is not the case with ALL U.S. military bases in South American countries.

      Pease review your copy.

    • Guest

      The Observer
      These comments are interesting and valid but i do think that at the end of the day Brazil should promote policies which are in the best interest of its complete citizens and should address these injustices which are embarrassing.

      The Government should get rid of all the Red Tape which is hindering Brazil’s development and also root out all the institutionalized corruption from Top to Bottom and promote an open and fair democracy for all. Can’t the Brazilian Government commisson an Anti – Corruption Commission so they can discuss these issues and how to detect and elimite it?

      With regard to Human Rights Issuses, The Federal Police should be completely reformed because they do not know how to deal with their citizens in a humane manner and appear to act as a law onto themselves.The police need to be trained to deal with the general public with respect, and this respect should be earned, e.g show respect – get respect back.

      On this matter of America? If Brazil wants to be in Americas shaddow then so be it but it will be to the detriment of the Brazilian people.

      Anyway lets hope this Government has opened its eyes and is now looking at the bigger picture?

      People Power – and Respect For Alllllllllllll.

    • Guest

      The Observer
      These comments are interesting and valid but i do think that at the end of the day Brazil should promote policies which are in the best interest of its complete citizens and should address these injustices which are embarrassing.

      The Government should get rid of all the Red Tape which is hindering Brazil’s development and also root out all the institutionalized corruption from Top to Bottom and promote an open and fair democracy for all. Can’t the Brazilian Government commisson an Anti – Corruption Commission so they can discuss these issues and how to detect and elimite it?

      With regard to Human Rights Issuses, The Federal Police should be completely reformed because they do not know how to deal with their citizens in a humane manner and appear to act as a law onto themselves.The police need to be trained to deal with the general public with respect, and this respect should be earned, e.g show respect – get respect back.

      On this matter of America? If Brazil wants to be in Americas shaddow then so be it but it will be to the detriment of the Brazilian people.

      Anyway lets hope this Government has opened its eyes and is now looking at the bigger picture?

      People Power – and Respect For Alllllllllllll.

    • Guest

      The old prof has lost it. But I do love all of the conspiracy theorists. They always have the inside info on private, secret meetings. I see a new Oliver Stone movie in the making. That great strategic paradise of Paraguay is, I’m sure, high on the list of the great imperialist satanic USA.
      If only the imperialists could form an equally stimulating coop with Uruguay, I believe the dreams of world domination would be fulfilled.

      Good reading though, is it a novel?

    • Guest

      Say what?
      Cuba also has an U.S. base, but I don’t think they consider it “friendly…”

    • Guest

      May be the old brazilian specialist prof
      has not seen yet the map of the Brazilian army, showing U.S. military bases.

      Except Brazil, ALL Mercosur countries, “friendliest friends of Brazil”, and ALL South American countries have negotiated U.S. army bases in their countries.

      Has Brazil never yet questioned itself why ALL these countries accepted, sometimes asked for, U.S. military bases ??????

      Well, well, the answer is not in the wrong explanations and analysis of this old brazilian specialist professor. At his age, his brains are sleeping.

    • Guest

      NOOOOOOO !
      U.S. military bases have not been imposed to anyone, but negotiated freely with every receiving country.

      As per the map from the Brazilian Army, except Brazil, ALL south american countries have U.S. bases, negotiated as said earlier.

      So these countries cannot be afraid of the U.S.A, otherwise they would have no U.S. military bases, by definition.

      Therefore THEY are probably afraid of someone else : the largest and most arrogant South American country, Brazil, that may have hidden and untold predatory view.
      Even Argentina and Venezuela have U.S. military bases, as per the Brazilian Army map !
      Uruguay is complaining about U.S. bases in Paraguay, but not about U.S. bases IN their own country !

      Just look today at what Paraguay and Uruguay said in an article that was published in this same site : they are not happy with Brazil and Argentina policies and wish to be closer to the USA proposals.
      Are they not free to choose new friends, when actual friends have betrayed them ?
      Or do you want to impose them your policies ? Great democracts !
      Freedom of choices should be respected.

      But Brazilian laws are unique on earth with their impunity, insecurity, crimes by police and crimes by landowners totally unpunished, vote buying, wealth inequality, tax evasion, lack of basic education, lack of social inclusion, slavery, hunger and under nourrished citizens by the millions and millions while Brazil self proclaims itself as the garden of the world, etc etc !

      Brazil is a tragedy for humanity, a complete failure.

    • Guest

      The Observer
      It would appear that Brazil has now started to open its eyes and has realized that when you start to think about your own the Wolf lifts up its ugly head.

      Anyway better late than never.

      God Bless Brazil

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