A new U.S. base
Joaquín Rivery Tur
IT is extremely hard to believe the
official version that a new U.S. base in Latin
America, this time in the Chilean Navy’s Fort
Aguayo, could have some mission related to peace in
this country, in constant agitation due to social
protests against the neoliberal measures of the
government of President Sebastián Piñera.
It is not the first time that Fort Aguayo
has served U.S. interests in Chile.
Coming after the loss of a military
presence in Venezuela and the closure of its Manta
airbase in Ecuador, within a Latin America steadily
more politically homogenous, of more independent
peoples with constitutional governments, the U.S.
construction of a base in Chile has a negative
impact; far more given that its financing, amounting
to $500,000, came from the repudiated Southern
Command of the U.S. Army.
The United States was in a hurry,
because the facility – for training soldiers
specializing in city operations – was completed in
record time in Concón, Valparaiso. The works,
estimated to take six months, were undertaken in 60
Chilean civil society has denounced
what it considers the real objective of the supposed
military college: a center for training future
repressors and torturers. The first protest has
already taken place, organized by a group of social
movements: the Valparaiso Relatives of Executed
Politicians, Talca municipality, Observers for the
Closure of the School of the Americas, the Martin
Luther King Ecumenical Community, and the Valparaiso
Human Rights Committee.
The scandal came to light in a
document sent to these groups, which criticizes
President Piñera’s government for having authorized
the Military Operations on Urban Terrain (MOUT) base
in Concón, where the repressive troops of the
continent will supposedly be trained to execute
operations for maintaining the peace or civil
stability, as the U.S. embassy in Santiago de Chile
The condemning organizations
emphasize that this military base "violates our
sovereignty by allowing the military forces of
another nation to operate in our territory."
Chilean anger likewise extends to
the armed forces’ possible intervention in social
conflicts, reviving the celebrated doctrine of
national security, with its belief in an enemy
within which these armed forces must combat.
According to the U.S. official
version, the facility is for the training of "UN
peacekeeping forces," but coincidentally, its
construction is part of the U.S. Southern Command,
in an attempt to recover its lost influence south of
the Rio Bravo.
During U.S. Defense Secretary and
former CIA director León Panetta visit to Chile,
Alicia Lira, president of the Valparaiso Relatives
of Executed Politicians group, affirmed, "We will
not allow this fort to be converted into the first
attempt on the part of the United States to install
military bases in our country, as it has done in
Honduras, Colombia and other nations in the region,
even if they come with a United Nations cover."
The media reported that during
operational maneuvers in Concón, carabineros
(Chilean military police) "mixed their known attire
with military uniforms, according to photographs
published on the Southern Command website and video
footage appeared where members of the Investigations
Police (essentially dedicated to intelligence) can
be seen participating in the training session,
another aspect rejected by the Chilean population."
A blogger commented that the
principal problem he sees "is that they are giving
military training to the police so that they can
confront citizens. Thus, in the future, it won’t be
necessary to get the military onto the streets,
because they are already going to be patrolling,
disguised as carabineros."
Colombian Senator Jorge Enrique
Robledo noted that U.S. government records
concerning the Málaga, Larandia and Tolemaida bases
in his country, state that they are making
investments of a distinct type: 126 contracts to a
value of approximately $12-13 million.
In a document titled "Colombia-U.S.
Military Relations, the Colombian Congress member
writes that "sovereignty over these bases has been
lost, because they are part of the U.S. strategy for
the control of the Americas and the world."
Returning to Fort Aguayo, this is not the first time
that it has been used to extend U.S. interests in
Chile. In 2003, the base housing the 2nd Marine
Detachment, described as the best trained in the
Chilean Navy, was used to recruit aspirants for
private security detachments run by the U.S.
Blackwater company in Iraq.
Fort Aguayo trains soldiers from
various Latin American countries and is to be used
for five sessions during 2012.
The center’s Chilean director, Ship
Captain Claudio Zanetti boasted, "We all know the
realities of South America and Chile has always had
good relations with the United States, and they know
that an investment here will be to the benefit of
what they are looking for."
This is the essence of the issue,
Chilean forces with a fascist ideology are
facilitating the training of future repressors and
torturers. In any event, the U.S. MOUT base is
already a reality and will bring no good to Chile
and Our America.