The Real Reason for US Aid to Colombia 

The Real Reason for US Aid to Colombia 
Posted by FoM on April 08, 2000 at 09:58:34 PT
By Michael T. Klare
Source: MoJoWire
The Clinton administration is pitching its proposed $1.6 billion gift to the Colombian military as a way to stem the flow of cocaine to the US; but it's got just as much to do with ensuring that another Colombian export -- oil -- keeps coming. 
In the biggest step-up in US military aid to Latin America since the Reagan era, the Clinton administration is preparing to provide Colombia with $1.6 billion in helicopters, communications gear, combat training, and other forms of assistance. All this aid is supposed to strengthen Colombia's capacity to fight narcotics traffickers and the leftist guerrillas who protect them. But there is another, hidden objective -- to protect US access to the largest untapped pool of petroleum in the Western Hemisphere. US interest in Colombia's drug production is well known. Government sources claim that Colombian traffickers supply as much as 90 percent of the cocaine flowing into the United States, plus a large proportion of the heroin sold in the eastern third of the country. Far less known is Colombia's role in satisfying America's vast and growing petroleum habit. According to the US Department of Energy, US oil consumption rose by 15 percent between 1990 and 1999, rising from 17 to 19.5 million barrels per day. During the same period, Colombia's oil production rose by about 78 percent, with most of the added amount going to the United States, making it, today, the nation's seventh largest supplier of oil. But US strategic calculations are more concerned with the future. US consumption is expected to rise by another 5 million barrels per day over the next twenty years, and most of this oil will have to come from foreign sources. These quantities could easily be provided by the Persian Gulf countries, especially such petro giants as Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. However, US strategists are reluctant to increase America's dependence on the unstable (and increasingly unfriendly) states of the Middle East -- and so seek more accessible suppliers. This is where Colombia and neighboring Venezuela enter the picture. Although Colombia's current production is dwarfed by the petro giants, the country is believed to possess 2.6 billion barrels of untapped petroleum and perhaps ten times this amount in possible reserves. Venezuela is even more richly endowed, with 73 billion barrels in proven reserves. Since the Gulf War of 1991, US leaders have moved to increase the importance of Western Hemisphere oil. "We are undergoing a fundamental shift in our reliance on imported oil away from the Middle East," the White House noted in a May 1997 report on national security policy. Noting that Venezuela is the number one foreign supplier and that " ... Venezuela and Colombia are each undertaking new oil production ventures," the report called access to these supplies a "vital interest" of the United States. This has significant security implications. Once a source of oil is designated a "vital interest," it becomes incumbent on Washington to assure the long-term safety of these supplies. In the past, this has often entailed direct intervention by US forces or providing military aid to friendly governments. In calling for stepped-up aid to the Colombian military, US officials have stressed the need to go after leftist guerrillas said to provide protection for drug traffickers. Rarely mentioned, however, is the fact that the guerrillas are also attacking US oil interests in Colombia, especially pipelines. In 1999, for example, the pipeline from the Cano Limon field -- operated by US-based Occidental Petroleum Co. and Royal Dutch/Shell -- was bombed 79 times. In fact, a key element of the guerrillas' stated program is to expel foreign interests and use future oil profits to improve the lot of Colombia's impoverished masses. All this raises important questions about the aims of the aid program. The $1.6 billion is described as a one-time "emergency" measure, intended to tip the scales on the narcotics battlefield in the government's favor. But it is very doubtful that this amount -- five times the size of previous allotments -- will make a lasting difference, and additional infusions of US aid will be needed in the future. When we add Colombian oil supplies to the strategic equation, it is apparent that we are talking about a very extended future indeed. Given the risk that this military aid package will lead to protracted and expanding involvement in Colombia's messy conflicts, it is essential that the administration and the various pro-aid factions in Congress be more forthcoming about America's long-term interests in Colombia. If increasing our dependence on Colombian oil means expanding our involvement in that country's internal wars, we may be better off looking elsewhere for our future oil requirements. This article originally appeared in Pacific News Service. More Money for Colombian Thugs The Enemy is The US April 7, 2000Foundation for National ProgressRelated Articles:People Suffer with Colombia Antidrug Campaign Plan Sets Off Furor in Colombia Articles On Colombia Over 200 Items: 
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Comment #3 posted by mungojelly on April 09, 2000 at 11:21:27 PT:
give us your impoverished masses... 
"In fact, a key element of the guerrillas' stated program is to expel foreign interests and use future oil profits to improve the lot of Colombia's impoverished masses." -- impoverished masses?! Now there's someone who needs to be shot dead! Right, America? The only truly moral thing for the citizens of Columbia to do is stop growing crops that will make them money, stop fighting for the profits from their own natural resources, & just drop over dead. We promise, once they're all dead, we'll stop trying to shoot at them. 
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Comment #2 posted by dddd on April 08, 2000 at 13:11:07 PT
It's true.This 1.7 billion "aid package",has more to do with securing the interests of big oil bogarts,than the drug thing. But this way they can kill two,or three birds with one stone.1.They will make it appear as if they care about the drug "problem"...2.They will gain favor with the governing regime in Columbia,and further the acceptance of American oil interests,who will be sucking them dry...3.They will make military contractors happy with piles of cash to party with,(I was going to say it would make jobs here in the U.S.,but I wouldnt be suprised if most of the parts for these helicopters are now made in China.)... The Kaptin mentioned;"your kids might needto get some Berlitz tapes."....I hate to think what kind of world a person will be facing 30 or 40 years from now. It may sound strange,,,but the way things are going,it makes me kinda glad I'm old............dddd
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on April 08, 2000 at 10:25:37 PT:
More meat for the grinders, more blood 
for the 'pudding'. And anyone who has lived in the country knows that 'pudding' is made from something else you probably wouldn't eat if you knew its' contents. I am being intentionally gross, here. Because if enough people wake up, maybe we can avoid the real thing coming home in those neat rubberized bags.The only problem I have ever had with the idea of an All-Volunteer military (and I am proud to have served, mind you) is that it is too easy to involve it in foreign policy idiocy like the proposed Colombia Plan. The politicians huff and bluster, the President connives behind the backs of the people, and our protectors, our guardians, are sent to spill their blood on foreign soil. And for what? Big Business. Specifically, Big Oil. It seems that the only people who seem to get worried when our government gets a wild hair where the sun don't shine and wants to go kick over somebody else's applecart, are the families of the servicemen, and old farts like me.But, folks, if some of you reading this are kicking back, doing bongrips and thinking you're safe, remember this: for you guys, remember when you had to 'register'? You know, you turn eighteen, truck on down to the Post Office and register for a non-existant 'draft'? "Just in case' they told you. Uh-huh. When they called out the Reserves and the National Guard for the Gulf War, they still wanted more bodies in uniform. Guess how they were planning to get them?How's you Espanol, amigos? If people don't start working to defeat these proposals, your kids might need to get some Berlitz tapes.
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