The political purpose of the Pompeo blitz visit was clear. Although a defeat of Donald Trump in next November’s presidential election cannot be predicted as certain, the US president running for re-election is between 5 and 10 percent behind his Democratic challenger Joe Biden. So the Trump administration, burdened by declining popularity (August 2020: 42 percent), fled into the oft-proven dialectical trick of foreign policy as a means of compensating domestic policy, garnering approval from Trump-friendly, right-wing to fascist governments, most notably the Bolsonaro regime. With newly-fired statements about the long-threatened overthrow of the government of Nicole Maduro in Venezuela and equally heated attacks against Russia and China, the firmness of the backyard allies should be demonstrated. The target of Pompeo’s attacks was to serve the domestic political clientele, especially the 32 million potential Latino community in the US, whose younger, especially the third generation of far-right exile Cubans turns their backs on the unscrupulous social, educational, and cultural policies of the Republican elite and drifts to the political center and to the left.
“Penalty actions” and economic capture of the Caribbean
At first, Pompeo’s attacks were purely electoral tactics, and the former CIA chief, dressed as the secretary of state, used the favor of the hour to unabashedly mobilize imperial economic interests and expand military power. The discovery of vast oil reserves in Guyana – a poor former British colony predicted to lead global economic growth by 85 percent and a huge gap in 2020 – stimulates the appetite of the US big oil.
But similarly, Guyana’s dispute with Venezuela over the affiliation of the Esequibo border territory prompted a sudden US military capture of Guyana, whose humble naval force was forced to perform as demonstrative and ridiculous maneuvers with the US Navy off the coast of Venezuela “against the drug smuggling of the Maduro dictatorship” during the Pompeo visit; a coercion that can culminate in the establishment of a US military base and, with the existing military bases in Colombia and the concession of the Alcantara space base by the Bolsonaro regime, is carrying out the entire military encirclement of Venezuela.
If Donald Trump’s 2016 election victory signaled the revival of the Cold War in the Caribbean, his renewed candidacy demonstrates a willingness to launch an “all or nothing” offensive. Its spearhead is aimed at the ouster of China as a leading trade and investment partner in Latin America, as well as Russia as a provider of military technology and advice, staged by all, including military means.
In Suriname, China was targeted by Pompeo. With neoliberal militancy, he called on his government to work with US and non-Chinese companies. No state-owned company is able to “exceed the product quality and services of private American companies. We have seen the Chinese Communist Party investing in countries. At first, everything seems great, and then everything collapses when the political costs involved become clear,” Pompeo said in a conversation with newly elected Suriname President Chan Santokhi.
Then the former CIA chief – known for his confession “we lied to the CIA, cheated and stole” – divided against Russia, Cuba, and Iran. The three countries would exert a “malicious influence” on Venezuela, the US secretary of state insinuated. The anti-Russian militancy of the State Department in the Caribbean started in 2018 with sanctions against Jamaica and Guyana and was continued again as a follow-up to the Presidential election of March 2020 against Guyana. In the first case, the sanctions were directed against the presence of russian mining company Rusal, which in Guyana owns 90 percent of Guyana Inc’s Berbice-based Aroaima Bauxite Company and has a majority stake in Jamaica’s Windalco operation, whose Ewarton refinery processes Bauxit into higher-value alumina, which supplies Russia and other overseas markets.
But Pompeo, the CIA, the Pentagon, and U.S. alt-rights are a thorn in the side of Russian-made military shielding technology in Venezuela.
“Let’s get him out of there” …
“We’re going to kick him out of there!” the Head of the State Department, accompanied by his Brazilian colleague Ernesto Ara’jo, chanted with a new call to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicole Maduro. Among the brachial staging was the threat that the US would not recognize, even boycott, the Venezuelan parliamentary elections scheduled for next December; a battle devise, which Bolsonaro joined uninvited.
Pompeo could have said that in Brasilia, but he did so in Roraima, in Brazil’s border with Venezuela, with a barely discreet allusion to the role of the Bolsonaro regime as a watchdog and outsourced aggressor. Although discarded by u.S. forces and therefore of little more than symbolic value, two days earlier, a few dozen U.S. tanks had been unloaded in the southern Brazilian port of Paranagu. The gift was apparently intended to recall Bolsonaro’s promise to “out” Nicole Maduro, which has been without consequences for more than a year.
A refugee camp of Maduro opponents in Roraima’s state capital, Boa Vista, served as the stage for Pompeo’s appearance. The head of the State Department was photographed for media ization of refugee families and then fired threatening warnings in Venezuelan direction, such as “Venezuela provides shelter for terrorists,” which he then repeated in Colombia. “Departure from Boa Vista. The United States is a long-standing partner and friend of the Brazilian people. We are neighbors, and what happens to one affects us all,” Pompeo tweeted on September 19. Pompeo doesn’t want to say the phrase “Let’s get him out of there.” That may be a translation error, but what he wants to say “I can’t remember,” Trump’s secretary of state said.
Wheels up from Boa Vista. The United States is a long-standing partner and friend to the people of Brazil. We are neighbors, and what happens to one affects us all. pic.twitter.com/7hFTLQANgi— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 19, 2020
Pompeo in Roraima and Venezuela’s missiles aimed at Manaus
The three-hour trip was described as a scandal by critical media and opposition politicians in Brazil. Former President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva said that the US should “keep its nose out of Latin American affairs.” Marcelo Zero, a columnist close to the Workers' Party (PT), wrote, “Trump’s UNITED States, supported by its regional watchdogs Bolsonaro and Araujo, prefers to bet against the viability of the peaceful and constitutional path with the destabilization of the Maduro government by violent, conventional, or hybrid war violence. Pompeo’s visit is a blow to our sovereignty under these conditions.”
Weapons and logistics expert Paulo José Jarava even demonstrated the Casus Belli and the double humiliation:
“The government of Nicole Maduro not only closed the borders with Brazil and placed troops and tanks next to barricades, but also switched on the Russian S-300 VM surface-to-air missile system, which is barely 11 kilometers from Pacaraima in Roraima. The radars of this Russian system are very powerful and in practice form a no-fly zone with a radius of 300 km. This radius reaches Boa Vista (RR) and Manaus (AM) airports. The latter is the location of the Base of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), where the 12 Russian MiG-35s are also the only attack helicopters in Brazil, along with Super-Tucanos. The mobilization of Maduro’s forces means that they already control movements of the Brazilian air force and army on the border; including the famous Jungle Battalion in Manaus, which could be transported by newly built Helibras helicopters. In practice, almost all air traffic via Manaus and Boa Vista is controlled by Maduro. It’s a tremendous humiliation.'