South America has established a military and political bloc to oppose NATO. Proponents of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez are going to be supported by Brazil that adopts a reasonable attitude and plays a major role in the region. Officially, the reason for a new bloc was the recent conflict between Ecuador and Columbia. But the actual aim is to weaken the US influence in the region that has been the area of its vital interest for 200 years.
Hugo Chavez made his dream come true and established a military-political bloc aimed to prevent US hegemony in the region. Thus, it is the first time since the end of the Warsaw Pact that a South American Security Council has been created to compete with NATO. Chavez came to an agreement with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Defence Minister Nelson Jobim when they visited Caracas. “We are not obliged to ask for the US license to establish the bloc,” Brazil’s Defence Minister stated.
Interestingly enough, Brazilians themselves initiated ‘the Caracas Pact Organization’. But the idea to oppose NATO was not new: Chavez was the first to suggest it. Not so long ago, he put forward an idea of an alliance of the region’s states into a military bloc on the basis of the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America, or ALBA, that includes Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and some other countries encouraged by Hugo Chavez’s cheap oil and gas for their adherence to the anti-American course.
Currently they associate the South Atlantic Security Council with a regional organization, and it is too early to say that Iran or Belorussia will join it. But this variant is not to be ruled out in the future, for Chavez straightforwardly opposed the South American Security Council to NATO by offering Brazilians to establish “the South Atlantic Treaty Organization as opposed to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization”.
Why does Brazil with such a well-thought-out political course support the world’s major revolutionary Hugo Chavez? Further still, the day coincides with the sixth anniversary of his return to power after the CIA failed military coup against Hugo Chavez. Brazil is known to have the biggest GNP and the greatest influence in the region; that is why it is doubtful that Chavez gained its support by cheap gas and oil alone. Naturally, Brazil could not help but show interest in Caracas’ offer to join to the Trans American gas pipeline that starts in Venezuela, nevertheless, geopolitics is all-important here.
Brazil attempts to prevent Venezuela’s supremacy in the region and at the same time to maintain its influence on the countries of the Caribbean Basin. The matter is that the military-political bloc against North America was founded long ago. Its prototype was the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America, on the basis of which Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador united. Gradually Caracas-supported Argentine became attracted to it with Cuba and Nicaragua to follow. Some other developing countries fell to thinking about supporting Venezuela. As a result, Columbia remained the US only stronghold in the region.
Brazil ’s “in nobody’s favour” policy deprived the country of any allies. But in this case it could lose its influence on the countries that support Chavez.
Another problem Brazil decided to address is regional conflicts, like that in March of 2008 between pro-American Columbia and pro-Chavez Ecuador that nearly resulted in a war. This year in March Columbian army and US green berets invaded Ecuador at short notice. They chased guerillas who were at the same time drug dealers from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) and tried to hide beyond the Ecuador boundary. Several revolutionaries backed up by Ecuador and Venezuela and headed by Chavez’s favourite Raul Reyes were killed. This incident outraged Chavez so greatly that Caracas almost engaged in armed struggle against Bogotá.
Thus, Brazil’s entry into the military-political alliance curbed the influence of anti-American extremists drastically. It impacted on the decision to make the South Atlantic Security Council an advisory, not operational body. That means that even Chavez may not take radical decisions. Besides, integration of South American countries will make it possible to actively develop the production of regional weapons. Being one of the largest weapons producers, Brazil will definitely stand out against the rest of the countries and exert its influence on them.
Brazil believes that the military-political bloc will start its work by late-2008. Apparently, the bloc will comprise 12 member nations of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and will become an influential power in the region. It is worthy of note that even the US stronghold Columbia may join it. The idea is to save pro-American Bogotá from Washington’s influence, simultaneously strip revolutionaries of their trump cards and operate throughout South America.
The USA has been approaching Latin America as an area of its vital interests for almost 200 years. However, the well-known Monroe doctrine has never been abolished. Neither has Simon Bolivar’s will that urged Latin Americans to stick together against Americans and Europeans. The will seems to have been implemented.
Sergei Balmasov, Lyubov Lulko
Translated by Julia Bulygina