Sunday, June 3, 2012
U.S. builds new military base in Chile
The U.S. global empire of military bases has been a continuing aspect of U.S. hegemony since World War II. See this site.
"Global military bases have been a constant in U.S. foreign policy since World War II. Currently, there are over seven hundred of them worldwide, serving as home for over 2,500,000 military personnel . On top of America’s permanent base structure, the U.S. Navy’s eleven aircraft carriers can also be taken as impromptu military bases insofar that they can be rapidly deployed to project American military power anywhere in the world ."
As the debt crisis puts some pressure on the military and global needs are re-evaluated some bases are trimmed back or closed and new ones opened. Recently smaller FOLs(Forward Operating Locations) are being increasingly used because they are small and less visible in a country and less expensive.. This is the pattern now in Panama and some areas of Africa. However in South America the U.S. has been expanding bases.
Already Obama has a new military base in northern Argentina. Supposedly the base is to provide joint emergency services and troops to be deployed for humanitarian relief. Naturally many are sceptical and think the base is simply to project U.S. power in the region. Now across the border in Chile there is another new base being set up.
This new base is in the port city of Concon..The U.S. maintains the base will be used to train forces in peace keeping operations. The Chilean left fears the troops will be trained to control and repress local populations. The U.S. was a strong supporter of General Pinochet's overthrow of the elected leftist president Salvador Allende.
Human rights groups point out that the design of the base involves a simulation of an urban zone with sidewalks and roads and buildings. This suggests some sort of training in an urban context such as control of crowds etc. The base is run by the U.S. Southern Command which is actually headquartered in Sam Houston Texas.
Ecuador has turfed out U.S. troops from a key base in Manta Ecuador. While the based injected millions into the local economy it also caused problems for locals. While prostitution flourished the local fishermen were banned from many fishing waters for security reasons. U.S. marines intercepted Ecuadorean boats even sinking them on occasion.
. Washington recently sent Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to Chile to calm concerns over the increased U.S. military presence. However, Jose Goni Chilean Minister of Defense is a big promoter of further U.S. Chilean military ties. He has even visited the U.S. and the former School of the Americas which trained many South American military. For much more see this article.