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Cablegate Showed US Efforts to Dominate Latin America

Cablegate Stories That Rocked Latin America Lifted Curtain on U.S. Efforts to Dominate

By Sherwood Ross
August 10, 2012

“Cablegate”--as the release of 30,386 WikiLeaks cables sent by U.S. officials in Latin America is known--has exposed U.S. efforts to dominate its Southern neighbors.

Over and again, from Mexico to Argentina, the embassy cables that the U.S. Army’s alleged whistleblower PFC Bradley Manning released, including 900 stamped “secret,” exposed Washington’s behind-the-scenes involvement in Latin business and politics. And much of what went on, it appears, was concealed from Americans as well as Latinos.

An article in the August 13th issue of “The Nation” magazine, devoted to “WikiLeaks Latin America,” quotes Santiago O’Donnell of the Argentine daily “Pagina/12” as saying the WikiLeaks cables “contain the rather extraordinary details of which U.S. companies use the U.S. Embassy for lobbying to advance their corporate interests, what issues those companies push and how, behind the scenes, they go about pushing them.

For example:

• In Chile, two WikiLeaks cables from 2009 revealed how “a subsidiary of a giant U.S. construction company, AEA Gener, pressed the U.S. Embassy for help to circumvent a Supreme Court ruling that the building permit for a thermonuclear power plant had been issued illegally,” said Francisca Skoknic, reporter for CIPER, an online investigative media center in Santiago.

• Argentinian editor O’Donnell said that, based on WikiLeaks documents, his paper reported how agribusiness giant Cargill “asked the (U.S.) embassy to launch a covert lobbying campaign on its behalf during a farm strike that potentially threatened Cargill’s position as one of the leading grain wholesalers in Argentina.”

• O’Donnell also said Argentinians were stunned at the hand the U.S. had in the investigation of the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and injured more than 200.“”One cable recorded the FBI attache instructing the prosecutor to stop investigating certain subjects and to concentrate on the Iranian suspects...” O’Donnell noted.

• As for U.S. involvement in Latin political affairs, the WikiLeaks cables revealed, among other things:

• In the 2007-09 period, some 120 Mexicans working undercover for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI were assassinated in Mexico by the drug cartels.

• During the Bush years, “U.S. officials repeatedly requested that Brazil take the lead in isolating Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez---even proposing that Brazil engage in espionage against him,” author Natalia Viana reports.

• Under former President Alvaro Uribe, the Colombian military “quietly” maintained a base on Venezuelan territory” that housed a 100-man “counter-guerrilla company,” according to investigations editor Carlos Eduardo Huertas of “Semana,” writing in “The Nation.” The Colombians were running covert operations inside Venezuela.

• The US. secretly transferred to Brazil, 30 Drug Enforcement Administration personnel “who had previously been expelled from Bolivia for spying and aiding the opposition,” reporter Viana said she learned from the cables.

• According to Blanche Petrich Moreno’s “The Nation” article, “The WikiLeaks cables revealed the astonishing degree to which the United States exercised its power and influence at the highest levels of the Mexican government. In some cases it appears that an essential part of the decision-making process on matters of internal security is actually designed not in Mexico City but in Washington.”

*************

Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based public relations consultant who formerly reported for major dailies and wire services.

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