Another Repeated Story

I remember the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989 well. I had barely left behind adolescence when, on the morning of Dec. 20, U.S. troops bombarded Panamanian airports and military bases. The pain I felt was deep and visceral.

Civilian buildings were reached by “intelligent” weapons used by 26,000 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division of the most powerful army in the world, as they faced 12,000 poorly equipped soldiers of the Defense Forces of the isthmus that used to be part of Colombia. El Chorrillo, a poor neighborhood, suffered the worst of the violence. Is this more admissible than forcing apart the rich from their riches? The radio was transmitting live the progress of “Operation Just Cause,” as it was named by a commander keen to hide with words the truth of their actions.

Just cause? Antonio Noriega was an indefensible person. He was a dictator and a drug trafficker. He was also about “defending democracy and human rights,” as then-president George Bush, Sr. said.

It’s just that Noriega was a close collaborator of a certain intelligence agency directed by the same Bush, Sr. There is a photo circulating on the Internet. In it we see a cheerful Noriega sitting on a sofa next to a very friendly looking Vice President Bush. Noriega was on the CIA’s payroll until February 1988. What must these colleagues have talked about? Maybe about the era in which Noriega allowed the U.S. to use Panama so that the Medellin cartel’s money could buy Iranian weapons, which would end up in the hands of the Nicaraguan Contra, when President Ronald Reagan was defending their just cause. Before Reagan, there were Kissinger and Nixon, who could not “stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people.” Nixon gave rise to Reagan who gave rise to the first Bush who gave rise to the second Bush, whose administration supported the 2002 coup against Hugo Chavez.

After all of these men comes Obama, who has declared the United States in a state of “national emergency” because of the threat of the Socialist government in Venezuela, an act that is just as meaningless as banning the term “climate change” in the state of Florida, as the third Bush, the next presidential candidate, has done. Just like them, Obama has invoked democracy and human rights. And just like in the past, our vanguard intellectuals will say that it would be an exaggeration to speak of a coup: The Venezuelan government was asking for it by imprisoning its opposition, threatening personal property and opinion, and financing Podemos. All of this explains or justifies the declaration. In the end, it is the Venezuelan people’s irresponsibility that is to blame for having elected a Communist.

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