With votes secured from the official National Liberation Party (PLN), the 
Libertarian Movement, and Justo Orozco, the evangelical congressman from the
 Costa Rican Renovation party, on July 1st, the Costa Rican Congress
 authorized the entry into that country of 46 warships from the U.S. Navy,
 200 helicopters and combat aircraft , and 7,000 Marines.

While the various published stories do not allow a clear view of the
 decision’s origins, the limited evidence available seems to indicate that it
 was Washington who asked for the presence of the troops.

The extremely 
telling silence of the U.S. press on the subject and the absence of any kind
 of explicit reference to this authorization in the daily press bulletins of 
the State and Defense Departments feeds the suspicion that it was the White
 House that took the initiative that was favorably received by the Costa
 Rican Congress, and demanded the greatest discretion.

What was communicated to the Central American country was that the ruling
 situation in Mexico had forced the drug cartels to modify their traditional
 routes for approaching and entering the United States and that the
 deployment of a strong military force on the Central American isthmus was 
necessary to thwart this; a sine qua non condition for waging an effective
battle against drug trafficking.

As might have been expected, the 
government of President Laura Chinchilla – tightly linked over the years
 with USAID, no less – lent her entire support and that of her congressmen in
 obedient response to Washington’s request.

 Nobody should be surprised when Washington resorts to the drug trafficking
 pretext, since it’s what Washington commonly uses when others are lacking,
 such as an earthquake in oh, say, Haiti – to justify the intrusion of U.S.
military personnel in the countries of Our America.

Nevertheless, what works against the credibility of this argument is the 
fact that the countries where there is a strong U.S. military presence are
 precisely those that stand out for their increased production and
 commercialization of drugs.

As shown in "The Dark Side of Empire. The
 Violation of Human Rights by the United States," the U.N. Office on Drugs 
and Crime – an unimpeachable source – has proven with abundant statistics
 that since U.S. troops were installed in Afghanistan, huge advances have 
been made in the production and exportation of opium as well as the
 fabrication of heroin, while in Colombia, the U.S. presence has not
 prevented (quite to the contrary) the registration of a notable expansion in 
the area set aside for the cultivation of coca.[1]

All this should not cause any surprise whatsoever, for a variety of reasons.

One of them is that the country that assumes the right to fight drug
 trafficking worldwide shows an incapacity as amazing as it is suspicious to
 do the same within its borders, from dismantling the networks that link
 narco-mafias with authorities, police and local and federal judges who
 facilitate the drug business, to implementing a minimally meaningful
 campaign to contain addiction and treat addicts.

It’s not that surprising, actually, since drug trafficking moves some at 
least $400 billion dollars annually, that are later conveniently "laundered" 
in the numerous tax havens that the main capitalist countries (starting with
 the United States and Europe) have established far and wide throughout the 
globe in order to be re-introduced later on into the official banking system
 and in this way, strengthen the business of financial capital.

For another thing, the weakness and inconsistency of this pretext – that of
 the "fight against drug trafficking," becomes even more obvious when it is 
learned that the United States is the number one worldwide producer of
 marijuana, something that according to a study from the Drug Science
 Foundation, reaches a sum of more than $35 billion dollars in that country,
 a figure that surpasses the combined value of wheat and corn production.[2]

Third, and finally, control and administration of the drug trafficking
 business as a means to sustain imperialist domination in the Empire’s 
provincial reaches cannot be underestimated.

Wasn’t it Great Britain who
 re-introduced opium in China (a drug that had been prohibited by the Emperor
 Yongzheng due to the damage it had caused his people) the massive 
consumption of which allowed the British to balance their trade deficits 
with China? In order to push this addiction among the Chinese the British 
and the Portuguese waged two wars; one from 1839 to 1842, and another from 
1856 to 1860, the result of which were the establishment of two beachheads 
for the organization of opium trafficking throughout China: one in Hong 
Kong, under British control, and the other in Macao, dominated by the

Why should we think that the United States, the putative offspring of the 
British Empire, would be motivated by any different interests when it pays
 lip service to the war on drugs?

Isn’t it perhaps useful to U.S. interests 
to have a Latin America characterized by a proliferation of "failed
 states," – eaten away by the corruption generated by drug trafficking and 
the consequences that ensue: social disintegration, mafias, paramilitaries, 
etc. – that for this very reason are incapable of offering the least
 resistance to imperial designs?

The permission granted by the Costa Rican Congress lasts for six months,
 starting on July 1st of this year. Nevertheless, this concession, that came 
about in the context of the Mérida Initiative (which includes Mexico and 
Central America) is a project that has goals but no deadlines, for which 
reason the probability is practically zero that the U.S. troops will leave
 Costa Rica at the end of this year and return to their home bases.

Furthermore, international experience shows that in Europe as well as Japan,
 the U.S. troops stationed there after the Second World War for just a few 
years, later extended through the pretext of the Cold War, managed to
 prolong their stay in those locations for 65 years without their chief
 officers showing the least sign of boredom or desire to return home.

 In Okinawa, the widespread rejection of the local population against the
 Yankee occupants – who, sheltered by immunity were murdering, raping and 
robbing to their hearts content – was insufficient to force the dismantling
 of the U.S. base there. Incidentally, this highlights the courage and
 effectiveness of President Rafael Correa’s government that did manage to 
achieve the ouster of U.S. troops from the Manta airbase.

And in case a
 popular outcry should arise over just this one occurrence in Costa Rica, a
 few criminal operations of the type that the CIA knows very well how to 
carry out should be enough for an instant reversal, above all with a
 government such as that of Laura Chinchilla, eager to prove its
 unconditional submission to imperial dictates.

Just like the establishment of the Obama-Uribe treaty whereby Colombia
 initially ceded the use of seven military bases to the United States, in 
this case, the U.S. military personnel will enjoy complete immunity from
 Costa Rican justice, and its members will be able to enter and leave Costa
 Rica entirely at will, and move through the entire country dressed in their 
uniforms, carrying their combat gear and weapons.

With this decision Costa 
Rican sovereignty is not only humiliated but reaches ridiculous limits for a
 country that in 1948 abolished its armed forces and, thanks in large measure 
to this, was able to develop an advanced social policy in the depressing
 context of the Central American region, precisely because the oligarch’s
 gendarme had been disarmed.

As far as arms go, the congressional authorization allows the entry of Coast
 Guard and smaller vessels, but also others such as the latest generation of
 aircraft carriers like Makin Island, launched in August of 2006 and with the
 capacity to house 102 officers and 1,449 Marines, transport 42 CH-46
 helicopters, five AV-8B Harrier aircraft and six Blackhawk helicopters.
 Apart from this, the legislation that passed extends permission for ships
such as USS Freedom, launched in 2008, with anti-submarine capacity and the
ability to move in shallow waters.

The permission also extends to other
boats, like catamarans, a hospital ship and various vehicles known for their
amphibian capacity to move on land as well as sea. Weapons and gear that
basically, have little or nothing to do with drug trafficking, even in the
unlikely case that this were the real desire of the Marines.

It’s quite
obvious that they have another objective.

 This U.S. government initiative must be situated in the context of the
growing militarization U.S. foreign policy, whose most important expressions
in the Latin American framework have been, until now, the reactivation of
the Fourth Fleet, the signing of the Obama-Uribe treaty, the de facto
military occupation of Haiti, the construction of a wall of shame between 
Mexico and the United States, the coup d’etat in Honduras and the later 
legitimization of the electoral fraud that elevated Porfirio Lobo to the
 presidency, the concession of new military bases by the reactionary 
government of Panama, to which is now added the disembarkation of Marines in 
Costa Rica. Of course, all these moves are articulated within the
 maintenance of the blockade and hounding of the Cuban Revolution, and the
 ongoing harassment of Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador.

On an international 
level, the disembarkation of U.S. Marines in Costa Rica should be 
interpreted within the framework of an imminent war against Iran and the
 grotesque provocation against North Korea, the serious consequences of which
have been warned about for some time by Comandante Fidel Castro Ruz in his

Therefore, the Empire is advancing in its militarization of the region and
in preparation for a military adventure of global proportions. If the
 aggression against Iran finally comes to pass, as predicted in recent days,
 the extremely serious international situation that will result will push the
 United States to try to guarantee, at all costs, seamless and absolute
 control over what its geopolitical strategists call the Great American 
Island, an enormous continent that extends from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego,
 as separated from the Eurasian landmass as it is from Africa and which,
 according to them, plays a fundamental role in U.S. national security.

 That is the fundamental reason for the preventive,  exorbitant militarization
 of U.S. foreign policy.

It’s ridiculous to try to convince our people that 
the twenty-odd military bases established in Central and South America and 
the Caribbean, to which we now add the disembarkation in Costa Rica and the
 activation of the Fourth Fleet, has drug trafficking as its objective. As 
experience teaches us, drug trafficking cannot be fought with military
 strategy but with social policy. And the United States does not apply it
 within its borders nor permit it to be applied outside, thanks to the 
enormous influence that the IMF and World Bank have over vulnerable and
 indebted countries.

The experience in Colombia and now in Mexico (with more than 26,000 dead 
since President Felipe Calderón declared his "war on drug trafficking" in 
December, 2006!) is a testament to the fact that the solution to the problem 
does not rest with Marines, aircraft carriers, submarines and gunship
 helicopters, but with the creation of a just and fair society, something 
that is incompatible with the logic of capitalism and repugnant to the
 fundamental interests of the Empire.

In summary: the disembarkation of the Marines in Costa Rica has as its
 objective the reinforcement of U.S. domination in the region, the toppling
by a variety of methods of those governments considered to be "enemies"
(Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador), weakening still more the vacillating
 and ambivalent "center-left" governments and reinforcing the right wing that 
has made a resurgence along the Pacific Coast (Chile, Peru, Colombia,
Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras and Mexico). It is a rearrangement of the
 Empire’s "back yard" in order to have free hands and a secured rearguard
 while the arrogant Empire wages war in other latitudes.

Venezuela Today 

July 17, 2020
Translation: Machetera


[1] Atilio A. Boron and Andrea Vlahusic, The Dark Side of Empire; the Violation of Human Rights
by the United States (Buenos Aires: Ediciones Luxemburg, 2009), pg. 73.

[2] Ibid, The Dark Side of Empire, p. 72.

Argentinean sociologist and author Atilio Boron is a friend of Tlaxcala. Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic