"Airtec Inc. has been awarded a contract for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) services in support of the U.S. Southern Command. The deal is expected to be completed in September 2018. The contractor will provide ISR services utilizing a Bombardier DHC-8/200.
According to José Vicente Rangel, a Venezuelan journalist, the aircraft will be equipped with cutting-edge equipment to effectively survey the border areas of Venezuela."
The US special services have applied a lot of efforts to incite tensions in the “conflict zone” on the border between the two states. There are forces in the ranks of Colombian political and military leadership that are ready to help Washington in its subversive operations against the “main regional adversary”. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, a henchman of tycoons’ families, has said many a time that he supports further progress in the “special relationship” with Washington, including military ties. Santos believes that the deployment of seven US military facilities on Colombian soil is a step on the way of engaging Colombian military in NATO activities. Bogota is an integral part of the US plan to restore its dominant positions in the region.
Colombia is used to undermine the process of Latin American and Caribbean integration. Nicolas Maduro, the President of Venezuela, displays great tolerance against the backdrop of hostile actions undertaken by Colombia. American supervisors apply no special efforts to conceal their involvement. The intention is evident – the opposition is trying to prove that the Maduro’s government is unable to get the national economy back on track and fill Venezuelan stores to meet the legitimate demands of consumers for essentials. Internal sabotage is assisted by the activities of smugglers operating on the Colombian territory.
Joint efforts are required to fight smuggling but Colombian border guards do nothing to interrupt the criminal activities often headed by former paramilitares (paramilitaries), the militants of AUC (the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia). According to Venezuelan counterintelligence, their leaders collaborate with Colombian power structures.
AUC fighters have recently staged a provocation near the border area. They laid an ambush for a Venezuelan patrol in pursuit of smugglers. Shots were fired and three servicemen got seriously wounded. President Maduro immediately introduced the state of emergency in one of the areas near the Colombian border (the state of Táchira) and sealed the border for uncertain period of time. Police and military reinforcements were sent out to find the attackers. Venezuela launched operations to pinpoint the paramilitares strongpoints - the bunkers serving as prisons for kidnapped people and stashes of smuggled goods. Thirty five militants were arrested so far. The interrogations provided information on the scale of crimes perpetrated by paramilitares in Venezuela, including even existence of secret burial places. Maduro said the findings about the activities of criminals and armed formations reveal the horrible truth and he, as a president, he has an obligation to do away with this evil in Venezuela.
His tough stand is justified. The economic war against Venezuela has come to the point when essentials, foodstuffs, hygiene stuffs and medicals evaporate from the stores located in the vicinity of border areas. Everything is taken out of the country – clothes, shoes, car parts, tires and oil production equipment. Filling stations run out of fuel. Gasoline prices are extremely low in Venezuela. It takes only 2 USD to fill a tank. That’s why great quantities of Venezuelan fuel are transported to Colombia along the whole length of the countries’ border. According to official data, the small town of San Cristobal, the Táchira’s capital, “has consumed” more gas than Caracas. It has gone far enough. The situation has reached the point when gas smuggling brings more profit to Colombian paramilitares than drug trafficking!
Smuggling thrives because there is a great difference in the prices of consumer goods (Venezuela allocates subsidies to bring the prices down). The rate of bolivar, the Venezuela’s currency, is used for large-scale scams. The Colombian city of Cúcuta has become the center of financial and economic subversive activities. It boasts around three thousand currency exchange shops. The general strategy is to devaluate the bolivar. It results in impoverishment of people and increasing discontent in Venezuela.
Cúcuta has always played an important part in conspirators’ plans. The US Defense Intelligence Agency and the Central Intelligence agencies are active there. This is the place where radical cells of Venezuelan opposition get instructions. The leaders of three groups formed especially for anti-Venezuelan activities - El Centro de Pensamiento Primero Colombia» (the Center of Thought Foundation - Colombia First), FTI Consulting (Forensic Technologies International) and La Fundación Internacionalismo Democrático (the Democratic Internationalism Foundation) – hold their meetings there. The anti-Venezuelan conspiracy is led by former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency in mid-80s. The Agency used damaging information. He was number 82 on the list of drug dealers prepared by the US Drug Enforcement Administration. During all eight years of his tenure President Uribe was involved in subversive activities against Hugo Chavez trying to isolate the “Bolivarian regime” in the Western Hemisphere. With good reason the Venezuelan intelligence agencies consider him to be the key figure in the US-led plot to overthrow the “Maduro regime”.
The Sanchez government of Colombia enjoys the support of Western media, especially by the New York Times and the Washington Post. Their editorials say essentially the same thing. They spread the idea that the “border problem” with Colombia has been “invented by Maduro” and this entire hullabaloo is raised with the purpose to ratchet up the Venezuelan President’s support before the parliamentary election. Not a word is said about five and half million Colombians residing in Venezuela, part of them as refugees who fled the civil war, the activities of paramiltares, drug traffickers and smugglers operating on Colombian soil. The Venezuela’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has hit the nail right on the head when it disclosed the purpose of these publications. According to the Ministry, it’s all part of another plot staged by US media against Venezuela and its Bolivarian revolution.
Roy Chaderton, the Venezuelan Ambassador to the Organization of American States, said such Columbian media outlets as El Tiempo, RCN and Caracol radio stations and TV channels, as well as CNN Spanish language broadcasts, incite hatred towards Venezuela and its people. According to him, this hatred campaign could lead to a war. This scenario was avoided because Venezuelan leaders adopted quite different behavior patterns giving “positive signs” to Colombia. The Ambassador called on all the diplomats accredited with the Organization of American states not to trust Colombian media outlets waging a war of the fourth generation.
The US State Department made a statement regarding the closure of the border. It emphasized the humanitarian aspect of the problem and recommended to normalize the situation with the help of regional organizations. It said US diplomats were ready to contribute into launching a dialogue. But there are different types of diplomats. For instance, according to Contrainjerencia, a respectable website, Kevin M. Whitaker, the US Ambassador to Colombia, served as the head of CIA station in Venezuela in 2006. It’s hard to believe that Whitaker and the like will really do anything positive. They have a quite different missions to carry out.