In The Shadow Of Panama

I do not know if many of my readers will remember the invasion of Panama in 1989 in Operation Just Cause….the US went into the country with guns a blazing and took down the country’s leader, Noriega.

Yep Reagan had his invasion…..that of the tiny island nation of Grenada and then Bush1 had to have his……Panama.

It is still a point of contention as to why the US invaded its once friendly ally……..Panama was an easy target because the U.S. already had a large military force in 18 bases around the country. Until 1979, the occupied Panama Canal Zone had been sovereign territory of the United States. The Panama Canal was scheduled to be turned over to Panama partially in 1990 and fully in 2000. The U.S. military would be able to crush a hapless opponent and ensure control over a vital strategic asset.

Washington began disseminating propaganda about “human rights abuses” and drug trafficking by President Manuel Noriega. Most of the allegations were true, and they had all been willingly supported by the U.S. government while Noriega was a CIA asset receiving more than $100,000 per year. But when Noriega was less than enthusiastic about helping the CIA and their terrorist Contra army wage war against the civilian population in Nicaragua, things changed.

Old news, right?

I bring all this up to write about a report I read on Venezuela from the Center of Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)………

The investigation is being carried out by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and federal prosecutors in New York and Miami—notably, this is not under the White House’s direction or coordination. And the case they’re building has foundations in the testimony of former cocaine traffickers, defectors from the Venezuelan military, and informants who were once close to top Venezuelan officials, including the former head of Cabello’s security detail.

All of this comes to light just months after the White House named Venezuela a threat to the national security of the United States, imposing sanctions on seven mid-level government officials on human rights grounds. And though in the lead-up to the Summit of the Americas in April, Tom Shannon, former Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere and current Senior Counselor to Secretary of State John Kerry, visited Venezuela to start bilateral dialogues, the new investigations could put a damper on subsequent efforts to address the U.S.-Venezuela relationship.

Shades of Panama?  Is this the same tactic used in the run up to the invasion of Panama?  Narco crimes are really easy subject to press….especially in the Southern hemisphere.

Is this the start of something big?  Will the government justify the invasion of yet another country?  How will this set with the American people?  Since drugs and terrorism has been used to justify many incursion why would this be any different?

Is this the next conflict that our troops will have to deal with in the near future?




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