Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Arturo Venezuela answered some questions of journalists on 12/14/09 at a diplomacy briefing. He spoke of a new era of engagement and discussed the world wide phenomenon of countries being polarized. It is not just the United States this is happening in many places including Israel which is very heavily influenced by the US. They diddled about for a while and a short part is in Spanish, then finally a journalist mentions Hillary Clinton's threats about Latin American relationships with Iran. He just refers him back to Clinton.

On the military bases in Colombia and the fact that he is clearly speaking with a forked tongue a journalist asks about his non-agenda trip he has planned to South America. He then goes on to describe what I am interpreting as a kind of fact finding feeling out of the different countries, "I want to listen, I want to explore new avenues in which we might be able to collaborate on various things moving forward", He says the last part really fast which means he wanted to skip that part because he knows exactly what his specific agenda is. He says he's been around and we aren't anywhere near a situation that is comparable to the cold war. Funny the cold war keeps popping into my head as I research our relationships to Latin America. The huge difference here is a lack of nuclear weapons which I believe may have a lot to do with the military bases being installed into existing facilities in Colombia. Word is they are looking at Panama too, but I have not found a lot of evidence for this yet. When asked if he is going to the ALBA countries(Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) he talks about how he wants a relationship with all Latin American countries. When asked about China's influence in Latin America, and says we welcome it. Then when the reporter clarified that he meant military influence in Latin America he denied knowledge of this. This has to be a lie because there are reports from many areas that the Chinese are supplying military training in Latin America. This is due to a switch from the School of the Americas(aka Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers run by the US) by many countries. The last question was the issue of numbers of military abuses in the drug war in Mexico and the news reports that the numbers are contradictory. He simply said they have raised the question with the Mexican authorities. Remember this is after Clinton's threat about Latin American relationships with Iran and military base building, now factor in China. http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/entries/briefing_series_latin_america/

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