August 28th saw the conclusion of “the largest multinational training exercise in the world,” with 17+ countries and over 3,000 troops participating in a training operation to prepare against a serious military threat against the Panama Canal.
Which begs the question….who the hell is threatening the Panama Canal? The answer of course is no one but the Latin American people themselves – and so we will look at what PANAMAX has accomplished. PANAMAX actually started in 2003, and at the time the US, Chile, and Panama were the only participants. After 8 more years of exercises & promising participating neighboring countries greater rewards, SOUTHCOM now has most of the hemisphere obeying its orders when it comes to military engagements. This has included one country, Honduras, which has since had its democratically elected President ousted in an US-backed coup.
The United States’ iron grip on Latin America has never been so pervasive and yet also unnoticed. Wikileaks has revealed cables relating to Haiti and Guyana this year revealing the US’ interest in interfering with their ability to control their sovereign energy production. Predator drones are flying missions in Mexico and an unknown amount of SOCOM troops conduct operations in countries such as Brazil, Belize, Panama, The Phillipines, and elsewhere, as these countries increasingly abandon centuries of maintaining sustainable relationships amongst their peoples and resources in favor of neoliberal, free market exploitation.
The only real explanation for PANAMAX is that as the rich suck up Latin American resources at ever greater speeds, massive military strength is needed to see it through. Brazil now has over $200 billion in currency reserves and yet still has one of the most chronic income inequality problems in the world. More so than ever America fears rising living costs creating unrest nearby just as we’ve seen it spread across the Atlantic.
Doral’s Dirty Little Command Center
Recently expanded amidst a paradise of golf courses and luxury hotels in Doral, the SOUTHCOM complex has seen surprisingly little attention as they continue their role in occupying Haiti, escalating violence in Mexico’s drug war, and smoothing the transition of local resources into international markets.
Occurring alongside a series of anti-imperialist actions in the month of October, The School of Americas Watch will be conducting a weekend of teach-ins ending in a March on SOUTHCOM during the weekend of October 8th.
In order to renew focus on SOUTHCOM and ending its imperialist mandate, School of America Watch will be working towards creating a bigger, better March on SOUTHCOM this year with the Autonomous Playhouse, a local activist puppet troupe. All through September the Autonomous Playhouse & SOAW will be holding workshops to create costumes, parade puppets, and accompanying musical and theatrical performances. Connect with SOAW South Florida & The Autonomous Playhouse to tell our government – NOT IN OUR NAME!