Bolivia’s president Evo Morales has opened a new “anti-imperialist” military academy to counter US policies and military influence in Latin America. He said the academy will encourage ‘anti-colonial and anti-capitalist thinking’ to negate US-based schools that targeted indigenous people “If the empire teaches domination of the world from its military schools, we will learn from this school to free ourselves from imperial oppression,” the country’s first indigenous president said at an inauguration ceremony on Wednesday.
“We want to build anti-colonial and anti-capitalist thinking with this school that binds the armed forces to social movements and counteracts the influence of the School of the Americas that always saw the indigenous as internal enemies,” he told a crowd that included the defense ministers of Venezuela and Nicaragua. Some Latin American officers trained at the US-based School of the Americas went on to commit atrocities under 20th century military dictatorships. In 2000, the academy at Fort Benning, Georgia, was renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.
Morales, who expelled the US ambassador and counter-narcotics agents in 2008, accused Washington of encouraging “congressional coups” such as the impending impeachment trial of suspended President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil. He also said the US promotes global terrorism through military interventions, citing the rise of the Islamic State group as an example. The Santa Cruz academy was initially inaugurated in 2011 as the “ALBA School” after the now-weakened regional alliance that includes Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Cuba.
Morales’s invitation to that event of then-Iranian defense minister Ahmad Vahidi provoked an uproar in neighbouring Argentina, where judicial authorities have accused Vahidi of a role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre that killed 85 people. The re-inaugurated school carries the name of General Juan Jose Torres, a leftist who was Bolivia’s de facto president in 1970 and who expelled the Peace Corps for allegedly sterilizing indigenous women. Up to 200 cadets will learn about history, geopolitics and military strategy, the government said. A semester-long course required for advancement to captain is being taught by the Argentine Marxist intellectual Atilio Boron, deputy defense minister Reymi Ferreira said.
(Courtsey: The Guardian)