The draft call of the ICOR on the World Day of Peace on September 1, 2015 included a number of clearly Russophobic propositions. There was a ridiculously exaggerated assessment of the Russian military presence in Latin America and the Caribbean among them. The Russian Maoist Party immediately pointed out the mistakes of the draft and asked to convey our criticism to the other member parties of the ICOR. The ICOR office, however, delayed this for almost a month while the project was being signed.
After that, we had a discussion with Comrade Alejandro Tapia from Colombia (apparently, he was one of the authors of the draft and responsible for this assessment. During this discussion, some facts of Russia’s military-technical cooperation with the countries of the region came to light. However, this evidences turned out to be categorically insufficient for the fantastic formulation included in the ICOR call as “
establishing military bases, patrolling at the borders, rivers and oceans and joint military exercises
” of Russia “
in different parts of the Latin America and the Caribbean”. Finally our opponent interrupted the discussion.
On August 3, 2015, Torbasow wrote to ICOR criticizing the draft call for Anti-War-Day 2015, mainly regarding the fragment about the situation in Donbass, but also containing the following remark:
“… the call contains inaccuracy, speaking of ‘the military maneuvers of USA and Russia in different parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.’ Russian imperialism probably has such dreams but currently has no military bases in Latin America and does not hold military maneuvers there. The statement that ‘Russia has regained strength as an imperialist state’ is an exaggeration too. In fact, Russian imperialism is far from the old social-imperialism, with its Warsaw Pact bloc, numerous satellites in Eastern Europe and Asia, and military bases around the world.”
On August 22, Torbasow sent an additional letter:
“Please confirm whether our opinion (2015, August 3) on the Call has been sent to all member parties of ICOR, as we requested.
We have noticed that the Call was corrected and became a little bit better. However, it remains unacceptable until… there are the fantastic tales about Russian military expansion in Latin America. We support exposures ‘our own’ imperialism, but our people… would just laugh at us if we tell false facts.”
After another reminder, the ICOR office replied:
“We will translate your Statement on the Ant War call in Spanish and then send ist to al member organizations.”
On August 29, Torbasow tried to insist:
“Please send it immediately in English. It had to be sent immediately. You know perfectly well that it is especially important while the signing procedure proceeds. Our comrades in other parties of ICOR are making their decision under the circumstances of a lack of information. Please, do not conceal our observations from their view. The inhibition of the redistribution of our criticism is the wrong treatment.”
On August 30, in response to the allegation “
that Russia trains the military forces of Venezuela and made an agreement for joint maneuvers,” Torbasow writes to ICOR:
“Please, could you specify the exact facts of ‘establishing military bases, patrolling at the borders, rivers and oceans and by joint military exercises’ by Russia ‘in different parts of Latin America and the Caribbean’? Where and when military maneuvers by Russia were held? Where there are Russian military bases in Latin America? We would like to discuss clear evidences.”
On August 31, Torbasow reported to the RMP:
“I sent my critical remarks in Russian and English to ICOR on August 3 with a request to forward them to other member parties of ICOR. And the call is timed to September 1. When do you think they sent them out? August 4 would be the wrong answer.
So I wait and wait, no response. Asked to confirm receipt, then again. Finally, on August 28, the ICOR office answered me that yes, they received it, they will translate it into Spanish and send it out. August 28. A call timed to September 1. Already two and a half dozen signatures, and none of these parties have seen my comments.
I was writing already without much hope, I say, send it out immediately in English. You, I say, perfectly understand that after meat, mustard, it is nonsense. After that, they did not hesitate, and they sent out my critical remarks on August 30. August 30th. The call timing to September 1.
Along the way, S. Engel added that ‘justified objections were taken into account’ (well, indeed, minor points were corrected, I reported to you about this), but ‘that Russia trains the military forces of Venezuela and made an agreement for joint maneuvers is a fact.’ That is, the training of several dozen Venezuelan military experts in Russia and the agreement on joint maneuvers (which I am not yet sure that exists, and certainly not yet implemented, otherwise everyone would know) should pass for ‘establishing military bases, patrolling at the borders, rivers and oceans and by joint military exercises’ by Russia ‘in various parts of Latin America and the Caribbean’. Hem.”
On September 9, in the party’s mailing list, Torbasow added:
“There were maneuvers, although the statement about ‘joint maneuvers’ is some exaggeration. In fact, Russian participation, apparently, wasn’t massive.
In addition, there is such a message: ‘Russia and Venezuela will hold naval exercises in the Caribbean.’ It looks like more massive participation. It seems possible, because such maneuvers already took place in 2008. It is curious, however, that after March references to this event, which expected in the second half of the year, almost none. And it seems that the US isn’t very worried. Maybe these maneuvers were canceled or postponed. The ‘Pyotr Veliky’ is reportedly getting up for scheduled repairs, and such repairs take about three months.”
Subsequently, the RMP, through the ICOR, received a letter from Alejandro Tapia from the Communist Party of Colombia ‑ Maoist. The letter defended the correctness of the call’s assessments regarding the Russian military presence in Latin America, so it can be assumed that they came from him.
On June 2, 2016, RMP sent to ICOR the letter “On the military presence of Russia in Latin America and the Caribbean (for Com. Alejandro Tapia)”:
“We are very appreciative for Comrade Alejandro Tapia’ clarification letter. Unfortunately we could not find any evidence of several statements in this letter, so we aren’t sure that they are correct. Could the author like to kindly indicate the sources in confirmation of these allegations? Then this letter would be really useful.
Here is a list of statements that require evidence of:
‘In 2014 the air forces of USA and Mexico and of Russia and Venezuela performed joint patrol maneuvers in Nicaragua’.
‘In 2015 the construction of a base for logistic support of ships and airplanes of the Russian Federation was started on the Nicaraguan Caribbean coast’.
‘In Nicaragua Russia has a military training camp “Marshal Shuckov”, a factory for war material, a camp for drug control and the multipurpose cross country vehicles GAZ-2975 Tigr’.
We are aware that just the army of Nicaragua has the training center of Marshal Zhukov training center under the brigade of General Sandino and that the police of Nicaragua disposes of armored vehicles GAZ-2975 bought from Russia, but this is not something that ‘Russia has’.
‘In 2014 Russia performed anti-drug maneuvers at the sea border to Colombia together with the Nicaraguan army’.
‘Russia’s project was discussed to build military bases in Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba in exchange for oil, mining, technology and food purchases’.
We are unaware of these discussions, but the director of the Latin America Department in Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Schetinin officially declared that ‘We have no any plans of opening military bases in Cuba. That was never on the table.’.
‘In 2013 Brazil agreed on a treaty for five years about purchasing 12 helicopters for 150 million dollars, in 2014 on a treaty amounting to billions for an anti-missile system’.
We know about the helicopters, but as concerning the treaty of 2014 – if the author meant the delivery of SAM systems Pantsir-S1, the conclusion of the contract was delayed for a long time, and Brazil refused it finally.
We hope for further explanations on these issues.”
On August 7, Torbasow sent the following letter to ICOR:
“We are grateful to Comrade Alejandro Tapia for the links he provided. We have carefully studied the respective articles and compared their evidences against the allegations which we doubt. Let us return to these statements and see whether they can be considered confirmed.
‘In 2014 the air forces of USA and Mexico and of Russia and Venezuela performed joint patrol maneuvers in Nicaragua.’
This event is said by two articles1: Nicaragua autoriza a EE.UU. y Rusia patrullar zona que Colombia perdió por fallo de La Haya. We ourselves have now found confirmation of these maneuvers in the Russian sources: «ВМФ России провел антинаркотические учения в Карибском море».
However, it was not the military maneuvers of Russia but the international maneuvers against the drug traffics. No cruisers or aircraft carriers of Russia took part in it but ‘the communication ship Victor Leonov and ocean rescue tug Nikolay Chiker’. Accordingly, we are sure that this case is not a sufficient evidence of military expansion and a lot of military patrols, this would be an incorrect exaggeration.
Another article you pointed out (“Bomba geoestratégica para EE.UU.”: Rusia y China preparan el canal de Nicaragua) is based on the allegations of Russian nationalist publicist Prokhanov, known for his inclination for rumors and fantasies. There are no confirmations of its allegation about ‘the agreement on the Russian military ships patrol the waters of the Caribbean’ in the authoritative sources. Perhaps he, as usual, had wishful thinking.2
‘In 2015 the construction of a base for logistic support of ships and airplanes of the Russian Federation was started on the Nicaraguan Caribbean coast.’
‘In 2014 Russia performed anti-drug maneuvers at the sea border to Colombia together with the Nicaraguan army.’
‘In 2014 [Brazil agreed] on a treaty [with Russia] amounting to billions for an anti-missile system.’
We had not found any confirmations of these allegations in the articles you referred.
‘In Nicaragua Russia has a military training camp “Marshal Shuckov”, a factory for war material, a camp for drug control and the multipurpose cross country vehicles GAZ-2975 Tigr.’
The two articles3 (RIA Novosti: Rusia ayudará a Nicaragua a modernizar el Ejército.) actually referred to ‘el campo de entrenamiento para las tropas terrestres’ and ‘fábrica para la desmilitarización de municiones (planta de desactivación de municiones)’, but they do not alleged that these belong to Russia! These belong to Nicaragua, these are not the Russian military bases. Therefore the allegation about the Russian military bases in the America has not been proven too.
‘Russia’s project was discussed to build military bases in Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba in exchange for oil, mining, technology and food purchases.’
Such information is given in two articles you referred (“Negocian” base rusa en Nicaragua and Centroamérica, en el punto de mira de Rusia). They refer to ‘la cadena rusa de Televisión RT’. The site of RT really gave such information. But you did not to take into account that this information was disproved later. Also there are no any further factual evidences for it.
Three other articles (¿Qué hay detrás del episodio de los aviones rusos?, Rusia solidifica su presencia militar en Centroamérica a través de Nicaragua, Rusia, sigilosa al movilizar sus buques en AL) do not contain any proof of the allegations which we doubt.
Once again I want to emphasize that we are not questioned nor Russia’s economic presence in Latin America, nor the arms supply.”
At this point, the discussion was interrupted.
- One of these was posted on
http://www.eluniversal.com/internacional/141129/nicaragua-autoriza-maniobras-militares-internacionales-en-el-mar-cariband is currently unavailable.
- Later, we could to find some evidence (however, also in unofficial sources), that Nicaragua “
allowed Russian warships and aircraft to visit the country during the first half of 2014 and patrol the territorial waters of Nicaragua in the Caribbean Sea and in the Pacific Ocean until June 30, 2015”, and, according to another source, “
allowed Russian warships to enter two of its ports (Pacific Corinto and Atlantic Bluefields)”. Presumably there were in the interests of protecting the Nicaraguan Canal project, which caused great displeasure of the United States who controls the Panama Canal. Whether any patrolling actually took place is unknown, and the canal project has somehow stalled.
- One of these was posted on
http://www.organizacionpoliticarojos.org/2013/04/rusia-estrechara-cooperacion-militar.htmland is currently unavailable.