From one of Trinidad’s news dailies, Newsday, this very disappointing piece from Sunday, 26 October, 2008:
Sunday, October 26 2008
Members of the public in Laventille, Curepe, certain parts of the East and Central were jolted out of their beds early yesterday by the roaring sounds of two marine helicopters flying over their homes.
Some of the concerned persons even telephoned Sunday Newsday to ascertain if the United States Marine Corps were carrying out an exercise in the country.
One man said, “the noise from the engines was so powerful that I was awakened from sleep and when I looked out of my house the two helicopters were flying over my house, and I could see the US Marine officers inside,” he said.
Yesterday, Chief of Defence Staff Brigadier Edmund Dillon sought to clear the air on the matter.
He said members of the US Marine Corps are in Trinidad to carry out a number of humanitarian ventures. These include repairs to the Cyril Ross and St Jude’s Home for Girls.
The officers will also provide medical assistance to persons at the Arima and Couva hospitals.
On Monday, the US Marines will formally make public their mission in Trinidad [known] during a ceremony to mark their presence in the country.
This is obviously occurring with the consent of the regime of Prime Minister Patrick Manning of the ruling “People’s National Movement” (an ironic name if ever there was one). The presence of the Marines is of no benefit to Trinidad — as if this industrialized, petroleum exporting nation could not repair a school — and is instead done to facilitate deeper U.S. military penetration. This is a means of positioning U.S. forces closer to Venezuela, a mere seven miles away. Indeed, Manning has been trying to serve as a counterweight to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez (Manning stands as a featherweight in comparison). Chavez has spent vast amounts on health and development programs in the Caribbean and provided discounted oil. Manning, unwilling to address poverty at home, has tried to create an illusion of alleviating it among his neighbours, as if in a desperate competition with Chavez. One can wonder whether Manning has been put up to this effort by the same forces now rearing their ugly heads in Marine helicopters.
In a situation of growing global economic crisis, there seems to be nothing less opportune than further imperial overstretch and increased militarization of the planet, save for the fact that U.S. regimes have committed themselves to war corporatism.
On the website of the Office of the Prime Minister, the only statement that exists for this date concerns the presence of “US Chiefs of Mission” for a HIV/AIDS conference. “Coincidentally,” in February of 2007 the U.S. military had a presence in Trinidad, to train 53 local military officers in HIV/AIDS awareness, as if local resources for the purposes did not exist.
Good luck to Trinidad’s anti-imperialist strugglers in getting rid of these dogs of war.
For more discussion online, see the Open Question at Yahoo!: “DO YOU THINK USA MARINES ARE IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO TO HELP TRINIDAD OR TO SPY ON VENEZUELA?“