Although it was not news in Colombia, the Infodefensa portal, specialized in military affairs, reported: “Biden reminds Petro of the offer of F-16 fighters for the Colombian Air Force. During the phone call between the two leaders –on June 21–, Biden insisted that the US proposal is still on the table” (https://onx.la/4cf39).
Biden as a ‘warplane salesman’ should come as no surprise. In a book George Soros authored, the well-known American banker recounted that one of the main tasks, of presidents of the great powers, was to promote exports by transnationals of their own countries.
On his recent visit to Washington, the Colombian Defense Minister, Iván Velásquez, acknowledged conversations about those fighter airplanes, a terrible deal that Iván Duque also attempted – in the midst of Carrasquilla’s tax reform – but shelved in the face of the angry citizenship, once it became known that he was going to buy twenty-four F-16s, planes that at today’s prices cost 5,352 million dollars, that is, 25.5 trillion pesos, more than a year in the new taxes promoted by Petro.
This occurs again despite that presidential candidate Gustavo Petro, in a tweet on March 29, 2021, rejected Iván Duque’s plan thus: “A Colombia that spends 14 billion pesos on combat aircraft and another Colombia that decides not to do it and invest that money in university campuses and colleges. What do you think would be the best for Colombia? We will invest these resources in the education of the people”, a promise that generated the enthusiastic support of 3,172 retweets and 11,100 likes. A promise that President Petro is cynically breaking today.
Since it is difficult to grasp the magnitude of the dollar amount that could be squanderd, it is useful to think of other things that money could pay for. For example, it could pay for the 13.8 trillion pesos of debts of the EPS to public hospitals and private clinics to improve the health of Colombians. Or the 20 billion historical debts of the State to public universities. Or it could multiply by 80 the 320 billion annual ICBF nutrition program.
We must not buy the tall tale that these warplanes are necessary for Colombia’s national security. The powerful F-16s are not used to pursue drug traffickers, or to act in internal armed conflicts, since they are tools of major international wars between countries, a situation Colombia does not face. Can President Petro report of a threat from a foreign country that would justify spending this huge sum, sorely needed by millions of impoverished Colombians and the national productive apparatus?
What the Colombian F-16s could be for – a fact that cannot be demonstrated because these types of agreements are secret – would be to place them under the orders of NATO or the United States Southern Command. Iván Duque was submissive to those forces and Gustavo Petro strives now to emulate Duque. Petro is now breaking the promises of “change” with which he misled in order the elections this past June.
Would Petro have become President if voters had known that, in addition to throwing away so much money on the expensive and unnecessary F-16s, he would flirt shamelessly with the Washington bosses, keep Colombia tied to NATO, “save” the Amazon with war helicopters delivered by the Southern Command, damage Gorgona with a military base to protect a US radar, and ratify the FTAs?