It was only a matter of time. Shortly after revelations broke that the NSA is spying on America’s European allies it has now been revealed that the NSA also has a massive spying program going on south of the border.
NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden reportedly provided information to a Brazilian newspaper about the collection of data on telephone calls and e-mails from several countries in Latin America.
A Brazilian newspaper on Tuesday published an article it said is based on documents provided by the former American contractor Edward Snowden asserting that the United States has been collecting data on telephone calls and e-mails from several countries in Latin America, including important allies such as Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.
The paper, O Globo, based in Rio de Janeiro, says the documents show the National Security Agency amassed military and security data on countries such as Venezuela, an American adversary that has been accused of aiding Colombia’s Marxist rebels and maintaining close ties with Iran. But the documents also show that the agency carried out surveillance operations to unearth inside commercial information on the oil industry in Venezuela and the energy sector in Mexico, which is under state control and essentially closed to foreign investment.
Citing documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the fugitive former American intelligence contractor, O Globo newspaper said the NSA programs went beyond military affairs to what it termed “commercial secrets.”
These included petroleum in Venezuela and energy in Mexico, according to a graphic O Globo identified as being from the NSA and dated February of this year.
It has often been said that “national security” in Latin America has always been code for the interests of the rich in the United States, but now the evidence is really piling up.
The alliances between many of the countries of Latin America and the United States are built on fighting the War On Drugs. An increasingly dubious notion given how utterly ineffective the war has been in stopping availability of drugs while spending enormous sums of money and causing countless deaths. But questions now may be raised as to how much trust exists in these drug war alliances if the United States feels it has to spy on these governments.
Or maybe the spying is about trying to keep control over Latin America in the wake of left-wing anti-imperialist governments winning elections all over the continent. Regardless of the reason, the United States has some explaining to do.