Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The US and Latin America, a long and often unpleasant story

Luis Bruschtein writes in Miami Página/12 22.02.2014 about the outsized influence that the opinions of the wealthiest in Latin America have on American reporting and opinion-making on Latin American affairs in particular.

He focuses on the anti-Castro refugees from Cuba who have played a significant role in US policy since the early 1960s.

Bruschtein frames the general attitude as follows:

Para Estados Unidos, cualquier gobierno que no acepte sus políticas para la región es comunista, populista o cualquier otro ista que se pueda inventar. O sea: para Washington no es democrático estar en desacuerdo con sus intereses y en consecuencia cualquier ataque que se le infiera al desobediente estará justificado. No es una elaboración teórica o ideológica sino la historia de América latina. Se sabe que Washington financió la huelga de los camioneros contra Salvador Allende en Chile, y al ejército de los contras en Nicaragua contra los sandinistas. La lista es mucho más larga en esa historia de guerras provocadas, de invasiones y de golpes militares y hasta de asesinatos de dirigentes populares, promovidos, protagonizados o financiados desde Estados Unidos.

[For the United States, any government that doesn't accept its {the US'} policies for the region is Communist, populist or some other "-ist" that can be invented. Or look at it this way: for Washington, it is undemocratic to be in disagreement with its interests, and consequently any attacks it inflicts on the disobedient one would be justified. This is not a theoretical or ideological elaboration, but the history of Latin America. It is known that Washington financed the truck drivers' strike against Salvador Allende in Chile and the Contra army in Nicaragua against the Sandinistas. The list is much longer in this history of wars provoked, of invasions and military coups, and even the murders of popular leaders, promoted, instigated or financed from the United States.]
He lists Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Ecuador, Uruguay and Venezuela - which adds up to most of Latin America, actually - as the countries perceived currently by the United States to be deviating from the preferred neoliberal economic model that has been laying waste to the economies of the southern eurozone for the last five years. "Venezuela era el peor de todos" ("Venezuela was the worst of all"), he writes, due to its large oil reserves combined with its extreme maldistribution of income.

"Los contrastes en los demás países, aunque fuertes, no se comparaban con los de Venezuela. De allí salió el chavismo. Donde más profunda fuera la desigualdad, la polarización necesariamente iba a ser mayor en un proceso que tratara de revertirla." ("The contrast in the other countries, though severe, can't be compared to those in Venezuela. From there emerged el chavismo. Where the inequality was deepest, the polarization necessarily had to be greater in a process that tried to reverse it.")

Between the heresy of redistribution of income from the wealthiest to the poor and the large oil reserves, Venezuela has been a particularly touchy point for the US.

As Bruschtein explains, the creation of the international organizations MERCOSUR (Common Market of the South), UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) And CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) were all set up as institutions to provide South American countries alternative to the neoliberal policies favored by the United States that are locked into place in significant part by trade treaties. The kinds of trade treaties the US now pushes are not just technical agreements to facilitate trade by lowering tariffs and the like in specific areas. They include requirements that corporations and their representatives can use to roll back a wide range of regulatory and economic policies they find inconvenient regardless of how necessary they may be to the people of the participating countries.

Bruschtein notes that in the recent and continuing political confrontation in Venezuela that MERCOSUR, UNASUR and CELAC all expressed support for Nicolás Maduro's government. UNASUR is actively promoting a peaceful evolution of the political process there. (Cancilleres de Unasur serán invitados Conferencia por la Paz Últimas Noticias 12.03.2014)

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1 comment:

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