Monday, May 19, 2014

Chilean reforms and the US

TV Pública argentina has a disturbing report analyzing the background of the Obama Administration disturbing pressure on Michelle Bachelet's Nueva Mayoría (New Majority) government to not proceed with the program on which she was elected of changing some of the more destructive neoliberal policies installed under the Pinochet dictatorship, Chile bajo la mirada norteamericana 05/17/2014:

Bachelet is pushing forward with a tax reform that was part of her program. For the Nueva Mayoría, "reform" does not mean what it means in the EU and even in the US at the moment: neoliberal plans to reduce salaries and lighten the regulatory and tax burdens on the wealthy. Bachelet's tax reform would actually require the wealthiest to pay more to support their country, including improving the financing of college educations.

US Ambassador to Chile Michael Hammer has already stepped in to complain about the Nueva Mayoría's reforms, demanding "clear rules" and the involvement of all "stakeholders," in particular US firms that might be affected in some way: Embajador de Estados Unidos pidió "reglas claras" al Gobierno ante reformas Radio ADN 06.05.2014.

Las visiones sobre los dichos del embajador de EE.UU. sobre la reforma tributaria CNN Chile 08.05.2014:

The accompanying article is Reforma Tributaria: Las visiones sobre los dichos del embajador de EE.UU. CNN Chile 08.05.2014

Bachelet was elected this year with her Nueva Mayoría coalition including a wide spectrum of center-left to left parties, including Chile's Partida Communista. Here's the most famous member of that party, Camila Vallejo Downing, talking about the tax reform, Reforma tributaria, intervención de Camila Vallejo 13.05.2014:

If this report from can be credited (Ambassador to Chile: Who Is Michael Hammer? 07/20/2013), Hammer may have an friendly inclination toward the notion of authoritarian government in Latin America:

Nominated by President Barack Obama on June 21 to be the next U.S. ambassador to Chile, Mike Hammer has been assistant secretary of state for public affairs since March 30, 2012, having served as acting assistant secretary since the March 13, 2011, resignation of P.J. Crowley, who was forced out after he characterized the harsh confinement of whistleblower Pfc. Bradley Manning as "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid." Hammer had been principal deputy assistant secretary since January 2011. If confirmed by the Senate, Hammer would succeed Alejandro D. Wolff, who has served in Santiago since September 2010. [my emphasis]
Being considered more trustworthy by this Administration than a critic of its harsh and genuinely repressive treatment of whistleblowers like Manning is not an encouraging sign in itself.

Born December 26, 1963, in Washington, DC, to parents Michael P. and Magdalena Hammer, Michael A. Hammer spent much of his childhood in Latin America, specifically Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil, where his father was working for the American Institute for Free Labor Development, a CIA front group that worked to undermine spontaneous radicalism and channel workers into corporate-funded, conservative labor groups. The elder Hammer was gunned down in a hotel dining room in San Salvador on January 3, 1981, by Salvadoran National Guard agents who had been trained at the Pentagon’s notorious School of the Americas. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, with both Secretary of State Edmund Muskie and Vice President Walter Mondale in attendance. He was probably a CIA agent. ...

After completing his studies at the National War College during the 2006-2007 academic year, Hammer served as political aide to ambassador Phillip Goldberg in La Paz, Bolivia, from 2007 to September 2008, when Goldberg was expelled after a series of incidents suggested that the embassy was engaged in espionage and fomenting discontent against the government. [my emphasis]
On the other hand, if his father was murdered by a Salvadoran rightwing death squad, maybe he learned from that it's wise to have reservations about authoritarian government in Latin America.

Also, I believe the correct term for what AllGov describes as the senior Hammer's role would be "CIA officer," rather than "agent," the latter being used for contacts working for the CIA rather than a CIA employee working under a cover like AIFLD.

We don't need any destabilization operations against Michelle Bachelet's government in Chile.

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