How the U.S. Is Strangling Haiti as It Attempts Regime Change in Venezuela

Source: Portside.org
February 19 2019

haiti-protests.jpegProtests broke out a week ago across Haiti. What motivated the streets to be on
fire this time was the rise in prices of fuel and the position taken by Haiti against
the government of President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela.,
Estailove St. Val/EPA-EFE

Last year, in October, Haitians followed two Twitter hashtags that went viral—#PetrocaribeChallenge and #KotKobPetwoKaribea. If you are not Haitian and do not follow Haitian politics carefully, you can be forgiven for not noticing this development. The complaint on Twitter—and soon on the streets—was simple: what has happened to the billions of U.S. dollars that was in the Venezuelan-financed Petrocaribe program?

In 2005, when oil prices began to creep upwards and when the Bolivarian socialists led by Hugo Chávez were at their peak, 14 countries from the Caribbean met in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, to launch the Petrocaribe scheme. The idea was elegant. Venezuela, with one of the world’s largest oil reserves, would sell oil to the struggling Caribbean islands through a very lucrative deal. Part of the oil price was paid up front, and the rest was to be paid back over the years at a ridiculously low interest rate (1 percent).

Island nations of the Caribbean, who had struggled with debt and high import prices for energy, now found relief. Haiti and Nicaragua, which were not part of the 14 original members, joined Petrocaribe in 2007. “The Caribbean shouldn’t have problem this century and beyond,” said a buoyant Chávez.

Venezuela Had a Debt to Haiti

An economics of solidarity defined the Bolivarian socialist approach to the Caribbean. If the Caribbean countries thrived, then Venezuela would prosper in turn. The test of this generosity came in 2010, when Venezuela decided not only to write off Haiti’s debt after the earthquake but provided funds in addition for reconstruction. “It was not Haiti that had a debt with Venezuela,” Chávez said then, “but Venezuela had a debt to Haiti.” Since 2007, Venezuela had provided $4 billion in oil through Petrocaribe.

The debt that Venezuela had, in the long-term thinking of Chávez, was because of something that happened in 1815. The first president of the Republic of Haiti, Alexandre Pétion, gave Simón Bolivar sanctuary and armed him to return and liberate Gran Colombia (the vast northern lands of South America). Bolivar had promised Pétion that he would emancipate the enslaved Africans in Gran Colombia. This is what he did. Without Pétion’s demand and Bolivar’s victory, Chávez—whose ancestors had been enslaved—said on a visit to Haiti in 2007, “I would not be here.”

Haiti’s Debt to the West

No such generosity has come from the West. In fact, from the first fires of Haiti’s revolution, Western powers—from France to the United States—have attempted to destroy the Haitian republic. In 1804, France forced Haiti to agree to pay it $21 billion for the “theft” of enslaved Africans and others. It took Haiti till 1947 to pay off this odious, disgusting debt. France has never apologized for it. Nor has Citibank, which made billions off the payments. Neither France nor Citibank has considered replaying the inhumane plunder.

Venezuela’s generosity was not matched by any Western country or financial institution. Instead, the West piled on debt upon debt onto Haiti. Even the “assistance” given during the 2010 earthquake made Western companies money. “These guys are like vultures coming to grab the loot over this disaster,” saidHaiti’s former minister of defense Patrick Elie. The amount of money stolen from the disaster relief and the increase to Haiti’s debt is as yet uncalculated. Millions of dollars were raised—such as by the American Red Cross—but very little of it was spent to lift up the burdens of the Haitian people.

IMF vs. Venezuela

Last February, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it would provide Haiti with $96 million in low-interest loans and grants. But it demanded that the Haitian government cut its crucial fuel subsidy. This subsidy has been a part of Petrocaribe’s program. Protests broke out across Haiti, which led to the resignation of Haiti’s prime minister Guy Lafontant in July (for an assessment of those protests, please read Dossier 8 from Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research).

The IMF demand for cuts in fuel subsidy came after revelations that Haiti’s elite had pilfered the funds from Petrocaribe. In 2017, Lafontant’s government released a 600-page Senate report on Petrocaribe’s previous decade. The investigation found that Haiti’s ruling class had stolen enormous amounts of these key funds. No one was called to account—not any of those who stole the money nor the banks that enabled them to do so. Noises about letting the Superior Court of Accounts and Administrative Litigation take hold of the report seemed to drift into nowhere.

In the midst of this scandal, the IMF policy directive was insincere. The IMF said that the Haitian poor, who had not stolen the money from Petrocaribe, should pay higher fuel prices to help set Haiti’s finances in order. No reparations from France or Citibank, no accountability for the theft of the Petrocaribe funds—none of that. Instead, Haitians—almost 60 percent of whom live below the poverty line—must pay high fuel premiums for the IMF’s paltry loans.

End of Solidarity

Protests broke out a week ago across Haiti. What motivated the streets to be on fire this time was the rise in prices of fuel and the position taken by Haiti against the government of President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela.

In the midst of the economic war against it, Venezuela has not been able to provide Haiti with subsidized fuel. Haiti’s people had to now go to the U.S. oil companies and pay U.S. prices for fuel. This has created bottlenecks in the supply of fuel and frustration at the rising prices. Novum Energy—of the United States—kept ships sitting in Port-au-Prince harbor, waiting for the cash-strapped Haitian government to pay up before unloading 164,000 barrels of petrol and 205,000 barrels of kerosene. There is no solidarity pricing here (in fact, Haiti has to pay $20,000 per day to each ship that is sitting in the harbor as a penalty). These firms want cash, and they want full price.

To add insult to injury, Haiti’s government decided to join with the United States in the vote at the Organization of American States (OAS) against Venezuela. As recently as 2017, Haiti’s representative to the OAS—Harvel Jean-Baptiste—had voted against a similar anti-Maduro resolution. But this time, Haiti’s Léon Charles voted with the United States. It was a vote that provoked anger in the streets of Haiti. The one country—Venezuela—that had come to Haiti’s aid was here being betrayed. That is the mood.

Anachronistic Monroe Doctrine

Meanwhile, other Caribbean countries stood firm. The Caricom (Caribbean Community) group of 15 states from Antigua and Barbuda to Trinidad and Tobago drafted a strong statement to defend the sovereignty of Venezuela. They have worked to create the atmosphere for dialogue, which resulted in the joint Uruguay and Mexico sponsored meeting in Montevideo, Uruguay, on February 7.

These small island states know the great peril of allowing the anachronistic Monroe Doctrine (1823) to be fully revived. The idea that the American hemisphere is the “backyard” of the United States is not only humiliating, but it is also against the spirit and letter of the UN Charter.

It is this humiliation that motivates the people of Haiti to take to the streets. Their message is simple: if you won’t let us breathe, we won’t let you breathe, and if you suffocate Venezuela, you suffocate us.

This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Bolivia Closes 2018 Among The Highest Economic Growth Rates

Source:  TeleSUR
December 8 2018

evo morales dec 2018 telesurThe Bolivian economy, directed by Evo Morales and Alvaro Garcia Linera,
has one of the highest economic growth rates in Latin America.

Bolivia’s economy is among the greatest regional expansion, with  the economic policies of Evo Morales and Alvaro Garcia Linera leading to a growth of 4.7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.

Bolivia will close 2018 with one of the highest economic growth rates in Latin America, with a growth of 4.7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to official data. And in a surprising move, The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has congratulated the South American country on its growth.

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Alvaro Garcia Linera, vice president of Bolivia, stated that the IMF “is an external source that checks our data and is proving that we are growing more than last year, but we have never paid attention to its recommendations nor are we going to pay attention to it, because our economic model is different from the economic model they are driving.”

The economic model followed by Bolivia is based on the Social Community Production, supported by a strong participation of the State in strategic sectors, which goes against the recommendations made by the IMF, which looks for the suppression of subsidies and the reduction of public investments.

The multilateral body recognized that in the last 15 years Bolivia has achieved a “strong growth and poverty reduction,” adding that the country has a considerable accumulation of international reserves. “Since the fall in the price of commodities in 2014, the authorities have carried out accommodative fiscal and credit policies to support growth. This approach has been successful in maintaining solid growth,” the IMF said.

“The IMF improved its #Bolivia growth forecasts to 4.5% by 2018,and estimates that the continent will grow only 1.2%. The IMF itself highlighted the reduction of extreme poverty in the country. Thanks to our Revolution, we are still the first in economic growth in South America.”  Evo Morales

The Bolivian economy registered on average a growth of 4.9 percent in the period 2006-2017, where more than three million people left poverty. The GDP registered a growth of 4.2 percent last year, according to the 2017 Bolivian Economy Report.

The Bolivian economy “goes up,” Garcia Linera stated, before adding that the IMF “had given us a 4 percent growth at the beginning of the year, 4.2 percent in June, and in December it is going to grow at 4.5 percent, ratifying what we had announced in advance and the Fund did not.”

Rafael Correa: Lenin Moreno is a ‘Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing’ who was ‘With the Opposition

Source:  TeleSUR
October 5 2017

rafael correa 4.jpgFormer President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa. | Photo: EFE

Ecuador’s former president defended Vice President Jorge Glas, who faces corruption accusations, and blasted President Moreno as a “traitor.”

Former President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, denounced his Alianza Pais successor Lenin Moreno as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” and expressed support for the current Vice President who is accused of alleged corruption.

RELATED:  Ecuador VP Jorge Glas Sentenced to Pretrial Detention

Accusations without evidence

In an interview with CNN Español following President Moreno’s decision to place Vice President Jorge Glas in pre-trial detention to face corruption accusations, Correa called the charges against Glas “a vulgar political persecution” that is the same thing “they used in Brazil against Dilma,” referring to the ousting of Brazil’s elected president, Dilma Rousseff on the basis of corruption charges in a move many called an “institutional coup.”

He defended the Vice President, saying that the accusations are without evidence. “Glas is a person that does not steal or allow theft, but for this one makes enemies,” he said.

As for President Moreno, Correa said that the current President had deceived him for ten years as a close political ally, who served in his government only to turn on him as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” once assuming power himself.

The founding leader of Ecuador’s Citizen’s Revolution argues that Moreno and his allies “were never with us, but were with the opposition.”

“Moreno cheated me for ten years. He is a person that was with the opposition,” Correa said.

Moreno had previously served as Correa’s Vice President from 2007 to 2013.

Underscoring the abrupt shift that Moreno took after assuming office, Correa said “I went from being the ‘eternal president’ to the ‘corrupt,’” referring to Lenin’s praising words at the inauguration dubbing Correa Ecuador’s “eternal president.”

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Correa also criticized Moreno’s upcoming consultation, which he said had the ultimate aim of preventing Correa from returning to power by eliminating indefinite presidential reelections through constitutional changes.

With Glas relieved of his duties, it was announced on Wednesday that former Housing Minister Maria Alejandra Vicuna would be taking on the role as acting Vice President.

The prosecuted Vice President, Jorge Glas, is a close supporter of Correa, and has said that the charges against him are simply a “retaliation” for criticizing the direction Moreno was taking the country.

IMF to visit Ecuador

Moreno has promoted a policy of “dialogue” with the country’s right-wing opposition,” and announced on Wednesday that the International Monetary Fund would be visiting the country to asses the economic situation. The decision marks a departure from Correa’s policies, which largely rejected the influence of international organizations in Ecuador’s economy in favor of independence.

“A wide range of measures” need to be taken, Moreno said about the upcoming IMF visit.

Gold Trade Between Russia and China – A Step Closer Towards De-Dollarization?

Source:   Information Clearing House
September 8 2017

By Peter Koenig

Transcript of Sputnik – SKYPE Interview

sberbank russia.jpg

Background for the Interview:

September 08, 2017 “- MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The largest Russian bank Sberbank is planning to increase the supply of gold to China up to 10-15 tons in 2018, the head of Sberbank CIB, the bank’s investment department, told Sputnik.

Igor Bulantsev“In July, our subsidiary bank in Switzerland started trading in gold in the Shanghai stock market. Under the pilot deal, we delivered 200 kilograms [440 pounds] of bars of gold to Chinese financial institutions. This year we are planning to additionally deliver about 3-5 tons of gold to China. Next year we expect the increase in deliveries to China of up to 10-15 tons. Perhaps we will even exceed this figure,” Igor Bulantsev said ahead of the third Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok.

Sputnik
Could you, please, enlighten us about what could possibly stand behind Sberbank’s plans to increase the supply of gold to China?

PK
This is just a continuation of the economic and trade agreements between Russia and China; the first such official deal was the 2014 currency swap agreement of about US$ 25 billion equivalent, or rather 150 billion Yuan.

Let’s not forget, both currencies the ruble and the Yuan are 100% covered by gold; actually, the ruble is backed about twice by gold.

Both, the China – Russia economic cooperation and trade agreements, as well as their currencies being covered by gold is part of a larger already fairly advanced scheme of de-dollarization of their economies. In other words, Russia and China as well as the entire Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), are rapidly moving out of the US dollar hegemony.

Let’s face it, the entire western monetary system is basically a fraud. It is privately made and privately owned, with the entire international payment system being controlled by the FED – which is totally privately owned – and the BIS (Bank for International Settlement, in Basle, Switzerland – also called the central bank of centrals banks). All international transfers and payments have to transit through Wall Street banks. This is the only reason why the US can “sanction” countries that do not behave according to Washington’s dictate. It is illegal, and would not stand up before any international law.

But since international courts are also controlled by Washington – there is no chance that the US will be called to account for their criminal economic actions around the world – at least not for now; at least not as long as the western dollar-based monetary system has supremacy on the world markets. But this may change rapidly. And China and Russia are moving fast towards complete independence from the western economy.

The BRICS summit that just ended in Xiamen, gave other clear signs that their enhanced economic cooperation among themselves and with the other SCO countries will be a further blow to the western monetary hegemony.

Already now, The SCO and BRICS countries contain about half of the world’s population and control one third of the world’s GDP. They truly do not need the west for survival. To the contrary. They can easily break this fraudulent dollar based ‘monopoly’. But – it has to happen prudently and gradually, because all the emerging economies that would like to join the BRICS and the SCO are still to a large degree dependent on the US-dollar; their reserves are still largely dollar-denominated. And if the western system collapses rapidly, they would tend to lose out dramatically.

Sputnik
Follow-up: What is the reason behind China’s active enlargement of the national gold reserves? 

PK
In my opinion, this may be a temporary measure to protect their currencies – I’m talking specially about China and Russia – from a drastic last minute “dollar-rescue” action by Washington.

For example, I could imagine that as a last-ditch effort, the FED or the US Treasury could instruct the IMF to go back to some kind of a ‘gold standard’ – which may come in the form of a massive devaluation of the dollar, where all those countries who do not have gold reserves or otherwise gold-convertible currencies would end up paying the enormous US dollar debt – becoming once again slaves to a new dollar-dependence.

By increasing gold reserves, Russia and China would be protected. Also, China and Russia, the world’s largest gold producers, accounting for almost a quarter of annual gold production (3,100 tons in 2016), will be instrumental in making the international gold price.

The problem with gold today is that it is completely beholden to the western monetary system – the price of gold on the international market is quoted in US dollars.

In the medium to long run, I believe gold is no viable indicator or back-up for a monetary system. Gold is just a step better than fiat money, because the price of gold is vulnerable and can be manipulated, as we see time and again.

For example, on 25 August, Blomberg reports a mysterious 2 million-ounce gold trade. It says – In a span of one minute, gold futures contracts equaling more than 2 million ounces traded — about 20 minutes before Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen was to address a gathering of policy makers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

The episode jolted the market after a measure of 60-day volatility on the metal touched the lowest since 2005. Gold had been in quiet mode even amid political discord in Washington, concerns about rising U.S. interest rates and tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.”

One wonders whether this clear manipulation of the price of gold has anything to do with the increased gold trade between Russia and China…..?

Sputnik
Now, China is soon expected to launch a crude oil futures contract priced in yuan and convertible into gold. How could this initiative change the rules of the global oil game? How soon do you think this landmark transition would happen? Who will profit from this initiative? 

PK
It will change everything.

Already now – since about three to five years – China and Russia and other members of the SCO are trading hydrocarbons no longer in US dollars, but in their local currencies or gold.

An oil futures contract in yuan and gold is about the equivalent of an ‘oil bourse’ – or a hydrocarbon exchange in yuan and gold – where every oil producer or trader can deal in hydrocarbons in non-dollar denominated contracts.

This will be an enormous blow to the US dollar hegemony. One of the key reasons the US dollar has maintained its hegemonic nature around the globe, is that according to an unwritten agreement between the US and Saudi Arabia of the early 1970s, Saudi Arabia, the head of OPEC, was to make sure that petrol and gas are traded only in US dollars. In return, the Saudis received “US protection” – lots of US bases, from which the wars in the Middle East are directed and carried out.

Those who wanted to depart from that unwritten and completely unlawful rule had to pay dearly – i.e. Saddam Hussein, when he announced that he would trade his oil in euros instead of dollars when the ten-years sanctions regime came to an end in 2000… we know what happened to him. We also know what happened to Gaddafi, who had similar ideas – and Iran was suddenly faced with accusations of having a nuclear weapons program, when they announced in 2007 the Teheran Oil Bourse – where all hydrocarbons could be traded in other currencies than the US dollar.

This US imposed ‘rule’ – totally illegal – allowed the US Treasury to print dollars indiscriminately, because the world needed dollars to pay for their energy.

The other reason for unlimited US Dollar printing was when the Nixon Administration abandoned the gold standard in 1971, and the dollar became de facto the world’s reserve currency. – It’s time that this fraud comes to an end. China and Russia offer an alternative.

Sputnik
Experts say that China’s decision to launch a crude oil futures contract will allow exporters such as Russia to circumvent U.S. sanctions by trading in yuan. What implications would yuan-denominated gold contracts have for Russia, in your view?

PK
Up to about 5 to 10 years ago, most international trading contracts were denominated in US- dollars, regardless whether they involved the US or not. This was also an unwritten, WTO-imposed rule. This is no longer the case.

Therefore, yes, detaching from the dollar-based western monetary system, and instead trading in Yuan, rubles or gold, or any other local currencies for that matter, will make ‘sanctions’ completely ineffective. This is already largely the case today, since Russia and China and many of the SCO countries are already trading in other than US-dollar denominated contracts.

It is through non-dollar international trade contracts that the western dollar-based monetary system will be gradually dethroned and dismantled.

Sputnik
How would these developments affect the dollar as a global reserve currency? What implications will it have on its hegemony?

PK
By dealing in other currencies than the US dollar, including in gold, world demand for the dollar will rapidly decline and so will the dollar’s significance as a world reserve currency.

Some 20 years ago, about 90% of all reserves were established in US dollar denominated assets. Today, this figure is less than 60% and shrinking. Once dollar-denominated reserves fall below 50%, abandoning the dollar as reserve currency worldwide may progress rapidly. That’s when a last-ditch effort by Washington to save the dollar hegemony may come in the form of a new gold-standard – at the cost of the countries that hold dollar reserves.

The western economy today and for the last at least 100 years has been based on a fraudulent, debt-driven privately-owned and manipulated monetary system – on fiat money. When in reality, it should be the economy of a nation or a region that makes and backs the monetary system.

If I may, I predict that in the foreseeable future, it will not be gold or other minerals that back a monetary system, but the economy itself; the strength of a country’s – or association of countries’ – socioeconomy that determines the monetary system. The strength of an economy will be determined by indicators well beyond the linear GDP; they will include societal values, such as education, health services, and behavioral values, like how a society deals with the environment, natural resources and conflict resolutions.

This is what I believe the new Eastern Economy, based on China and Russia – the Economy of Peace – will offer to the world as an alternative.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media (China), TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around th

 

Nicaragua’s Sandinista Achievements Baffle World Bank, IMF

Source: TeleSUR
August 31 2017

By: Tortilla Con Sal

sandinistas supporters aug 2017.jpgSupporters of the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. | Photo: EFE

Reading the report, it is impossible to ignore the tension between latent ideological and political imperatives and the obligation to report the facts.

No one can take at face value any report, governmental or quasi non-governmental, coming out of the imperialist bureaucracy in Washington. Ideological bias and institutional self-justification prevent these reports from giving a true account of virtually anything.

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The latest World Bank report on Nicaragua is no exception.

The implicit but unstated truth in this report is that President Daniel Ortega and the Sandinista National Liberation Front have achieved an unprecedented economic turnaround in just seven years, starting in 2010.

Reading the report, it is impossible to ignore the tension between latent ideological and political imperatives and the obligation to report the facts. Put another way, mild conflict clearly prevails between the World Bank’s Washington head office and its reality based local officials. From Washington, the tendency is both to minimize Ortega’s achievement and also to cover up the World Bank’s own lamentable history in Nicaragua. On the other hand, in Nicaragua, local World Bank staff dutifully report the facts as they see them.

A total of 71 people contributed to the report. Supposing those 71 people each worked for a month to prepare the research and say their average salary was about US$80,000, then pro rata a month’s work by that team cost over US$500,000, a very conservative guess. Even so, in summary, that money bought policy recommendations for Nicaragua’s development amounting to little more than better infrastructure; better basic services; more private business investment; more efficient government; better targeted social policies. That’s it, for US$500,000 or more.

Recognizing Nicaragua’s achievements

In general, the report recognizes Nicaragua’s achievements in reducing poverty and inequality, raising productivity, diversifying economic activity and promoting security and stability. The report’s 130 or so pages include, among the economic and sociological analysis, many self-confessed guesses to fill in “knowledge gaps” and much gerrymandered history to cover up what Harold Pinter in his 2005 Nobel prize winning address justly called “the tragedy of Nicaragua.”

Pinter himself might have remarked the report is almost witty in its audacious, glib omissions. It acknowledges the catastrophic destructive effects of the 1980s war in Nicaragua, but carefully omits the U.S. government’s deliberate role in that destruction, now repeated against Syria and Venezuela.

The report talks about a “democratic transition” starting in 1990. In fact, the Sandinistas organized the first free and fair democratic elections ever in Nicaragua in 1984, but the U.S. government ordered the main Nicaraguan opposition to boycott them. Despite the war, Ortega and the Sandinistas won with 67 percent of the vote, very similar to the most recent presidential elections in 2016.

The heavy ideological bias also explains the World Bank’s curious dating of when Nicaragua’s economic turnaround began, placing it firmly in the neoliberal era prior to 2007. But at just that time, the World Bank was cutting back the public sector as much as they could, pushing, for example, to privatize Nicaragua’s public water utility and its education system.

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Nicaragua before the Sandinistas’ victory in January 2007

Back then, Nicaragua’s neglected electrical system collapsed through 2005 and 2006, incapable of generating even 400 megawatts a day, plunging swathes of Nicaragua back into 19th-century darkness for 10 to 12 hours at a time, day after day. That was the World Bank and IMF’s gift to Nicaragua after 17 years of so-called “democratic transition.” That period included Hurricane Mitch, devastating Nicaragua to the tune of 20 percent of its GDP, only for the corrupt neoliberal government at the time to misuse hundreds of millions of dollars in disaster relief. The only structurally significant economic achievement of the neoliberal era in Nicaragua was substantial foreign debt relief.

When Ortega took office in January 2007, he faced four years of domestic crisis with an opposition controlled legislature persistently sabotaging his government’s programs. From 2007 to 2008, Nicaragua and the whole region struggled in vain to contain a balance of payment deficits against oil prices reaching US$147 a barrel in 2008.

That disaster was compounded by the collapse of the Western financial system in late 2008 to 2009, a year when Nicaragua’s economy suffered a 3 percent contraction. Only in 2010, did the Nicaraguan government finally enjoy domestic and international conditions stable enough to be able to consolidate and improve its social programs, improve infrastructure investment, democratize and diversify the economy, extend basic services, and attract foreign investment, among other things.

The World Bank’s development recipe

If that sounds suddenly familiar, it should. It is exactly the development recipe offered up by this latest World Bank report, essentially an embellished review of policies the Nicaraguan government has already been implementing for a decade. Put positively, the government’s National Human Development Plan and other relevant documents suggest that the World Bank’s engagement with the Nicaraguan government has been one of mutual learning. So much so, that the current country program is likely to continue and may even expand.

The political opposition in Nicaragua has seized on parts of the report to try and discredit the Sandinista government’s outstanding achievements. In fact, for 17 years under neoliberal governments implementing World Bank and IMF policies, areas criticized like, for example, access to drinking water and adequate sanitation, or education, suffered chronic lack of investment, compounded by egregious waste and corruption. Now, the World Bank hypocritically criticizes Nicaragua’s government for intractable policy difficulties the IMF and the World Bank themselves originally provoked.

Similarly, when the World Bank report criticizes the targeting of social programs, they omit the unquestionable success of the government’s Zero Usury micro credit program and the Zero Hunger rural family support program, both prioritizing women. These programs have lifted tens of thousands of families out of poverty and, along with unprecedented support for Nicaragua’s cooperative sector, radically democratized Nicaragua’s economy, especially for previously excluded rural families and women. That supremely important national process is entirely absent from the World Bank report.

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The legacy of neoliberal governments

In its discussions of almost all these issues, the report makes more or less detailed contributions, mostly already identified by the government itself. In every case, the underlying cause of problems or lack of progress, for example, on land titling or social security, has been the legacy of neoliberal governments between 1990 and 2007, that reinstated elite privilege, rolled back the revolutionary gains of the 1980s and failed to guarantee necessary investment.

The World Bank and the IMF were enthusiastic ideological partners in that endeavor. They would have continued their ideological offensive had not Ortega and his government dug in their heels in 2007 and 2008, backed by investment support for social and productive programs from Venezuela as part of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas.

Since then, the World Bank, as this report suggests, seems, at least for the moment, to have learned two key lessons from the Sandinistas. In a world dominated by corporate elite globalization, their report implicitly recognizes the importance, firstly, of a mixed economy under a strong central government and, secondly, the crucial role of broad dialogue and consensus, across all sectors of society, to promote and sustain national stability. Essentially, the World Bank has acknowledged the undeniable success of the Sandinista Revolution’s socialist inspired, solidarity based policies, decisively prioritizing the needs of people over corporate profit and demonstrating the systemic inability of capitalism to meet those needs.

 

Wall Street Behind Brazil Coup d’Etat

Source:  Global Research
June 01 2016

Henrique de Campos Meirelles(Image) Wall Street Mastermind Henrique de Campos Meirelles, Interim Minister of Finance

Control over monetary policy and macro-economic reform was the ultimate objective of the Coup d’Etat. The key appointments from Wall Street’s standpoint are the Central Bank, which dominates monetary policy as well as foreign exchange transactions,  the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Brazil (Banco do Brasil). 

On behalf of Wall Street and the “Washington consensus”, the interim post coup “government” of Michel Temer has appointed a former Wall Street CEO (with U.S citizenship) to head the Ministry of Finance. 

Henrique de Campos Meirelles, a former President of FleetBoston Financial’s Global Banking (1999-2002) and former head of the Central Bank under Lula’s presidency was appointed minister of finance on May 12.

ilan goldfajnIlan Goldfajn [Goldfein] (right) appointed to head the Central Bank, was chief economist of Itaú, Brazil’s largest private bank. Goldfajn [Goldfein] has close ties to both the IMF and the World Bank. He is a financial crony of Meirelles.  

Historical Background 

Brazil’s currency system under the Real is heavily dollarised. Internal debt operations are conducive to a rising external debt. Wall Street is intent upon maintaining Brazil in a monetary straightjacket.

Since the government of Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Wall Street has exerted control over key economic appointments  including the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Brazil and the Central Bank. Under the governments of Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Luis Ignacio da Silva (Lula), the appointment of the governor of the Central Bank was approved by Wall Street.

Cardoso, Lula, Temer appointments on behalf of Wall Street

Arminio Fraga brazilArminio Fraga: president of the Central Bank (4 March 1999 – 1 January 2003) (left) hedge fund manager and associate of George Soros, Quantum Fund, New York, Dual Citizenship Brazil-US.

Henrique de Campos Meirelles, President of Central Bank, ( January 1, 2003 – January 1, 2011). Dual Citizenship  Brazil-US.

President and COO of Bank Boston (1996-99) and President of FleetBoston Financial’s Global Banking (1999-2002). In 20o4, FleetBoston merged with Bank America. Prior to the merger with Bank America, FleetBoston was the Seventh largest Bank in the US. Bank America is currently the second largest bank in the US.

After having been dismissed by Dilma in 2010, Meirelles made a come back. He was appointed Minister of Finance by the “interim President” Michel Temer.

Ilan Goldfajn, chief economist of Itaú, Brazil’s largest private bank. Goldfajn [Goldfein] was appointed by Michel Temer interim “government” to head the Central Bank. (May 16, 2016). Dual Citizenship Israel-Brazil.

Goldfajn had previously worked at the Central Bank under Arminio Fraga as well as under Henrique Mereilles. He has close personal ties to Prof. Stanley Fischer, currently Vice-Chair of the US Federal Reserve. Needless to say Golfajn’s appointment to the Central Bank was approved by the IMF, the US Treasury, Wall Street and the US Federal Reserve.

It is worth noting that Stanley Fischer had previously held the position of of Deputy Managing Director of the IMF and Governor of the Central Bank of Israel. Both Fischer and Goldfajn are Israeli citizens, with ties to the pro-Israel lobby.

Dilma Rouseff’s appointee to the Central Bank, not approved by Wall Street 

Alexandre Antônio Tombini, Governor of Central Bank (2011-2016). Career official in the Ministry of Finance. Citizenship: Brazil

Historical Background

In early 1999, in the immediate wake of the speculative onslaught against Brazil’s national currency (Real), the president of the Central Bank Professor Francisco Lopez (who had been appointed on January 13th Black Wednesday 1999) was sacked shortly thereafter and replaced by Arminio Fraga, a US citizen and  employee of George Soros’ Quantum Fund in New York.

“The fox had been appointed to guard the chicken coop”.

More concretely Wall Street speculators were in charge of Brazil’s monetary policy.

Under Lula, Henrique Campos de Meirelles was appointed President of the Central Bank of Brazil. He had acted previously as president and CEO within  one of Wall Street’s largest financial institutions. FleetBoston was the second largest creditor of Brazil, after Citigroup. To say the least, he was in conflict of interest. His appointment was agreed upon prior to Lula’s accession to the presidency.

Henrique Meirelles was a staunch supporter of Argentina’s controversial Plan Cavallo in the 1990s: a Wall Street “stabilization plan” which wreaked economic and social havoc.  The essential structure of Argentina’s Cavallo Plan was replicated in Brazil under the Real Plan,  namely the enforcement of a dollarised convertible national currency (Real). What this scheme implies is that the internal debt is transformed into a dollar denominated external debt.

Upon Dilma’s accession to the presidency in 2011, Meirielles was not renewed as president of the Central Bank.

Sovereignty in Monetary Policy

Finance Minister Mereilles under the interim “government” supports the so-called “independence of the Central Bank”. The application of this fake concept implies that the government should not intervene in Central Bank decisions. But there are no restrictions  on “Wall Street Foxes”.

The issue of sovereignty in monetary policy is crucial. The objective of the coup d’Etat was to deny Brazil’s sovereignty in the formulation of macro-economic policy.

Wall Street Fox

Under Dilma, the “tradition” of selecting a “Wall Street fox” had been abandoned with the appointment of Alexandre Antônio Tombini, a career government official, who headed the Central Bank of Brazil from 2011 to May 2016.

Upon Michel Temer’s accession as “interim president”, Henrique Campos de Meirelles was appointed to head the Ministry of Finance. In turn, Meirelles appointed his own cronies to head the Central Bank and the Banco do Brasil. Meirelles was described by the US media as “market friendly”.

Michel Temer’s Economic appointments:

Henrique de Campos Meirelles, Minister of Finance,

Ilan Goldfajn, President of the Central Bank of Brazil, crony appointed by Meirelles

Paulo Caffarelli, Bank of Brazil, crony appointed by Meirelles

Concluding Remarks

What is at stake through various mechanisms –including intelligence ops, financial manipulation, media propaganda–is the outright destabilization of  Brazil’s state structure and national economy, not to mention the mass impoverishment of the Brazilian people.

The US does not want to deal or negotiate with a sovereign reformist nationalist government. What it wants is a compliant US proxy state.

Lula was “acceptable” because he followed the instructions of Wall Street and the IMF.

While the neoliberal policy agenda prevailed under Rousseff, a reformist-populist agenda was also implemented which departed from the Wall Street sponsored macroeconomic mainstay during the Lula presidency. According to IMF’s Managing Director Heinrich Koeller (2003) Lula was “Our best president”:

“I am enthusiastic [with Lula’s administration]; but it is better to say I am deeply impressed by President Lula” (IMF Press Conference, 2003).

Under Lula, there was not need for “regime change”. Luis Ignacio da Silva had endorsed the “Washington Consensus”.

The temporary demise of Henrique de Campos Meirelles following the election of Dilma Rousseff was crucial. Wall Street had not approved Dilma’s appointments to the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance.

If Dilma had chosen to retain Henrique de Campos Meirelles, the Coup d’Etat would most probably not have taken place.

It is worth noting that former president Lula, who has a close personal relationship with Meirelles, had recommended to President Dilma to appoint Meirelles to the position of finance minister as a means to avoiding her impeachment.

Meirelles, Temer’s Minister [of Finance], that Lula wanted for Dilma

The US Proxy Regime in Brasilia

A former CEO/president of one of America’s largest financial institutions (and a US citizen) controls Brazil’s key financial institutions and sets the macroeconomic and monetary agenda for a country of more than 200 Million people. 

It is called a Coup d’Etat… by Wall Street. 

The original source of this article is Global Research

World BRICS Group Launches $100 Billion Currency Pool

Source:  TeleSUR
8 July 2015

brics leadersThe BRICS group has just taken a major step towards creating alternatives to existing international financial institutions like the World Bank and IMF. The central banks of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa officially agreed to invest US$100 billion in a joint currency pool Tuesday.

Participants in the BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting. | Photo: RIA Novosti

Participants in the BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting. | Photo: RIA Novosti

Funding will be delivered by the end of July

The BRICS group of nations — an acronym that stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — signed a deal pledging the funding will be delivered by the end of July, which could be used in financial emergencies. Any member state facing dire financial circumstances would be able to access the reserves.

According to a statement from Russia’s central bank, the deal was inked following a meeting of member state finance ministers and central bank heads in Moscow. The largest contribution to the reserve was made by China, which pledged US$41 billion. Brazil, Russia and India pitched in US$18 billion each, while the remaining US$5 billion was contributed by South Africa, according to a press release from the official BRICS website.

Creation of financial agreements independent of the IMF and World Bank

The agreement came on the eve of a meeting between BRICS heads of state in Russia this week. The currency pool is the latest step toward the bloc’s long-term plans to create their own financial agreements to wean themselves off dependency on existing international financial institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Along with establishing the currency pool, current BRICS chair Russia says it hopes to see the emergence of a “full-fledged” New Development Bank, with the bank fully functional by the end of 2015.

The New Development Bank will be more democratic than the IMF

First launched in July 2014, the NDB remains embryonic, though BRICS leaders have long stated plans to develop the bank to rival the IMF. Proponents argue the NDB is more democratic than the IMF. While the IMF assigns member votes based on capital share, the NDB grants each member state a single vote. Unlike the IMF, no country has veto power at the NDB. Russia also says it hopes to use its term to prioritize joint infrastructure projects and promote global security.

RELATED: BRICS Represents Political and Economic Alliance

Putin: We support the peaceful settlement of international conflict

“Aware of the past’s tragic lessons, the BRICS countries consistently support peaceful settlement of international conflicts and condemn any attempts to use force and pressure or intervene in sovereign countries’ internal affairs,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier this year.

“Overall, Russia’s presidency is committed to taking the BRICS partnership to a new, higher level. I am sure that this is in the interests not only of people in the BRICS countries but all around the world,” he added.

Source:  World BRICS Group Launches $100 Billion Currency Pool  TeleSUR

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