Ecuador: The Imperialist Plot Against Rafael Correa

Source:  https://libya360.wordpress.com

Itzamna Ollantay

They are trying to legally nullify Rafael Correa, an Ecuadorean colossus, who stood up against the empire because the horsemen of death know their Junius Brutus (Lenin Moreno) has his days numbered.

imperialist plot against Rafael Correa

A court in Ecuador issued an international arrest order on one of the main human rights defenders of the Latin American and Ecuadorean people, ex-President Rafael Correa.

The former leader is being accused of illegal association and kidnapping in relation to the Fernando Balda case, an Ecuadorean ex-lawmaker who was allegedly held against his will in Colombia, in 2012. The accusations are based on the testimony of a former police officer (an effective collaborator) currently under investigation, who said: “I sent letters to President Correa.”

While this is happening, the most corrupt former neoliberal rulers, who handed over the resources of the Latin American people to foreign companies, are enjoying their permanent vacations in the U.S. For example, Bolivia’s Gonzalo Sanchez, Peru’s Alejandro Toledo… fraudulent president and/or corrupt such as the current ones in Guatemala or Honduras. As long as they have the blessing of the U.S., they’re untouchable. Brazil’s Temer, Argentina’s Macri, even with lawsuits against them, they’re still ruling in favor of the interests of the empire.

The bad taste play called “anti-corruption war,” promoted by the North American government and celebrated by the Latin American naivete, is no more than the continuation of the fake “anti-communist war.”

In the 1970s, defenders were tortured and physically annihilated. Now, through public and legal lynching, they destroy the honor and moral integrity of defenders. The objective is always the same: to subdue the defenders and turn them into monsters.

They are trying to legally nullify Rafael Correa, who as an Ecuadorean colossus stood up against the empire from the Carondelet Palace for a decade, because the horsemen of death know their Junius Brutus (Lenin Moreno) has his days numbered, not because of his physical impairment but due to his actual moral condition of traitor. The Roman Brutus, the traitor/murderer of his father Julius Caesar, killed himself after being defeated by guilt.

What unforgivable thing did Rafael Correa do?

According to reports from the World Bank, in 2000 more than 64 percent of Ecuadoreans were living in poverty conditions. Correa, in his decade of government (2007-2017) reduced poverty in Ecuador by 21 percent. That’s to say, more than 6 million Ecuadoreans stopped being poor during that period.

Rafael Correa completely restructured the country’s taxation system. The collected money was distributed to impoverished families through social policies. It was a great example of economic democratization in times of world recession.

The former president turned Ecuador into a world referent, not only in taxation justice and social equity, but also in the construction of an enviable modern road network never before seen in the country. Correa expanded the access to public services as fundamental human rights as never before in the country. The dealers of public services will never forgive him these or other audacities.

Regarding the migration issue, in 2007 Ecuador was what Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are now: outward migrating stampedes. With Correa, the Ecuadorean migrants returned to their country with organized return policies. Not only this, with the new Political Constitution of 2008 the Latin American citizenship was established in this ecologically megadiverse country.

Rafael Correa, along with a Pleiades of Latin American liberators of the 21st century, imposed the dignity and regional sovereignty of Latin America with the creation of Celac, ALBA, Unasur and other organizations. All that, without Washington’s approval. He took Ecuador away from the economical fetters of the TBI [temporary business interruption] and the World Bank.

As a Latin American David, Correa expelled the North American usurper army from the Ecuadorean territory (Manta). He humiliated, without actually looking for it, the arrogant North American geopolitics in the cases of Assange, Usaid, etc.

Correa, in 2007, found an Ecuador in an accelerated process of sociopolitical decay. But in 2017 he managed to place the Andean, Amazonian country in the world’s display cabinet as a model to look at.

At the end, our rights defender Rafael Correa was and is a living, contagious wall that stopped and will keep stopping the North American commercial and political expansionism in Latin America.

The North American imperial oligarchy and its regional accomplices, used to see their tattered vassals in the Latin American people, will never accept nor allow that Latin American liberators to end up in history as heroes or seedbeds of liberty, dignity and sovereignty. That’s why they’re lynching Lugo, Cristina, Lula, Dilma, Rafael, Maduro… But, millions of Latin Americans have awakened and we’re going towards our pending emancipatory dreams.

 

US Interventions in Latin America Continue and Intensify

Source:  The Real News Network
May 6 2018

Transcript

GREG WILPERT: It’s the Real News Network. I’m Greg Wilpert coming to you from Quito, Ecuador.

Ten years ago, most of Latin America was governed by center-left progressive or even leftist governments. For example, Cristina Fernandez in Argentina, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Fernando Lugo in Paraguay, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, and Lula da Silva in Brazil, just as an example. And Hugo Chavez, of course, in Venezuela. Since then, the so-called ‘pink tide’ has receded quite dramatically. Of these 10 governments that were left of center, only four remain. Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, Morales in Bolivia, Vazquez in Uruguay, and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. What happened? Some would argue that the U.S. played an important role in at least some of these changes.

Joining me to explore the role of the U.S. in Latin America is Mark Weisbrot. Mark is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, and is the author of the book “Failed: What the Experts Got Wrong About the Global Economy.” He’s also the president of the organization Just Foreign Policy. Thanks for being here again, Mark.

MARK WEISBROT: Thanks, Greg. Thanks for having me.

GREG WILPERT: So before we get into the role of the U.S. in Latin America, it’s useful maybe to take a quick look at the impact that the leftist or center-left governments had on Latin America. What would you say were the main achievements or the main consequences of their governments in some of those countries?

MARK WEISBROT: Well, if you look at the region as a whole, the poverty rate dropped from 44 to 28 percent. That was from around 2003-2013. And that was after the two decades prior where poverty had actually increased, there was no progress at all. So that was a huge change, and it was accomplished in different countries in different ways. You know, there were large increases in public investment in Bolivia and Ecuador. In Brazil you had also some increase in public investment , big increases in the minimum wage. You know, every country did different things to help bring healthcare, and increase, in some countries, education, access to education. And there were a whole lot of reforms. Changes in macroeconomic policy. Getting rid of the IMF.

So there were a lot of different things that these governments did that prior governments were either unable or unwilling to do to improve people’s living standards during a period of higher economic growth, which they also contributed to.

GREG WILPERT: And so how has Latin America changed now since then, when right-wing governments took over most of the continent?

MARK WEISBROT: Well, you have different things that have changed. I mean, one is, of course, they’re implementing, as you would expect, right-wing reforms. Trying to cut pension system, the pension in Brazil, passing a constitutional amendment which, you know, even most economists in the world wouldn’t support in Brazil, which prohibits the government from increasing spending beyond the rate of inflation. You have, you know, huge increases in utility prices in Argentina, laying off thousands of public sector workers. So everywhere where the right has come back, you do have some regressive changes.

GREG WILPERT: And so how has the U.S. contributed to these changes, and what goals would you say is the U.S. pursuing in the area?

MARK WEISBROT: Well, I think the U.S. has contributed in so many ways it would take an hour at least to summarize just some of this history. But I think the U.S. has been involved in, in most of these countries in various ways. Obviously in Venezuela they’ve been involved since the coup in 2002, and they tried to overthrow the government and tried to help people topple the government on several occasions there. In Brazil they supported the coup against Dilma, the parliamentary coup. So they didn’t do that strongly, but they sent enough signals, for example, I’ve mentioned this before on this show, right as the House was voting to impeach Dilma without actually presenting a crime that she committed, the head of the Foreign Relations Committee from the Senate came and met with the number three official from the U.S. State Department, Tom Shannon. And then of course in August of that year, the Secretary of State John Kerry went down there and had a press conference with the Acting Foreign Minister Jose Serra. And they, of course, talked about how great relations with the U.S. were going to be before Dilma was actually removed from office. So these were ways of endorsing the coup.

And of course, the Department of Justice contributed to , the FBI, the Department of Justice contributed to the investigation that was instrumental in imprisoning Lula. Now, what they did in that investigation we don’t know exactly, but we do know enough about it to know that it wasn’t a neutral investigation. That is, the investigation did end up decapitating the Workers’ Party for now, first helping get rid of Dilma, but more importantly, or more substantially, in terms of its contribution, they they helped put Lula in prison and prevent him from running for office.

And in other countries, in Paraguay, the U.S. helped in the consolidation of that parliamentary coup by organizing within the Organization of American States. In Honduras is probably the biggest role that the U.S. has played, both in consolidating the military coup in 2009, Hillary Clinton acknowledged her role in making sure that President Zelaya, the democratically elected president, would not return to office, and then more recently in November they helped consolidate the results of an election which pretty much all observers regarded as stolen.

Those are just a few of the examples. I mean, I guess I didn’t even mention Argentina, where other branches of government were involved as well as the executive, but the executive cut off lending from multilateral development banks such as the Inter-American Development Bank, and tried to block loans at the World Bank, as well. And they restored everything as soon as the right-wing government was elected. And then there was Judge Griesa in New York, who took all of Argentina’s, over 90 percent of Argentina’s creditors, hostage in order to squeeze them so that the government would pay off the vulture funds. And this was very political, because he also lifted the injunction as soon as you had the right-wing government.

And I think this is very important, because obviously it’s not necessarily a conspiracy of all these branches of government. The legislative branch was involved in this as well, in the United States. But they all have the same mindset, and they’re all trying to get rid of these left governments, and they had a massive contribution. I mean, Argentina, that did contribute to the downfall of Cristina Kirchner. It contributed to balance of payments problems that they had there. So this was important, and it’s totally ignored here in the United States.

GREG WILPERT: And then why was it ignored in the United States? I mean, what is it about U.S. media coverage, and why is there so little coverage of U.S. role and Latin America?

MARK WEISBROT: Well, you know, maybe you should interview some of the reporters who cover it, if they’re willing to answer that question. I think that it’s it’s complicated in some ways, but in some ways it’s very simple. First of all, for U.S. intervention anywhere in the world they have a kind of a smoking gun standard. So you know, we have in our criminal justice system the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. But this is a much higher standard. So nothing is really discussed in terms of U.S. intervention unless it’s really a smoking gun, where they’re caught red-handed in a way that nobody could deny. And that almost never happens.

So in Venezuela, for example, in 2002 when you had the coup, you had State Department and CIA documents which documented the involvement of the United States. They helped fund and train the people who did the coup, and they made statements following the coup that they knew were false in order to help the coup consolidate itself, and they failed in that case. But you know, in Haiti in 2004, which I hadn’t even mentioned, they took the president and put him on a rendition plane, and flew him out of the country. That was in broad daylight.

But in any case, they have a story that’s not at all believable, and the press kind of accepts that and never looks back. Whenever they mentioned, you know, Chavez complained about the coup, and it was a major obvious source of bad relations with Venezuela, but they always just reported it as an allegation of a figure that they of course were discrediting at every turn.

So that’s kind of how they report all of these. When they report the facts at all, they put it in the context that makes it look like there wasn’t any intent, or any real effect of U.S. policy in the region. But mostly it’s like reporting on Ukraine and never mentioning Russia, you know, it’s as if the United States doesn’t have any real influence in the Americas, and of course anybody knows they have an enormous influence.

GREG WILPERT: So what would you say are some of the implications for the foreseeable future of this U.S. policy towards Latin America?

MARK WEISBROT: Well, right now, of course, they’re still involved. And you have intervention in Mexico, for example. U.S. officials have already said how worried they are that AMLO, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is the frontrunner in the upcoming election in July. And he’s probably going to win, but they’re already trying to undermine him, lobbying accusations of Russia involvement, which is the new trend. Of course, completely unsubstantiated. In Venezuela they’re doing something probably never done in the last 50 years, openly calling for a military coup, and actually a financial embargo they’ve put in place, and threatening even a worse embargo if they don’t get rid of the current government. So that’s, I think, a more aggressive form of intervention than you had even under the prior administrations.

And they’re pretty open about it. And again, most of the media seems to treat it as a non-issue. In fact, that’s actually a very important example, because there’s an election going to take place in a couple of weeks, and the media is pretending that it’s not really an election. But you have a credible opposition candidate who’s leading in the polls, and they’ve reached agreement with the government on a set of procedures which are similar to almost all the other elections they’ve had for hte last 20 years, and a set of guarantees, which of course, the candidate Falcon won’t recognize the election if they don’t follow them. So you have a real contested election, but the U.S. government has decided they don’t want that, and the hard-right opposition is in line with them, and so they’re all pretending there’s no election at all, because they’re committed to a strategy of violence, of regime change.

GREG WILPERT: OK. We’ll certainly continue to follow this, especially the U.S. role in Latin America. I was speaking to Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Thanks again, Mark, for joining us today.

MARK WEISBROT: Thank you, Gregory.

GREG WILPERT: And thank you for joining the Real News Network.

Going Down With the Bad Ship U.S.A.

Source:  Black Agenda Report
March 15 2018

going down with the bad ship.jpgGoing Down With the Bad Ship U.S.A.

“All that it can offer to the emerging nations of the world is a bad example and the threat of annihilation.”

There is no mystery to the ideological collapse of U.S. ruling class politics under late stage capitalism and imperial decline. Simply put, the corporate duopoly parties have nothing to offer the masses of people except unrelenting austerity at home and endless wars abroad. A shrunken and privatized Detroit serves as the model for U.S. urban policy; Libya and Syria are the scorched-earth footprints of a demented and dying empire. The lengthening shadow of economic eclipse by the East leaves the U.S. Lords of Capital with no cards left to play but the threat of Armageddon.

As China reclaims its historic place at the center of the earth, alongside the huge and heavily armed landmass of Russia, Washington flails about in a frenzy of firewall-building, buying time with the blood of millions, hoping to somehow preserve its doomed hegemony. But the “exceptional” superpower has no Marshall Plan to rescue itself from the throes of systemic decay, and all that it can offer to the emerging nations of the world is a bad example and the threat of annihilation. Its own people tire of the “Great Game,” finally realizing that they are the ones who have been played.

“Washington flails about in a frenzy of firewall-building, buying time with the blood of millions.”

George Bush drawled the “last hurrah” of empire with his declaration of “Mission Accomplished,” 15 years ago — and was quickly contradicted. With the failure in Iraq, the pretense of “spreading democracy” came ingloriously undone. A refurbishing of the imperial brand was attempted, with a bright and shiny new face – a Black-ish one — plus a new logo to justify invasion and regime-change: “humanitarian” intervention. But Obama’s assault on Syria revealed that the U.S. and its junior partners could only project power in the region through an alliance with Islamic jihadist terror. The architects of the War on Terror were, in fact, the godfathers of al Qaida.

“Do you realize now what you’ve done?” Vladimir Putin demanded of the Americans, at the United Nations, in 2015. “It is hypocritical and irresponsible to make loud declarations about the threat of international terrorism while turning a blind eye to the channels of financing and supporting terrorists, including the process of trafficking and illicit trade in oil and arms. It would be equally irresponsible to try to manipulate extremist groups and place them at one’s service in order to achieve one’s own political goals in the hope of later dealing with them or, in other words, liquidating them.”

The U.S. and its junior partners could only project power in the region through an alliance with Islamic jihadist terror.”

Washington’s jihadist strategy has rapidly unraveled ever since. The empire was unmasked in the world’s most public forum, revealing the utter depravity of U.S. policy and, more importantly, the weakness of Washington’s position in the region. The mighty fortress of global capital, the self-appointed defender of the world economic “order,” was revealed as, not just in collusion with head-chopping, women-enslaving, sectarian mass-murdering terrorists, but militarily dependent on the very forces it claims to wage a twilight, “generational” battle to destroy. The U.S. has been spouting The Mother of All Lies, and most of humanity knows it. Deep down, most Americans suspect as much, too.

With its intervention in Syria as a stalwart foe of jihadism and in defense of the principle of national sovereignty, Russia spoke the language of international law and morality, presenting a fundamental challenge to U.S. imperial exceptionalism. By deploying his forces against Washington’s jihadist proxies, in a region infested with American bases, Putin put muscle behind his call for a “multi-polar” world order.

China understands clearly that the ultimate U.S. aim is to block China’s access to the region’s energy and markets, at will. Beijing has praised Russia’s military role in the war, and stood with Moscow in vetoing western Security Council resolutions targeting Damascus. China routinely joins with Russia – and most other nations on the planet — in pursuit of a more “multi-polar world.”

“Putin put muscle behind his call for a “multi-polar” world order.”

The U.S. now uses the desperate Kurdish militia as surrogates in Syria, in an attempt to justify its presence in the country, while continuing to arm, finance and train other “rebel” groups, reportedly including former ISIS fighters. The U.S. has always avoided targeting the al Qaida affiliate in Syria, formerly known as the al Nusra Front — which, with ISIS on the run, remains the most effective anti-government force in the country.

The Trump administration declares that it will remain in Syria for the foreseeable future — without even a fig leaf of legal cover. Although there is now no possibility for a jihadist victory, Washington seems intent on drawing out the war as long as possible. The truth is, Washington doesn’t know how to extricate itself, because to do so would amount to yet another admission of defeat, and lead quickly to the dissolution of the jihadist networks the Pentagon has so long cultivated.

Withdrawal from Syria — and, sooner rather than later, from Iraq, whose parliament this month called for a timetable for U.S. forces to vacate the country — would totally unravel U.S. strategy to dominate events in the oil-rich region. Obama launched the jihadist war against the Syrian government in 2011 to force his way into the country. ISIS’s seizure of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, gave the U.S. the opportunity to return to that country, militarily. There will be no third chances, in Syria or Iraq.

“Washington doesn’t know how to extricate itself, because to do so would amount to yet another admission of defeat.”

The American people will not stand for another such adventure. They feel tainted by the experience in both Syria and Iraq, and don’t trust what their government says about the “good guys” and the “bad guys” in the Arab world. If only for reasons of racism, they want out.

Everyone smells U.S. defeat, inside and outside the empire. It is a stink that only Americans that were conscious in the Vietnam era can remember. It makes folks anxious — like the loss of a cocoon. Just as whites reaped a “psychological wage ” from Jim Crow privileges, according to W.E.B. Dubois, even if they were poor, so do citizens of empire feel psychological benefits, even when the cost of the war machine is impoverishing the country. U.S. politics in the era of imperial decline will be nasty, stupid, petty and racist — just as we are already experiencing. There must be scapegoats for the national de-exceptionalization. The Russians fit the bill, for now, and so does anybody that talks like a Russian, or a Chinese — for example, people that would like to live in a “multi-polar world.”

Do not expect the Republicans or the Democrats to make any sense of a world of diminishing empire. The duopolists are incapable of seeing any future beyond their rich patrons’ vision –- and the rich have no vision beyond continued accumulation of wealth, which requires a harsher and harsher austerity.

Most dangerous, they cannot imagine a world in which they are not on top. We will have to fight to keep them from blowing us all up, in rich man’s despair.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com .

AFRICOM – Staggering But Not Yet Down For The Count

Source:  Black Agenda Report
February 21 2018

“The AFRICOM serpent has spent more than a decade slithering into almost every African country and establishing a venomous presence.”

africom staggering but.jpg

Even though Donald Trump thinks Africa is a “shit hole” the continent forced its way into his life anyway in October when four U.S. soldiers were killed in Niger. After Trump deflected blame to others and made a soldier’s widow cry, he apparently returned quickly to his fantasies about boatloads of Norwegian immigrants swarming Ellis Island.

The military establishment was not so quick to change the subject. Their detailed investigation of the Niger matter has produced what is reported to be a damning assessment of the capacity of the U.S. military to carry out its imperialist agenda in Africa. The rest of us aren’t allowed to read it yet because, as the New York Times explained: “…public release has been delayed until General [Thomas] Waldhauser [head of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM)] appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee to present the command’s annual ‘posture hearing,’ scheduled for the last week of February.”

The New York Times goes on to say: “Defense officials said that the delay in part aims to keep senators from focusing on the Niger ambush during the hearing and, in turn, excoriating General Waldhauser when he testifies before the committee.” The convenient temporary suppression of the report will allow the General to present senators with the usual upbeat AFRICOM propaganda about U.S. soldiers digging wells and bringing medicine to downtrodden African villagers while giving friendly advice to African armies about how to fight terrorism.

“The convenient temporary suppression of the report will allow the General to present senators with the usual upbeat AFRICOM propaganda.”

Findings about failures of the campaign to militarize Africa are welcome news after the AFRICOM serpent has spent more than a decade slithering into almost every African country and establishing a venomous presence. Even better news is that the study reportedly “…calls for the Pentagon to scale back the number of ground missions in West Africa, and to strip commanders in the field of some authority to send troops on potentially high-risk patrols.”

With respect to the military deaths in Niger, the New York Times noted: “…[T]he ambush has exposed holes in the argument that the Pentagon has made under three different administrations: that in many far-flung places, American troops are not actually engaged in combat, but just there to train, advise and assist local troops.” Not only is the U.S. military engaged in combat, it has also formed an unholy alliance with France that gives both countries the opportunity to wreak havoc in Africa tag-team style. For example, in 2012 when one of Mali’s soldiers, who had been trained by AFRICOM, staged a coup that displaced Mali’s democratically elected government, the French military stepped in to try to clean up the mess.

“The study calls for the Pentagon to scale back the number of ground missions in West Africa, and to strip commanders in the field of some authority to send troops on potentially high-risk patrols.”

The U.S. has also had France’s back. State Department documents show that while Muammar Gadhafi lived, France coveted Libya’s oil and wanted desperately to stop plans to create a Pan-African currency backed by Libyan gold. In an effort to satisfy French desires, the U.S. stepped in and did the dirty work of arming vicious Libyan racists and terrorists who, in turn, not only committed a grisly assassination of Gadhafi, but also began a campaign of genocide against blacks in Libya.

In Niger, when French uranium mining operations in Arlit and a military installation in Agadez were attacked in 2013, the U.S. military stepped in, and its continuing involvement there eventually cost the lives of four U.S. soldiers last year. A Guardian article about the 2013 attacks said: “The militants vowed to hit any country that helped France…” Someone apparently made good on that threat.

Meanwhile, U.S. politicians claim they are clueless. Senator Lindsey Graham said: “I didn’t know there were 1,000 troops in Niger. This is an endless war without boundaries, no limitation on time or geography. We don’t know exactly where we’re at in the world militarily and what we’re doing.” Even though Donald Trump is probably less informed than Graham, his administration not only increased the number of drone strikes in Somalia, but also removed limits on drone strikes and commando raids that Barack (The King of Drones) Obama established in 2013.

“The U.S. has formed an unholy alliance with France that gives both countries the opportunity to wreak havoc in Africa tag-team style.”

Nevertheless, AFRICOM itself may already be downsizing. Lauren Ploch, a Congressional Research Service Africa analyst commented: “AFRICOM’s security cooperation spending was down in 2017 from the previous few years.” If the recently completed report on U.S. military engagement in Niger has the expected impact, the U.S. military presence in Africa will be scaled back even more — at least temporarily. But because the long-term interests of the U.S. Empire demand the continuing western capitalist domination of the African continent, the generals and strategists will no doubt huddle and figure out a more effective way to sell the AFRICOM idea, and it will return.

A temporarily scaled-back AFRICOM will present a window of opportunity that will probably close quickly. Those who want to prevent the further military domination of Africa must therefore make haste to do whatever possible to ensure that an already disintegrating AFRICOM project crumbles into dust and is swept away forever by African desert winds.

Mark P. Fancher is an attorney who writes frequently about the U.S. military presence in Africa. He can be contacted at mfancher(at)comcast.net

The Strategic Challenge for the Latin American Left

Source:  TeleSUR
February 22 2018

latin american left presidents.jpgLatin American Presidents
From left to right: Evo Morales (Bolivia), José Mujica (Uruguay), Dilma Rousseff (Brazil), Cristina Fernandez (Argentina), Rafael Correa (Ecuador) in 2014. | Photo: Reuters

Mass-Media has become the main opposition to the progressive governments of the region.

After the long and sad neoliberal night of the 1990s – which broke entire nations like Ecuador – and since Hugo Chávez won the Presidency of the Republic of Venezuela at the end of 1998, the rightist governments of the continent began to be overthrown like houses of cards, bringing Popular governments and aligned with ‘Socialism of Good Living’ across our America.

RELATED:   Why Bolivia Fights US Imperialism, But Chile Does Not

In its heyday in 2009, out of ten Latin American countries in South America, eight had leftist governments. In addition, in Central America and the Caribbean, there was the Farabundo Martí Front in El Salvador, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, Álvaro Colom in Guatemala, Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, and Leonel Fernández in the Dominican Republic. In countries like Guatemala, with Álvaro Colom, or Paraguay, with Fernando Lugo; it was the first time in history that the left had come to power, and in the last case, broken centuries of constant bipartisanship.

In May of 2008, the Union of South American Nations, or (UNASUR), was born and in February 2010, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was created with 33 members. Of the 20 Latin countries of the CELAC, 14 had Left governments, that is, 70 percent.

The first part of the 21st century has undoubtedly meant years of advancement. The economic, social and political advances were historic and amazed the world with a climate of sovereignty, dignity, autonomy, with our own presence on the continent and in the whole world.

Latin America didn’t live through a time of change, but a real change of the times, which also substantially changed the geopolitical balance of the region. For this reason, for the de facto powers and hegemonic countries, it was essential to put an end to these processes of change that favored the vast majorities, and that sought a second and definitive regional independence.

The Conservative Restoration

Although the government of Hugo Chávez had to endure a failed coup d’état as early as 2002, it was really since 2008 that undemocratic attempts to end the progressive governments intensified, as was the case of Bolivia in 2008, Honduras 2009, Ecuador 2010, and Paraguay 2012. Four attempts at destabilization, two of them successful – Honduras and Paraguay – and all against governments of the left.

Starting in 2014 and taking advantage of the change in the economic downturn, these disjointed destabilization efforts are consolidated and constitute a real “conservative restoration,” with never-before-seen right-wing coalitions, international support, unlimited resources, external financing, and so on. The reaction has since deepened and lost any limits or scruples. Now we have the economic boycott and harassment of Venezuela, the parliamentary coup in Brazil, and the judicialization of politics – ‘lawfare’-, as shown by the cases of Dilma and Lula in Brazil, Cristina in Argentina, and Vice President Jorge Glas in Ecuador. The attempts to destroy UNASUR and neutralize CELAC, are also evident and, not infrequently, brazen. Not to mention what is happening in Mercosur. The failure of the FTAA at the beginning of this century looks to be overcome through the Pacific Alliance.

In South America, at present, only three progressive governments remain: Venezuela; Bolivia; and Uruguay. The eternal powers that have always dominated Latin America and that plunged it into backwardness, inequality, and underdevelopment, return with a thirst for revenge, after more than a decade of continuous defeats.

The Central Pillars of The Conservative Restoration’s Strategy

The reactionary strategy is carried out regionally and is primarily based on two axes: the supposed failure of the left economic model, and the alleged lack of moral strength in the progressive governments.

Regarding the first axis, since the second half of 2014, due to an adverse international environment, the entire region suffered an economic slowdown that turned into a recession during the last two years.

The results are different between countries and subregions, reflecting the different economic structure and applied economic policies, but the economic difficulties of countries like Venezuela or Brazil are taken as an example of the failure of socialism, even when Uruguay, with a left government, is the most developed country south of the Rio Grande, or when Bolivia has the best macroeconomic indicators on the planet.

The second axis of the new strategy against progressive governments is morality. The issue of corruption has become the effective tool to destroy the national-popular political processes in Our America. The emblematic case is that of Brazil, where a well-articulated political operation succeeded in removing Dilma Rousseff from the Presidency of Brazil, only to be shown to have nothing to do with the issues that they attributed to her.

There is great global hypocrisy surrounding the fight against corruption.

The Left: Victim Of Its Own Success?

The left is also probably a victim of its own success. According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), almost 94 million people were lifted out of poverty and joined the regional middle class during the last decade, with the vast majority being a result of the policies of leftist governments.

In Brazil, 37.5 million people stopped being poor between 2003 and 2013, and are now middle class, but those millions were not a mobilized force when a Parliament that itself is accused of corruption, dismissed Dilma Rousseff.

We have people who overcame poverty and now – for what is often called objective prosperity and subjective poverty – despite having significantly improved their income level, ask for much more. They feel poor, not in reference to what they have, worse still to what they had, but to what they aspire.

The left has always struggled against the current, at least in the Western world. The question is, is the left fighting against human nature?

The problem is much more complex if we consider the hegemonic culture constructed by the media, in the Gramscian sense, that is, to make the wishes of the great majorities in line with the interests of the elites.

Our democracies should be called mediated democracies. The media are a more important component in the political process than the parties and electoral systems; they have become the main opposition parties of the progressive governments, and they are the true representatives of business and conservative political power.

It does not matter what best suits the majorities, what has been proposed in the election campaign, and what the people – the main actor in every democracy – has decided at the polls. The important thing is what the media approve or disapprove of in their headlines. They have replaced the Rule of Law with the State of Opinion.

Is there a “Strategic Challenge?”

The regional left faces the problems of exercising – or having exercised – power, often successfully, but exhaustingly.

It is impossible to govern and make the whole world happy, even more, when so much social justice is required.

We always have to be self-critical, but it’s also about having faith in yourself.

The progressive governments are under constant attack, the elites and their media will not forgive any error, they seek to lower our morale, make us doubt our convictions, proposals and objectives. Therefore, perhaps the greatest “strategic challenge” of the Latin American left is to understand that every transcendental work will have errors and contradictions.

This article was originally published in Granma in Spanish.

World Peace Council: We reject US interference for the destabilization of Venezuela!

Source:  World Peace Council
February 5 2017

world peace council 6.jpgWith renewed alarm and repudiation, we again denounce US imperialism in its interference in the affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, reaffirmed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who suggested that the Government of President Nicolás Maduro could be overthrown by the Venezuelan Army.

Beginning a visit to Latin America and the Caribbean, Tillerson even referred to past military coups that overthrew popular or progressive governments under the guidance and support of the United States and imposed untold suffering on the people! The dictatorships fed and coordinated by his country decreed as politics the terror of the criminals who instituted the torture basements, the kidnappings and murders, for decades. That is why memory and indignation will surely prevent Latin Americans from accepting such ignominy!

Solidarity with the Venezuelan people

The World Peace Council has repeatedly affirmed its solidarity with the Venezuelan people in defending the Bolivarian Revolution, stability and peace in the country, based primarily on respect for Venezuela’s sovereignty and internal political dialogue, without foreign interference. It is widely known, however, that the increasingly fascist opposition in the country counts on the broad support and encouragement of US imperialism, as evidenced by the criminal attitude of its Secretary of State and that of other reactionary forces in Latin America.

Therefore, we express total repudiation of any attempt by the US to promote the destabilization of Venezuela and the region, by insulting democracy and the sovereignty of nations! We repudiate the persistent media war and inflammatory speeches against the government of President Maduro, who is legitimately elected and committed to a solution to the crisis.

We vehemently reject any suggestion of intervention or military coup promoted by reactionary forces and US imperialism. We believe that the incitement will certainly be frustrated by the conscious and already asserted support of Venezuelan officials for the defense of their country’s peace and sovereignty, rejecting the role of the slaughterers of democracy that the US would like to see them play.

Hands off Venezuela, now!

Down with imperialist interference!

Socorro Gomes
President of the World Peace Council