The Bushcons are paying some new attention to Latin America, which they fear has been slipping out of Yankee neoliberal/necolonial control during the recent American campaign to
deliver “peace” and “freedom” to the Arab world —a wonderful expression of loving kindness that killed 98,000 Iraqi civilians between March 2003 and October 2004 (according to the moderate British medical journal The Lancet).
I should be more exact. They are focusing on the terrible threat posed by Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.
With the election of Uruguay’s new head of state Tabaré Vasquez last week, Latin America now boasts a considerable cadre of presidents with ostensibly left-wing credentials and a shared taste for speaking negatively about the interrelated evils of neoliberalism and Yankee imperialism: Ricardo Lagos in Chile, Lula da Silva in Brazil, Lucio Guttierez in Ecuador, and Nestor Kirchner in Argentina. There is a strong, largely indigenous, and politically significant social movement in Bolivia (headed by Evo Morales) and an ongoing civil war in Columbia. There are resistance currents across the continent and Central America. The Castro regime hangs on as a living if fading symbol that Uncle Sam can be faced down.
The Bush administration is politically isolated and the neoliberal “Washington Consensus” is largely discredited in official opinion across Latin America.
Buschcon concerns are especially focused, however, on Chavez, for interesting reasons. Venezuela is a major oil producer whose popular and populist — indeed now officially socialist —- President Chavez is determined to defy Uncle Sam’s ancient claim to special low-cost access to Latin-America’s natural resources. It supplies nearly a sixth of US oil imports and the US buys 60 percent of Venezuela’s oil output. The Chavez government seeks full state government control over Venezuela’s oil sector and uses oil profits to — imagine —- eliminate poverty.
The other thing about Venezuela is that, as Canandian writer Sam Gindin recently pointed out in a ZNet Commentary, “President Hugo Chávez has made common cause with social movements, community organizations, and most importantly, the masses of unorganized Venezuelan poor. Perhaps what most sets Chávez apart from his regional counterparts is the fact that, as a recent article in the Economist noted, since Chávez emerged victorious from two electoral contests in 2004 ‘some of his words are turning into deeds.’ Unlike other left-of-center governments in the region, Chávez has not abandoned the radical platform on which he was elected. Venezuelan voters have reacted, supporting the President in 9 electoral contests and referenda held in the last six years.’”
In a region where anti-imperialist talk is cheap and policy tends to diverge from left-populist rhetoric, Chavez appears to be the real left deal. His accomplishments include a significant ongoing political mobilization of the poor and a considerable expansion of social welfare programs and investment that is improving the standard of living of Venezuela’s disadvantaged majority.
Chavez has the oil wealth to fund that improvement. He also has the will to pursue social-democratic goals, to piss off the national and global business classes, and to politically engage the masses and raise their expectations. He appears to have won considerable loyalty among the armed forces.
It’s a dangerous combination as far as the White House is concerned.
Sensing the dangers of the man and his base in a strategic same-hemisphere oil state, the Bush administration ecstatically welcomed the ridiculously illegitemate “television coup” that briefy overthrew Chavez in April 2002 (see the marvelous film account “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”…http://www.chavezthefilm.com/index_ex.htm) The White House instantly recognized the nation’s laughable new businessman president, announcing that the restoration of “stability” would provide the basis for strong new “development” (meaning development that coincided with the profit needs of American petroleum corporations and the strategic designs of American empire). The “liberal” (some American proto-fascists even say “leftist”) New York Times shamefully chimed in along identical lines. The United States and its NGO tentacles (including the deliberately mis-named “National Endowment for Democracy”) were certainly involved.
But when the people resisted and restored their leader Chavez within THREE DAYS, the State Department claimed that noble America had zero prior knowledge of the shameful events. The wacky goings-on in Caracas were purely internal to the over-heated arteries of the steamy Venezuelans the way the Bushcon publicists shucked and jived. Claiming interest in a “peaceful” and “democratic” resolution, the Yankee imperialists turned to an unsuccessful effort to remove their number two bad boy —- after Saddam, who also happened to sit on a bit of oil lusted over by the great white imperial petro-imperialists and their loyal black foreign policy operative Condi Chevron Rice — through the referendum process.
In a story I’ve pasted in (below) from the conservative Anglo-American Financial Times, we learn that the running-dog Bush imperialists have now identified Chavez as the devlish source of social and political unrest throughout Latin America. Messianic militarist boy-king George and his bewitching workout partner and world-geography tutor Condi Rice (a former Chevron director who once had a Chevron tanker named after her…ok?) have asked their subordinates to draft “a policy to ‘contain’ Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan president.”
Their underlings now allege that Chavez seeks “to ‘subvert’ Latin America’s least stable states” through “a hyena strategy in the region.” Was “Death Squad John” (Negroponte) consulted on Latin-American state-destabilization through “hyena” methods?
Man, don’t you just hate hyenas? I mean if Chavez is going with a “hyena strategy”…well, that just really pisses me off, as an American.
US spokespersons suggest that a Chavez conspiracy is the dark force behind social and politial unrest in Latin America… NOT the savage socioeconomic inequality, racial disparity, and dire poverty that has long stalked the region.
It’s all straight out of the US foreign policy playbook stretching back through and before the Cold War.
Study the history. Resist these bastards.
They’re just…well, they’re hyenas — big hyenas.
White House hyenas, that’s what they are.
Bush orders policy to ‘contain’ Chávez
By Andy Webb-Vidal in Miami
March 13 2005
Senior US administration officials are working on a policy to “contain” Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan president, and what they allege is his drive to “subvert” Latin America’s least stable states.
A strategy aimed at fencing in the government of the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter is being prepared at the request of President George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state, senior US officials say. The move signals a renewed interest by the administration in a region that has been relatively neglected in recent years.
Roger Pardo-Maurer, deputy assistant secretary for western hemisphere affairs at the US Department of Defense, said the Venezuela policy was being developed because Mr Chávez was employing a “hyena strategy” in the region.
“Chávez is a problem because he is clearly using his oil money and influence to introduce his conflictive style into the politics of other countries,” Mr Pardo-Maurer said in an interview with the Financial Times.
“He’s picking on the countries whose social fabric is the weakest,” he added. “In some cases it’s downright subversion.”
Mr Chávez, whose government has enjoyed bumper export revenues during his six years in office thanks to high oil prices, has denied that he is aiding insurgent groups in countries such as Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. But a tougher stance from the US appears to be in the offing, a move that is likely to worsen strained bilateral relations.
The policy shift in Washington, which a US military officer said is at an early stage but is centred on the goal of “containment”, could also have implications for the world oil market.
Mr Chávez has threatened to suspend oil shipments to the US if it attempts to oust him. He and Fidel Castro, the Cuban president, have alleged, without offering proof, that the Bush administration was plotting to assassinate the Venezuelan leader, an allegation that US officials have dismissed as “wild”.
Suggestions that Mr Chávez backs subversive groups surface frequently, although so far also with scant evidence. Colombian officials close to President Alvaro Uribe say Venezuela is giving sanctuary to Colombian guerrillas, deemed “terrorists” by the US and Europe.
US officials say Mr Chávez financed Evo Morales, the Bolivian indigenous leader whose followers last week unsuccessfully tried to force President Carlos Mesa’s resignation. In Peru allegations emerged suggesting that Mr Chávez financed a rogue army officer who tried to incite a rebellion against President Alejandro Toledo in December.
Mr Chávez has dismissed such claims as fabrications designed to undermine his attempts to foster greater political and economic integration in Latin America.
Mr Pardo-Maurer said Washington has run out of patience: “We have reached the end of the road of the current approach.”