What has Happened in Latin America? Understanding the Imperial Counteroffensive

With the essay "The imperial geopolitics of the development in Latin America: an overcome model?", Cuban researchers Yazmín Bárbara Vázquez Ortiz and Olga Rosa González Martínez, from the Center of Hemispheric Studies and the United States of Havana University have just won the International Prize of Essay Pensar a Contracorriente, in its XVI edition. With talked to them, to understand the imperial avalanche and reconquest in the region, as well as the chances for the left-wing to face this challenge. And we do this at a key moment: when threats of an armed intervention on behalf of the United States or of a fratricidal war, they are enraged with the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela.

Which are in bold strokes, the mechanisms that characterize the imperial geopolitical positioning in Latin America, from the perspective of the development?

Yazmín: To speak of the Model of Imperial Geopolitical of Development, we must specify, above all that it’s a group of mechanisms that work together, and have not just an economic nature. Although they include the Free Trade Treaties, the Aid Development Programs (with domestic scope like FORTAS and International like those of USAID), those mechanisms applied in the cultural dominance are also essential to understand the reach that have, in the field of dominance and political subversion, the model we are speaking about.

For example, the articulation of messages issued from the media, international consultant, think tanks, and international institutions like the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund, with more or less technical level have in two impact directions. The first one, to discredit the programs, the politics generated from governments or left-wing forces, those who think of a future of human and social development from the socialization of the wealth and power, with transformations that must be done to this purpose, in every geographic levels and structural dimensions and of needed social actions that are transformed in essential processes. The second, aimed at socializing and building up approval about alternative proposals to these on-line with the interests at heart of transnational capital and the imperial project of the United States government.

What’s striking about these action guidelines, especially the second one is the way to build approval that uses conceptions (what to understand by development), values (how to guide the individual behavior to achieve it), ideals (what project should the family and society bet to progress) which has as essential objective the dispute of senses for the cultural change. A process that has won over the symbols, speech, and practices that from the left-wing have shown capacity to mobilize society for the political change. Olguita may speak further on how a model of political communication for the cultural change have taken shape from the action of the aforementioned mechanisms and others, more aggressive that are in motion today.

That same way of acting, I assume has been toward the entire region, but taking into account particularities and specific objectives in each country. How has it been expressed especially against the progressive and liberating processes of the region, and among them, against the Bolivarian Revolution?

Yazmín: The particularity that has had the application of these mechanisms in countries with progressive and liberating processes has been, on one side, the insert of a series of instruments that hinder the realization of the development programs, as well as of politics set with this end and on the other hand, the combination of all these with those politics aimed at guaranteeing “the necessary political changes to access development.”

In the first case, beyond the media offensive to damage the reputation of the programs, plans and politics for the development, boycott processes,—economic war (like in Venezuela), the blockade (like in Cuba)—, juridical instruments have been set, sanctions with international reach, manipulation of international institutions, as they did to lower oil prices with OPEC. All of which seeks to create certain lacks of materials and other elements from which later the uneasiness is worked, along with the “need” of change and ideas on how to do it. Very similar to Danny Glover’s statements on the U.S. position towards Venezuela today: I create the problem, I attack you and then I will come to save you. Only that this salvation is designed and conditioned on the needs of the great capital to enter our economies and the United States guarantees an area of geopolitical support against China, Russia and the challenges they impose to the perpetuation of the imperial hegemony.

To the mechanisms that are already articulated to those mentioned seeking to guarantee “the necessary political changes to access development”, have been added those that are included in the promotion of security, as condition of development from the Initiatives for security deployed in the continent. From these last mechanisms it has been worked the criminalization of the social protest, to eliminate those they cannot convince, those who fight against transnationals and their expropriation processes. Likewise, the processes of “institutional strengthening” have worked through actions of “independent” attorney’s offices, in processes of judicialization of politics that invalidates left leaders like Lula, with chances of recovering the government, or the case of Cristina, Correa that during their time in office limited the capacity to expropriate the natural resources in the countries they governed and they impacted in their rescue for the social progress, with nationalizations.

Today we have corporations meddling in government functions and in the mechanisms of alleged integration as the Initiative for Prosperity and Security of the Northern Triangle. The corporation of politics is part of what promotes the Model of Imperial Geopolitics of Development, together with civic and community empowering, but only in the economic area, as labor force or entrepreneurs subordinate to the chains of global value.

A proposal where many and dissimilar actors participate: ranging from agencies and foundations of the United States, think tanks, churches, corporations, among other that act at territorial, national and regional level.

This process promotes since 2017, as part of the actions of the South Command in Latin America, Internet, the coordination of the mechanisms aforementioned by North American military forces. It’s part of the scheme applied in Venezuela in an attempt to create approval to legitimate the intervention for the national political change.

After studying this phenomenon, what do you think the left-wing in Latin America can do to face and overcome this challenge?

Olguita: I don’t intend this to be a unique answer neither to offer a recipe, I believe the most important thing is that the left-wing comes together, that works in block that makes a balance of its mistakes and that elaborates projections in different areas. Latin America has proven in the last few years that it’s not just reaching the government via elections. It’s about once the Executive Power is attain a process of revolutionary radicalization must occur in the broadest sense of the word. Like Che Guevara said, “the enemy must not be given an inch”. There are spaces that cannot be given freely, it’s necessary to speak to people, to work with the lowest ranks, in the neighborhoods, to speak face to face. The media is important, social media are useful, but the space within the community cannot be lost, there is where the right-wing and the United States have been working hard. Everyone who is strategically thinking of its future should go beyond the debate of public policies and include all the actors who influence in the creation of approval and the mobilization.

  • Published in Now

United States, the greatest threat to global security

That’s the opinion of most people in the world, according to reports presented at the recent Munich Conference.

And if you closely watched the list of US military interventions that have circulated these days on the social media, as part of the #HandOffVenezuela Campaign, you will agree with me that it is a well-earned fame.

Of course, there is no surprise at all to read the percents published by several websites that covered the meeting, which annually bring together statesmen, diplomats, militaries and defense experts from different nations and where, according to Europa press “Many of the papers have described an uncertain outlook and a fragile international order in view of the retreat of U.S. as a great hegemonic power in the international scenario”.

The website of Russia’s Sputnik news agency, for its part, contributes interesting data such as the number of Canadians who look fearfully to the neighbor empire, 46 percent considers it a threat to their country, while the government tries to calm them down, supporting the last warmongering adventure that has firmly got into the head of the current emperor: Venezuela.

As expected, Mexicans look to the north fearfully too, more than half, 64 percent has stated they consider U.S. the greatest threat to the security of the Aztec land and I summarize: what a bad reputation the government of the U.S. has among its neighbors.

These data belong to a study presented by sociological company Pew Research Centre and do not finish providing interesting conclusions, because nations whose rulers have many times appeared as allies of the almighty empire, go on the opposite direction to the great majorities, because Macron’s France, for example, is afraid of the Yankees more than anyone else in the world, or maybe Macron is afraid too and that’s why, he follows them to feel safe. Well, it can be…

Add Germany, Japan and South Korea among the countries, which too consider U.S. the greatest threat to global security.

How much double standard does the world hold?
How much fear? How long will mankind tolerate the high-handedness of the conquerors of the universe that claims lives and more lives? Time and again, international meetings end with the well-deserved headline, which Europa Press dedicated to the Munich Conference this time: "without conclusions and gloomy prospects for the future”. How long?

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

  • Published in Specials

US: Democrat Lawmakers Define Green New Deal Goals

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey laid down 10-years goal of Green New Deal which aims at net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

U.S. Democratic House Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Democratic Senator Ed Markey Thursday laid out the goals of a Green New Deal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 10 years, setting a high bar for Democrats who plan to make climate change a central issue in the 2020 presidential race.

RELATED: Green New Deal 101: The Basics of a Bold Progressive Policy

The resolution is the first formal attempt by lawmakers to define the scale of legislation to create government-led investments in clean energy and infrastructure to transform the U.S. economy.

“The Green New Deal fully tackles the existential threat posed by climate change by presenting a comprehensive, 10-year plan that is as big as the problem it hopes to solve while creating a new era of shared prosperity,” according to a summary of the resolution released by the lawmakers Thursday.

Ocasio-Cortez said she will immediately begin to work on legislation that would “fully flesh out the projects involved in the Green New Deal.”

Republicans have already criticized the initiative, waving off any kind of proposal as heavy-handed. The Trump administration does not believe action on climate change is necessary and is focused on increasing production of oil, gas, and coal on federal and private land.

Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado, said at a climate change hearing in the House Natural Resources Committee Wednesday that the policy was akin to a “Soviet five-year plan.”

The non-binding resolution outlines several goals for the United States to meet in 10 years, including meeting 100 percent of power demand from zero-emission energy sources.

It also calls for new projects to modernize U.S. transportation infrastructure, de-carbonize the manufacturing and agricultural sectors, make buildings and homes more energy efficient and increase land preservation.

The Green New Deal also aims to create an economic safety net for “frontline” communities that will be affected by a radical shift away from fossil fuel use.

. on Green New Deal: "Even the solutions that we have considered big and bold are nowhere near the scale of the actual problem that climate change presents to us to our country, to the world."

“We ... need to be sure that workers currently employed in fossil fuel industries have higher-wage and better jobs available to them to be able to make this transition, and a federal jobs guarantee ensures that no worker is left behind,” according to a summary of the plan.

The Green New Deal was put into the media spotlight by a youth coalition called the Sunrise Movement and Ocasio-Cortez, 29, the youngest woman to serve in Congress.

Markey, a veteran lawmaker from Massachusetts, introduced sweeping climate change legislation a decade ago, which passed in the House but stopped short in the Senate.

At least a half dozen Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls have said they would adopt Green New Deal policies, without offering specifics.

 

 
 
  • Published in World

Venezuela Cuts Relations with United States Over Coup Support

Maduro cut relations with the U.S. and said that envoys of the countries who have stopped recognizing him as elected president have 72 hours to leave the country. 

President Nicolas Maduro announced that he was cutting all diplomatic relations with the United States after U.S. President Donald Trump recognized lawmaker Juan Gauido as interim president, after the opposition lawmaker illegally self-appointed himself as president of the country, breaking the constitution. 

"They went too far. I have decided to break all diplomatic and political relations with the imperialist government of the United States. Out! They can all leave," Maduro said as he gave a speech from the presidential palace in Caracas. "They aim to rule Venezuela from Washington."

RELATED: New Coup Attempt In Venezuela Led by Juan Guaido

President Nicolas Maduro gave a 72-hour deadline to the U.S. representatives in Venezuela to leave the South American sovereign nation, after their President Donald Trump, backed the coup d'etat attempt led by Guaido.

"The right-wing has no shame when they violate the Venezuelan Constitution that was approved by our people."

"Venezuela is respected! Neither coup nor interventionism. Venezuela wants peace, wants progress," said President Nicolas Maduro rejecting any coup and interventionist attempts in the country.

The governments of Mexico, Bolivia, Turkey and Rusia have stated that they recognize Bolivarian President Nicolas Maduro Moros as the constitutional and democratically elected president of Venezuela.

"Don't trust the gringo empire. That's what drives their interest - the desire for Venezuelan oil, gas, and gold. These do not belong to you, they belong to the sovereign people of Venezuela," warned President Maduro to the Venezuelan people.

 

 
  • Published in World

Venezuela Rejects ‘Dangerous’ Resolution by the OAS

The Venezuelan government deemed the resolution a "flagrant violation of international law" and a threat to the "people's right to peace."

Venezuela’s Foreign Affairs Ministry issued an official statement Friday in response to a “dangerous” resolution approved Thursday during an extraordinary session of the Organization of American States (OAS).

IN PICTURES: Venezuela: Nicolas Maduro Takes Office Amid Popular Support

“The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela condemns the measures of coercion used in our region by the United States regime to promote its criminal aggression campaign against the People and government of Venezuela to further its policy of regime change in our country in flagrant violation of international law,” the communique shared by Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza states.

Thursday’s OAS declaration (sponsored by Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the United States, Peru, and Paraguay) seeks to disavow the legitimacy of President Nicolas Maduro, who was elected for a second term in May 2018. His runner up, Henry Falcon obtained only 21 percent of the vote, partly because a section of Venezuela’s right-wing opposition decided to boycott the elections.  

The Venezuelan government also thanked the countries that refused to sign the declaration, knowing that “this judicial manipulation threatens our people’s right to peace and endangers the stability of Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Despite U.S. pressure, the OAS declaration did not manage to gain new supporters. A fact celebrated by Venezuela.

The statement concluded with a defense of the right of Venezuelan people to self-determination and to elect its national authorities. “Sovereignty resides in the Venezuelan people, the only that can grant legitimacy to the powers of the Venezuelan state.”

Venezuela has long been targeted by the OAS. However, on Thursday the spokesperson for the head of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, said they “will continue working with the government of Venezuela" and stressed it is not their role to recognize or not recognize elected governments.

 
 
  • Published in World

Iranian warships in US’ backyard? Tehran to deploy navy to western Atlantic – commander

Iran will send warships to the western Atlantic Ocean starting in March, a move likely designed to counter US aircraft carriers stationed in the Persian Gulf.

US Navy handout photo of the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier in the Straits of Hormuz

The ambitious deployment was announced by a top Iranian naval commander on Friday, and comes several weeks after the Pentagon sent an aircraft carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf. The decision to send naval forces so far west may be motivated by the Islamic Republic’s desire to counter what it sees as an aggressive US naval presence in its own backyard. The operation will begin in March and is expected to last for several months.

“The Atlantic Ocean is far and the operation of the Iranian naval flotilla might take five months,” Rear-Admiral Touraj Hassani told state media.

He added that Sahand, a newly-built destroyer, would be one of the Iranian warships to take part in the flotilla. The new warship has a flight deck for helicopters and is reportedly equipped with anti-aircraft and anti-ship guns, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles. Tehran claims that the destroyer also boasts electronic warfare capabilities.

Tehran previously insisted that the presence of the US carrier group was “insignificant” and vowed to prevent the US warships from entering Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf. Notably, Iran’s deputy army chief for coordination affairs, Habibollah Sayyari, said in December that the US navy was allowed to sail in international waters near the Islamic Republic – just as the Iranian navy could sail in the Atlantic Ocean near the US.

“They do not have the courage or ability to take any measures against us. We have enough capabilities to stand against their actions and we have fully rehearsed for that,” Sayyari stressed.

Also on rt.com Iran says navy prepared to protect oil tankers from ‘any threats’ as US sanctions kick in....

In November, the United States unilaterally re-imposed sanctions on Tehran’s oil, shipping and banking industries. The sanctions had been previously lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, which Washington unilaterally withdrew from in May 2018. Although it’s unclear whether other nations will abide by Washington’s diktats, US officials have predicted that Iranian ships will no longer be welcome in international waters.

Iran’s military has stressed that it is “prepared today as in the past” to protect against “any threats,” and to ensure the safe passage of Iranian oil tankers. Tehran has also repeatedly threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz and halt Persian Gulf oil exports if its own oil exports are blocked. In recent months, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has held naval exercises in the Persian Gulf designed to increase preparedness for “confronting possible threats.”

  • Published in World

The U.S. and the Center American Exodus

The migration of Center Americans, mainly toward the United States has won visibility thanks to the current caravan crossing Mexico, but this is an old phenomenon.

In 2017 the UN agency International Organization for Migration informed that 450 thousand migrants, mainly Central Americans, cross Mexico yearly heading for the United States. This phenomenon boomed in the 80’s of the last century as a consequence of Washington’s massive support to the armies and repressive forces of El Salvador and Guatemala in their bloody war against the liberating movements in those countries which, next to Honduras, were deeply affected. The war originated, mainly in El Salvador, a great flow of refugees, among them thousands of young orphans.

It was not the first, neither the last time when the North American imperialism intervened in Central American countries. Since early in the XX century Washington sent several times marines to impose its wishes in that region of our America. It’s well known the heroic deeds of Agusto Cesar Sandino and his “small crazy army” against the Yankee military intervention early on the XX century in Nicaragua.

Decades later, that country and the Sandinista Liberation Front government would suffer an implacable and bloody aggression by Ronald Reagan’s government. An counterrevolutionary army organized and armed illegally by United States was supplied by air from Honduras in a CIA operation, the Iran-Contras, implemented from there by terrorists of Cuban origin. The airplanes came loaded with weapons from North American territory and returned with drugs to that country. At the same time, that agency created the Death Squads which, causing serious human rights violations, kept in line the Honduran revolutionaries. In 1989, George Bush father ordered the deadly Panama invasion with a total of 3000 killed.

In 2009, from the Military Base of Soto Cano, in Honduras, where the Bravo Task Force of the South Command of the United States, this triggered the coup d’état against president Manuel Zelaya. That action is closely related to the facts that have led to the massive migration of Central Americans. Zelaya entered ALBA and established a flowing cooperation relationship with Venezuela with Chavez in power. He was able to get OAS to lift the exclusion of Cuba in a general assembly of that organization and he was attempting to organize a constituent assembly to transfer to the Honduran people control over their national sovereignty as well as their natural resources. None of this was tolerable for Washington that not only ordered the coup but did everything in its power to consolidate it. Ever since every election in Honduras have been a fraud, including the one that elected the current president Juan Orlando Hernández. Zelaya, allied to the Daniel Ortega's Nicaragua would have been an obstacle for the plans of looting and territorial expansion through mining transnational and the so-called Special Economic Zones.

The sparks of the current and unstoppable migratory movement was the stanch application in Central America of the neoliberal politics designed by the so-called Washington Consent which has become more and more bloody and unsustainable. The people of Latin America and the Caribbean are being subjected to a second conquest and colonization, through transnational companies and the militarization displayed by the United States which includes the presence of military bases in our countries. Satellites governments of the imperialism offer every possibility to transnational companies in their expansion plans of accelerated use of natural resources and overexploitation of the labor force. All of it through the spoiling of lands and waters from indigenous communities, afro descendants and peasants, repressed, when they rebel, not only by the security bodies. Also, frequently, by the so-called organized crime well-paid in return. Also the breaking of productive chains that has led to the deindustrialization and loss of dozens of thousands of jobs.

This neoliberal aggression to the previous ways of capitalist productive organization, dragging unemployment and collapse of the social fabric is the main cause of the growing migration and forced exodus of millions of people toward the United States. The unstoppable peak of criminal organizations and brutal violence against peoples and communities makes it worse. The performance map is superimposed to that of the megaprojects of neoliberalism 3.0.

It’s not in Caracas, it’s in Washington, where for some time now is looming the migratory tragedy of Center America and Mexico.

  • Published in Specials

Withdraw first, ask later: He nuked Russia-US relations, now Bolton arrives in Moscow to talk

The alleged mastermind behind the US pullout from the historic INF treaty, John Bolton will expect a wintry reception in Moscow, with only the embers of the long-forgotten Helsinki summit to warm the parties.

Washington can be commended at least on laying its cards on the table with Friday’s announcement by Donald Trump that he was considering withdrawing from the Gorbachev-Reagan 1987 agreement, which limits both sides from producing intermediate range missiles.

But the news is likely to cast a pall over Bolton’s two-day visit, during which the National Security Advisor will meet not only his Russian counterpart Nikolay Patrushev, but foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and, on Tuesday, likely Vladimir Putin himself, though the face-to-face has not been given final approval by the Kremlin.

 
Pershing IA missile launcher and RSD-10 Pioneer (SS-20) missile. © Wikimedia Commons / RIA Novosti / Sputnik

 

The foreign ministry has already demanded “to hear a coherent explanation” of Washington’s actions, while various senior Russian officials have called the prospect of withdrawal “blackmail”, “a landmine under the nuclear disarmament process”, and a harbinger of “complete chaos in the sphere of nuclear armaments.”

And this is not one Bolton can blame on his boss. Appointed only in March, Bolton has become arguably the most influential US foreign policy architect, and is a long-time critic of arms control treaties. According to senior staff sources who spoke to the Guardian and the Washington Post last week, he personally persuaded Trump to quit INF. Stateside reports indicate that despite Trump’s customarily hazy pronouncements, Bolton will definitively signal US intentions to leave – a six-month notice is required to leave the indefinite-term agreement - during the Russian visit.

For nearly two decades the two states have taken turns claiming the other is violating the treaty, which bars both of them from producing all land-based ballistic and cruise missiles – not just nuclear-tipped ones – with ranges between 500 and 5,500 km. The Pentagon – citing its classified intelligence –claims that Russia has developed an intermediate range missile for the Iskander-M launcher, the existence of which Moscow has never acknowledged. In turn, Russia insists that the launchers that form the US missile defense shield in eastern Europe are themselves capable of firing intermediate range missiles, and should be destroyed under the terms of the agreement.

But the likelihood is, even if Moscow somehow assures Bolton that it is perfectly compliant, Washington is not interested. INF was signed in a two-bloc world that was ending an arms race but, in the intervening years, other world powers have sprung up and developed their own intermediate missiles, while Russia and the US are the only major countries that continue to suffer restrictions. In his oblique manner, Trump hinted at this on Friday, when he said that a new agreement may be possible, but would have to include China.

 
FILE PHOTO.

 

While getting all the three major powers to sign such a self-limiting document in the current conditions seems like a phantom prospect, if Bolton had come bearing a new proposal, he could have at least let all sides save face. Instead, he landed in Moscow with a unilateral decision that – like many others recently taken by Washington – leaves the Russians with little scope for a constructive counter-move.

Meanwhile, a little diplomatic smoothness from the famously straight-shooting veteran hawk would have gone a long way this week. The parties have important international issues to discuss: North Korea, where the US reportedly has no plans to drop its sanctions, Iran in the aftermath of the JCPOA withdrawal by Trump, and Syria, which remains a bloody theater of operations. As well as the fate of the nuclear control New START treaty, which expires in 2021, which neither side will likely dare to mention now. Arranging a new meeting between Putin and Trump, which many speculated had been the buried agenda of such a high-powered series of talks, now also becomes harder, as real opportunities loom during several upcoming international events.

READ MORE: As Bolton heads to Moscow, US charges another Russian with ‘election meddling’

The Helsinki summit in July between Putin and Trump may have been famously short on specifics – though Bolton name-checked it before flying overseas – it did signal a potential warming of relations that a Russian official this week described as being “in dire straits.” But with every action taken by Washington since, the goodwill has dwindled and, instead of making things better, this week both sides will simply hope to avoid aggravating the strife.

  • Published in World
Subscribe to this RSS feed