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

‘Straight out of Dr Strangelove’: Analysts slam Trump’s plan to trade nuclear secrets with Saudis

Donald Trump’s mercantile courtship with Saudi Arabia, which now reportedly seeks to acquire US nuclear know-how, is placing the world in danger, analysts told RT, warning that Riyadh could develop atomic weapons to nuke Iran. 

“It is very, very alarming. It’s a terrible thing to spread this kind of technology to a totalitarian state like Saudi Arabia,” political consultant Lew Rockwell told RT.

His comments followed reports alleging that Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner had engaged in secret dealings for the transfer of nuclear technology to build dozens of power plants in the Saudi desert. He was accompanied by former national security adviser Mike Flynn, and Trump fundraiser Thomas Barrack.

“This is a very reckless thing to be doing,” added Rockwell.

Also on rt.com Iran slams US ‘hypocrisy’ over potential sale of nuclear secrets to Saudi Arabia...

No limits to nukes

Experts were especially alarmed by a part of the report claiming that Riyadh refused to agree to restrictions on enriching uranium and processing plutonium.

“They want to produce plutonium so they can produce nuclear weapons,” Rockwell explained. “They want Saudi Arabia to have nuclear weapons so they can be threatened – or maybe used – against Iran, so Israel won’t have to use its nuclear weapons.”

Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), does appear to be serious about acquiring nuclear capability, according to US political commentator and academic Gerald Horne.

“MBS was just in Pakistan, which is a major nuclear proliferator, and that is very ominous, dangerous and suspicious that these two world powers have been huddling together, presumably with Iran in the crosshairs,” he said.

 

Capitalizing on possible war

Iran and Saudi Arabia are notorious regional rivals in a decades-long feud fueled by religious differences. Iran, a largely Shia Muslim country, has been challenging Saudi Sunni power across the region by supporting opposing sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen. The rivalry also stretches to other parts of the Middle East, and their support for different political factions in Iraq and Lebanon. 

“There could be a huge war. So, for the US to be doing this... my guess would be [that] people are making plenty of money out of this,” Rockwell said.  

‘All part of Trump’s plan’

The experts also noted that allowing the kingdom to develop its own nukes is perfectly in line with the foreign policy objectives of Washington. Last year, it withdrew from a cornerstone non-proliferation agreement (JCPOA), and renewed sanctions on Tehran to the loud applause of Israel, which had bitterly opposed the 2015 nuclear deal. 

“This is all part of Trump's plan... to destroy Iran,” Rockwell explained. “It is a huge risk because Mohammed bin Salman will be very capable of nuking Iran. The idea that they would arm Mohammed bin Salman with nuclear weapons is certainly something out of the science-fiction movie. It’s like Dr Strangelove,” he added.

  • Published in World

Coups are Peace, Censorship is Trust, Intolerance is Love: 3 Orwellian slogans Western leaders adore

Exactly 70 years after George Orwell’s 1984 came out, most fancy themselves smart to totalitarian doublespeak. But perverse lies need no torchlight or mass rallies, just a tailored suit, complacent media and a docile populace.

We know this, yet hear them so often that they become background noise, and even if they come from the mouths of politicians we do not believe, we let the distortions wash over us, unwilling to expend the mental effort to challenge them every time. But when we stop and think, they barely make any sense.

‘Peace-loving nations’

“Peace-loving nations” desire a “peaceful transition” in Venezuela where “peaceful protesters” are being “threatened with violence” by “dictator” Nicolas Maduro, Donald Trump declared recently.

Protesters clash with police in Caracas in January. ©  REUTERS/STRINGER

In fact, the US president is openly urging what he must know will be an armed and bloody uprising perhaps magnitudes more devastating than the violence that has already taken place. A month after the same dove-releasing Western powers barely bothered to conceal how they coordinated efforts to endorse out of nowhere a little known self-proclaimed president, furnishing him with every financial tool and foreign-aid incentive to topple the elected government.

Also on rt.com ‘You’ll lose everything!’ Trump issues ultimatum to Venezuelan military, says all options are open...

One doesn’t have to be a fan of Chavismo or hate America to appreciate the sheer gall. Unless we think of this peace as some cast-iron Western guarantee for post-revolutionary idyll (hello, Libya and Iraq) the only way these nations could be less peaceful is if they actually invaded Venezuela themselves. And it’s not like they haven’t considered that option.

Close relative: NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg telling the Munich Security Conference at the weekend that Russia’s missiles in Europe are a threat to stability, but that the alliance must invest more in weapons “to keep our people secure” – all while insisting that “we remain determined to avoid a new arms race.”

‘Internet of Trust’

“We need to build this new space – a free, open and safe internet – which I believe in profoundly, enabling the access of all but also enabling us to ensure our values and our ideals are respected there,” argued Emmanuel Macron in a speech to the UN last November.

So which is it – “free” or “respectful” ? Because, as he has now discovered with the Yellow Vests, in a truly free internet not everyone might share his “values and ideals.”

Further in his speech Macron did little to hide that censorship was his solution to the quandary: proposing an “Internet of Trust” that offered “regulation” that would keep out “enemies” that “enter all our systems, giving the impression they had the same rights as the others.”

Also on rt.com ‘End of free speech’: Maffick CEO, host slam Facebook’s unprovoked ‘censorship’ after CNN report...

From Ruptly Facebook bans, to German social media laws, to the 1984-ish Newsguard, the Internet of Trust is already here.

Close relatives: Fake news. IntegrityInitiative – who, if not these people, should be the inquisitors of online truths? Almost anyone.

‘Don’t let hate win’

Variations of the “Don’t let hate win” refrain are particularly popular among the liberal luminaries even as they spread their love by condemning their political opponents as black-hating or children-caging bigots, denying that they could experience such human feelings as kindness or empathy. All while congratulating themselves on being much nobler people, while occasionally physically assaulting them, if they are Antifa. What a way to defeat hate.

Intolerance for supposed intolerance is an established tactic at this point, and the sympathetic media will clap along as Hillary Clinton talks about “deplorables” or Michelle Obama boasts about how “When they go low, we go high.” The moral high ground was occupied a long time ago.

Close relative: Celebration of diversity. Who could argue with Justin Trudeau or Barack Obama’s assertion that it is indeed our strength? Perhaps those who disagree with them, thus espousing the wrong kind of diversity – of thought. Being the bad kind of diverse is particularly inadvisable for those holding political office or incapable of tear-filled public apologies.

Igor Ogorodnev

  • Published in World

Marches Take Place Across US Against Trump's 'Fake Emergency'

Some in the U.S. are celebrating Presidents' Day by protesting Trump's 'fake state of emergency,' which gives him access to raid funds for his "racist" border wall with Mexico.

Activists are protesting in Washington and various U.S. cities Monday to demonstrate against President Donald Trump's declared state emergency that he’s using in order to obtain some US$8 billion to fund 376 km of his proposed fortified wall the White House wants to see built between Mexico and the United States.

RELATED: Declares National Emergency to Fund His 'Racist' Wall

The organizers of the D.C. demonstrations, non-profit organization MoveOn.org, are also helping to arrange protests in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco this Presidents' Day.

Under the hashtag, #PresidentsDay, MoveOn says it’s rallying supporters to march “against Trump's fake crisis and racist deportation force and to stand with immigrant, Muslim, and Black and brown communities to stop Trump's dangerous and illegal power grab.”

Demonstrators at the Washington march shouted “shame, shame, shame” as activists gave speeches against the wall and the inhumane Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers that asylum seekers from around the world are being detained in indefinitely under the Trump administration.

“ ‘No’ to the racist deportations forces and to the fake state of emergency” said one speaker at the MoveOn Washington rally.

Last Friday Trump officially announced he was declaring at ‘state of emergency’ at the U.S. southern region that borders Mexico in order to gain some US$8 billion in funds already allocated to the Defense Department for a border fortress the president has been demanding be built since the 2016 electoral trail. 

The president and his supporters say the wall will protect U.S. interests from ‘illegal aliens’ and drug traffickers. His detractors say the wall merely symbolizes the president’s and other right-wing nationalist racist tendencies against people of color and Latinxs.

The declaration triggered a slew of lawsuits from several legal organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). 

In December Trump shut down certain parts of the government for several weeks after Congress refused to allot the White House’s initial US$5.7 billion amount for the wall. At that time he threatened to declare a national emergency in order to get money.

In a statement, Deputy Legal Director Cecillia Wang said the emergency declaration by the president is “yet another illegal and dangerous power grab in service of his anti-immigrant agenda.” Wang points out: “This is not an emergency. It’s an unconstitutional usurpation of Congress’s spending power by the president.”

Democrats are gearing up to present a joint resolution to repeal the national emergency in coming weeks and they expect some Republicans to come to their side of the aisle. The White House says it will veto any Congressional measure meant to stop the 'emergency', says the Associated Press. 

 
  • Published in World

Actor Alec Baldwin Questions Trump On His ‘Retribution’ Comment

Alec Baldwin, who parodies Donald Trump on the U.S. television program asked the U.S. president whether his demand for “retribution” against SNL a direct threat to him and his family.

Alec Baldwin responded to the United States President Donald Trump’s call for “retribution” against Saturday Night Live by asking whether the President threatened the veteran actor.

RELATED:AOC Introduces Bill To Block 'Fake National Emergency' by Trump

Baldwin wrote, “ I wonder if a sitting President exhorting his followers that my role in a TV comedy qualifies me as an enemy of the people constitutes a threat to my safety and that of my family.”

Trump in a tweet said that “Nothing funny about tired Saturday Night Live on Fake News NBC! Question is, how do the Networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution? Likewise for many other shows? Very unfair and should be looked into. This is the real Collusion!”

Nothing funny about tired Saturday Night Live on Fake News NBC! Question is, how do the Networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution? Likewise for many other shows? Very unfair and should be looked into. This is the real Collusion!

This tweet came after Baldwin’s latest SNL performance in which he parodied the president’s press conference announcing a national emergency in the country.

“We need wall. We have a tremendous amount of drugs coming in through the southern border, or the ‘brown line’ as many people have asked me not to call it,” said Baldwin.

“You all see why I gotta fake this emergency, right? I have to because I want to. It’s really simple. We have a problem. Drugs are coming into this country through no wall,” the actor continued on the show.

“Wall works, wall makes safe. You don’t have to be smart to understand that – in fact, it’s even easier to understand if you’re not that smart.”

“I’ll immediately be sued and the ruling will not go in my favor and then it will end up in the supreme court and then I’ll call my buddy Kavanaugh and I’ll say ‘It’s time to repay the Donny’ and he’ll say, ‘New phone, who dis?’ And by then the Mueller report will be released, crumbling my house of cards and I can plead insanity and do a few months in the puzzle factory and my personal hell of playing president will finally be over.”

Many criticized Trump’s “retribution” comment and are viewing it as an attack on freedom of speech and expression.

Peter Baker, the chief White House correspondent for the New York Times said that “it’s worth remembering that no other president in decades publicly threatened ‘retribution’ against a television network because it satirized him.”

  • Published in Culture

Trump Declares National Emergency to Fund His 'Racist' Wall

Legal experts said, that despite opposition to the wall in U.S. Congress,  the Trump administration may prevail in the courts. 

President Donald Trump Friday declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border without congressional approval, an action Democrats vowed to challenge as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

RELATED: Trump's Wall Already Affecting Mexicans' Daily Lives

The Republican president's move circumventing Congress represented a new approach to a 2016 presidential campaign pledge to halt the flow of immigrants into the country, which Trump maintains spreads crime and drugs.

He was also expected later Friday to sign a bipartisan government spending bill Congress approved Thursday that would prevent another partial government shutdown by funding several agencies that otherwise would have closed on Saturday.

Trump made no direct mention in his Rose Garden comments of the funding bill, which represents a legislative defeat for him since it contains no money for his proposed wall - the focus of weeks of conflict between him and Democrats in Congress.

Trump's demand that Congress provide him with US$5.7 billion in wall funding as part of legislation to fund the agencies triggered a historic, 35-day December-January government shutdown that damaged the U.S. economy and his opinion poll numbers.

By reorienting his wall-funding quest toward a legally uncertain strategy based on declaring a national emergency, Trump now risks plunging into a lengthy battle with Democrats and dividing his fellow Republicans.

Fifteen Democrats in the Republican-controlled Senate introduced legislation on Thursday to prevent the transfer of funds from accounts Trump likely would target to pay for the wall.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, and Chuck Schumer, the Senate's top Democrat, swiftly responded to Trump's declaration.

"The president's actions clearly violate the Congress’s exclusive power of the purse, which our Founders enshrined in the Constitution," they said in a statement. "The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the Congress, in the courts, and in the public, using every remedy available.”

New York state's attorney general, Letitia James, said her office would also challenge Trump in court. "We won't stand for this abuse of power & will fight back with every legal tool at our disposal," James wrote on Twitter.

The president acknowledged that his order would face a lengthy legal fight. "We'll win in the Supreme Court," Trump predicted.

Legal experts said the Trump administration may prevail.

The National Emergencies Act of 1976 gives the president broad leeway to declare an emergency. The law also includes a mechanism for Congress to oppose such a declaration.

If Congress fails to vote down Trump’s declaration of an emergency, said law professors Jonathan Turley of Georgetown University and William Banks of Syracuse University, courts will be reluctant to substitute their national security judgment for those of Congress and the president.

  • Published in World

Trump will declare national emergency as he signs watered-down wall funding bill

President Donald Trump will sign a spending bill that denies him funding for a border wall, but averts another government shutdown. Trump will also declare a national emergency, allowing him to bypass Congress and build the wall.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on Thursday that Trump will sign the bill, but “will also take other executive action - including a national emergency - to stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border.”

Statement on Government Funding Bill:

The bill allocates just $1.3 billion for a barrier along the US-Mexico border – a drastically lower amount than originally requested by the president. It also explicitly prohibits a concrete wall, and includes a number of concessions to Democrats, such as amnesty for illegal immigrants in the US with unaccompanied minors, a ban on wall construction in several national parks, and no funding for hiring more Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

Ahead of the signing, many of Trump’s supporters rubbished the deal, urging the President not to sign it.

The emergency declaration, however, allows Trump to divert funds from other parts of the government to fund the wall without Congressional approval. Trump hinted on Tuesday that he already has $23 billion in funding lined up “from other sources.”

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that declaring a national emergency would set a dangerous precedent. "Republicans should have some dismay about the door they are opening, the threshold they are crossing,” she said, adding that Democrats may meet the declaration with legal challenges.

An executive order may be overturned in Congress, but to do so would take two-thirds majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate, something the Democrats lack. Unless Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer can convince enough Republicans to cross the aisle, the courts may be the only recourse available to the Democrats.

“We’re very prepared” for legal challenges, Press Secretary Sanders told reporters, adding that “there shouldn’t be” any. “The president’s doing his job. Congress should do theirs.” 

Also on rt.com 'Bad' border deal welcomed by 'Swamp', but Trump seems unconcerned...

The final text of the nearly 1,200 page spending bill was released on Wednesday evening, leaving lawmakers less than 24 hours to read its contents, let alone debate and amend it.

Failure to sign the bill would see another government shutdown begin on Friday, something that lawmakers on both sides are keen to avoid. The last partial shutdown, which ended on January 25, cost the US economy somewhere between $6 and $11 billion, and saw Trump’s approval rating drop from 48 to 43 percent.

 

 

  • Published in World

"Multiple False Statements" By Trump Ex-Aide Paul Manafort To FBI: Judge

Washington: US President Donald Trump's former election campaign chief Paul Manafort breached his plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller by lying to prosecutors, a US judge has said.

US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled Manafort "made multiple false statements" to the FBI, Mueller's office and a grand jury, the BBC reported.

Mueller leads a probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.

This related to his work as a political consultant in Ukraine.

Manafort, 69, then accepted a plea deal on other charges in return for co-operating with Mueller's investigation.

In her ruling on Wednesday, Judge Berman Jackson said there was evidence that showed Manafort had lied about -- among other things -- contacts he had with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian political consultant. Prosecutors claim Kilimnik had ties to Russian intelligence.

The judge also cleared Manafort of allegations that he lied on two other subjects.

The verdict means that Manafort -- who has been held in a detention centre in Virginia since June -- could now potentially face harsher sentences or have charges against him re-filed.

Last year, Mueller said that Manafort lied "on a variety of subject matters" after signing the plea deal.

Last August, Manafort was convicted on eight counts of fraud, bank fraud and failing to disclose bank accounts.

A month later he pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy against the US and one charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice in a plea bargain with Mueller. The agreement avoided a second trial on money laundering and other charges.

The plea deal meant Manafort would face up to 10 years in prison and would forfeit four of his properties and the contents of several bank accounts -- but deadlocked charges from the previous trial would be dismissed.

It was the first criminal trial arising from the Department of Justice's investigation into alleged Russian interference in the presidential election.

However, the charges related only to Manafort's political consulting with pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, largely pre-dating his role with the Trump campaign.

  • Published in World
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