Saturday, November 05, 2005

Thousands Protest in Argentina

Latin American polls: Bush the most unpopular American president on record(1).

Chavez addresses 25,000 in local soccer stadium(1).

In New York Times coverage of the Mar del Plata summit, the following quote:

One marcher, Rafael Abu-Adal, a 52-year-old teacher from Buenos Aires, carried an Iraqi flag. His objective, he said, was not only to express solidarity with the Iraqi people, but also to draw a parallel to Latin America's situation.

"They are victims of American imperial power, and we are potential victims," he said. "Bush has destroyed their country with bombs, and unless we stop him, he will destroy ours through F.T.A.A."(1)

Free trade has become a much tougher sell for Bush than for Clinton. Could that have to do with Latin Americans’ realization that, to the IMF and to Bu$h, “free trade” doesn’t just mean removing trade barriers, it means tearing down social safety nets (or at least gutting government spending, which is the same thing).

Rest of the NYT article:


Argentines: 1990s privatization and IMF intrusion didn’t make us better off, did it?

Bolivia: the presidential campaign of Evo Morales, present coca farmer and former llama herder, draws thousands to a rally where the candidate, who leads the polls and should come into office leading “the first majority Indian administration in centuries(2)” (i.e., since the Incas), roars, “We will defeat the evil norteamericano empire!(3)”


(3) NPR Morning Edition, Nov. 4, 2005.

Morales’ platform plank concerning his chosen occupation: decriminalize the growing of coca(2).

Isn’t there a logic to this? Why should surplus American helicopters be poisoning Bolivian cropland when treatment of American addicts is being cut? Destroy Latin American property so that we can go on cutting US government services?

And isn’t there a tie to Europe and the other countries (Japan, Canada certainly, many more debatably) that are still providing adequate social safety nets? A new German chancellor (first woman in that office!) says “reforms” must be made for the sake of “being competitive” but she’s not getting anywhere. The same in Berlusconi’s Italy. (BTW: it’s a different spelling, but it’s funny to think of what “Merkle” once meant in baseball parlance.)

Isn’t there a nucleus of a global consensus here? Don’t we have the outlines of an agreement on living wages, health protection, pensions? Except for Amerika?

Well, no. Because there’s a big piece unaccounted for: China. What, you say? But the ruling party there is the Communists.

So, those Kansans (in What’s the Matter with Kansas?(4)) who keep marching ever farther to the right, coloring themselves and more and more neighboring states red, and reaping for themselves nothing but more Walmart jobs, these people are ultimately being driven by the economic machine of the Chinese Communist Party.

(4) What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America -- by Thomas Frank, 2004 (Metropolitan Books).


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