Kissinger’s Legacy

Lest anyone forget Hillary’s dear friend and mentor Henry orchestrated a series of military coups in South America during the 70s including Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina and was complicit in “a campaign of political repression and state terror involving intelligence operations and assassination of opponents” called Operation Condor.

Still Selling Neoliberal Unicorns: The US Applauds the Coup in Brazil, Calls It Democracy
By Greg Grandin, The Nation

Dimla Rousseff, Brazil’s recently deposed president, calls it a coup. Many, perhaps most, of the countries in the Organization of American States call it is a coup. Even the men who helped carry out the coup admit, in a secretly recorded conversation, that what they were doing was effectively a coup, staged to provide them immunity from a corruption investigation.

But the United States doesn’t think that the blatantly naked power grab that just took place in Brazil—which ended the Workers’ Party’s 13-year control of the presidency, installed an all-white, all-male cabinet, diluted the definition of slavery, lest it tarnish the image of Brazil’s plantation sector (which relies on coerced, unfree labor), and began a draconian austerity program—is a coup.

It’s democracy at work, according to various Obama officials.

Last week, Washington’s ambassador to the OAS, Michael Fitzpatrick, rejected accusations that the Obama administration held Venezuela, whose government has long been at odds with the United States, to a different standard than it does the newly installed Brazilian regime, which is fast putting into place economic policies favored by Washington and Wall Street. In Brazil, Fitzpatrick said, “there is a clear respect for democratic institutions and a clear separation of powers. In Brazil it is clearly the law that prevails, coming up with peaceable solution to disputes. There is nothing comparable between Brazil and Venezuela. It is in the latter where democracy is threatened…. We don’t believe that this is an example of a ‘soft coup’ or, for that matter, a coup of any sort. What happened in Brazil complied perfectly with legal constitutional procedure and totally respected democratic norms.”

Brazil’s is the third Latin American coup on Obama’s watch. All three were “constitutional coups,” using the fig leaf of legality to oust presidents who ran policies slightly ajar to the interestsof local and international elites. Honduras in 2009 and Paraguay in 2012 were low-hanging fruit, small countries with outsized oligarchies, where mild reformers were easily dispatched. But Washington’s reaction to those two coups set the pattern for its response now to Brazil: Watch, wait, and quietly encourage the coup plotters, giving them time to consolidate a new order until recognition seems a reasonable course. In Honduras, in particular, Hillary Clinton as Obama’s secretary of state was instrumental in legitimizing the coup’s subsequent death-squad regime.

Brazil is the prize: Latin America’s largest, most diverse economy, which, for last 13 or so years under Workers’ Party (PT, in Portuguese) leadership had served as a counterweight to US hegemony.

Millions upon millions were lifted out of poverty and brought into the political process. Now, with remarkable swiftness, it all seems to be falling apart. Gains that were thought to have been consolidated have vanished in the blink of an eye. In Brazil, the coup government is promising to cut the Workers’ Party’s signature Bolsa Família, a cash-transfer program that has lifted millions out of destitution, along with other social welfare programs. Argentina’s new right-wing president, Mauricio Macri, has issued a number of “emergency decrees” (which, unlike Venezuela, prompted no outrage from the State Department or the editorial pages of The New York Times or The Washington Post) to impose neoliberal shock therapy. Macri has once again subordinated the economy to bond traders and vulture funders and, reportedly, given the United States permission to establish a military base in southern Argentina, which, if it goes through, would give the Pentagon a much-desired and long-denied toehold in the Southern Cone. What’s left of the left are a collection of smaller national projects—in Uruguay, Bolivia, and Ecuador—that will become increasingly jeopardized as the right consolidates in Brazil and Argentina.

The United States isn’t going to “help its neighbors become more competitive and stable by promoting investment in technology, innovation and high-quality education.” Over the past 13 years, Brazil, more than any other country, has stood in the way of Washington-backed efforts to impose a punishing intellectual and corporate property-rights regime on Latin America. That, in effect, is one of the objectives of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade treaty, which was offered as a successor to the failed FTAA and meant to work around Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela.

But now that friendly faces are installed in Brasília and Buenos Aires, the path is clearer. Monsanto and other agri-behemoths will be able to impose their seed monopoly on the regime (as the United States now does in Central America, to devastating effect); energy resources will once again be privatized (as Hillary, as secretary of state, pushed to do in Mexico).

If you want a more realistic view of what Washington might accomplish now that the “left” is “on the run” in Latin America, look beyond the Times opinion pages to its reporting, where just yesterday it was revealed that US military aid had turned the Mexican army into the most unaccountable killing machine operating in the Western Hemisphere. Look to Argentina in 2001–02, where strict adherence to the Washington Consensus led to one of the worst economic crises in recorded history. Look to El Salvador today, where the Obama administration is using the terms of a free-trade agreement to force the government to shut down a local seed-distribution project, since it violates corporate interests. Look to Ecuador, where Chevron has turned a good stretch of the Amazon into a toxic tar pit. Or Paraguay, which after its 2012 coup was taken over by an agro-gangster government.

Or look to the US-Mexican border, where refugees from US “security partnership” risk death in the desert for the privilege of living their lives in the shadows.

Just in time for the Olympics.


  1. Vent Hole

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