"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Chavez - Our Enemy

Read the latest MediaLens Alert:

MediaLens, the Press and Chavez's regime

and then open the paper to see for yourself:

As President Hugo Chavez visits the UK, the BBC coincidentally takes to waxing lyrical about US enemies in South America:

While the Bush administration has been fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, relations between the United States and the countries of Latin America have become a festering sore - the worst for years.

Virtually anyone paying attention to events in Venezuela and Nicaragua in the north to Peru and Bolivia further south, plus in different ways Mexico, Argentina and Brazil, comes to the same conclusion: there is a wave of profound anti-American feeling stretching from the Texas border to the Antarctic.

And almost everyone believes it will get worse."

The picture painted seems pretty bleak. South America is turning it's back on the 'gringo' and his 'globalisation'. Fidel Castro is no longer the only thorn in the US administration's side.

"Where once Cuba's Fidel Castro could harangue the US with talk of the colonisers and the colonised, Ollanta Humala attacks globalisation as a plot to undermine Peru's national sovereignty and benefit only the rich on the backs of Latin America's poor."

Why is it that the dirty word colonialism only rears it's ugly head when spoken by already cartoon like characters. Inspite of the fact that 'colonialism' is right there in front of you:

"In pursuit of American interests, the US has overthrown or undermined around 40 Latin American governments in the 20th Century."

But what does this really mean, 'overthrown' and 'undermined'?

"During the Reagan administration money was channelled - illegally Democrats said - to the Nicaraguan "Contra" guerrillas, a motley crew of CIA trained anti-communists, paramilitaries and thugs.

The resulting scandal - known as "Iran-Contra" - almost brought down the Reagan administration. George Bush senior survived the scandal, and as president managed to see his policies finally work when Nicaragua's own people threw out the Sandinistas in a democratic election in 1990." [BBC]

The resulting scandal! A journalist has never been so kind, perhaps the lack of space accounts for the lack of historical perspective.

"The "Contras" as they were called -- from the Spanish for counter-revolutionaries -- were recruited, armed, trained, and paid by the CIA. They waged war not so much against the Nicaraguan army as against "soft targets:" teachers, health care workers, elected officials (a CIA-prepared manual actually advocated their assassination)."

What Everyone Should Know About Nicaragua

Even the most innocuous sentences reveal a worrying disregard for democracy.

"He says Mr Chavez does not want a "European flank" opening that would support the critical comments made of his regime by the US."

A regime?

Wikipedia has a fair definition of this gem's use:

"In theory, the term need not imply anything about the particular government to which it relates, and most political scientists use it as a neutral term. The term is sometimes used colloquially by some in reference to governments which they believe are repressive, undemocratic or illegitimate, such that in these contexts the word conveys a sense of moral disapproval or political opposition. For example, one is less likely to hear of a "democratic regime"."

And this is backed up repeatedly:

"US officials argue that the rule of President Chavez is eroding democracy and human rights in Venezuela and that he is working to undermine American influence in the region."

Eroding democracy indeed.

"The Bush administration has tried to distance itself from the coup. It immediately endorsed the new government under businessman Pedro Carmona. But the coup was sent dramatically into reverse after 48 hours.

Now officials at the Organisation of American States and other diplomatic sources, talking to The Observer, assert that the US administration was not only aware the coup was about to take place, but had sanctioned it, presuming it to be destined for success."

Venezuela Coup Linked to Bush Team