In guerrilla wars nowadays, all guerrilla groups who the US says are enemies are labeled by the US as being pawns of some dastardly foreign power. The revolutionaries themselves are deprived of all agency and reduced to mere puppets who carry out orders from some large state sponsor. The puppets probably don’t even want to do these attacks! They’re probably being being forced to by their diabolical patrons!
In the Latin American revolutions of recent years, all of the revolutionaries were deprived of agency and reduced to mere puppets, first of Satanic Cuba and ultimately from the Devil itself, the USSR. Of course these revolutions were not started by internal politics, vast differences between the rich and poor, grotesquely unfair systems, murderous death squad states who torture and murder any dissidents on the Left!
Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Colombia were all wonderful countries. There weren’t any starving masses living in tin shacks with no water, sewage systems, jobs, or access to medical care, education, transportation or even money to buy food or anything like that!
You see, all the countries got let off the hook, and the US got to say that it wasn’t the horrific conditions inside the far rightwing country that were producing the obvious armed Left guerillas that such states often logically produce. The guerrillas were just idiots, useful ones to be sure, or even puppets on a string. Everything’s fine in these countries, and not one single progressive change needed to be made.
Instead this was just Castro’s Cuba – boo, hiss – exporting revolution to these poor innocent Latin American countries who are trying their best to serve their people! Oh, poor countries! These sad, pathetic, ignorant guerrillas are being made into pawns and puppets of malign Commies against their will! Oh, poor guerillas!
And ultimately of course the revolutions were all coming from the USSR. The motive was always nothing more than Soviet expansionism. The Soviets were trying to export Communism all over the world to every country, rich and poor, leftwing and right, those who served their people and those who left them to die without a nickel! Bad Soviets! They were so mean!
In other words, all leftwing revolutions had nothing to do with the objective conditions inside the country. They were all caused by the deplorable Soviets exporting their depraved Communism the world over.
By saying that the Houthis are just Iranian puppets, useful idiots, and fools without any gripe who are mercenaries on the payroll of the Iranians, we are saying that conditions are just fine in Yemen, and the Houthis took arms for no reason.
According to the US and various Sunni Arab states in the region, the Houthis are revolutionary pro-Iranian crazies who are trying to take over the country as part of a sneaky Iranian project to take over all of the Arab countries, oppress and lord it over them, steal their resources and leave them penniless, and worst of all, force all of them all to convert to Shiism.
See how this “puppets of X regime” nonsense plays out? It’s usually nothing but a flat-out lie. Most civil wars happen for a reason. What sort of reason? An internal reason based on the objective conditions in that country, conditions that the guerrillas think are wrong or unfair – that’s what reason. Of course guns don’t grow on trees, and most guerrillas need to have state sponsors in order to acquire their weaponry. They have to buy them somewhere.
Tulio: Robert, do you have any thoughts on Bolsanaro? Looks like Brazil is about to take a hard right turn toward fascism. Steven Bannon is down there advising him. The thought of that fucker makes me physically ill.
He’s a monster, of course. I had no idea that half of Brazil’s population were reactionary Rightist maniacs. He’s worse than Trump. I have met two Brazilian Rightists and they were out and out monsters. Both absolutely hated democracy. One was a Brazilian Jew and the other is the former commenter Santoculto.
They’re murderous, as bad as the Bolivian, Venezuelan, Salvadoran, and Nicaraguan Right. They’re not as murderous as the Haitian, Guatemalan, Honduran, and Colombian Right, but they definitely kill people. A Black woman who organized in the Brazilian favelas was recently murdered by the Right government that is in power now.
This Bolsonaro had as part of his project putting on trial and executing all of the former armed rebels from the 1960’s. He has the support of the reactionary military in that. Thing is though, the last president was a former urban guerrilla from the 1960’s and her government was full of former guerrillas, so he’s openly advocating the trial and execution of most of the former government.
The Murderous, Democracy-Hating Latin American Right
The murderousness of the Chilean, Peruvian, Ecuadorian, and Argentine Right is in the past, but you never know when they will spring up again.
There was talk on the Argentine Right of calling for a coup when the last president talked about regulating the agricultural sector. They run that country like a mafia and no one dares to touch them. The Argentine Right worked with Wall Street to bankrupt the country and ruin the economy so they could win an election.
The Paraguayan Right overthrew the government with a judicial coup.
The Ecuadorian Right attempted an armed police coup several years ago.
The Peruvian Right staged a coup 25 years ago.
The Chilean Right only allowed a weak democracy 18 years ago.
The Honduran Right staged a military coup to get rid of a democratically elected president. Since then, death squads have murdered 1,000 people.
Aristide was overthrown by US sponsored coup 23 years ago, and they haven’t had any democracy since because Aristide’s party is banned from running. The last time they ran, they won 92% of the vote. After the coup, death squads rampaged through the population, murdering 3,000 members of Aristide’s party.
The rightwing Brazilian legislature overthrew the Left government based on a complete lie and they jailed the former president on a completely fake charge based on a bribe that he didn’t even accept! I mean they simply overthrew a democratically elected government with a parliamentary coup. They do this stuff all the time down there with either judicial, parliamentary or military coups.
The Latin American Right hates democracy.
If you wonder why the Left goes authoritarian down there, well, this is what happens if you try to do it democratically. They try to do it democratically, they wage coups and economic wars against you, start terrorist riots destroying you cities, murder the members of your government and political parties, start contra wars, or if they are in power, run death squads and slaughter the members of your parties.
I mean if they block all efforts at peaceful change, why not just put in a Left dictatorship? By the way, this is why Lenin said peaceful efforts towards socialism were doomed to fail because power never surrenders without a fight. He called such efforts parliamentary cretinism. I don’t agree with that, but I see the point.
The main point is that everywhere on Earth, the Right hates democracy and they are determined never to allow any Left governments to take power. Things are a bit different in Europe, North Africa, the Arab World, and Central Asia, but once you start getting over to South Asia, once again, they won’t give it up without a fight.
The Murderous, Democracy-Hating Right in Southeast and East Asia
Thailand overthrew a Left government with a judicial coup and the middle class rioters called yellow shirts destroying the country.
Indonesia staged a fake coup so they could murder 1 million Communist Party members.
The Philippines runs death squads that slaughter the Left.
The Taiwanese state consolidated its power after 1949 when they fled to they island by murdering hundreds of thousands of Leftists.
South Korea also killed hundreds of thousands of Leftists from 1945-1950 before the Korean War even started.
Between 1954-1960, Communists tried to take power peacefully in South Vietnam, but the government murdered 80,000 of them. They kept asking the North Vietnamese for permission to take up arms but it was never granted. Finally, in 1960, Ho gave them permission to take up arms.
How do you think Venezuela will handle crime? its extremely rampant, like 3.5 worse than Russia.
It’s like that all over the whole region and no one can fix it there either. Venezuela has had a very high crime rate forever, long before Chavez came in. This is another problem that long predates him. Frankly, most of it is in the poor barrios, so most people are not effected. They tried a thousand things under Chavez to lower crime, but nothing worked. The Opposition won’t be able to get a handle on it either and all of the Opposition’s shenanigans have only made crime a lot worse.
How come no one talks about the crime rates in Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, and El Salvador? And in the Caribbean for that matter? They are all up there with Venezuela’s and no one can fix it in those places either. Once your crime rate gets really high, it is not such an easy thing to get a handle on.
Socialism, the very concept, especially in its social democratic and democratic socialist varieties, is the ho-hum status quo on most of the planet.
The war on the very concept of socialism has probably been worse in the US than anywhere else in the West. It has a 3rd World death squad tinpot dictatorship feel about it. I keep wondering when the rightwing death squads are going to show up in the US. They show up everywhere else in states with a US-style reactionary and Left-hating culture.
The difference between the US war on socialism and the war on socialism waged in various death squad democracies is that the war on socialism has been more successful in the US than anywhere else on Earth other than Colombia, but the Left is armed to the teeth there. The war on socialism was just as bad if not worse due to the death squads and all of the imprisonments, beatings, tortures, murders and genocides all over Latin America and in the Philippines and Indonesia.
These countries differ from the US however in that all those Latin American countries and SE Asian countries have gone Left in recent years.
Even in the Philippines, Duterte calls himself a socialist and had friendly relations with the Maoist NPA guerrillas when he held office in Mindanao.
In Indonesia, the female elected President recently ran on a socialist ticket.
To the south, Mexico has been officially socialist since the Revolution. The Left in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Colombia, Peru, and Argentina was armed to teeth and fought vicious wars against reactionary regimes. That has to count for something.
In El Salvador, the former Left guerrillas are now running the country.
In Honduras, a leftwinger was recently elected President only to be ousted in a coup sponsored by the CIA and Hillary Clinton.
Nicaragua of course had a successful Leftist revolution, and those revolutionaries have been holding office now there for quite some time.
Haiti elected a Leftist in Jean Bertrande Aristide, only to be ousted by Bush Administration officials via a contra death squad army from the Dominican Republic. Aristide himself was arrested at gunpoint in his mansion by armed Blackwater mercenaries acting under the command of the Pentagon.
A number of the island states in the Caribbean have gone Left in recent years and most were members of the Chavista Bolivarian Movement. Most political parties in the Caribbean have words like Left, Socialist, Workers, Progressive, etc. in their party names regardless of their ideology because any party that wants to get anywhere in the Caribbean has to at least dress itself up in Left garb.
Grenada had a successful Leftist revolution that was subsequently overthrown on illegal grounds by Reagan.
Venezuela of course has been voting Leftist since 1999 when the Chavistas took power. They have never left.
In Ecuador, a Leftist, Rafael Correa, ruled for many years. Recently a man named Lenin Moreno ran on a Leftist ticket of continuing Correa’s Left reforms, but as soon as he got into office, he immediately shifted gears and went hard Right.
Right-wing parties run as fake Leftists all the time in Latin America because generally rightwingers running on a rightwing agenda cannot get elected down there because most Latin Americans hate rightwingers and don’t want them in power. Hence the Right obtains power by contra wars and fascist mob violence in the streets, waging wars on economies and currencies, judicial, legislative, and military coups, and even open fraud. The definition of conservatism is aristocratic rule. It is the antithesis of rule by the people or democratic rule. The definition of liberalism is democratic rule by the people, not the aristocrats.
Not many Latin Americans want to be ruled by aristocrats, so the Right down there has to seize power by extra-democratic means.
The Opposition in Venezuela recently ran on an openly social democratic platform, but most people thought it was fake they would turn Right as soon as they got in.
In Brazil, the Left has been running the country for some time under the PT or Worker’s Party until it was removed by a rightwing legislature in an outrageous legislative coup. They even imprisoned a former president, Lula, on fake corruption charges. A female president was recently elected who was an armed urban guerrilla in the 1960’s.
In Paraguay, a Leftist former priest was elected President, only to be removed in an outrageous legislative coup.
In Chile, not only was Leftist Allende elected in the 70’s, the Left was not only armed all through Pinochet’s rule and once came close to assassinating him. In recent years, a socialist named Michele Bachelet has won a number of elections.
In Bolivia, Leftist Evo Morales has been in power for a long time.
Uruguay recently elected a Leftist, a former armed urban guerrilla in the 1970’s.
Argentina recently elected two Leftist presidents, the Kirchner, a husband and wife. A rightwiger was recently elected after a rightwing Jewish billionaire named Singer obtained a court judgement against Argentina in a US court. That judgement bankrupted the economy, so you could say that the Right destroyed the economy in order to get elected.
So with the exception of Peru, Costa Rica, Panama, and the Guyanas, all other countries have since gone full Left at one time or another recently. Costa Rica’s already a social democracy, and Peru had an ultra-radical murderous Left for a very long time. Panama’s been reactionary since the CIA murdered Omar Torrijos by sabotaging his helicopter and killing him via a fake copter crash. The Dominican Republic and Jamaica have not gone Left since the 60’s and 70’s.
But the war on socialism has been so much more successful here in the US than even in the above named backwards countries because even the world norm of social democracy was so demonized here in the US that it never even got off the ground.
In some ways, the US is one of the most rightwing countries on Earth at least in terms of political economy.
A feminist criticized me for saying that women even under conditions of out and out femicide as in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Colombia are not self-harming (because women don’t do that in those places) and in fact, seem happier than women in the West who have much more rights and are self-harming at a dramatic rate. She suggested that I was saying that women down there were happy to be living under conditions of femicide, but that’s not what I said.
I don’t think the women in those places should be happy due to conditions down there, but perhaps they think this woman-killing is more or less normal.
Women in those places don’t self-harm.
I’m not sure how they feel. The women in those places are pretty beaten down, submissive, etc. and are not used to standing up for themselves. They’re pretty much resigned to living under patriarchy, and they think it’s just normal. I doubt if any women are happy to be living in a femicidal country. But the main reaction of women in these places seems to be fear more than anything else. I know they are frightened. And they definitely don’t go out at night. I have heard that in Guatemala nowadays, as soon as the sun goes down, all of the women vanish from the streets. Perhaps it is better than when my mother visited a long time ago during the Civil War. She said that back then, when night fell, everyone left the streets and the streets were empty save for soldiers who literally stood on every corner.
I recall a recent article about a young Mexican woman who was an illegal immigrant but who had lived in the US for some time. She was deported back to Mexico, but only to Tijuana! I’ve been there more than once. They interviewed her and she said that after dark it was not safe for women to go outside due to the all of the violence against women. She said that it was so much safer in the US and that she could go out at night there.
In my mostly Hispanic town, I see Hispanic recent immigrant women (possibly illegal) around my neighborhood walking after dark from dusk to 10 PM. They look so happy to be doing that. It’s as if they are finally free! Compared to the femicidal Hell they come from, they probably feel like they are living in paradise of women’s rights.
There is a surge in self-harming among young women in the West. One figure showed that 25% of 14 year old girls were self-harming.
Feminists argue that it is the viciousness of patriarchy in the West, the prevalence of misogynistic pornography, and the endless microaggressions that young females in the West face every day in their viciously woman-hating societies.
Ok, nice theory. But even if one acknowledges that patriarchy exists or existed, isn’t it obvious that the very vilest and most extreme versions of patriarchy (but normal in a historical context) exist in other parts of the world like Arab and Islamic World, India, Black Africa, and Latin America? Women are treated an order of magnitude worse there than in the West, where at the very least huge holes have been smashed in patriarchy, and personally I think what’s left is more like remains than a coherent hole.
In the areas where patriarchy has been dealt a serious blow and is much weaker, girls and women are cutting themselves and self-harming.
In the areas where patriarchy is alive and well, and women are seriously oppressed even to the point of femicide (Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Colombia), no women are self-harming at all. In fact, they often seem quite happy.
Now how is this self-harming caused by male oppression when it is occurring in the places where such oppression is the lowest, and women have the most freedom and power?
I work in mental health and I am not even sure we know why females self-harm.
As far as porn destroying the self-images of young women and causing them to self-harm, I assure you that young women nowadays are literally growing up watching porn, I mean from age 13 on. They loved to watch it as teenagers, and they love to watch it now. I know this because I talk to young women quite a bit, even underage girls, and I still date young women all the way down 18 and 19 year old girls. And I am 60 years old.
Zamfir: I’m surprised you have a strong preference for Democrats over Republicans. To me it seems like a hopeless choice. If you vote Republican you’re voting for one set of evil elite interests, but not explicitly against your biology and cultural heritage; if you vote Republican you’re voting for another set of evil elite interests, and explicitly against your biology and cultural heritage.
Hard to pick between those two! What is the real advantage in voting Democrat in your opinion? (I guess I’d vote for Bernie, but then again I’d vote for Trump for similar reasons… Not that I expect either one would ever do much on anything I care about.)
He rolled back our open policy on Cuba, another example of his hatred of the Left. He said Cuba did sonic attacks on our diplomats. It’s a lie. They don’t even understand the technology needed to do something like that.
Trump supported an obviously stolen election in Honduras and the next day directed a lot of foreign aid their way. It’s a death squad dictatorship where the murder the people all the time so the rich can stay in power.
Trump supports Colombia and he has just made Colombia, the most right-wing country on Earth, a member of NATO! It is a death squad dictatorship, the worst one on Earth, that kills the people almost every other day. The rebels disarmed but now the government comes out and murders the people all the time and there’s no way for the people to fight back.
Zamfir: Thanks Robert. I appreciate the site, and it’s nice to feel welcome.
Obviously one problem in discussing this is that terms like ‘left’ and ‘right’ or ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ have been given all kinds of different meanings. If economic conservatism is identified with free market ideology then I’m pretty ambivalent about that, at best. And if it’s identified with support for whatever this internationalist economic system is that we have now, I’m against it.
I find it very weird that people who are conservative about social and cultural issues often support “economic conservatism” of that kind. It’s so clear that these things are incompatible! Anyway I certainly have no problem with socialism per se. I would only disagree with certain versions, or cases where I believe socialism ends up being destructive of healthy families and cultures (in much the same way that capitalism can be).
As for democracy I’m not sure what I think about it. I think I’m a reactionary to the extent that I don’t believe that democracy, or any other specific system or procedure, is always good or always essential to a good society. My sense is that some democracies or kinds of democracy are fine, while others are really bad. It all depends on some many factors aside from the system or procedure itself.
I do want a society where the interests of most people, including the poor, are taken into account fairly. But I don’t see any reason why that could never happen in a non-democratic state. Or, more precisely, for anything that’s good about some democracies, I don’t see why certain non-democratic regimes couldn’t also have those good things; it would all depend on other factors such as the culture and history of the people, their typical behavior and beliefs, etc.
So I guess I’d support coups against democratic regimes in some cases–though things would have to be pretty bad–and also against non-democratic regimes in some cases. I don’t think coups are always bad. (In fact, that’s one thing that seems silly about a lot of rigid ‘conservative’ ideology–the wish to preserve order and the status quo no matter how terrible it’s become…)
You say the rich don’t support democracy. I wonder if that’s true. Maybe they don’t support the ideal of democracy, for the reasons you mentioned. But, again, bearing in mind the looseness of terminology here, they sure do seem to support systems that we normally call “democratic”. Is the US a democracy in your view?
Are England or Ireland or Canada democracies? If so, then I don’t agree that the rich never want democracy. My sense is that they long ago figured out how to manipulate these kinds of systems to get the results they want. They manage the perceptions and values of the masses so that they always end up “freely choosing” the same garbage that the elites wanted all along.
A good question is whether this is an inevitable feature of democracy. (I don’t know the answer.) It could be that in any feasible form of democracy, no matter how close it gets to the ideal, you end up with powerful interests rigging the process to maximize their own wealth and power. And I don’t like that, because I want the interests of ordinary people to be taken into account. Ironically, then, I’m skeptical about many forms of democracy because I think the masses deserve to have a say.
So I’d be against democracy in cases where ‘democratic’ systems are hijacked by elites and used against the people. That’s what’s happening in most of the western world, I’d say. Not to say I’d support a coup in this situation–and certainly not if the point of the coup was to install an even more extreme form of exploitation. But I’m not entirely sure what to say about democracy. I think the reactionary critique has merit. (But then, don’t communists also criticize democracy for roughly similar reasons?)
The Communist view is that seeking power peacefully would be a great idea except the ruling classes will never allow it to happen. They say that power never gives up without a fight, and I believe that they are correct. Nevertheless, most Communists support Venezuela, Nicaragua and only leftwing democratic countries. But the Communists would say, “Look what happens why you try to take power peacefully. You get Nicaragua, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Honduras, Haiti, and even Argentina.”
The ruling class will just overthrow the democratic Left state any way they can, always using anti-democratic means to do so. That’s why Lenin called people who supported the peaceful road to socialism “parliamentary cretins.” He thought it was a great idea but it would never work because the rich would never allow the Left to take power peacefully.
The Communist view is also that you never have democracy under capitalism anyway, as the capitalists and the rich always ending ruling the state one way or another through all sorts of means. And yes, the rich and the capitalists always take over all the media in any capitalist country as you said, they use it to shape the view of the people to support the class politics of the rich. Such support being called false consciousness.
Gramsci said that the ruling class took over the entire culture in capitalist countries and brainwashed the masses into supporting the project of the rich. They did this via cultural hegemony. Marx said that the culture of the rich is always the popular culture in any capitalist country. So the ruling class turns all of us into “little rich people” or “little capitalists” to support their project. They brainwash us into thinking we are the same class as the rich and that we are all capitalists ourselves, so we should support Capital. These are lies, but most Americans are easily fooled.
Ralph Nader called this “going corporate” or “thinking corporate.” He says that in the US, most people adopt the mindset of the corporations and think of themselves are part of the corporate structure whether they are or not. If everyone is part of the corporate structure, then what’s good for corporations is good for all of us, which is the project of the Republican Party, neoliberalism everywhere, the Latin American rich, etc. It’s a big fat lie, but people want to be rich and a lot of workers want to think of themselves are busy little capitalist money-making, go-getter, can-do, Bossterist entrepreneurs because it seems to cool to own your own business.
And the Communists would call this false consciousness and their argument would be that under capitalism, most people adopt false consciousness.
I think in the US, the rich see the tide coming and the rule of the rich is going to end so they want to lock in as much of the state as possible by stacking the courts, gutting the safety net, massive tax cuts that will be impossible to get rid of, and that Constitutional Convention they are two states away from getting where they want to rewrite the whole US Constitution to lock in rule by the rich for as long as possible. The rich see the writing on the wall. That’s why they came up with the computerized elections scam, so they could steal elections as long as people kept voting against the rich.
The gerrymandering of districts now makes it almost impossible to get rid of Republican majorities on state representatives in the House and in Senators and Assemblymen in the states. It’s all locked in.
So as the rich saw the tide turning and demographics moving against them, they instituted a full court press to do all sorts of extremely anti-democratic stuff to stay in power. If the people would just vote for them anyway, they would not have to do that, but apparently most Americans have now turned away from the politics of the rich, so the rich will have to lie, cheat, and steal to stay in power from now on.
Also they elected Donald Trump, by far the most corrupt, authoritarian and even outright fascist leader this country has ever had. And this follows too. Whenever there is a popular movement against the rich and the capitalists, the rich and the capitalists always, always, always resort of fascism to stay in power. This has been proven endlessly over time, even in Europe. Trotsky had some great things to say about this. Check out “Thermidor.” Trotsky truly understood what fascism was all about. It is a desperate last ditch move by the ruling class to seize power in the face of an uprising from the Left.
The rich and the capitalists are determined to stay in power, by hook or by crook, by any means necessary, and they will lie, cheat, steal and kill as many people as they have to just to keep the Left out of power. They simply will not allow the Left to rule. They must rule and if they are out of power, they will use any antidemocratic means to get power back.
Which is the story of the CIA, the Pentagon and 100% of US foreign policy since 1945 and even before then. Read Samuel Butler.
I mean, we on the Left generally allow the Right to take power if they do so democratically. Sure they destroy everything like they always do, but most of us are committed to the democratic means of seeking power. Even most Communist parties will not take up arms against any rightwing government, saying they prefer to seek power by peaceful means. Typically, the CP will issue a statement that the nation is not in a revolutionary situation right now. There are objective conditions under which a nation is said to be in a revolutionary situation. I’m sure you can recall a few. It is then and only then that most CP’s will go underground and issue a call to take up arms.
Frankly, almost all Left insurgencies postwar were defensive. The Left allowed the Right to take power and then the Right started running around killing people. Usually the Left sat there for a while and let themselves get killed before taking up power. I know the Viet Cong just sat there from 1954-1960 while the rightwing Vietnamese government ran amok in the countryside, murdering 80,000 Communists in six years. They kept asking the North Vietnamese for permission to take up arms, but the North kept denying it.
The Colombian, Salvadoran and Guatemalan guerrillas only took up guns after the state had been running about murdering them unarmed for years. The Salvadoran guerrillas said they got tired of sitting in their homes waiting for the rightwing state to come kill them, and they decided that if the state was going to come kill them anyway, they might as well pick up a gun and defend themselves. They also took up arms because the Right kept stealing elections by fraud.
The Right had cut off all methods of seeking power peacefully, so the Left picked up guns. The message is if you elect a leftwing government, sooner or later the Right will overthrow it and then there will be a reign of terror where many Leftists will be murdered. Knowing that, if you were a Leftist in some country, would you not be afraid to put the Left in power knowing you stood a good chance of being murdered once the inevitable rightwing coup took place?
The Colombian and Honduran governments only stay in power by killing people. Lots of people. The Greek Communists only took up arms after the government had been killing them for some time.
Also once a Left government is overthrown by the rich and the capitalists, the new Rightist government institutes a reign of terror where they slaughter the defeated Left for many years. This went on for decades after 1954 in Guatemala, and it goes on still today. After Aristide was overthrown, the rightwing government murdered 3,000 of his supporters.
After Allende was overthrown, Pinochet murdered 15,000 people over a decade and a half. A threat from the Left prompted the Indonesian government to fake a Left coup and murder 1 million Communists in a couple of months. Even before the Korean War broke out, from 1948-1950, the South Korean government killed hundreds of thousands of Communists in the South.
As they withdrew when the North attacked, the South Koreans killed South Korean Communists everywhere they went. After the fascist coup in Argentina, the government decimated the Left, murdering 30,000 mostly unarmed supporters of the Left. The same thing happened in Bolivia with the Banzer Plan when Hugo Banzer took power after the tin miners briefly sought power. The new rightwing government in Brazil is already starting to murder members of the former Left ruling party. They’re not going to stop.
After the fascist coup in Ukraine, the Communist Party was outlawed and many of its members were murdered. War was declared on labor unions. Workers in one union were chained to a heater inside the building and the building was set on fire.
The party supported by half the population (the Russian speakers and their supporters) the Party of Regions, was outlawed, a number of its deputies were murdered and there were attempts to murder the leader of the party, lastly by setting his house on fire which set his neighbor’s house on fire instead. He fled to Russia. Now half the population and all of the Russian speakers had not party to represent them, which is why they took up arms. They were locked out of power.
Sisera: So what does that mean then? You believe rich people are inherently oppressors who don’t deserve rights but then White men are okay?
Most of them are oppressors, of course. Don’t you even understand class politics or the nature of capitalism at all. Those rich people who are pursuing their economic self interests in the class war, well of course they are our oppressors. The oppressors of me and mine anyway. I suppose they see us as oppressors.
Marxist theory doesn’t say that anyway. It just says that when the rich pursue their self interests in the class war, everyone who’s not rich gets fucked. You want to call that oppression? You are welcome to. If you side with the rich, you are an idiot. Why would you side with your class enemies. Most of them are oppressors, of course. Don’t you even understand class politics or the nature of capitalism at all.
Those rich people who are pursuing their economic self interests in the class war, well of course they are our oppressors. The oppressors of me and mine anyway. I suppose they see us as oppressors. Marxist theory doesn’t say that anyway. It just says that when the rich pursue their self interests in the class war, everyone who’s not rich gets fucked. You want to call that oppression? You are welcome to. If you side with the rich, you are an idiot. Why would you side with your class enemies?
The rich are our class enemies. Does that mean they oppress us? I dunno. When they’re in power, they screw us over. All of the rich hate democracy, lie like rugs, and support violence, murder, terror, genocide, coups, and dictatorships anywhere the people take power.
Personally, I think all conservatives and reactionaries are pure filth. I wish they would all drop dead tomorrow. That way they would be where they belong: in graves. They’re nothing but pure garbage. Show me a reactionary or conservative anywhere on Earth that’s actually a human and not a lying, sadistic, murderous piece of scum. There aren’t any!
In a democratic society, of course the rich get their rights, but they abuse the fuck out of them, and anytime they people take power, the rich start using violence, coups, death squads, rioting, judicial and legislative coups, etc. to get their way. We let the rich take power all the time. They won’t let us take power at all. I’m glad the Chinese Communists took away the rights of the reactionaries.
Look what would happen if they had rights? See Venezuela, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Honduras, Haiti, Brazil, Paraguay, Colombia, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Philippines? That’s what happens when you give the rich and the reactionaries any rights at all. Right now they would be burning China to the ground like they are doing to Venezuela and Nicaragua because they are furious that a people’s government got put in.
If that’s the way they are always, always, always going to act, why give them rights? So they can destroy your country and take down any democratically elected government they don’t believe in?
They try to destroy by antidemocratic means any people’s or popular government any time it gets in.
And when they take power themselves, they usually put in a dictatorship. This is what happens if they don’t get their way and the people elect a democratically elected people’s government:
Attempted coups by street violence: Nicaragua, Ukraine, Syria, and Thailand.
Attempted coups by economic warfare: Venezuela, North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Nicaragua.
Coups by legislative means: Paraguay and Brazil.
Attempted legislative coup: Venezuela.
Coups by judicial means: Brazil.
Coups by direct overthrow of the state: Honduras, Haiti, Venezuela, and Egypt.
Attempted coups by direct overthrow of the state: Ecuador and Bolivia.
Coup by insurgency: Haiti.
Attempted coup by insurgency: Syria.
Coups by direct invasion: Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Panama, Libya, and Grenada. This is what happens every time they get into power, especially if they take over a people’s government:
Right-wing death squad authoritarian regime installed: Honduras*, El Salvador, Argentina, Brazil*, Guatemala*, Chile, Philippines*, Uruguay, Bolivia, Indonesia*, and Ukraine*. No I don’t have a problem taking away rights from reactionary fucks! Why should we give them rights? Give me one reason! One! One reason!
Radicalized meaning having any sort of working class or class consciousness at all. Radicalized meaning pro-worker. Yes, believe it or not, the US working class is not even pro-worker. The US working class is actually anti-worker!
The problem is that we do not have a tradition of working class radicalism here as in Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. Working class people in all of those countries are radicalized and pro-worker with a high state of class consciousness and they usually vote for pro-worker political parties.
Mexicans, however, are profoundly depoliticized.
Nevertheless, you can argue as my mother does when I asked her why the Central American revolutions were not spreading to Mexico, to which she responded that “The Mexicans already had their revolution.” And though the Left neglects to see it this way, the Mexican Revolution was definitely one of the great leftwing revolutions of the 20th Century, at least as good as the Russian Revolution and without many of the problems. Most people don’t realize how horrible feudal life was in Mexico before the Mexican Revolution. If I told you what it was like, you would quit reading and call me a liar. It was that bad.
In Latin America, your average proletarian, working class person, who, let’s face it, is not real smart, is often ideologically Leftist, as they have been politicized by powerful leftwing movements. There are no powerful leftwing movements in the US to do this, so the non-White working classes are not radicalized. They are liberalized but not radicalized.
The White working classes are actually ideologically Rightist, which makes no sense at all of course.
However, I have met many Salvadorans here. I tell them that I used to support the FMLN revolutionaries down there and that I even used to contribute to their weapons fund. It’s actually true. I would meet a guy in a sleazy Salvadoran bar in Lafayette Park and give him a check to some weird cryptic organization. They are hesitant at first but then they break into wide smiles. Even those who did not support the FMLN don’t really care that I did. That movement was radical Left but had huge support across society because Salvadoran society is very unfair.
He shows how Hugo Chavez has turned so far to the right that he is now in some ways one of the most rightwing Presidents in Latin America. For instance, only Chavez has supported the US and Colombia in backing the Honduran coup regime. And he is becoming one of Colombia’s sole allies in the region.
Why has he done this? A few reasons. For one, he’s surrounded and threatened. Colombia keeps threatening the invade Venezuela to go after Colombian rebels that hide there, and the US under “liberal” Barack Obama has just stationed 7 new military bases in Colombia for the sole purpose of attacking the Colombian guerrillas and threatening Venezuela. Colombia built up forces on the border, repeatedly crossed the Venezuelan border, and moved Colombian death squads into Venezuela to attack the people.
The Colombian guerrillas are on the defensive and can no longer provide the buffer that they formerly provided along the border to a Colombian invasion of Venezuela.
The Obama-backed coup against Honduras, which has resulted in a wave of murders against the Honduran Left, changed things. Chavez now realized that the Obama regime was willing to use military force to get what it wanted in Latin America.
At home, the opposition has made its strongest showing in a decade, winning about 50% of the latest vote, an election in which there was extreme US intervention on the side of the opposition.
In other words, he’s boxed in with nowhere to turn. Under these circumstances, Chavez has decided that the Colombian guerrillas, who they used to support, are a liability. He has been cooperating with Colombia in handing over guerrillas who are in Venezuela. He signed a non-aggression agreement with Colombia in return for an agreement to help catch any Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela. However, he has gotten little in return for this other than that Colombia has stopped invading and threatening his territory.Colombia still maintains a deep alliance with Chavez enemy, the US. Colombian forces are still massed along Venezuela’s borders.
Chavez hope to keep Colombia from joining in the US in any joint US-Colombian military escapades inside Venezuela. He also hopes to keep Colombia from joining in any US propaganda-destabilization efforts in Venezuela.
However, the threats have escalated, and the US appears emboldened. Chavez’ moves to the Right have not earned him the tiniest bit of praise or space from the US – they hate him more than ever. US imperialism slapped an embargo on the Venezuelan oil company due to Venezuela trading with Iran. I am not sure what this embargo entails? Incredibly, the Venezuelan opposition supported this foreign embargo on Venezuela! What a bunch of traitors.
Following his new alliance with Colombia, Chavez became the only nation other than Colombia in Latin America which has recognized the coup regime in Honduras. He did this under pressure from Colombia.
Petras points out how Allende’s Chile, Mexico in the 1980’s, Cuba and Brazil have all harbored Latin American guerrillas (in Brazil’s case, an Italian guerrilla). They refused to extradite them. But Chavez is boxed in in a way that these regimes may not have been.
Petras shows how other Left regimes also cooperated with the Right at various times. Stalin cooperated with Hitler for a while in order to buy some time to move his industry east of the Urals and build up his military-industrial complex. He even sent some German Communists who were hiding in the USSR to Germany, where they were certainly tortured and killed. But Stalin was boxed in, and he needed to buy some time, so he made a deal with the devil.
In the early 1970’s, Mao entered into a new alliance with the US under Richard Nixon’s detente. Afterward, Mao supported Pinochet and the rightist rebels in Angola. They denounced any Left regime that head the slightest ties with the USSR and supported their enemies, no matter how rightwing they were. All for the benefits of a sunshine policy with the US.
In the event of a new confrontation with the US, can Chavez expect his new Colombian ally to be neutral? Dubious. Colombia will probably ally with its imperial master in the US. And can he expect any support for the radical Left in Latin America now that he has betrayed them? This also is dubious. He may well end up with no friends at all.
Chavez’s Right Turn: State Realism versus International Solidarity
The radical “Bolivarian Socialist” government of Hugo Chavez has arrested a number of Colombian guerrilla leaders and a radical journalist with Swedish citizenship and handed them over to the right-wing regime of President Juan Manuel Santos, earning the Colombian government’s praise and gratitude.
The close on-going collaboration between a leftist President with a regime with a notorious history of human rights violations, torture and disappearance of political prisoners has led to widespread protests among civil liberty advocates, leftists and populists throughout Latin America and Europe, while pleasing the Euro-American imperial establishment.
On April 26, 2011, Venezuelan immigration officials, relying exclusively on information from the Colombian secret police (DAS), arrested a naturalized Swedish citizen and journalist (Joaquin Perez Becerra) of Colombian descent, who had just arrived in the country. Based on Colombian secret police allegations that the Swedish citizen was a ‘FARC leader’, Perez was extradited to Colombia within 48 hours.
Despite the fact that it was in violation of international diplomatic protocols and the Venezuelan constitution, this action had the personal backing of President Chavez. A month later, the Venezuelan armed forces joined their Colombian counterparts and captured a leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Guillermo Torres (with the nom de Guerra Julian Conrado) who is awaiting extradition to Colombia in a Venezuelan prison without access to an attorney.
On March 17, Venezuelan Military Intelligence (DIM) detained two alleged guerrillas from the National Liberation Army (ELN), Carlos Tirado and Carlos Perez, and turned them over to the Colombian secret police. The new public face of Chavez as a partner of the repressive Colombian regime is not so new after all.
On December 13, 2004, Rodrigo Granda, an international spokesperson for the FARC and a naturalized Venezuelan citizen, whose family resided in Caracas, was snatched by plain-clothes Venezuelan intelligence agents in downtown Caracas where he had been participating in an international conference and secretly taken to Colombia with the ‘approval’ of the Venezuelan Ambassador in Bogota.
Following several weeks of international protest, including from many conference participants, President Chavez issued a statement describing the ‘kidnapping’ as a violation of Venezuelan sovereignty and threatened to break relations with Colombia.
In more recent times, Venezuela has stepped up the extradition of revolutionary political opponents of Colombia’s narco-regime: In the first five months of 2009, Venezuela extradited 15 alleged members of the ELN and in November 2010, a FARC militant and two suspected members of the ELN were handed over to the Colombian police. In January 2011 Nilson Teran Ferreira, a suspected ELN leader, was delivered to the Colombian military.
The collaboration between Latin America’s most notorious authoritarian rightwing regime and the supposedly most radical ‘socialist’ government raises important issues about the meaning of political identities and how they relate to domestic and international politics and more specifically what principles and interests guide state policies.
Revolutionary Solidarity and State Interests
The recent ‘turn’ in Venezuela politics, from expressing sympathy and even support for revolutionary struggles and movements in Latin America to its present collaboration with pro-imperial rightwing regimes, has numerous historical precedents. It may help to examine the contexts and circumstances of these collaborations: The Bolshevik revolutionary government in Russia initially gave whole hearted support to revolutionary uprisings in Germany, Hungary, Finland and elsewhere.
With the defeats of these revolts and the consolidation of the capitalist regimes, Russian state and economic interests took prime of place among the Bolshevik leaders. Trade and investment agreements, peace treaties and diplomatic recognition between Communist Russia and the Western capitalist states defined the new politics of “co-existence”. With the rise of fascism, the Soviet Union under Stalin further subordinated communist policy in order to secure state-to-state alliances, first with the Western Allies and, failing that, with Nazi Germany.
The Hitler-Stalin pact was conceived by the Soviets as a way to prevent a German invasion and to secure its borders from a sworn rightwing enemy. As part of Stalin’s expression of good faith, he handed over to Hitler a number of leading exiled German communist leaders, who had sought asylum in Russia. Not surprisingly they were tortured and executed. This practice stopped only after Hitler invaded Russia and Stalin encouraged the now decimated ranks of German communists to re-join the ‘anti-Nazi’ underground resistance.
In the early 1970’s, as Mao’s China reconciled with Nixon’s United States and broke with the Soviet Union, Chinese foreign policy shifted toward supporting US-backed counter-revolutionaries, including Holden Roberts in Angola and Pinochet in Chile.
China denounced any leftist government and movement, which, however faintly, had ties with the USSR, and embraced their enemies, no matter how subservient they were to Euro-American imperial interests.
In Stalin’s USSR and Mao’s China, short-term ‘state interests’ trumped revolutionary solidarity. What were these ‘state interests’?
In the case of the USSR, Stalin gambled that a ‘peace pact’ with Hitler’s Germany would protect them from an imperialist Nazi invasion and partially end the encirclement of Russia.
Stalin no longer trusted in the strength of international working class solidarity to prevent war, especially in light of a series of revolutionary defeats and the generalized retreat of the Left over the previous decades (Germany, Span, Hungary and Finland) .The advance of fascism and the extreme right, unremitting Western hostility toward the USSR and the Western European policy of appeasing Hitler, convinced Stalin to seek his own peace pact with Germany.
In order to demonstrate their ‘sincerity’ toward its new ‘peace partner’, the USSR downplayed their criticism of the Nazis, urging Communist parties around the world to focus on attacking the West rather than Hitler’s Germany, and gave into Hitler’s demand to extradite German Communist “terrorists” who had found asylum in the Soviet Union.
Stalin’s pursuit of short term ‘state interests’ via pacts with the “far right” ended in a strategic catastrophe: Nazi Germany was free to first conquer Western Europe and then turned its guns on Russia, invading an unprepared USSR and occupying half the country. In the meantime the international anti-fascist solidarity movements had been weakened and temporarily disoriented by the zigzags of Stalin’s policies.
In the mid-1970’s, the Peoples Republic of China’s ‘reconciliation’ with the US, led to a turn in international policy: ‘US imperialism’ became an ally against the greater evil ‘Soviet social imperialism’.
As a result China, under Chairman Mao Tse Tung, urged its international supporters to denounce progressive regimes receiving Soviet aid (Cuba, Vietnam, Angola, etc.) and it withdrew its support for revolutionary armed resistance against pro-US client states in Southeast Asia. China’s ‘pact’ with Washington was to secure immediate ‘state interests’: Diplomatic recognition and the end of the trade embargo.
Mao’s short-term commercial and diplomatic gains were secured by sacrificing the more fundamental strategic goals of furthering socialist values at home and revolution abroad. As a result, China lost its credibility among Third World revolutionaries and anti-imperialists, in exchange for gaining the good graces of the White House and greater access to the capitalist world market.
Short-term “pragmatism’ led to long-term transformation: The Peoples Republic of China became a dynamic emerging capitalist power, with some of the greatest social inequalities in Asia and perhaps the world.
Venezuela: State Interests versus International Solidarity
The rise of radical politics in Venezuela, which is the cause and consequence of the election of President Chavez (1999), coincided with the rise of revolutionary social movements throughout Latin America from the late 1990’s to the middle of the first decade of the 21st century (1995-2005).
Neo-liberal regimes were toppled in Ecuador, Bolivia and Argentina; mass social movements challenging neo-liberal orthodoxy took hold everywhere; the Colombian guerrilla movements were advancing toward the major cities; and center-left politicians were elected to power in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Ecuador and Uruguay. The US economic crises undermined the credibility of Washington’s ‘free trade’ agenda.
The increasing Asian demand for raw materials stimulated an economy boom in Latin America, which funded social programs and nationalizations. In the case of Venezuela, a failed US-backed military coup and ‘bosses’ boycott’ in 2002-2003, forced the Chavez government to rely on the masses and turn to the Left. Chavez proceeded to “re-nationalize” petroleum and related industries and articulate a “Bolivarian Socialist” ideology.
Chavez’ radicalization found a favorable climate in Latin America and the bountiful revenues from the rising price of oil financed his social programs. Chavez maintained a plural position of embracing governing center-left governments, backing radical social movements and supporting the Colombian guerrillas’ proposals for a negotiated settlement. Chavez called for the recognition of Colombia’s guerrillas as legitimate ‘belligerents” not “terrorists’.
Venezuela’s foreign policy was geared toward isolating its main threat emanating from Washington by promoting exclusively Latin American/Caribbean organizations, strengthening regional trade and investment links and securing regional allies in opposition to US intervention, military pacts, bases and US-backed military coups. In response to US financing of Venezuelan opposition groups (electoral and extra parliamentary), Chavez has provided moral and political support to anti-imperialist groups throughout Latin America.
After Israel and American Zionists began attacking Venezuela, Chavez extended his support to the Palestinians and broadened ties with Iran and other Arab anti-imperialist movements and regimes. Above all, Chavez strengthened his political and economic ties with Cuba, consulting with the Cuban leadership, to form a radical axis of opposition to imperialism. Washington’s effort to strangle the Cuban revolution by an economic embargo was effectively undermined by Chavez’ large-scale, long-term economic agreements with Havana.
Up until the later part of this decade, Venezuela’s foreign policy – its ‘state interests’ – coincided with the interests of the left regimes and social movements throughout Latin America. Chavez clashed diplomatically with Washington’s client states in the hemisphere, especially Colombia, headed by narco-death squad President Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010). However recent years have witnessed several external and internal changes and a gradual shift toward the center.
The revolutionary upsurge in Latin America began to ebb: The mass upheavals led to the rise of center-left regimes, which, in turn, demobilized the radical movements and adopted strategies relying on agro-mineral export strategies, all the while pursuing autonomous foreign policies independent of US-control. The Colombian guerrilla movements were in retreat and on the defensive – their capacity to buffer Venezuela from a hostile Colombian client regime waned.
Chavez adapted to these ‘new realities’, becoming an uncritical supporter of the ‘social liberal’ regimes of Lula in Brazil, Morales in Bolivia, Correa in Ecuador, Vazquez in Uruguay and Bachelet in Chile. Chavez increasingly chose immediate diplomatic support from the existing regimes over any long-term support, which might have resulted from a revival of the mass movements.
Trade ties with Brazil and Argentina and diplomatic support from its fellow Latin American states against an increasingly aggressive US became central to Venezuela’s foreign policy: The basis of Venezuelan policy was no longer the internal politics of the center-left and centrist regimes but their degree of support for an independent foreign policy. Repeated US interventions failed to generate a successful coup or to secure any electoral victories, against Chavez.
As a result Washington increasingly turned to using external threats against Chavez via its Colombian client state, the recipient of $5 billion in military aid. Colombia’s military build-up, its border crossings and infiltration of death squads into Venezuela, forced Chavez into a large-scale purchase of Russian arms and toward the formation of a regional alliance (ALBA). The US-backed military coup in Honduras precipitated a major rethink in Venezuela’s policy.
The coup had ousted a democratically elected centrist liberal, President Zelaya in Honduras, a member of ALBA and set up a repressive regime subservient to the White House. However, the coup had the effect of isolating the US throughout Latin America -not a single government supported the new regime in Tegucigalpa. Even the neo-liberal regimes of Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Panama voted to expel Honduras from the Organization of American States.
On the one hand, Venezuela viewed this ‘unity’ of the right and center-left as an opportunity toward mending fences with the conservative regimes; and on the other, it understood that the Obama Administration was ready to use the ‘military option’ to regain its dominance. The fear of a US military intervention was greatly heightened by the Obama-Uribe agreement establishing seven US strategic military bases near its border with Venezuela.
Chavez wavered in his response to this immediate threat: At one point he almost broke trade and diplomatic relations with Colombia, only to immediately reconcile with Uribe, although the latter had demonstrated no desire to sign on to a pact of co-existence.
Meanwhile, the 2010 Congressional elections In Venezuela led to a major increase in electoral support for the US-backed right (approximately 50%) and their greater representation in Congress (40%). While the Right increased their support inside Venezuela, the Left in Colombia, both the guerrillas and the electoral opposition lost ground. Chavez could not count on any immediate counter-weight to a military provocation.
Chavez faced several options: The first was to return to the earlier policy of international solidarity with radical movements; the second was to continue working with the center-left regimes while maintaining strong criticism and firm opposition to the US backed neo-liberal regimes; and the third option was to turn toward the Right, more specifically to seek rapprochement with the newly elected President of Colombia, Santos and sign a broad political, military and economic agreement where Venezuela agreed to collaborate in eliminating Colombia’s leftist adversaries in exchange for promises of ‘non-aggression’ (Colombia limiting its cross-border narco and military incursions).
Venezuela and Chavez decided that the FARC was a liability and that support from the radical Colombian mass social movements was not as important as closer diplomatic relations with President Santos. Chavez has calculated that complying with Santos political demands would provide greater security to the Venezuelan state than relying on the support of the international solidarity movements and his own radical domestic allies among the trade unions and intellectuals.
In line with this Right turn, the Chavez regime fulfilled Santos’ requests – arresting FARC/ELN guerrillas, as well as a prominent leftist journalist, and extraditing them to a state which has had the worst human rights record in the Americas for over two decades, in terms of torture and extra-judicial assassinations. This Right turn acquires an even more ominous character when one considers that Colombia holds over 7600 political prisoners, over 7000 of whom are trade unionists, peasants, Indians, students, in other words non-combatants.
In acquiescing to Santos requests, Venezuela did not even follow the established protocols of most democratic governments: It did not demand any guaranties against torture and respect for due process. Moreover, when critics have pointed out that these summary extraditions violated Venezuela’s own constitutional procedures, Chavez launched a vicious campaign slandering his critics as agents of imperialism engaged in a plot to destabilize his regime.
Chavez’s new-found ally on the Right, President Santos has not reciprocated: Colombia still maintains close military ties with Venezuela’s prime enemy in Washington. Indeed, Santos vigorously sticks to the White House agenda: He successfully pressured Chavez to recognize the illegitimate regime of Lobos in Honduras- the product of a US-backed coup in exchange for the return of ousted ex-President Zelaya.
Chavez did what no other center-left Latin American President has dared to do: He promised to support the reinstatement of the illegitimate Honduran regime into the OAS. On the basis of the Chavez-Santos agreement, Latin American opposition to Lobos collapsed and Washington’s strategic goal was realized: a puppet regime was legitimized. Chavez agreement with Santos to recognize the murderous Lobos regime betrayed the heroic struggle of the Honduran mass movement.
Not one of the Honduran officials responsible for over a hundred murders and disappearances of peasant leaders, journalists, human rights and pro-democracy activists are subject to any judicial investigation. Chavez has given his blessings to impunity and the continuation of an entire repressive apparatus, backed by the Honduran oligarchy and the US Pentagon.
In other words, to demonstrate his willingness to uphold his ‘friendship and peace pact’ with Santos, Chavez was willing to sacrifice the struggle of one of the most promising and courageous pro-democracy movements in the Americas.
And What Does Chavez Seek in His Accommodation with the Right?
Security? Chavez has received only verbal ‘promises’, and some expressions of gratitude from Santos.
But the enormous pro-US military command and US mission remain in place. In other words, there will be no dismantling of the Colombian paramilitary-military forces massed along the Venezuelan border and the US military base agreements, which threaten Venezuelan national security, will not change. According to Venezuelan diplomats, Chavez’ tactic is to ‘win over’ Santos from US tutelage.
By befriending Santos, Chavez hopes that Bogota will not join in any joint military operation with the US or cooperate in future propaganda-destabilization campaigns. In the brief time since the Santos-Chavez pact was made, an emboldened Washington announced an embargo on the Venezuelan state oil company with the support of the Venezuelan congressional opposition. Santos, for his part, has not complied with the embargo, but then not a single country in the world has followed Washington’s lead.
Clearly, President Santos is not likely to endanger the annual $10 billion dollar trade between Colombia and Venezuela in order to humor the US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s diplomatic caprices. In contrast to Chavez policy of handing over leftist and guerrilla exiles to a rightist authoritarian regime, President Allende of Chile (1970-73) joined a delegation that welcomed armed fighters fleeing persecution in Bolivia and Argentina and offered them asylum.
For many years, especially in the 1980’s, Mexico, under center-right regimes, openly recognized the rights of asylum for guerrilla and leftist refugees from Central America – El Salvador and Guatemala. Revolutionary Cuba, for decades, offered asylum and medical treatment to leftist and guerrilla refugees from Latin American dictatorships and rejected demands for their extradition.
Even as late as 2006, when the Cuban government was pursuing friendly relations with Colombia and when its then Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque expressed his deep reservations regarding the FARC in conversations with the author, Cuba refused to extradite guerrillas to their home countries where they would be tortured and abused.
One day before he left office in 2011, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva denied Italy’s request to extradite Cesare Battisti, a former Italian guerrilla. As one Brazilian judge said -and Chavez should have listened: “At stake here is national sovereignty. It is as simple as that”. No one would criticize Chavez efforts to lessen border tensions by developing better diplomatic relations with Colombia and to expand trade and investment flows between the two countries.
What is unacceptable is to describe the murderous Colombian regime as a “friend” of the Venezuela people and a partner in peace and democracy, while thousands of pro-democracy political prisoners rot in TB-infested Colombian prisons for years on trumped-up charges.
Under Santos, civilian activists continue to be murdered almost every day. The most recent killing was yesterday (June 9,2011): Ana Fabricia Cordoba, a leader of community-based displaced peasants, was murdered by the Colombian armed forces.
Chavez’ embrace of the Santos narco-presidency goes beyond the requirements for maintaining proper diplomatic and trade relations. His collaboration with the Colombian intelligence, military and secret police agencies in hunting down and deporting Leftists (without due process!) smacks of complicity in dictatorial repression and serves to alienate the most consequential supporters of the Bolivarian transformation in Venezuela.
Chavez’ role in legitimizing of the Honduran coup-regime, without any consideration for the popular movements’ demands for justice, is a clear capitulation to the Santos – Obama agenda. This line of action places Venezuela’s ‘state’ interests over the rights of the popular mass movements in Honduras.
Chavez’ collaboration with Santos on policing leftists and undermining popular struggles in Honduras raises serious questions about Venezuela’s claims of revolutionary solidarity. It certainly sows deep distrust about Chavez future relations with popular movements who might be engaged in struggle with one of Chavez’s center-right diplomatic and economic partners.
What is particularly troubling is that most democratic and even center-left regimes do not sacrifice the mass social movements on the altar of “security” when they normalize relations with an adversary.
Certainly the Right, especially the US, protects its former clients, allies, exiled right-wing oligarch and even admitted terrorists from extradition requests issued by Venezuela, Cuba and Argentina. Mass murders and bombers of civilian airplanes manage to live comfortably in Florida.
Why Venezuela submits to the Right-wing demands of the Colombians, while complaining about the US protecting terrorists guilty of crimes in Venezuela, can only be explained by Chavez ideological shift to the Right, making Venezuela more vulnerable to pressure for greater concessions in the future.
Chavez is no longer interested in the support from the radical left: his definition of state policy revolves around securing the ‘stability’ of Bolivarian socialism in one country, even if it means sacrificing Colombian militants to a police state and pro-democracy movements in Honduras to an illegitimate US-imposed regime. History provides mixed lessons.
Stalin’s deals with Hitler were a strategic disaster for the Soviet people: once the Fascists got what they wanted they turned around and invaded Russia. Chavez has so far not received any ‘reciprocal’ confidence-building concession from Santos military machine. Even in terms of narrowly defined ‘state interests’, he has sacrificed loyal allies for empty promises. The US imperial state is Santos’ primary ally and military provider.
China sacrificed international solidarity for a pact with the US, a policy that led to unregulated capitalist exploitation and deep social injustices.
When and if the next confrontation between the US and Venezuela occurs, will Chavez, at least, be able to count on the “neutrality” of Colombia? If past and present relations are any indication, Colombia will side with its client-master, mega-benefactor and ideological mentor.
When a new rupture occurs, can Chavez count on the support of the militants, who have been jailed, the mass popular movements he pushed aside and the international movements and intellectuals he has slandered? As the US moves toward new confrontations with Venezuela and intensifies its economic sanctions, domestic and international solidarity will be vital for Venezuela’s defense. Who will stand up for the Bolivarian revolution, the Santos and Lobos of this “realist world”? Or the solidarity movements in the streets of Caracas and the Americas?
US imperialism is a nasty and ugly thing. It’s paranoid, and it’s out to dominate the world. In contrast, Russia is not an imperialist power. Russia just wants friends and allies, not enemies. They are not out to dominate others; they want cooperation. There is still a lot of the spirit of the old USSR in Russia. Putin after all was a KGB man.
For instance, Russia is friends with many socialist states. They are very close to Venezuela, China, Vietnam and Cuba. They don’t care what kind of economic system you have in our country. Russia retained many of the more or less socialist allies of the old USSR in its sphere. It has not been pressuring them to get rid of socialism and adopt capitalism.
China is similar. Chinese investment in Africa does not care what kind of state or system the Africans have. They can be socialist, capitalist, or anything in between.
Russian and Chinese investment in the 3rd World is done more on a basis of mutual cooperation as opposed to imperialist exploitation which is typical of US imperialism.
When the US goes into a foreign country, they demand conditions favorable to US firms. This usually means favoring the wealthy elite of the country at the expense of the masses. The US tends to oppose any socialism in countries they invest in, and they often demand radical free market changes in the economy as a condition of investment. The US military is often as a threat used to force foreign countries to dismantle their socialism are put in radical neoliberal capitalism.
For example, the US opposes attempts to raise the minimum wage in 3rd World countries. Aristide in Haiti was overthrown by the US in part because he dared to raise the minimum wage. The US-backed coup in Honduras was sparked Zelaya’s raising of the minimum wage.
One reason is that Russia and China do not have many large non-state corporations yet. The Russian and Chinese firms that are involved in the 3rd World are often either state firms or quasi-state firms. Russia helps develop oil via their state oil corporation and makes money selling arms from state arms firms. So Russian and Chinese investment is done more on a win-win basis. Not quite solidarity, but at least not imperialist exploitation.
RL: Labor unionists, community leaders, peasant leaders and peasants, Indian leaders and Indians, women’s organizations, gay rights organizations, environmental groups, anti-free trade agreement groups, human rights groups, journalists, students, professors, anti-mining and anti-oil groups…[are all accused of being “FARC supporters” or “members of the FARC” and are liable to be arrested, beaten, tortured, jailed or murdered at any time.] Parasites, dead-wood, leeches, crooks, thugs, villains, leftist shit-heels. Fuck them too.
This is how these people think. To them, if you are a member of a labor union, a women’s organization, a gay rights organization, an environmental group, an anti-free trade agreement groups, a human rights groups, an anti-mining or anti-oil group, a community leader, a peasant leader or a peasant, an Indian leader or an Indian, or a leftwing journalist, student or professor, you are a parasites, dead-wood, a leech, a crook, a thug, a villain or a leftist shit-heel. And presumably, you deserve to be killed at any time.
So the war is not really against the FARC at all. The war is against the entire Left of society. The rightwing of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Brazil and Ecuador has a similar attitude: kill the Left. It was formerly the attitude of the Bolivian, Peruvian, Uruguayan, Dominican, Paraguayan, Chilean and Argentine rightwings too. But they have been out of power for a while and haven’t been killing many people lately.
Furthermore, this is not only the attitude of both political parties – the Democrats and the Republicans, but it also the attitude of the US military. This is a very important note: both US political parties, even the supposedly liberal Democratic Party, are 100% behind mass terror in Latin America, and they always have been.
The US military runs a school called the School of the Americas in Georgia where they train Latin American military officers. As part of their coursework, the US military teaches these officers that the legal Left are “Communists” who are trying to overthrow the government. They are a military target and need to be dealt with via force. These officers then go back to their countries and often turn into major human rights violators.
The US has been behind or supportive of every single rightwing military coup that ever happened in Latin America. The Obama Administration supported the Honduran military coup and the mass terror that followed. Obama also tried to overthrow the Ecuadorian regime of Correa. I thought Obama supports democracy?
The Bush Adminstration hatched and carried out a coup against President Aritide of Haiti and supported the terror afterwards that followed that left 3,000 Haitians murdered. Bush also backed and helped plan the coup against Hugo Chavez. I thought Bush supported democracy?
See what liars these Americans are? If you are an American, why do you believe the American liars when they go on and on about democracy? Why fall for their lies?
Repost from the old site.
In this post, we will take a look at two nationalisms, Zionism, the movement to (re)create the ancient Jewish homeland in Palestine, and Aztlan, the Mexican and Chicano movement that says that part of the Western US is actually part of Mexico, and more importantly, was the homeland of the Aztec people.
As with most forms of ultra-nationalism, both movements are exercises in lying and nonsense. And both are similar in other ways, too.
Both propose that, because the area in question (Western US, Palestine) was the ancient homeland of the people some 2,000-5,000 years ago, that they have a right to move en mass into the region and even to annex it or possibly make their state there (the Aztlan movement is divided on whether Aztlan should be annexed to Mexico or whether it should be its own state).
Both are based on some highly questionable claims of ownership. There is serious question whether or not Aztlan (an area covering part of the Western US – map here) is actually the ancient homeland of the Aztecs, as this article claims, supposedly with authoritative sources.
Let us examine the article, by Patrisia Gonzales and Roberto Rodriguez, a writing team that somehow got UPI to syndicate their ultra-radical Chicano nationalist nonsense for many years.
The authors found a map in the National Archives in Washington from 1847 with a notation near the Four Corners Area in the US referring to The Ancient Homeland of the Aztecs.
This scribbling on a map somewhere by God knows who purportedly “proves incontrovertibly” that all Mexicans and all Central Americans have a right to move to the USA tomorrow, because the US Four Corners is their “ancient homeland”.
The authors also note a tradition of the US Pueblo, Hopi, and Lakota (!?) Indian tribes that Nahuatl speakers were their former relatives. There are major problems with this. How would these tribes describe these “Nahuatl” speaking people, since back then, there is no way that they called their language or themselves by that name?
Since they called themselves and their language something else, how did these tribes know that they were “Nahuatl”-speakers? And why the Lakota? They are located far from this fake homeland, way up in South Dakota.
Further, as one who worked with an Indian tribe on a government grant doing linguistic and anthropological field work, I assure you that Indian legends and oral history need to be taken with a gigantic grain of salt, to say the least!
The authors quote Cecelio Orozco, an education professor at my alma mater, California State University Fresno as saying this lines up with his research also putting the Aztec homeland in southern Utah. Professor Orozco has published two books of apparent pseudoarcheology on this subject.
Here is how Orozco discovered this homeland (try not to laugh when reading this):
Orozco said he came upon the site through a process called “archeo-astronomy.” He saw a photograph of four rivers in Utah in 1980, and based on previous research, recognized a mathematical formula in the photo that led him to believe that this was the place of origin of the Mexicas’ ancestors. Subsequent trips and research has confirmed his thesis…
After reading this fascinating article on archaeoastronomy, I still do not see how that science relates to a photograph of four rivers in Utah. Does anyone have any idea how a photograph of four rivers anywhere on Earth contains some hidden mathematical formula?
He also found a painting on a wall in Utah from 500 BC that he says he claims corresponds to the the codec containing the Aztec calendar. Those of us familiar with the field realize that finds all over the world look like other finds, or resemble other peoples, or bear this or that passing resemblance to whatever. None of that usually proves anything; much more work needs to be done.
According to the article, because Aztecs have a homeland in Utah dating back 2500 BC, Mexicans and Central Americans are no longer foreigners or aliens or even immigrants in the US, but they are simply in their homeland.
By that lunatic thinking, all White Americans get emigrate back to Europe and live there, since that was our homeland at some point in the past. The Europeans have no right to stop us, and we can even call it Euroamland or whatever and carve out our own damn country out of several European countries, make English the official language and even sideline the several non-English European tongues spoken there.
Then we can demand to be united with the US across the sea or just up and make our own country, dissolving several European countries in the process.
It is this sort of nonsense that makes me wonder just how smart your average Mexican Reconquista type really is. On reflection, they are obviously bright people, it is just that ultranationalism, or even often just nationalism, damages people’s brains and makes them incapable of rational thought. It does this across the board to any ethnic group – there is no reason to single out Mexicans or Chicanos.
Let us examine some of the other insane suppositions of the Aztlan crowd. We have already delved into this a bit on this on an earlier post.
First of all, the Aztecs (Mexicas) had only taken over the Mexico City area about 200 years previous to the Spanish Conquest. The empire reached its peak only about 40 years before Cortes landed. Further, the Mexicas only lived in the area around Mexico City! That’s it. All of the rest of Mexico was not Mexica territory and the tribes (even those colonized by Mexicas) who lived there cannot be said to be Mexicas!
As an analogy, let us consider the Roman Empire. Its headquarters were in Rome. The rest of the empire were just colonies, conquered areas paying tribute to Rome. Can we say that everyone in the Roman Empire was a “Roman” or an “Italian”? By the same logic, do those residing in Rome today have a right to claim all of the former Roman Empire as their land?
This is what would happen if we applied “Aztlan”-logic to that situation. Do you see how stupid this Aztlan nonsense-lie is? The Aztecs did conquer quite a bit of land in the center of Mexico (map here), killing lots of folks and enslaving others.
As noted below, the homeland of the Nahua, according to prominent Mexican archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma was probably somewhere around Guanajuato, Jalisco, and Michoacán* . From this area, 2,000 years ago, various waves of Nahua speakers radiated out through Mexico and even Central America. This is why we have 28 living Aztec (or Nahuatl) languages today.
By the way, Wikipedia is wrong that these languages are almost dead. Most are quite vigorously used, and there are 1.5 million speakers of all Nahuatl languages.
27 of these 28 tribes are not, and were not, Mexicas, anymore than everyone speaking a Romance language today is a “Roman”. Follow?
A somewhat more rational take on the Aztlan lie can be found on the Reconquista site here. Apparently real anthropologists put the Aztec homeland somewhere around Nayarit on the west coast of Mexico. That’s a lot more reasonable, but it’s probably not true either. This comes from Mexican anthropologist Alfredo Chavero’s theory in 1887. Moctezuma’s locale is probably better.
The piece also argues that since Nahuatl is an Uto-Aztecan language and many Uto-Aztecans either lived in or traveled through “Aztlan”, that there is something to the Aztlan notion in that sense. Fair enough.
In fact, the homeland of the Uto-Aztecans in my opinion is in southern Arizona or northern Mexico. But all Native Americans traveled through Siberia on their way to the Americas. Does everyone with Indian blood in the Americas get to go back to Russia and take over the place because their ancestors strolled through it sometime in the past 20,000 years?
Looking at the linguistic contacts of pre-Nahuatl would be a good way of trying to find an Aztec homeland. We can see that they had contacts with languages spoken around Veracruz, on the east coast of Mexico. As you can see, the situation is complicated.
The authors in the first article make an even more ludicrous point. First, as usual, they conflate the “Aztecs” a single tribe called the Mexica, amongst Mexico’s over 200 tribes, that only lived around Mexico City, with all Mexicans.
According to idiot Chicano nationalists, all Mexicans with Indian blood are Mexica or part Mexica! That’s nuts. As noted, there were tribes all over the land, and the Mexica were only one of 200 or so. It’s as if one said that every Italian comes from Rome.
Next, they say that all of the tribes related to the Mexicas were “Mexicas” because they spoke Nahuatl languages. They certainly were not! It’s nonsense. Are all speakers of Indo-European languages the one and same group because they all came out the Indo-European homeland in Southern Ukraine 8,000 years ago?
Even worse, these fools claim that all Central Americans were Aztecs and get to go invade the USA because it’s home sweet home.
Ridiculous. There is only one tribe, the Pipil in El Salvador, that still speaks a Nahuatl language, and there are only 20 speakers left. There were a few other Nahuatl languages in Honduras, Panama and Guatemala, but these are long since extinct. They were not “Aztecs” anymore than English-speakers in the US are “Germans”.
However, the Pipil did come from the area around Mexico City around 1000 years ago; they were related to Olmecs, but also to the Nahuatl. In general, they were an Olmec grouping. Anyway, at that time, there were no such thing as Mexicas or Aztecs – that group came later. Another group of Pipil had come to Central America 5000 years ago and came under the influence of the Maya.
This is around the time when Proto-Uto-Aztecan itself was born in the southwest US. Both of these groups, by 1000 AD, became the Pipil, who came under even more Maya influence.
The Pipil are almost extinct culturally and linguistically today, an end result of the Matanza, when 10,000-30,000 Indians were slaughtered in only a few weeks in El Salvador in 1932, while US warships patrolled off the coast in case the victims of the genocide tried to fight back.
After that, most Salvadoran Indians took off their Indian clothes and quit speaking Indian languages, especially since Pipil was outlawed. They also intermarried heavily with non-Indians, so that to this day, only 1% of El Salvador’s population are Indians. The area of the Matanza became one of the most conservative, pro-government parts of El Salvador, little effected by the Civil War from 1980-1993.
The leader of the rebellion that set off the Matanza was Farabundo Marti, head of the Salvadoran Communist Party. The rebels that fought in the Civil War later on took their name, Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, from him.
The cult surrounding Zionism is much the same as the Aztlan nonsense. True, Jews ruled the area long ago, but only for a brief time, similar to the Aztecs. Further, similar conflations are made about the Judean Empire and the Aztlan Empire, Judean language and religion and actual Jews and Jewish religion and the relevance of ancient Judean religion to the Jewish religion today.
Also similar is the outrageous notion that some group has a right to go back to its ancient homeland of 2000-5000 years ago, settle there at will, and even make a state there. Some of the radical Atzlanistas, similar to Zionists, also suggest throwing out the natives (in the case of the Aztlanistas the Whites, who came starting 400 years ago) since they are “invaders squatting on the true homeland”.
In this same nonsensical way, Zionists project their own invasion of Palestine and squatting on Palestinian land off onto the victim. The Arabs, who came 1450 years ago, are the “invaders”, who have been squatting on “Jewish land” since then. Never mind that the Jews left 2000 years ago. They owned Palestine in their hearts in the intervening 1900 years, and Zionism claims that that trumps a property deed!
Zionism’s proponents are Jews, the smartest folks on Earth, who ought to know better. But ultra-nationalism can easily make a fool of the finest man.
See Joachim Martillo’s site, Ethnic Ashkenazim Against Zionist Israel, for more. In particular, his superb Issues and Questions In the Historiography of Pre-State Zionism (90 pp.!), is a piece which deserves much wider reading. Martillo has some tendency towards fanaticism (but this also drives him to produce), can be an ideologue, and is sometimes guilty of trying to make facts fit theory as opposed to otherwise.
However, these (especially making the facts fit theory) are chronic problems with most all social scientists, as Kevin MacDonald has observed.
At the least, the brilliant Martillo should be more widely read, if only to subject his interesting theories to the critical light of peer review to separate wheat from chaff. And the 90 page link above is just sublime, in particular in the way that it takes apart the primordial nonsense of Zionism in the same way we attacked the similar primordialism of the Atzlanistas in this post.
*Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, The Great Temple of the Aztecs: Treasures of Tenochtitlan, New York: Thames and Hudson, 1988) 38.
Repost from the old site.
Two totally great Commie blogs – People’s Movement Support Group and Machetera .
PMSG is out of India with an emphasis on support for the Maoist revolutionaries in India along with the separatists in the Northeast (India’s armed Maoists tend to support the northeastern separatists), and it’s almost all translated stuff from the world press, but there is a strong emphasis on armed Leftwing revolutionary movements.
Thankfully, he is not a fanatic – he supports Cuba, the Maoists in Nepal and especially in India, the FARC in Colombia, the EPR and EZLN in Mexico, the MRTA in Peru and the NPA Maoists in Philippines. In Palestine, he supports the PFLP! What is interesting about this is that in many cases orthodox Maoists do not support non-Maoists like the FARC or Cuba or surely the MRTA on grounds that they are not Commie enough.
He also supports armed separatists in the Basque Country, Kurdistan, Ireland ( IRA), Sri Lanka and in India’s Northeast.
If there are leftwing maniacs anywhere on Earth with guns and bombs, he backs them up 100% (other than Sendero Luminoso). That’s some real consistency and style.
Living here in the US, one thing you notice right away is that almost every single human being you meet (who has an opinion on the issue) absolutely hates all guerrillas anywhere on Earth. This is true even for almost all US liberals, and even, incredibly, for many US Leftists.
The line of the average American is clear: All guerrillas are evil. They are all terrorists. In particular, Americans seem to really hate any kind of armed separatists or separatists of any type. This is kind of odd in that we were birthed via revolution, and there is no reason to fear separatism here as there isn’t any armed separatism in the US (or anywhere in the Americas) and probably never will be.
So Americans have turned into some of the biggest state-fetishists on Earth. Only the state can have guns. Only the state must have a monopoly on violence. All guerrillas are terrorists, terrorists are evil, and they all need to be killed to preserve the civilized world. All separatists are scum, states alone have the right to draw borders, and self-determination will never be allowed to anyone.
Death squads are fine and dandy, and every state is a democracy, no matter how murderous. The people never have the right to take up arms against any state anywhere, unless I guess it is Communist.
In other words, Americans have turned their backs completely on the noble spirit of the American revolution and have become the philosophical heirs to King George’s colonists. We have also become Israelis. They are colonists too. See any connections yet? Machetera is definitely a blog after my heart. I get called a Stalinist a lot on here, but that’s not necessarily true. I do defend Stalin in some ways, mostly just to counteract the nonsense about “the biggest murderer that ever lived”, by pointing out the many great, humanitarian and life-saving things he did. He also killed a lot of people, and I think it many cases that was just plain wrong or even flat out evil.
Honestly, I would really prefer that we Lefties stopped killing people once we got into power. Other than the obvious moral questions, it has given the Right a gigantic shot in the arm by portraying us a the biggest murderers that ever lived. This has been so successful that many people around the world are frightened to let the hard Left back into power due to fear that they may start killing people.
So it is that I am a big fan of Castro’s Cuba, a place where the state has hardly killed a single political prisoner since 1970. They put a few in jail, but that’s not the same thing. By the way, I think the Cubans should go out of their way to treat the jailed political prisoners well, if only to deprive the anti-Commies of their propaganda snacks.
On the Majority Rights (careful – very nasty WN blog) blog a while back I was called a Castroite. That’s not a bad portrayal of me.
There is such a thing, and the Castroite philosophy, a Left, and sometimes an armed Left, that is particular to Latin America, is quite well portrayed on Machetera. So if you want to see what a Castroite looks like, head on over. They’ve actually long had conflicts with anarchists, Maoists and even some Trotskyites.
The Castroite philosophy could be best seen in the revolutionary movements that arose in Latin America in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Prior to that, there were a number of small bands in Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela that were wiped out. These were often influenced by Regis Debray’s flawed foco philosophy of armed revolution. Che’s fated project in Bolivia in 1966 is another example.
The ELN and the FARC in Colombia are very much Castroite (especially the ELN), with the ELN having a very strong Catholic liberation theology flavor. The FARC is probably a bit more rooted in an indigenous Colombian Left with roots in that nation’s particular history.
There are now branches of the FARC in Ecuador (FARE), Brazil (FARB), Panama (FARC), Venezuela (FARV) and Peru (FARP). The FARC extend all the way to Guyana, where they tax the gold mines. In 1984, the MRTA Castroites arose in Peru, but were eventually eclipsed by the Shining Path.
The Sandinistas of Nicaragua, the FMLN of El Salvador and the URNG of El Salvador and various small guerrilla bands in Honduras in the 1980’s were all Castroites, and the FMLN and the Sandinistas still have Castroite roots, though they have moved to the Right.
Chavez in Venezuela, Correa in Ecuador and Morales in Bolivia are very much in this special tradition.
There are many aspects to Castroism, and it is hard to put it down succinctly. Typically, many are Catholics and there is a lack of hostility to religion. They are less anti-Semitic than most Latin American Catholics (anti-Semitism is big in a continent with few Jews), in part because some of their leaders have been Jewish.
They tend to be much more pragmatic than Maoists, and are often prone to be called revisionists by the latter. There is a strong anti-Yankee and anti-US strain. The cult of Che Guevara is very important. The role of the peasants is very strong, but not in a Maoist sense.
The role of urban workers is somewhat important but not crucial, in part because the area is not well industrialized. But the industrial and professional unions are strongly supported.
There is a lacks of sexual puritanicalism that typified many existing Communist states. There is a significant de-emphasis on the Indian Question (while it is recognized nevertheless. This in contrast to Sendero, who raised the Indian Question to prime status. There is a very flexible ideology that often incorporates electoral democracy and mixed economies.
Class is much more important than race or sex, though the Woman Question is important. Female guerrillas often make up very large percentages of fighters, and in guerrilla ranks all aspects of Latin American machismo that oppresses women are banned. Machetera is characterized by support for Cuba. Along the way, there are also shout-outs for Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Rafael Correa in Ecuador. The PFLP in Palestine have always had a fondness for Che Guevara and Cuba, and Cuba has long supported the PLO. Furthermore, she is a fine writer, witty and smart.
An excellent analysis of the current scene in Latin America by Marxist James Petras. We often wonder what exactly is going on here or there in the world. For the answer in Latin America, Petras answers a number of important questions. What’s amazing is I can’t find one single area in which he’s wrong in his analysis below. Hence, this analysis is immaculate. If any of you can find anywhere below where he is wrong, let us know. A good tutorial on the Latin American politico-economic scene. Warning: Runs 45 pages.
Political Power and the World Market
The twin nemesis of Latin America’s quest for more equitable and dynamic development, US imperial and local oligarchic power have been subject to profound changes over the past decade. New capitalist classes both at home and abroad have redefined Latin America’s relation to world markets, seized opportunities to stimulate growth and forged cross class coalitions linking overseas investors, agro-mineral exporters, national industrialists with a broad array of trade unions, and in some countries peasant and Indian social movements.
Parallel to these changes in Latin America, a new militarist and financial political configuration engaged in prolonged wars, colonial occupations and widespread speculation has weakened the structural economic links – dominance – between US imperial economic interests and Latin America’s dynamic socio-economic classes.
In the present conjuncture, these basic changes in the respective class structures – in the US and Latin America – define the contours, constraints and ‘reach’ of the imperial classes as well as the potential autonomy of action of Latin America’s leading socio-economic classes.
Notions which freeze Latin America in a time warp such as “500 years of exploitation” or which conflate earlier decades of US political-economic dominance with the present, have failed to take account of recent class dynamics, including popular insurrections, mass electoral mobilizations and failed imperial-centered economic models which have redefined the power equation between the US and Latin America.
Equally important, fundamental changes in market relations and market competition has lessened US influence in the world market and opened major growth opportunities for new and established sectors of Latin America’s capitalist class, especially its dynamic export sectors.
Understanding imperialism, especially the US variant, requires focusing on class relations, within and between countries and regions, the changing balance of power as well as the impact of fundamental changes in world market relations. Equally important the private economic institutions of imperialism (banks, multi-national corporations, investors) are contingent on the composition and policies of the imperial state.
Insofar as the state defines its priorities in military and ideological terms and acts accordingly, by channeling resources in prolonged wars, the imperial policymakers weakens their capacity to sustain, finance and promote overseas private economic interests.
As we shall analyze and discuss in the following sections, the US has suffered a relative loss of political and economic power over key Latin American regimes and markets as its military commitments have widened and deepened over time. The result is a Latin American political configuration which has changed dramatically over the past two decades.
Latin American Political-Economic Configurations and US Imperialism
The upsurge of social movements, the subsequent ascent of center-left political regimes,the dynamic economic growth of Asian economies and the consequent sharp increase in prices of commodities in the world market has changed the configuration of political power in Latin America and between the latter and the US between 2000-2010.
While the US exercised almost absolute hegemony during the period 1980-1999, the rise of a militarist caste promoting prolonged imperial wars in the Middle East and South Asia and the rise of relatively independent national-popular and social-liberal regimes in Latin America has produced a broad spectrum of governments with greater autonomy of action.
Depending on the criteria we use, Latin American countries have moved beyond the orbit of US hegemony. For example, if we examine trade and investment, all the major countries, independent of ideology, have to a greater or lesser degree diversified their markets, trading and investment partners. If we examine political alignments, we find that all the major countries have joined UNASUR, a regional political organization that excludes the US.
If we examine policy divergences from the US on major regional issues, such as the US embargo on Cuba, its efforts to isolate Venezuela, its proposed military bases in Colombia, Washington remains in splendid isolation, to the point that the new Colombian President Santos, chooses to “postpone” implementation in favor of maximizing billion dollar trade and diplomatic ties with Venezuela.
If we focus on ideological divergence between the US and Latin America, particularly on global issues of free trade, military coups and intervention, we find a variety of positions. For example, Brazil opposes US sanctions against Iran and supports the latter’s program of uranium enrichment for peaceful uses. If we focus on joint US-Latin American military exercises and support for the Haitian occupation, most Latin countries – with the exception of Venezuela – participate.
If we examine the issue of bilateral trade and regional trade agreements, the US proposals on the latter were voted down, while several countries pursue (so far with little success) the former. On a rather fluid measure of ‘affinity for neo-liberal’ ideology, in which a mixture of elements of statism, deregulated markets and social welfare co-exist in varying degrees, we can draw up a tentative 4 fold division between “left”, “center left”, “center right” and “right”.
On the “left” we can include Venezuela and Bolivia which have expanded the public sector, economic regulations and social spending.
On the “center-left” we can include Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador which have increased social spending, public investment and increased employment, wages and reduced poverty, while vastly increasing private national and foreign investment in agro-mineral export sectors.
On the center-right we can include Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay, which embrace free market doctrines, with mild poverty programs and an open door to foreign investment.
On the right we find Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, Honduras, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, all of whom line up with Washington on most ideological issues, even as they may be diversifying trade ties with Asia and Venezuela.
Internal shifts in class power within Latin America and the US have spurred divergences. Latin America has witnessed greater policy influence by a more ‘globalist elite’ less tied to the US, and an emerging ‘nationalist bourgeoisie’, and greater pressure from reformist working class and public employees trade union. In contrast within the US industrial capital has lost influence to the financial sector and exerts little influence in shaping economic policy toward Latin America, beyond rearguard ‘protectionist’ measures and state subsidies.
The US ruling political elite, highly militarized and Zionized, shows little capacity to engage in launching any major new initiatives toward recapturing markets in Latin America, preferring massive military expenditures on wars and paying tribute to their Israeli mentors.
As a result of major socio-political shifts within the US and Latin America and the singular importance of dynamic changes in the world market, there are four axis of power operating in the Western Hemisphere.
The emerging economic power of Brazil and the growth of intra-regional trade within and between Latin American economies.
The dynamic expansion of Asian trade, investment and markets leading to a long term, large scale shift toward greater economic diversification.
The substantial financial flows from the US to Latin America in the form of “hot money” with destabilizing effects, as well as continued substantial investment, trade and military ties.
The European Union, Russia and the Middle East as real and potential influences in particular settings, depending on the countries and time frame.
Of these 4 ‘vectors of power’, the most significant in recent times in reshaping Latin America’s relation to the US and more importantly in opening up prospects for 21st century capitalist growth, is the boom in commodity prices and demand – the dynamic of the world market. On the ‘negative side’, the prolonged US-EU economic crises has limited trade and investment growth and encouraged greater Latin American integration and expansion of regional markets.
A serious threat to Latin America’s growth, autonomy and stability is found in the US currency devaluation and subsequent overvaluing of Latin currencies (especially Brazil) imposing constraints on industrial exports and prejudicing the manufacturing sector. Equally important US and EU manipulation of interest rates – downward – has driven speculative capital toward higher interest rates in Latin America, creating destabilizing “bubbles” which can derail the economies.
US Empire Strikes Back: Protectionism, Devaluation and Unilateralism
By the middle of 2010 it was clear that the US economy was losing the competitive battle for markets around the world and was unable to reduce its trade and fiscal deficit within the existing global free trade regime. The Obama regime, led by Federal Reserve head Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Geithner unilaterally launched a thinly disguised trade war, effectively devaluing the dollar and lowering interest rates on bonds in order to increase exports and in effect ‘overvalue’ the currency of their competitors.
In other words the Obama regime resorted to a virile “bugger your neighbor policies”, which outraged world economic leaders, provoking Brazilian economic leaders to speak of a “currency war”. Contrary to Washington’s rhetoric of “greater co-operation”, the Obama regime was resorting to protectionist policies designed to alienate the leading economic powers in the region.
No longer in a position to impose non-reciprocal trade agreements to US advantage, Washington is engaged in currency manipulation in order to increase market shares at the expense of the highly competitive emerging economies of Latin America and Asia, as well as Germany.
Equally prejudicial to Latin America, the Federal Reserve’s lowering of interest rates leads to heavy borrowing in the US in order to speculate in high interest countries like Brazil. The consequences are disastrous, as a flood of “hot money”, speculative funds flow into Latin America, especially Brazil, overvaluing the currency and provoking a speculative bubble in bonds and real estate, while encouraging excess liquidity and public and private consumer debt.
Equally damaging the overvalued currencies price industrial and manufacturing out of world market competition, threatening to “de-industrialize” the economies and further their dependency on agro-mineral exports. US resort to unilateral protectionism tells us that the decline in US economic power has reached a point where it struggles to compete with Latin America rather than to reassert its former dominant position.
Protectionism is a defense mechanism of an empire in decline. While Washington can pretend otherwise, the weapons it chooses to arrest its loss of competitiveness in the short run, sets in motion a process of growing Latin America integration and increased trade with Asian economies, which will deepen Latin America’s economic independence from US control.
Latin America’s Center-Left and the US: Economic Ties Trump Geopolitical Strategies
The consolidation of Latin America’s center-left regimes has had major consequences for US policy, namely a reconciliation between arch-adversary Venezuela and Washington’s foremost ally, Colombia. The power of the market, in this case over $4 billion in Colombian exports to Venezuela, has trumped the dubious advantage (if any) of being Washington’s military launching pad in Latin America.
The election of Lula’s chosen candidate Dilma Rousseff as President of Brazil, the likely re-election of Chavez in Venezuela and Cristina Fernandez in Argentina, means that Washington has little leverage to reverse the dynamic diversification and greater autonomy of Latin America’s leading economies.
Moreover, as the political rapprochement between Venezuela and Colombia, including the mutual extradition of Colombian guerrillas and drug traffickers demonstrates, closer economic relations are accompanied by warmer political relations, including a tacit pact in which Colombia abjures from supporting the rightwing opposition in Venezuela, while the latter does likewise toward the Left opposition to Santos.
The larger meaning of this obscuring of ideological boundaries is that Latin America’s economic integration advances at the expense of US prompted ideological divisions. The net result will be the further exclusion and diminution of the US as the dominant actor in the Southern Hemisphere. At the same time it should be remembered that we are writing about greater capitalist integration, which means the continued marginalization of class based trade unions and social movements from strategic economic policy making positions.
In other words, the decline of US hegemony is not matched by an increase in working class or popular power. As both decline, the big winner is the rising business class, mostly, but not exclusively the agro-mineral, financial and manufacturing elites linked to the Latin American and Asian markets.
The prime destabilization danger now includes US currency wars, the growing potentially volatile extractive exports and the high levels of dependence on China’s (and Asian) appetite for raw materials.
Imperial Wars, Free Trade and the Lumpen Legacy of 1990’s
One of the paradoxes leading to the current eclipse of US hegemony in Latin America is found in the very military and economic successes in the 1990’s. A broad swathe of North and Central American and the Andean countries has witnessed the rise of what we call “lumpen political-economic power” which has devastated the formal economy and legitimate political authority.
The concept of “lumpen” is derived from ‘lupus’ or Latin for ‘wolf’ a metaphor for a ‘predatory’ actor, or in our context, the rise of a political and economic class which preys upon the public and private resources and institutions of an economy and society. The lumpen power elites are based on the creation of a dual system of legitimate and illegitimate political authority backed by the instruments of coercion and violence.
The emergence and formation of a powerful lumpen class of predatory capitalists and their accompanying military entourage is what we refer to in writing of the “process of lumpenization”. Today “lumpenization” no longer merely entails the overt violent organizers of illicit production, processing and distribution of drugs but an entire array of ‘offspring’ economic activity (kidnapping, immigrant smugglers, etc.) as well as large scale long term interaction with ‘legitimate’ economic institutions and sectors, including banking, real estate, agriculture, retail shopping centers, tourist complexes, to name a few.
Money laundering of illicit funds is an important growth sector, especially providing important flows of capital to and from major US and Latin American financial institutions. Today over three-quarters of Mexico’s territory and governance is contested by over 30,000 organized armed lumpen led by centralized political-economic formations. Central America is a major transit point, production center and terrain for bloody lumpen struggles for power and revenue collection.
Colombia is the major center for ‘raw material production’of drugs, marketing,and import and export center under the leadership of powerful lumpen capitalists with long standing ties to the governing political, military and economic elite. The lumpen economy has supply chains further south in Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay and distribution networks through Venezuela and Brazil as well as multi-billion dollar money laundering and financial links in the Caribbean, the US, Uruguay and Argentina.
Several important issues to keep in mind in discussing the lumpen political economy.These include: (1)the growth in size, scope and significance over the past 20 years (2) the increasing economic importance as the ‘legitimate’ economy goes into crises (both cause and consequence) (3) the increasing public cynicism as previously thought of “legitimate” economic and political actors (capitalists) engage in multi-billion dollar financial swindles and are “bailed” out by political leaders.
The ‘boom’ in lumpen political-economic growth can be dated to the end of the 1980’s and early 1990’s, coinciding with several major historical events in the region.
These include: the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement; the US-oligarchy defeat of the revolutionary movements in Central America and the demobilization but not disarmament of the paramilitary and armed militia; the total militarization and paramilitarization of Colombia especially with the advent of Plan Colombia (2001) and the end of peace negotiations; the deregulation of the US financial system in the mid 1990’s and the growth of a financial bubble economy.
What is striking about all the countries and regions experiencing ‘deep lumpenization’, is the profound disarticulation of their economies and smashing of their social fabric due to free trade agreements with the US (Mexico and Central America) and the large scale US military intervention during their civil wars (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia).
The US politico-military intervention left millions without work and worse, destroyed the possibility of reformist or revolutionary political alliances coming to power and carrying out meaningful structural changes.
The restoration of US backed neo-liberal-militarist collaborator regimes left the young unemployed peasants and workers with three choices: (1)submit to degradation and poverty (2) emigrate to North America or Europe (3) join one or another of the narco-trafficking organizations, as a risky but lucrative route out of poverty.
The timing of the rise and dynamic growth of lumpen power coincides with the imposition of US free trade and political victories in the aforementioned regions. From the early 1990’s forward lumpen power spreads across the region fueled by NAFTA decimating the Mexican small producers and the US imposed Central American “peace accords” which effectively destroyed the chances of socio-economic change and dismantled but did not disarm the militias and paramilitary gunmen.
Case Studies of Lumpen Dual Power: Mexico
Mexico, unlike the other major economies of Latin America did not experience any popular upheavals or center-left electoral outcomes during the late 1990’s or early 2000. Unlike Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Ecuador, in which new center-left regimes came to power imposing regulatory controls on financial speculation, Mexico witnessed electoral fraud and signed off on NAFTA, deepening its ties to Wall Street. As a result it experienced a series of financial shocks, undermining its capacity to launch a more diversified trading and investment model.
Unlike Argentina which launched state directed employment generating investment policies, Mexico, under US tutelage, relied on emigration and overseas remittances to compensate for the loss of millions of jobs in agriculture , small and medium manufacturing activity and retail sales.
While popular uprisings and mobilization in Latin America led to the rise of center-left regimes capable of securing greater independence in economic policy from the US and the IMF, the Mexican elite literally stole elections in 1988 and 2006, blocking the possibility of an alternative model. It successfully repressed alternative peasant movements in Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero unlike the successes in Bolivia and Ecuador.
While the center-left regimes captured the economic surplus from the agro-mineral sectors and increased public and private investment in production and social spending, Mexico witnessed massive illegal and legal outflows of investments into speculative ventures in the US: an outflow of over $55 billion between 2006-2010.
Regional migration within Latin America fueled by high growth, led to rising income; overseas immigration depleted Mexico of skilled and unskilled labor; in some cases ‘return migration’ from the US of deported gang members, with arms and drug networks fueled the growth of lumpen power . With the severe recession, US immigration policy led to the closing of the border, the massive deportation of Mexican immigrants and the decline of the major source of foreign earnings: remittances.
Pervasive and deep corruption throughout the cupula of the Mexican political and economic system, combined with the decline of the legitimate economy, the absence of channels for popular redress and Washington’s insistence that militarization and not social investments was the solution to rising crime, led to the huge influx of young recruits to the growing network of lumpen-capitalist directed narco enterprises.
With almost all US and Mexican financial institutions and arms vendors as willing partners and an unlimited pool of young recruits with a ‘lean and hungry look’, Mexico evolved into a fiercely contested terrain between a half dozen rival lumpen organizations,and the Mexican military, with nearly 30,000 deaths between 2006-2010.
Lumpenization: Central America
Drug gangs dominate the streets of the major cities and countryside of all the countries which were militarized during the US backed counter-revolutionary wars between the 1960’s to early 1990’s. US proxy military dictators and their civilian clients, in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras decimated civil society and particularly the mass popular organizations.
In El Salvador over 75,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands were uprooted, driven across borders or into urban shanty towns.
In Guatemala over 200,000 mostly Mayan Indians were murdered by the US trained “special forces” and over 450 villages were obliterated in the course of a scorched earth policy.
In Nicaragua, the Somoza dictatorship and the subsequent US financed and trained counter-revolutionary (“contra”) mercenary army killed and maimed close to 100,000 people and devastated the economy.
In Honduras, the US embassy promoted and financed in-country and cross-border counter-insurgency operations which killed, uprooted and forced thousands of Honduran peasants into exile.
Highly militarized Central American societies, in which US funded and armed death squads murdered with impunity, in which the economy of small producers was shattered and ‘normal’ market activity was subject to military assaults, led to the growth of illegal crops, drug and people smuggling. With the so-called “peace agreements”, the leaders of the insurgents became “institutionalized”in elite electoral politics,while large numbers of unemployed ex-guerrillas and demobilized death squad militia members found no place in the status quo.
The neo-liberal order imposed by the US client rulers with its free market ideology built “fortress neighborhoods”, hired an army of private “security” guards, while the productive bases of small scale agriculture was destroyed. Millions of Central Americans faced the familiar “routes out of poverty”: outmigration, forming or joining criminal gangs, or attempting to find an economic niche in an unpromising environment.
Outmigration for semi-educated former members of armed bands led to their early entrée into armed groups, deportation back to Central America, swelling the ranks of narco traffickers in their “home country”. Highly repressive immigration policies implemented in the new millennium closed the escape valve for most Central Americans fleeing violence and poverty.
Former guerrilla fighters and their families, abandoned by their former leaders embedded in electoral parties, turned their military experience toward carving a new living, as security guards for the rich, or as armed traffickers competing for ‘market shares’ with and against the discharged deathsquad militia members.
Between 2000-2010, the annual number of homicides exceeded the number of deaths suffered during the worst period of the civil wars of the 1980s. US imposed peace agreements and the neo-liberal order which resulted, led to the total lumpenization of the economy and polity throughout the region, the practice of electoral politics and even the election of “center-left” politicos in El Salvador and Nicaragua notwithstanding.
Lumpenization was a direct consequence of the ‘scorched earth’ and ‘mass uprooting’ counter-insurgency policies which were central to US re-establishing dominance in the region. Economic and personal insecurity and social misery were the price paid by imperial Washington to prevent a popular revolution.
Case Study: Colombia
The ties between the world centers of finance and the most degenerate and blood curdling ruler in the Western Hemisphere were most evident in the slavishly laudatory puff-pieces published in the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal in praise of President Alvaro Uribe, while over 3 million Colombians were driven off their lands, several thousands were murdered, over a thousand trade unionists, journalists and human rights activists were killed.
Two thirds of his Congressional backers were financed by narco-traffickers. Incarcerated deathsquad leaders identified top military officials as their primary supporters. All of Colombia’s Presidents collaborated closely with US military missions and all were financed and associated with the multi-billion dollar drug cartels, even as the Pentagon claimed to be engaged in a “war against drug trafficking”.
Landlords and their financial and real estate backers organized private militias, which terrorized, uprooted and killed hundreds of thousands of peasants, others fled to the urban slums, or across the border to neighboring countries. Others joined the guerrillas, and still others were recruited by the death squads and military.
With the advance of the guerrilla armies and then President Pastrana’s opening to peace negotiations, President Clinton launched a $5 billion dollar military scheme, “Plan Colombia” to quadruple Colombia’s air and ground forces and deathsquads.
With Washington’s backing, Alvaro Uribe, a notorious narco-deathsquad politico, so identified by US officials, took power and launched a massive scorched earth policy, murdering and displacing millions of peasants and urban slum dwellers in an effort to undermine the vast network of community organizations sympathetic to the agrarian reform, public investment and anti-military program of the guerrilla movements.
Mass terror and population flight emptied whole swathes of the countryside; livelihoods were destroyed and landlords in alliance with drug cartel bosses and Generals seized millions of acres of land. For the financial and respectable mass media, the massification of terror mattered not: the insurgents were ‘contained’, driven back, put on the defensive. They trumpeted the killing of key guerrilla leaders: foreign corporate property was secure.
Rule by Uribe, the military and the narco-death squads secured US power and influence and created an ideal “jumping off” location for destabilizing the democratically elected Venezuelan President Chavez. The latter was especially important by the mid 2000’s when Washington’s internal assets attempted coup and lockout were resoundingly defeated in 2002-03.
Having gained strategic territorial advantage over the guerrillas, Washington in collaboration with Uribe moved to shift the balance of power between the narco-deathsquads and the state: a disarmament and demobilization and amnesty was proclaimed. The result was detailed revelations of the deep structural links between narco-deathsquads and the Uribe police state regime, up to and including family members and cabinet ministers.
While ‘nominally’ the cartels are in retreat, in fact, they have become decentralized .Equally important top politicos and military officials continue to collaborate in the production, processing and shipping of billion dollar cocaine exports … with major US banks laundering illicit funds.
Rule of Lumpen-Capitalism in the Imperial System
Drug trafficking has deep roots in the economies of North and South America and has profound ramifications throughout their societies. One cannot understand the tremendous growth of US banking and financial centers if not for the $25 to $50 billion dollar yearly income and transfers from laundering drug funds and double that amount from illegal money transfers by business and political leaders directly and indirectly benefiting from the drug trade.
Lumpen capitalists, their collaborators, facilitators paramilitary mercenaries and military partners play a major political role in sustaining the imperial system. Washington’s major influence and principle area of dominance resides in those countries where lumpen power and deathsquad operations are most prevalent, namely Central America, Colombia and Mexico.
Both phenomena are derived from US designed ‘scorched earth’ counter-insurgency strategies that prevented alterations, modifications or reforms of the neo-liberal order and blocked the successful emergence of social movements and center-left regimes as took place in most of Latin America.
The contemporary imperial system relies on lumpen capitalists, their economic networks and military formations in practically every major area of conflict even as these collaborators are constant areas of friction.
As in Afghanistan and Iraq today and in Central America in the recent past and in Latin America under the military dictatorships, the US relies on drug traffickers, military gangsters engaged in extortion, kidnapping, property seizures and the pillage of public property and treasury to destroy popular movements, to divide and conquer communities and above all to terrorize the general public and civil society.
The singular growth of the financial sector especially in the US is in part the result of its being the massive recipient of large scale sustained flows of ‘plunder capital’ by lumpen rulers and their economic partners via ‘political crony’ privatizations, foreign loans which never entered the local economy and other such forms of pillage characteristic of ‘predator’ classes.
The deep structural affinities between Wall Street speculators and Latin lumpen-capitalists provided the backdrop for the ascendancy of a new class of lumpen financiers in the imperial financial centers: bogus bonds, mortgage swindles, falsified assessments by stock ratings agencies, trillion dollar raids on state treasuries define the heart and soul of contemporary imperialism.
If it is true that the promotion and financing of lumpen warlord capitalists was an essential defense mechanism at the periphery of the empire to contain popular insurgencies, it is also true that the growth of lumpen capitalism severely weakened the very core of the imperial economy, namely its productive and export sectors leading to uncontrollable deficits, out of control speculative bubbles and massive and sustained reductions of living standards and incomes.
Lumpen classes were both the agencies for consolidating the empire and its undoing: tactical gains at the periphery led to strategic losses in the imperial centers. Imperial policymakers resort to terrorist formations resulted from their incapacity to resolve internal contradictions within a legal, electoral framework.
The high domestic political cost of long term warfare led inevitably to the recruitment of mercenary lumpen armies who extracted an economic tribute for questionable loyalty. Lacking any popular constituency, mercenary armies rely on terror to secure circumstantial submission. Having secured control, local warlords preside over the rapid and massive growth of drugs and other lumpen economic practices.
The alliance of empire and lumpen capitalists against modern secular and traditional insurgencies, brings together high technology weaponry and primitive clan based religious-ethnic racists in Iraq and Afghanistan and deracinated psychopaths in the case of Colombia, Mexico and Central America.
For Washington military and political supremacy and territorial conquests take priority over economic gain. In the case of Colombia the scorched earth policy undermined production and lucrative trade with Venezuela. Imperial ascendancy had similar consequences in Asia, the Middle East and Central America.
When Lumpen Power becomes a Problem for the Imperial State
Lumpen capitalism develops a dynamic of its own, independent of its role as an imperial instrument for destroying popular insurgency. It challenges imperial collaborator regimes. It displaces, threatens, or cajoles foreign and domestic capitalists. In the extreme, it establishes a private army, seizes territorial control, recruits and trains networks of intelligence agents within the armed forces and police, undermining imperial influence.
In a word lumpen organized military capitalism threatens the security of imperial hegemony: newly emerging predators threaten the established collaborators. The imperial attempts to use and dispose of lumpen counterinsurgency forces has failed; the demobilized paras become the professional gunmen of a “third force” – neither imperial nor insurgent.
The decimation of the reformist center-left option, which took hold in Latin America, precludes a socio-economic alternative capable of integrating the young combative unemployed, stimulating the productive economy, diversifying markets and escaping the pitfalls of a US centered neo-liberal order.
The divergence of priorities and strategies between Latin America’s center-left and Washington has as much to do with economic and class interests as it has with ideological agendas. For the US security means defeating the rising power of lumpen military economic formations in their remaining ‘power bases’. For Latin America, security concerns are secondary to diversifying and boosting market shares within Latin America and overseas.
Lumpen power is currently under the political control of domestic rulers in Latin America; it is out of control in US clients. The US solution is military; the Latin approach is greater growth; social expenditures and police repression especially in Brazil. The Latin solution has greater attraction, evident in Colombia’s break with the US military base and encirclement strategy toward Venezuela. Colombia’s new President opted for $8 billion dollar trade deals with Venezuela’s Chavez over and against costly million dollar military base agreements with the US.
Clearly the US economic decline in Latin America as a direct result of its reliance on military and lumpen power, is in full force. The driving force of accelerated decline is not popular insurgency but the attraction and lucrative opportunities of the economic marketplace within Latin America and beyond for the local ruling classes. Insofar as militarism defines the policies and strategies of the US Empire there is no remedy for the challenges of lumpen power in its ‘backyard’. And Washington has nothing on offer to recapture a dominant presence in Latin America.
The world market is defeating the empire. Latin America’s twenty-first century capitalists are leading the way to further decline in imperial power.
Tulio wonders what good the Latin American Left has done down there. How bout we shoot the question back at him and ask what good the Latin American Right did for 190 years for the majorities? Answer: Zero.
But what have the results been? Has there been any meaningful progress that’s happened because of the rise of the left in Latin America that can be solely attributed to leftist economics and politics? I’m not here to attack the Latin left per se. I don’t mind them much so long as they aren’t on this hate America tip and blaming the United States for all their home grown problems e.g. Chavez. I’ve never heard any anti-American hate speech from Brazil, Argentina or Chile under Bachelet.The bottom line though is what have these left wing leaders actually done? Everything is still horribly corrupt, there’s still massive inequality, still no universal health coverage, millions still live in favelas, there’s still lots of crime in a place like Venezuela. So what is so great about these left-wing leaders?
Great, so we will live in a country like Cuba where there’s socialism yet everyone is still poor. Whoopie do. And that’s the best latin socialism has to offer.
Not really. Chile and Costa Rica both have socialism (social democracy) and they have some pretty good figures on life expectancy, infant mortality and whatnot. Comparable to the US or even better, with much lower per capita income too.
All Latin America has national health care last time I checked. Public hospitals are free, assuming they exist. There’s a lack of hospitals, doctors, medicine, etc, but in some places like Chile, Costa Rica or Trinidad and Tobago, public health care is pretty good. I doubt there is one country in Latin America that lacks free public health care. The US is pretty bizarre on world scale in lacking this.
As far as favelas, I know Chavez has been on massive spree building public housing and renovating other housing, fixing streets, wiring up areas for electricity and running plumbing lines. And he’s done a lot of land reforms, breaking up large estates and giving them to small farmers and co-ops. He has opened a tremendous number of new hospitals and clinics, often staffed with Cuban doctors. He’s opened up new state markets where the poor can buy subsidized food for affordable prices instead of practically starving like they were 20 years ago, when 80% of the country could only afford one meal a day. He’s using the oil wealth to help the Venezuelan people, whereas before it just went into the pockets of a corrupt elite.
Crime is a long-term problem in Venezuela and the region, and it’s not Chavez’ fault.
Corruption is a long-term problem in the region, due to Latino culture, and it will be there no matter what kind of regime is in.
Chavez has reduced income inequality and poverty more than anyone else in the region.
It’s great what Chavez is doing down there! Incredible!
We don’t need Cuban socialism. Canadian socialism would be fine.
Correa in Ecuador has done well, but he’s hampered by the oligarchy in what he can do. He threw the US out of the their Manta Military Base, he wrote a new Constitution and doubled health care spending.
Ortega just got in, and he’s not pushing a strong program, plus the oligarchy is against him.
Honduras had a coup.
The FMLN just got in in El Salvador and is unfortunately pursuing a moderate agenda. However, the Civil War Accords already broke up the big land estates and distributed land to small farmers and co-ops, similar to the Mexican Revolution. Whatever other problems you have down there, at least you can grow enough food to eat.
Brazil’s Lula reduced poverty dramatically there.
Morales has done some good things for Bolivia, for one thing nationalizing the gas and oil reserves. He also wrote a new Constitution.
Kirchener did a good job in Argentina. She blew off the debt. Her efforts at further reform have been hampered by the oligarchy. Lately, she’s been trying to break up the media oligopoly, but she’s running into a lot of static on that.
Bachelet in Chile did not do much. She was not pushing a very Left agenda.
The guy in Uruguay just got in and he’s a moderate.
Lugos in in Paraguay is new too, and he’s pushing a moderate line.
People pushing a moderate line are not likely to get much done, and in most cases, really good reforms to benefit the people have been hampered by the oligarchs.
But these are the best changes your average person in Latin America has ever seen.
What’s failed has been more or less 180 years of rightwing authoritarian oligarchic rule in the vast majority of Latin America. That’s what in general has never done the slightest damned thing for the people from Day One. People have had it with it, so they are starting to vote in some pro-people governments, in many places for the first time in history.
As you can see, the overwhelming majority of US voters are White. It is US White voters and only US White voters who have sent America down the conservative and reactionary sewer pipe in the last 30 years. An operation that is yet ongoing, and that seems to be gaining quite a bit of steam. In the 2006 election, it was even worse. 79% of the voters were White.
The voter pool is also overwhelmingly White. So the argument that Blacks and Hispanics don’t turn out to vote is washed up. Even if they all turned out to vote, it wouldn’t matter much. It would only shift the electorate maybe -3% away from the reactionary Whites.
As long as America is overwhelmingly White, it will be a terrifyingly reactionary and backwards place, the laughingstock of the Western World. There is nothing inherently reactionary about White people. In Europe, they are reliably socialist. Someone show me a reactionary and non-socialist country in Europe please? In New Zealand and Australia, Whites are quite socialist, whatever their limitations in recent days with the horror specter of Mr. Howard.
In Latin America, it is true, Whites are reactionary, extremely so. Even in Uruguay and Argentina, they are reactionary. But these countries also have a revolutionary White Left that in the past has given the White elites the bullets and bombs they so richly deserve.
Argentina today, though a reactionary and Third World mess like the rest of the continent, at least has a Leftist President. A real Leftist, not an Obama rightwinger. The Argentine elite is alarmed about the Communist takeover of Argentina, Commies being coded as “fascists,” and are openly calling for the return of the fascist dictatorship. Fascist Argentines bashing Left opponents as fascists while calling for the return of Argentine fascism. Typical fascist obfuscation and mind-warping.
They claim that Kirchner had Commie “brownshirts” in the streets who have taken over entire zones. The Commie Kirchner is supposedly trying to “censor the media” by breaking up the reactionary media monopolies that own nearly the entire media of the land. But why should the Right own 90% of the media? By what rights? Capitalist rights? Hell with that.
Media should be delineated democratically according to predilection. If 30% of the population is Left, then 30% of the media should be Left. If that can’t be done, part of the Right media should be confiscated, at gunpoint if possible, and then turned over to folks representing 30% of the population. It’s only right and proper.
Uruguay elected a former Left wing guerrilla, but I’m not sure how much will change, as he is dedicated to following the neoliberal suicide model. Is Uruguay a more socialist state than the USA? An interesting question.
Costa Rica is a pretty socialist place, which is interesting since anti-Communist fools and liars always uphold Costa Rica on their social figures, comparing it to Cuba on the grounds that Cuba is not so hot. What these congenital liars don’t realize (Or maybe they do!) is that all of Costa Rica’s great figures are attributable to Costa Rican social democracy.
Those are the countries in which Whites are a majority.
In the rest of Latin America, Whites are a minority, and they are frighteningly conservative to reactionary. They have generally stayed in power through repression, fraud, imprisoning, assaulting, kidnapping, torturing and murdering the opposition. White elites have done this in most countries in the region: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico.
The implication is that Whites will only support any kind of socialism where they are a good, solid majority. They are only 65% of the US now, so this may be why they are headed this way.
The entire rightwing movement in the US for the last 30 years has been coming from Whites. Has it been coming from Hispanics? Of course not. Has it been coming from Blacks? Please. Has it been coming from Jews? Pull the other one. Has it been coming from Asians? Forget it.
So when you read that “the voters” are furious with Obama and support all sorts of reactionary monstrosities in opposition to him, it’s US Whites, and only US Whites, who are leading this Tea Party opposition wave to Obama. And much of it is undoubtedly racist, no matter how much they scream that it’s not.
US Whites, as a % of the population, are declining. Every 2-3 years, they decline another 1%. That’s a pretty shocking decline. Progressives ought to celebrate White decline, in spite of all the negative consequences that go along with it. If Whites were progressive people, we could reliably oppose White decline. But they aren’t, and they will never be.
The other day, my mother (smartest women on Earth) told me that in the lifetime of my brother and I, we will live to see the US become a more progressive country. If all goes according to plan, I will take off around 2035 or so. The reason for this, she said, is the decline of Whites.
White nationalists have told me that a declining White America will lead to a more progressive place. Their reasoning for this is curious, and doesn’t make much sense. One guy told me that as Whites decline further and further, they will get more and more radical. As they dip below 40%, they will take up arms against any progressive regime seen as non-White. What he’s saying is that Whites will grow more violent and militant as they decline. I find this dubious. He also said that a majority non-White American government would be too incompetent to install a reliable and functioning sort of socialism. I find that dubious as well.
Will Hispanics, Blacks, Jews and Asians continue to be reliably progressive into the future? It’s an interesting question. Majority-Indian, mulatto and mestizo places like Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Panama are quite backwards and rightwing. A White minority in all places continues to rule to the detriment of everyone else. Usually they enforce their rule at gunpoint and often with deadly force. But they get the votes of mestizos, Indians and mulattos to do this.
In the Caribbean, Black and mulatto elites have treated their own people horribly. This is particularly the case in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Most of the Black Caribbean is not very socialist, with the exception of Cuba. But Dominica is an equitable country, and Trinidad and Tobago has a decent amount of socialism. Socialism was arrested in Jamaica with the US assault on Manley, a White socialist.
The record in Black Africa is not good in terms of socialism. North African Arab states are much more socialist than Black Africa. True, there is not much to divide in the first place, but still. Even Black African countries that have fallen into some money are still horribly rightwing. Gabon, a wealthy African country, has nightmarish levels of poverty, malnutrition, maternal mortality, child and infant mortality. Apparently, as has always been the case in Africa, a tiny Black elite has grabbed control over the economy for themselves and possibly their tribe and is locking out everyone else.
Given that mestizos, mulattos and Blacks have a poor record of setting up socialist systems in their own lands, one wonders just how socialist they will be here in the US as they grow in numbers. So far, they have been realiably socialist, but what will the future bring.
The model in mulatto, mestizo and Black countries is typically astounding gaps between the rich and the poor, horrifying levels of poverty, and often an enraged, militant and sometimes armed but cash-starved Left minority battling the elite for power. In these countries, poverty is a big deal, the opposite of the US. So there, all parties, from Right to Left, run on reducing poverty and fighting for the poor, with a few overtly fascist exceptions in Guatemala, El Salvador, (Honduras?) and Colombia and a strange overtly rightwing government in Chile, increasingly a US model state in Latin America.
The Right has the entire media spectrum. In Honduras, a 99% mestizo country, a reactionary and murderous elite owns 99+% of the media. This is typical across the region. The assumption is that the non-White masses are simply badly brainwashed.
The ignorant mestizo, mulatto and Black electorate tends to vote for parties that often have progressive sounding names. In many cases, these parties are said to be overtly socialist parties. This is especially the case in the Caribbean, where almost every party has a socialist-sounding name. So down there, the Right calls themselves socialists, progressives and populists fighting for the poor while they implement reaction.
A similar dynamic is seen in Africa, where most parties have socialist-sounding names.
In other words, the US model of reactionary parties having open reactionary images, programs and politics is nonexistent in most of Latin America and Africa. No one would vote for it. In fact, it’s anathema in most of the world! It’s nearly nonexistent also in Arabia, South Asia, Europe, SE Asia and NE Asia. Turkey does have an overtly rightwing government.
Other than Turkey, show me one overtly reactionary party along the lines of the US Republican Party in power in any of these places.
One wonders if the model of the US reactionaries will change in the future with White decline. Will we see the rise of a backwards mestizo, mulatto or Black elite looking for votes possibly on an ethnic basis. Will we see the rise of fake populism and fake socialism, where the Right will operate rightwing parties with socialist and progressive sounding names campaigning on poverty reduction and helping the have-nots, to get the non-White vote? Will the Republican Party model of an openly and brazenly reactionary party become nonviable as non-Whites refuse to support it, according the model in the rest of the world?
A new guerrilla group has popped up in Paraguay in the past couple of years, and it’s now starting to make news in the worldwide media after ambushing and killing 4 people in the Concepcion Region of the Northeast on April 20, 2010. Reports are confused. First reports said that 1 cop and three workers were killed, but later reports say that 4 cops were killed in an ambush.
The group has deep roots in the landless peasants in the severely impoverished northeast, where there are frequent conflicts between landless peasants and large landowners, with the landowners regularly hiring death squads to kill peasants.
The same thing goes on in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia (most notoriously) and Honduras. Other death squads continue to operate in Mexico, Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, Bolivia and Peru. In Ecuador, they exist, but mostly just issue threats. As you can see, rightwing death squads that target the Left are a fixture of Latin American society.
In Mexico, Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, Brazil, Venezuela, Honduras and Bolivia, the Left is more or less unarmed. In Peru and Colombia, the Left is armed and fights back. There are also very small guerrilla movements in Mexico. There is an armed Left in Ecuador, but they don’t seem to do much. I assume that if they repression continues as it is in Honduras, the Left is going to take up arms again. As it is, there is about one killing a day occurring since the US-sponsored coup.
Usually the killing continues for a while until the Left has enough, gets tired of waiting around for the government to come out and kill you, and decides to take up arms so the next time the state comes out to kill you, you can at least fight back. This is generally how what the US calls “Leftist terrorist groups” get their start – in self-defense.
In late December 2008, the EPP raided a military post in Concepcion Province, stole some weapons and set the post on fire.
Around 10 people were arrested early this year in Concepcion on charges of kidnapping a wealthy rancher and holding him for 94 days until he was released on $550,000 ransom.
The area of Concepcion where the guerrillas are operating is mostly thick jungle on the border with Brazil. The group wears camouflage uniforms, carries modern weapons and includes female fighters. The group is said to have about 60 members, meaning they are very small. The Paraguayan government says that they were trained by the Colombian FARC, which I find plausible.
This appears to be the same group that broke off from the leftwing Free Motherland Party (PPL). They were involved in the kidnapping and death of Ceclia Cubas, the daughter of a the daughter of a former Paraguayan president (1998/1999).
The group actually seems to have emerged in the past couple of years, though it’s been around for about 18 years. The group emerged in 1992 when some trainee priests were thrown out of the seminary for their radical views. They formed a group called the Movimiento Monseñor Romero, probably named after the Salvadoran bishop murdered with the help of the US in El Salvador in 1980.
The group’s aim was to build a with the aim of plotting a socialist revolution. The group’s heroes are Che Guevara, Regis Debray (founder of the foco guerrilla model) and Paraguayan national hero Mariscal Francisco Solano Lopez.
I would assume, since it was founded by priests, that Camilo Torres of 1965 Colombia, the original “priest with a machine gun” would also be a model. Torres was founder of the Colombian rebel group the ELN (National Liberation Army). The ELN is still very much alive despite what the media tells you, though they’ve been hit hard by President Uribe’s offensive. Their base in the far east by the Venezuelan border. Idiotically, the FARC attacks them for unknown reasons.
The Leftist President or Paraguay, Fernando Lugo, himself a former radical bishop, has declared a state of emergency in Concepcion, San Pedro and three other northern provinces after the latest attack and has sworn to wipe them out. We will see what happens next.
I should point out that death squads are back in El Salvador. They are not killing many, but they are killing a few.
And they are back in a big way in Honduras ever since the US-sponsored and promoted coup that removed the democratically elected President for the crime of raising the minimum wage. Death squads are killing people just about every day in Honduras lately. I wonder how much longer this can last before the Left takes up guns again.
And Haiti has always been run by death squads. After the US-sponsored coup which removed President Aristide (US mercenaries and Marines appeared at his mansion and ordered him to leave the country), death squads have rampaged through Haiti. At least 3,000 people have been killed. Those targeted were the supporters of Aristide. The US supports the death squads in Haiti and Honduras to the hilt, and probably supports them in Guatemala and El Salvador too (they always did in the past).
On this question, Obama is no socialist or Communist. He’s just another far rightwing US imperialist running interference for the reactionary cliques down South. There’s barely any light between Obama and Bush on Latin American policy. Democrats or Republicans, it’s always the Monroe Doctrine down there.
Anti-Communists like to say that no one ever flees to a Communist regime, but the eastern part of Cuba is full of Haitians and Jamaicans who have fled their countries. Cuba took them in, and they like it a Hell of a lot better in Cuba. Everything is relative, you know.
That article is a lie. The law that passed made the stations fill out a bunch of paperwork so they could be monitored better. Just routine bureaucratic stuff. Those opposition stations deliberately refused to fill out that paperwork, knowing full well that they would get shut down. They basically shut themselves down on purpose in order to make Chavez look like a dictator. I believe that most of those stations have been reinstated after they filled out their paperwork.
The “yanking the advertisements off the air” is not true. The law limits the stations to one ad break per 30 minutes. I’m not sure what the purpose of that is, but it applies to all stations, pro-government, anti- and neutral.
The part about “forcing them to carry Chavez speeches” isn’t really true. They do want all of the media to have to carry important government announcements. During the coup, for instance, the government was constantly sending out announcements regarding this or that, mostly in opposition to the coup. The Opposition media completely blocked out all government statements and showed soaps and sports nonstop instead. No one could figure out what was going on because the Opposition had all the media.
So, yeah, they have to carry some government statements, but not that many. If you think about it, every time Obama gives a speech, all the US stations are all over it, right? Including Fox? But down there, they just lock out all government statements like they don’t exist. That doesn’t seem fair or right.
The law that the MSM is complaining about so much is a pretty reasonable media responsibility law, similar to that in many countries. I believe it is almost identical to the law in Canada, for instance.
The draft law the piece referred to is troubling, but Chavez himself opposed it. It was the Chavista legislature that proposed that. The Attorney General’s statement was also disturbing, but the law never got passed anyway. You know, some dictatorship, the Chavistas can’t even pass their own laws!
I don’t agree with a lot of the government’s hard line on the media, and at times, I wish they would just blow the Opposition media off. I know they’re assholes, but so what? Let the dogs bark.
Globovision is still on the air 7 months after that article was written, but I think they are moving to cable.
On the regular airwaves, 25% of the stations are pro-government, 20% are Opposition, and 55% are neutral. The neutral ones carry both pro- and anti-Chavez people, often in equal numbers, and they have some of the most ferocious anti-Chavez folks as regular guests.
The article is not correct that Venezuela is the worst in the Hemisphere. In Colombia, they just murder the Opposition media, so it frankly barely even exists. In Peru, there is a law called “apology for terrorism.” It’s used pretty broadly.
In Colombia, Peru, Chile, Panama, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, there is no opposition media that I’m aware of. The elite has almost the entire media spectrum. I’m not sure of the situation in Mexico, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia and Uruguay, but the elite seems to have most to all of the media in those places too. There is a Left media in Argentina, but it’s one daily paper. There is probably some Left media in Brazil, mostly newspapers. In Argentina and Brazil, the elite control TV. There is opposition media in Nicaragua from the Sandinistas.
So really, Venezuela is probably one of the few places in the Hemisphere, along with Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador, where there is a ferocious and vibrant Opposition media at all. Keep in mind that the elite control the media in Latin America. They almost always control the state too, so in essence there’s never any opposition media in Latin America, except when a leftwing, anti-elite government comes in. Then the entire media spectrum of the nation lines up against the state. So the strange truth is that Venezuela has one of the loudest, most belligerent, most vibrant and most powerful opposition medias in the region.
What Chavez is trying to do is to get away from the elite media model towards community radio and TV. He has been giving out licenses by the handful for community radio and TV stations. It’s true that most of these smaller stations support him, since most communities support him, but community stations in anti-Chavez regions have anti-Chavez community media. Even the Chavez-supporting community media is often extremely critical of the regime, when they feel that they are screwing up. Someone needs to keep the government on its toes.
What he’s doing is democratizing the media space, moving away from the typical model in capitalism where an elite, say the top 1% of the population, owns nearly the entire media spectrum, print and non-print. A better model is a democratic media.
The “mounting economic problems” in Venezuela are due to the worldwide recession or depression that the US elite set off with their financial machinations and fraud. Venezuela is experiencing the same thing that everyone else is, it’s not Chavez’ fault. During Chavez’ term, the economy has grown like gangbusters.
The commenter also refers to this article to claim that “Hugo Chavez is a dictator.” This was the defeat of the proposed Constitution rewrite. There were good and bad aspects of it. The bit about censoring the media in a national emergency was an attempt to make sure the situation that occurred during the coup would not recur. I supported his bid to run for life. If Venezuelans want to keep re-electing him over and over, let them. That sounds like democracy to me.
I think the bit about seizing private property was for economic sabotage. A lot of the capitalist food producers are engaging in economic sabotage to try to bring down the regime, and it’s hard to figure out how to deal with them!
The inflation is occurring, or was occurring in 2007 at the time the article was written, due to an overheated economy that is growing too fast. You know, the same guy who is ruining the economy is also presiding over an economy that is growing so wildly it is getting inflationary? The “student opposition” is like the “student opposition to FARC” in Colombia. Rightwing students from moneyed classes are rallying at their expensive private universities. Yeah, some “student movement.” Just like the 60’s, huh?
The main thing is that Chavez’ constitutional reform was defeated. How is that a dictator puts his laws up for vote and the people vote them down? What kind of dictatorship is that? A lot of Chavistas voted against that law, and I don’t blame them.
I admit that Chavez bothers me at times with his polarizing rhetoric and bombastic blathering. The guy’s a demagogue, let’s face it. But so is Castro, so was Daniel Ortega, so was Juan Peron. Latin Americans love their caudillos and their demagogues.
Updated June 25, 2014. This article is 64 pages long, so be warned.
I’ve been reading a lot about this issue because I find it fascinating. Of course the media is going to feed you a lot of crap, nonsense and lies about this situation, so where do we go to really learn about it? Maybe I should ask some Latin Americans? That isn’t going to work. Most of the Latin Americans I have met are from the middle and upper classes, and almost all of them insist that there is no racism in their particular country. That sounds dubious! So, where shall we go to get the straight-up ugly truth?
No better place than Stormfront, the home of Nazi White nationalist maniacs! True, they are not very nice people, but I figured that if there were any Latin Americans on there, they would definitely tell it like it is.
Indeed there is a Latin American forum on Stormfront, and it is populated by lots of Latin American Whites. I learned a lot there, reading probably over 1,200 pages over a few days, but I’m not going to link to any of the comments because why link to Stormfront?
The truth will be very depressing to White nationalists, and it surely destroys some of their cherished myths. One of them is that racial separatism is possible. Apparently it is not.
Another is that as a White population shrinks, separatism becomes more of an urgent reality for a larger number of Whites. The truth, as we see in Latin America, is quite the opposite. As the White population shrinks down below 50%, unbelievably, White ethnocentrism declines accordingly, and the impulse to separate becomes less and less.
First of all, many or probably most White nationalist types in the US are Nordicist idiots who think that Latin American Whites are not “pure Whites.” Regardless of the truth of this, Latin American Whites have a more lax view of Whiteness. To them, if you have White ancestry, and if you look White and you act White, you are White. This strikes me as very reasonable.
During colonial times, children of a criollo (pure Spaniard, or White) and a castizo (1/4 Indian, 3/4 White) was considered to be criollo, or White. This person would have been 12% Indian and would probably have a strong White phenotype. It is likely that this standard is still employed in Latin America today.
The Latin American system classes all European Meds as White: Portuguese, Spaniards, Italians, Romanians, Greeks and Yugoslavs. Also, White Arabs, especially Lebanese and Syrian Christians, are also considered White. Latin American Whites also consider Armenians and Georgians to be White.
How many Whites are there in Latin America? That’s a very interesting question. Many figures are tossed about. I figure the best figure is around 170 million+ Whites in Latin America.
What was interesting on the forum is the way that they described Latin American Whites. According to them, the average White down there is very, very racist in US terms.
In Argentina, the general belief is that they are White and not a part of the rest of Latin America as a result, and there is open contempt, at least in private, for mestizos and mulattos*, not to mention Indians. The general belief, contrary to the US, is that dark = ugly. Indians are ugly, Whites are beautiful.
Latin American Whites do not necessarily despise mestizos, though some certainly do, and this feeling is more pronounced in some countries than in others. In many cases, Whites do not dislike mestizos of the same social class. However, the contempt for Indians is a hallmark of the mindset of Latin American Whites pretty much across the board.
In the US, the feeling is quite the opposite. Indians are not regarded as ugly, and Indian women have long been fetishized by White men as sex objects. Indian men are not seen as ugly either. We pretty much like Indians here in the US.
Similarly, Whiteness is highly prized all over Latin America in both Whites and non-Whites, whereas in the US, many Hispanics, typically Chicanos, get angry if you suggest that they are White or part-White. This is seen as an insult to them.
In Latin America, Indians are widely despised by Whites, there is no way of getting around that obvious fact, and no amount of denial and lying will make it go away.
Let us look at Mexico. It is a common Mexican lie that there is no racism in Mexico. This lie is usually perpetrated by mestizos and Whites. I doubt many Indians would tell you that.
Among the Mexican upper class, with the males at least, there is once again a belief that Indian women are ugly.
Nevertheless, Mexican politics means that most Mexican Whites say they are mestizos, deny their Whiteness, and hate the US. These are traditions of Mexican society.
Mexico decided a while back to deal with the race issue by formulating a lie that said that every Mexican was a mestizo, and that’s that. That lie is called mestizaje, and it is said to be the essence of Mexicanness.
There is another lie about Mexican society, this one about Blacks. A friend went on a tour of Mexico and was informed that the large Black population had simply disappeared.
The truth is that they were “bred out.” They were bred into the population so heavily that the average mestizo now is 4% Black, and that percentage is fairly uniform across the mestizo population. There are few Blacks remaining in Mexico, but there are some down by Veracruz.
Denial of Whiteness goes along with mestizaje .
Hatred of the US (the gringos), is part of Mexican culture for a long time now.
These same Mexicans, who deny their Whiteness, insist they are mestizos and hate the gringos, the men anyway will have nothing to do with a woman that is pure Indian or maybe mostly Indian. On the other hand, they date, sleep with and gladly breed with mestizos, especially the lighter ones. They will often deny this by saying that the mestiza is White like they are, or not like the household help, or whatever.
These same Mexican Whites are also very happy to have mestizos and Indians moving into the Whiter parts of Mexico, as this means more low wage labor and more customers to buy their stuff. White consciousness in Mexico is essentially about zero. The same White Mexicans who will insist that they are mestizos and not White will get angry if you call them indio. Indio is a big insult to any White Mexican.
Nevertheless, there is little overt racism in Mexico between mestizos and Whites, perhaps due to the homogenizing effect of mestizaje. However, there is some discrimination in employment to the extent that lighter skin makes it easier to get a good job than darker skin.
Light skin, eyes and hair are valued traits, but they are not necessary to get along in society. However, there is considerable racism against Indians. In addition, most White and mestizo Mexicans have a deep and abiding hatred for Blacks, whom they call pinche mayates (fucking niggers).
In recent years, the number of White Mexicans marrying mestizos has been very high. In Mexico, mestizos often want to marry White according to the tradition of mejorando la raza, literally, “improving the race.” Mestizo men are said to have an extreme fetish for blonde White women.
It is true that if you watch Mexican TV, you might think Mexico is 90% White. However, this is mostly true for the largest two networks, and it is often not the case with local or regional networks, where you see many mestizos. Mexican mestizos have conflicted feelings towards White Mexicans, and some of them have extreme anti-Spanish and anti-European feelings. Typically, if they are males, they would also do anything to get their hands on a White woman.
The history of White Mexico is quite interesting. Forum posters say that Mexico was around 37% White as late as independence. That’s fascinating.
What’s happened since then is more and more breeding with mestizos and possibly even Indians, such that the percentage of White Mexicans is now about 8% and declining all the time. That percentage is controversial. Some Mexicans say the true number is as low as 5%. 61% of the population are mestizos of all sorts of varieties, and 30% are either Indian or mostly Indian.
There are up to 10 million Whites in Mexico. Areas of Mexico that were 90% White in the past are now maybe 30-40% White.
Historically and to this day, most of the Whites lived in the northeast, but they are also scattered throughout the country. Nuevo León in the northeast used to be overwhelmingly White until a vast migration of Indians and mestizos from the South swamped it. Afterward, very heavy mixing occurred, and Nuevo León is no longer a White state. Most of the Whites in Nuevo León live in the large city of San Pedro.
But there are still small towns in the mountains of Nuevo León which are, bizarrely enough, all-White towns. Many people in these towns have blond hair and blue eyes.
The original plan for Nuevo León was to create a separate Spanish colony, separate from New Spain, but it never came to fruition. This state is prosperous and plays a very important role in the Mexican economy.
According to posters, along with the claim that Mexico was 40% White in colonial times is the notion it was a very nice country back then (assuming you were White of course) and that it has subsequently declined into what posters called a cesspool as it grew darker in the next nearly two centuries. Posters felt the situation was hopeless for Mexican Whites, and it was projected they would become extinct or nearly so with a century.
With Mexican-Americans, things are a bit different. I have seen very White Hispanics who act angry if you tell them they look White. Many of them do not even realize that Hispanics are mixed with White and Indian. The levels of White-hatred among US Hispanics seems to be quite high, probably as a result of US culture. Within the Chicano community, some Whiter Chicanos complain of a lot of mistreatment, often due to envy. Costa Rica is a very interesting case, and the % of Whites in Costa Rica is very much in dispute. Costa Rica initially experienced a huge massacre of Indians in the context of conquest and enslavement, and the White population remained small at maybe 20,000 until independence. Costa Rica was always one of the poorest, if not the poorest, of the Spanish colonies.
Nevertheless, this population had become much less White during colonization, since the Spaniards brought few women with them. Most male Indians were either killed or exported to Peru. Hence, the colonists bred with Indian women. This continued all through the 1500’s and 1600’s. Later on there was an input of Black slaves from Jamaica. By independence, these people were about 55% White.
The Central Valley region, where Whites initially settled, is still as White as Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil and Antioquia in Colombia, two heavily-White enclaves in Latin America. This region may be 90% White.
After independence, the government had a policy of importing White workers from Europe, and this continued until about 1950 or so. This resulted in mass breeding with the original Costa Ricans, hence the original group became lighter over time. This is why Costa Rica traditionally has been such a White place.
As late as 1960, Costa Rica was probably 90% White.
However, in recent years, a large influx of mestizo illegal immigrants from Nicaragua, Colombia and other places has come into the country. There are 4 million native Costa Ricans in the country, but there are also 1.5 million Nicaraguans and 1.3 million Colombians. 99% of the Nicaraguans are mestizos.
The Colombians are regarded as “the Jews of Costa Rica” in that, once they go into a business sector, they tend to quickly dominate it. Hence, Colombians are somewhat resented in Costa Rica. Downtown San Jose now looks like Mexico City. Crime has risen along with the mass illegal immigration.
In addition, on the Caribbean Coast, there are now many Jamaican Blacks, possibly also illegal immigrants. In coastal cities, people tend to be mixed-race. In the inland cities, most people are White. In recent decades, many mestizos have appeared among native Costa Ricans, as the Whites there are starting to breed in with mestizos. In some places, a majority of Whites are now married to mestizos.
Nevertheless, the upper class is still overwhelmingly White, as this photo set of Costa Rican Presidents shows. And Costa Rica is still a mostly-White country. The population is 73% white, 17% Mestizo, 4% mulatto, 3% Black, 1% Chinese and 1% Indian. Officially, 85% of the population identifies as White, but that includes a certain number of light mestizos. There are 3 million Whites in Costa Rica.
Costa Rican Whites are quite racist and openly dislike Indians and Blacks, in keeping with the Latin American standard. They have fewer problems with mestizos, unless the person is a heavily-Indian mestizo.
A sort of Latin American version of PC nonsense along the lines of Mexico’s mestizaje has recently become de rigeour in Costa Rica. The notion is, “We are all White.” In addition, the usual anti-White nonsense history familiar to any American is now taught at all high schools. Most Whites are drinking the Nonsense Koolaid, and White consciousness is now very low. Honduras has the tiniest White population in Latin America; only 1% of the population is White. There was long a tiny White population on the Cays Islands off the Honduran coast, descendants of English and Dutch immigrants. They always spoke British English. The Cays have been owned by Honduras since 1850, but this colony never married Blacks or mulattos out of tradition.
At some point, this group become seriously inbred, and many of them migrated to the US in order to spread out and ameliorate their genetic issues.
The situation of Cuban Whites is also very interesting. Cuba was an 74% White country at the time of the Revolution in 1957. The reason was similar to that of Costa Rica. Cuba was originally quite Black (they were all slaves) but there was huge immigration from Spain in the 1800’s, mostly from Galicia (northwest Spain). Quite a few also came from Catalonia.
Hence, at the time of the Revolution, 85% of Cuban Whites were Spanish, 10% French and the next largest group was Italians. The remainder included Scottish, Irish, English, Germans and Hungarians.
The rest included 12% Blacks and 14% mixed race. Although Havana has always been darker, the rest of the country was heavily White, and some parts still are. Whites tend to be concentrated in Western Cuba, the tobacco-growing region. Since tobacco did not use slave labor, there were fewer slaves in this region.
There was little breeding between Whites and Blacks because Cuba was a very racist society, something the anti-Castro Cubans deny. Part of the reason for this was high White race consciousness in Cuban Whites. Another aspect was that breeding with Blacks would be like breeding with your former slaves, as many White Cubans were slaveholders. This was seen as insulting and degrading to Whites.
After Castro, most of the Whites took off, and they keep on leaving. Cuba is now 37% White by government statistics. Cuba has 3.4 million Whites. Many of the remaining Whites are older. Further, the Revolution resulted in mass interbreeding between Whites and Blacks for some reason, such that there is now a huge mulatto population in Cuba.
Cuban Whites go back to Cuba now and say that their beautiful White homes are now inhabited by Blacks and mulattos, and this infuriates them. They insist that after Castro, they are going to go back and take over all their White property from the Blacks and mulattos. This is probably a fantasy.
As you can see, there is a heavy racist element in the whole anti-Castro movement.
Cuban-Americans were described as still very racist, and most want nothing to do with Blacks or mulattos at all. In South Florida, you will rarely if ever see a White Cuban-American woman with a Black man. It is just not done. Further, there is a lot of housing discrimination in Miami as racist Cuban Whites refuse to rent to mestizos or mulattos.
The situation in the Dominican Republic was described as dire. Posters said that maybe 16% of the population was White and it was declining all the time. The D.R. has 1.6 million Whites.
The DR has always been a much darker place than Cuba or Puerto Rico. Dominicans have long looked down on Haitians as Blacks, and most Dominicans will tell you they are mulattos no matter how much Black they have in them. In part, this is a way of distinguishing themselves from Haitians.
Soon after the Haitian Revolution in 1804, Haitians invaded the Dominican Republic. The Haitians quickly turned this into a nonstop rape-athon of the Dominican women. Anyone who was lighter-skinned such as Whites and mulattos was quickly killed, and the Dominican Blacks were enslaved by the Haitians. That is why to this day, Dominicans hate Haitians so much, over 200 years later.
Most remaining DR Whites are in the areas of Santo Domingo, the capital, and Cibao and Bani. These were tobacco-growing regions, and tobacco did not need huge armies of slaves to work on it. Hence, tobacco growers were often small landowners. The lack of slaves meant that there was much less interbreeding between Whites and Blacks.
The situation in Puerto Rico was very confusing, although it seemed as if maybe the population is 62% mulatto, 18% White, 18% Black and 2% Asian. Nevertheless, 80.5% of the population identifies as White, but most of those are probably mulattos or light mulattos. Forum posters said that Puerto Rico was once much Whiter, and indeed, there was a movement around 60 years ago among White Puerto Ricans for independence, and after independence, reunion with Spain as a colony.
Some White Puerto Ricans in the US are race-conscious. Even in the US, it is not common for a White Puerto Rican woman to date a Black man. However, in Puerto Rico, things are different. A number of non-Whites try to marry White in a mejorando la raza gambit. Kinky African hair is devalued as pelo malo or “bad hair.” Many Puerto Rican Whites are quite racist by US standards. Slurs and jokes about Blacks are commonplace.
There was racial apartheid in Puerto Rico until 1898. Until that time, Blacks were not allowed to own businesses or be doctors, lawyers or engineers. Up until the 1960’s, banks would not hire Blacks, and Blacks were not allowed into some clubs.
Since the 1960’s, salsa music has been promoted. Most Whites dislike this “African” music and want nothing to do with it, but it is extremely popular with Blacks and mulattos. Upper middle class areas are 95% White, but they are right next to lower class areas such as housing projects. 99% of the people in the projects are Blacks and mulattos. The projects are full of problems, and theft is rampant. Upscale White areas are often gated to keep out non-White criminals.
There is a serious illegal immigration problem consisting of Blacks and darker mulattos from the Dominican Republic.
White Puerto Ricans have a very dim view of the US Puerto Rican community, whom they generally describe as “trash.” They say most of them are Blacks and mulattos and act worse than the non-Whites on the island. White Puerto Ricans usually do not live in Puerto Rican enclaves in the US and instead tend to be spread out.
Unbelievably, there is even a tiny number of Whites in Haiti of all places. Haiti is 96% Black, with the rest being a tiny number of mulattos and some Whites. The White population is only .015%. Port Au Prince is about 2.5% White. A number of the Whites are Christian Arabs from Syria and Lebanon.
The original Whites were massacred in 1804 during a rebellion led by a Black named Desallines. Almost all 25,000 of the White slaveholders and their families were killed in the uprising, which ended slavery in Haiti once and for all.
Considering the Whites were slaveowners, as a revolutionary I support Desallines’ Rebellion, but they should not have killed minors or mentally disabled Whites. There was one case where they killed a screaming crazy White woman who was well-known to be mentally ill. Some of the Blacks wanted to save her, but the mob had their way.
The rebellion also ended colonialism in Haiti. With 25,000 Frenchmen dead, France said goodbye and good luck to the colony. France has been furious at Haiti ever since.
After the Whites were either killed or left in 1804, the place quickly fell apart, and the Blacks begged the Whites to return. Some Whites did return, but in 1805, a Black leader ordered all of the Whites to be tortured to death.
It’s hard to believe, but one of the big vote-getters in one of the recent fake elections in Haiti was a White man named Charles Baker (photo).
The rest of the Caribbean has very few Whites left, and those that remain, posters on the forum report, have very much of a siege mentality. Barbados (4% White) is a good example. The Whites here are English, Scottish and Irish for the most part and have a high level of White consciousness.
There is also a group of very light-skinned mulattos in the Caribbean – especially in the Grenadines and St. Kitts – who see themselves as White or near-White. They refuse to marry Blacks and will only marry “high yellows”, “redbones” or “Portagees.” I assume that those are words for very light-skinned mulattos. Some even have White features like green eyes.
In Barbados, the Grenadines and St. Kitts, there also remain small White communities who seldom intermarry. They only marry White out of tradition. Along with this is a refusal to date or even socialize with Blacks and mulattos. For this, they have long been accused of racism.
The Bahamas has a 7% White population, mostly in certain areas. White consciousness is very high here, the highest in the region. Officially, the number is 12%, but that number is too high and includes many light mulattos. St. Barts, unbelievably, is a majority-White island in the Caribbean – the only one. Most are descendants of French from Normandy and Brittany. However, it is now being flooded with Black immigrants from neighboring French islands who are looking for work. Bermuda is 34% White. Whites keep to themselves here and don’t socialize much with Blacks. White consciousness is very high here also, second to the Bahamas. The Whites are British. Martinique is 5% White, almost all from France (it is a French colony). Jamaica is only .01% White, and there is a large mulatto population. However, Kingston is about 4.5% White. The White community has been steadily declining over the years, and many White males are breeding with mulattas. The White community here is said to be barely holding on. The remaining young Whites often present a “wigger” appearance with long dreadlocks, smoke ganja and the same Jamaican creole as the Blacks. Curiously, the remaining White females almost always marry Whites.
The Cayman Islands still have quite a few Whites (10%), especially on the western half of Cayman Brac. Officially, Whites are 20%, but once again that includes many light mulattos. 80% of the population is mulatto.
All through the Caribbean, the White birth rate is low, about the same as in the US. The birth rate for the Blacks and mulattos is much higher. Although White communities are hanging on in the Caribbean, posters acknowledge that they are “culturally Africanized” to some degree due to living near Blacks for so many years. Colombia has a large White population estimated at around 22%, which means there are 10 million Whites in Colombia, as many as in Mexico. However, the Whites here typically have some Indian and Black blood, so it is more of a social race concept. Further, a Colombian White often has brothers or sisters that are quite a bit darker than he is, relics of a long history of interbreeding here. The rest of the population is 54% mestizo, 14% mulatto, 6% Black, 3% zambo (defined below) and 2% Indian.
Antioquia Province is one of the Whitest places in Latin America along with Southern Brazil and Costa Rica’s Central Valley. This region is 80% White, and White Antioquians are known as paisas. Antioquia is 1% Indian, and the rest are Blacks and mulattos. There was little interbreeding with the Indians since the Indians were so violent that they did not accept newcomers.
The capital of Antioquia is Medellin, and this is also a very White city, but recently many Blacks, mulattos and Indians have been moving to the city from other parts of Colombia, so it is not as White as it used to be.
Manizales is another majority-White city. The Whites are mostly Spaniards, but curiously, in Barranquilla and Santander, there are many Germans. Colombia received a very large input of Black slaves.
There is a lot of racism in employment here, and the dumb blonde gets the job over the competent Black with a degree. Everything here is all about appearances both genetic and personal – your height, weight, clothing – and above all else, social class. Other than that, some say that race relations are generally pretty good, keeping with the trend in the most heavily mixed Latin American countries such as Mexico, Venezuela and Brazil.
However, others say that racism is still a very serious problem in Colombia. 30 years ago, it was not uncommon to see signs in Colombia saying saying, “House For Rent. No Blacks.” To this day, it is very common for Afro-Colombians to be turned away from upscale establishments on account of their color.
Whites are about 20% of the population of Venezuela (5.2 million Whites), but they have very low levels of race consciousness. Most of the population at all levels does not bother much with race, as class is much more important than race in this country. It is quite common to see mulatto or mestizo parents having a kid who looks quite White. That is the degree of the historical racial interbreeding in this nation. Venezuela, like Mexico, is one of more racially egalitarian states in the region.
There is a vast population of Blacks, mulattos and zambos. (Zambos are mixed Black-Indians) in the country, especially in certain areas. Venezuela also received a large number of Black slaves.
Ecuador is a profoundly racist society, as you often see in South American countries where the White % gets low. Although official figures put the White population at 10.4%, the actual number is around 5%. There are 650,000 Whites in Ecuador. They are about as racist as Peruvian Whites. They have utter contempt for Indians and Blacks, and they have nothing to do with other non-Whites.
Similar to how it was in the Jim Crow South, non-Whites are not allowed to eat in White restaurants, or if they are, they must use a separate set of dishes. Whites often wash their faces and hands after dealing with a non-White, as if they had been dirtied.
Official figures show that Ecuador is 65% mestizo and 25% Indian, but social race is amply on display here, and if we go by actual genetics instead, the figures are probably reversed – 66% Indian and 26% mestizo. 3% of the population is Black, all on the coast. As in Bolivia, Ecuadorian Whites said that the Indians in Ecuador hate everyone who is not Indian and want to throw them all out of the country.
The racial history of Ecuador is pretty nasty. Slavery lasted in various odd forms all the way until 1930, and de facto White rule was ongoing until the 1970’s. Non-Whites were not allowed to have any significant government or military posts until that time. In the 1970’s, a progressive regime allowed non-Whites into the officer corps. The nation is very racially stratified, and Whites, Blacks, mulattos, mestizos and Indians all pretty much marry their own.
From 1809 to 1905, Chinese and Jews were banned from entering Ecuador, and there was something resembling an actual racial apartheid structure in place.
In the early 1900’s, a progressive mestizo president came aboard and initiated a series of major changes. At the time, the White population was 30%, but it has since dropped from 30% to 5% in a mere century. The progressive reforms involved a major land reform that broke up the White latifundias (vast estates) and distributed the lands to the Indians and mestizos. Many of the original stock of Spanish and British Whites returned to Europe in disgust due to these changes.
In the 1920’s, a significant wave of German immigration came to the country. Presently, Germans make up the largest % of Ecuadorian Whites, followed by Spaniards, British and a small number of Lebanese. Many of the Germans are Nazi supporters.
One would think that there would be hardly any Whites in a country like Peru, yet 12% of Peruvians are White. Official figures are 15% according to the CIA, but the last racial census in 1940 showed only 3.7% Whites. The true % of Whites in Peru is quite confused. I think the % of Whites is probably around 12% though, since I have met four Peruvians in the US (all in the LA area), and 3 of them were White. I’ve met five on the Internet, and two of those were White. So out of my limited encounters with Peruvians, 40% of those I encountered were White.
This gives us 3.5 million Whites in Peru.
The rest of the population is 45% Indian and 37% mestizo. The mestizos here seem to be more Indian than in places like Mexico and Chile.
Peru is an incredibly racist society, and Lima is regarded as the most racist city in Latin America. If a mestizo or Indian stops a White on the street of Lima and asks directions, the White will usually refuse to speak to them. The Whites there have the attitude, “We don’t even talk to these people”, who they refer to as cholos.
Even mestizos experience a lot of racial discrimination, and this experience was one of the reasons so many young Peruvian mestizos became cadres in Sendero Luminoso. My perception is that the average Peruvian mestizo has a lot of Indian blood, possibly even mostly or pure Indian.
Social race is rampant here, and if you take off your Indian clothes, move out of the village to a big city and quit speaking Quechua, you can automagically transform yourself into a mestizo.
Many light or upper class mestizos identify as White and desperately want to be White, and many are admitted into White social circles. A lot of these people have high levels of cognitive dissonance. You may hear an obviously mestizo upper middle class mestizo point to a lower class mestizo as dark as they are and curse the “cholo de mierda” (shitty cholo).
Posters said that the rest of the mestizos who are not trying to identify as Whites really hate Whites and don’t try to hide it at all. Race relations in Peru appear to be catastrophic.
Although official figures put the number of Whites in Bolivia at 15%, the actual number is smaller at 8%. 65% are Indians, and 27% are mestizos. There are 1 million Whites in Bolivia. The Whites tend to live in the Western part of country. Race relations there were described as horrible, and Whites were often targets of abuse and verbal and even physical aggression by Indians.
The Indians were said to have a grudge against the Whites going back centuries to the Conquest. Posters said that the Indians consider the whole country theirs, hate everyone who is not Indian and want to throw all non-Whites out of the country.
Whites have traditionally tried to marry only other Whites, but lately some young Whites are starting to date Indians and Blacks, much to the consternation of their more traditional relatives. Whites do not really hate mestizos, though out of tradition, they do not date or marry them. Furthermore, the mestizos often hate the Indians just as much as the Whites do.
Posters described White Bolivians as living in fear. Expressions of White ethnocentrism invite attacks, robberies and even homicides, so Whites tend to keep their heads down. The feeling among Bolivian Whites is that they are losing their country. Many White Bolivians are taking off, often migrating to Southern Brazil.
About 50% of Brazil is White, which leaves us with 80 million Whites, although this figure is extremely controversial since it gets into the “Who is White?” mess.
The official figures showing 54% White in Brazil are from government surveys and are a bit high. This means that 54% of the population identifies as White, but many of those might not be seen as White in the US.
The reason the government number is higher is because it relies in self-report, and many Brazilians who are light-skinned but not really White see themselves as White and identify as White.
The rest are Blacks, mulattos, Indians, caboclos (mestizos) and zambos. Something like 42% of the population is mixed race – this includes various forms of mulattos, mestizos and zambos – however, almost all of these are mixed with Black, and few Brazilians have obvious Indian admixture. The Indian admixture is most prevalent in the Northeast.
Census figures say only about 7% are Black, but those figures are based on self-report, so they are erroneous since many Blacks claim to be mulattos. The Blacks are mostly in the northeast. Anyway, about 29% of the population are actual mulattos.
This means that Brazil has a Black and part-Black population of 36%, or 70 million, making it the second largest Black population on Earth after Nigeria. If Black Brazil were a nation, it would be the second largest Black country on Earth.
About 13% of the population, or 25 million people, are caboclos or mestizos.
A tiny .5% are Indian.
There are possibly 96 million Whites in Brazil, meaning that Brazil has one of the largest White populations in the world. The stunning truth is that Brazil has more Whites than most European countries. If Brazil’s Whites were a country, it would be one of the largest White countries on Earth.
Southeastern Brazil is still very White, especially Rio Grande do Sul. The three southern states – Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná and Santa Catarina – are the Whitest ones; in addition, the state of São Paolo is still majority White, but it is much less White than the southern states.
São Paolo used to be overwhelmingly White, but lately it has been flooded with non-Whites from the northeast and other areas. The city of São Paolo now is heavily non-White (75%), but many of the smaller cities in São Paolo state are still very White. Other southeastern states like Rio de Janiero and Espirto Santo were 70-80% White in the 1940’s, but are now less than 50% White due to mass immigration of mulattos from the northeast.
A recent government survey found that the South is 85% White and that Rio Grande do Sul was 92% White, but that does not seem to be the case anymore with the heavy internal migration that has been moving to the area from the Northeast and Rio. The figure was already an overestimate due to the faulty nature of the poll, and the present figures are that the South is about 65% White.
In Rio Grande do Sul, Blacks and mulattos are concentrated in the southern part of the state near the Argentine border. In Parana, they live near the Paraguayan border.
The Whites are mostly Germans and Italians (71%). Brazil has the largest Italian community (27 million) outside of Italy, although the Argentines would argue with that and try to claim that title for themselves. Italians live in São Paolo, the South and parts of Minas Gerias. Most of the Italians are from Northern Italy. Portuguese (24%) make up another large group, and Spaniards (mostly Galicians) make up a somewhat smaller group.
French, Poles, Dutch, Ukrainians, Swedes, Belgians, Croatians, Lithuanians, Jews, Russians, Romanians, Lebanese and Syrians are a yet smaller sector.
West of Curitiba there are 100% Italian cities. There are also cities that are completely German. In these places, the newspapers, menus, schools – everything – is in Italian or German, and Portuguese is a second language.
The White South has its roots in history. There were few Indians in this part of Brazil for some reason, so they were easily overrun and routed. The main industry of the South has always been cattle ranching, and there is no need to import Black slaves for that. Further, there were few of the plantations that characterized the North.
This is also one of the wealthiest regions of the country. The separatist movement in the South claims that the majority of the taxes paid to the Central Government come from the three White states in the South.
The explicitly racial White Separatist movement in the South has little support, but the more general non-racial separatist movement that intends to split off the three White states from the rest of Brazil has varying levels of support in the South. A recent poll in Rio Grande do Sul found 60% support for secession in that state. However, secessionist movements are outlawed by the Constitution and in order to form a political party, the secessionist movement would have to be supported by X% of voters up in a large number of states, possibly nine states.
Nevertheless, whatever support there is does not translate into votes, and the secessionist candidate last time did not even win .1% of the vote. The secessionist movement looks like a joke from here.
I do not support this secessionist movement. It reminds me of Padanian separatists in Italy, Ahwaz separatists in Iran and Bolivian separatists in eastern Bolivia. There is no reason why a state should let the wealthiest region lop itself off, make off with all the loot, make a new state, and leave the old state broke and holding the bag.
Due to the wealth of the region, the white parts of Brazil were flooded with immigrants from other parts of Brazil, especially the impoverished and mostly Black northeast. This migration lasted only from the 1950’s to the 1980’s and affected only the state of Sao Paolo. In addition, many were flooding in from Rio, which is an extremely racially mixed city. Posters seemed to think this was a disaster, as the new migrants will soon start breeding with the Whites in the South.
Brazilian Whites were said to have a low level of White consciousness, and many think that a lot of mestizos and mulattos are actually White. Hence, many will willingly breed with non-Whites, probably especially with mestizos and mulattos. However, there are definitely some hardcore Nazi types in the South, though probably not very many.
Brazilian soaps are almost always about White families. Blacks play minor supporting roles, running a juice stand on the beach, practicing voodoo and giving practical advice to the Whites. The reason Brazilian TV is so White is because research has shown that mostly Black/mulatto Brazilian viewers do not want to see Blacks or mulattos on TV.
There is still racial discrimination in Brazil to the extent that if you are lighter it is easier to get a good job than if you are darker, but Brazilians like Mexicans labor under the lie that they have beaten racism. This is a problem in that it makes existing racism hard to deal with. If there is no racism and everyone gets along fine, anyone bringing up racism charges is a troublemaker and a liar who is trying to set the races against each other.
Furthermore, studies show that Blacks are bullied at school by Whites who call them the equivalent of “nigger.” Blacks are almost never hired by Brazilian firms for good white-collar jobs, and those few Blacks that have such jobs are almost always hired by foreign firms.
The truth is that privileged Brazilian Whites simply refuse to work for a Black boss or have Black superiors. That would be like your slaves lording it over you. The Whites have a very good privileged system there, and they don’t want to share with Blacks at all.
On the other hand, the discrimination is really more economic than genetic, and social race is all the rage. Black and mulatto cops will stop and search groups of Black and mulatto males (racial profiling) but will not stop groups of Whites. Why? The darker guys are often up to no good.
A wealthy Black is only respected if he dresses the part and has the proper wealthy adornments. Furthermore, he needs a White woman, preferably a blond. The first thing Black futbol stars do when they hit the big-time is grab a blond to marry.
Yet a White man, even if he dresses down, is considered to be automatically OK. But a rich Black man dressing down would be considered just another low-class Black up to no good. Much also is made of education and speech. Most Whites are well-educated and speak a refined Portuguese. Blacks are usually poorly-educated and speak a slangy, low-class dialect something like a Portuguese Ebonics.
But not all Whites are rich, and there are many poor Whites in the South. The favelas of the South are filled with Whites, and there are White beggars on the streets. Blacks in the South have been elected governors of states and mayors of large cities, and the South was the first place Blacks got civil rights. Studies show that the best place for a Black to live is in the White South due to the wealth of the region.
Nevertheless, the upper class Whites of the South are extremely racist by US standards. They dislike people with dark skin and regard them as inferior. There is not much anti-Semitism because there are only a few Jews (12,000) in the region
The racial history of Brazil is very interesting.
Originally, the Indian tribes were nearly bred out of existence. They sent over the dregs of Portuguese society. Due to the harsh nature of the region they were going to, the colonists were nearly all men. They few women on board the ships were generally prostitutes. Most decent women did not want to put up with the rigors of colonization. It meant a long sea voyage on a ship full of males in an environment of poor hygiene. When you stepped off the ship, the new land was all jungle, with unpleasant tropical weather, many jungle diseases and no hospitals. In addition, the new settlements were under continuous attack by hostile Indians.
One famous such colonist was named Diogo Álvares. The Tupinambá Indians referred to him as Caramurú, his Indian name. He singlehandedly fathered 200 children by many different Indian women. Essentially, most of the coastal Brazilian Indian tribes were simply fucked out of existence. Interbreeding with Indians continued even up until the late 1800’s, and it was not unusual for a White man to father up to 20 children with different Indian women.
Hence, the true settlement of the country occurred due to voluntary immigration from Europe or the importation of African slaves, mostly from the Portuguese colony of Angola.
White women were so heavily valued by Portugal that the law stipulated that they were not allowed to leave the country without the signed permission of their husbands or fathers, in shades of a practice that continues today in Arab lands. Unbelievably, this law remained on the books until 1975!
Since there was a shortage of women, many men brought their own wives from Europe, or arranged marriages in Europe, or tried their luck with the yearly importation of Crown’s Orphans, orphan girls gathered from all over Europe and imported to Brazil to become brides for male colonists. Yet there were still not enough women. So many men had sex with their female Black slaves, resulting in a large mulatto population.
In the late 1800’s after slavery was abolished (1888) the government undertook a “Whitening” or Branqueamento project that was shockingly called just that. The idea was that Brazil was a mostly Black country, and that mostly Black meant disaster for the future (Racial thinking was extremely common at the time).
Hence a huge effort was made to encourage Europeans to immigrate to Brazil. This effort went on for some time and attracted many immigrants from Italy, Germany, other parts of Europe, and even Japan.
In 1923, a Brazilian Congressman famously said, “The Black eclipse will have passed entirely in 70 years.” He was referring to the disappearance of Blacks in Brazil as an ethnic entity, presumably replaced with some sort of mulatto or zambo.
In 1945, the country’s official immigration policy openly stated the need to “develop within the country’s ethnic composition the most convenient characteristics of its European descent.”
As recently as 25 years ago (1988), an assistant to the governor of São Paolo actually suggested mass birth control for Blacks, Indians and mixed-race people as a eugenic measure.
This official explicitly racial thinking is pretty much a thing of the past. Posters said that Lula is a mulatto (though he looks White to me), and racism is now actually illegal in the country (whatever that means), though the law is hardly enforced and even those convicted get a slap on the wrist.
Furthermore, there is a very large amount of interbreeding going on in Brazil, even in the Far South. Down there, this mostly involves White women breeding with Black and mulatto men. In the rest of Brazil, all sorts of racial interbreeding is going on, described as epidemic.
In general, this is mostly going on with lower class Whites. The middle and upper class Whites still do not mix with non-Whites all that much.
White Brazilians felt that the situation for Whites in Brazil was dire, even in the South. Uruguay is easily the Whitest country in Latin America. A government survey taken 10 years ago came up with figures of 93% White, 6% Black, .4% Indian and .4% Asian. The Blacks, like in Brazil, are almost all mulattos. There were only a few Indians here, and they were mostly quickly massacred. There are 3 million Whites in Uruguay.
The economy has always revolved around cattle-raising, and there is no need for Black labor for that. However, the economy is now in terrible shape, and many of the middle classes are leaving. Whites have a low level of consciousness here, and this is probably the PC capital of Latin America. There are strong cultural connections to Argentina, stronger than between the US and Canada. Argentina is still the largest White country in Latin America. 97% of the population identifies as White, but as probably 80% of Argentine mestizos identify as White, that figure is confusing. The population is still about 80% White (though estimates vary from 75-85%), the rest being mestizo. This gives us 32 million Whites in Argentina.
However, this is a decline from 1970, when the country was 90% White. Further, there are millions of illegal immigrants who are not being counted and who will probably be legalized soon. There are 30 million Whites in Argentina.
The largest White group are Italians at 60%, followed by Spaniards (mostly Basques and Galicians) at 20% and then Germans at 10%. Argentina has the largest Basque, Galician and Catalan populations outside of Spain. The other 10% of the White population is made up of Swiss, French, Irish, English, Russians, Belgians and Dutch in that order.
German and Irish Argentines mostly segregate themselves from those of Spanish and Italian descent, but many Argentines are some mixture of German, Spanish and Italian anyway. There is a certain amount of German supremacist Nordicism in the German community along with very high levels of support for Nazism.
Only about 1% are Indians. They killed most of the Indians very quickly during colonization, so there were not many Indians to breed with. Argentina’s Indians live in the arid northwest up near Bolivia and Chile in their own communities and don’t bother anyone.
There was a large Black population in the 1800’s in Buenos Aires, but they seem to have vanished into thin air. Argentine legend says they fled the country due to persistent discrimination, but that seems a little dubious. They were probably just bred into the population, and the Argentine gene pool is now 3% Black. In the northwest (Jujuy and Salta), mestizos are the majority. This area is also being heavily flooded by illegals from Bolivia. The northeast near the border with Brazil is also heavily mestizo.
Since the 1990’s, there has been a huge illegal immigrant invasion of mestizos and Indians from Bolivia (by far the largest group), Peru, Paraguay and Chile. There are other immigrants coming in from Asia, mostly Korea but also some from China. Immigrants, almost all mestizos and Indians, are continuing to pour into Argentina at the rate of 200,000/yr. The government does nothing to stop it, and recently gave citizenship to millions of mestizos and Indians from Bolivia.
The illegals from Bolivia and Peru are regarded by White Argentines as troublesome people who commit a lot of crime, engage in street protests and riots, and have no interest in assimilating.
In addition, the heavily-Indian illegals from Peru and Bolivia have an extremely high birthrate in Argentina of 6+ children per woman. The girls start getting pregnant at age 14-15. On the other hand, White Argentine women are only having 1-2 kids at most.
The posters were complaining about this and saying that the non-White immigration situation in Argentina was far worse than in the US and that in 20-30 years from now, White Argentina may be just a memory.
Posters said that White Argentines were very racist at least in US terms. Most were said to be sympathetic to Nazism and fascism, and this is why so many Nazis fled to this area after World War 2.
However, the fascist military dictatorship, which flaunted Nazi imagery, nostalgia and anti-Semitism, pretty much ruined things in terms of overt White consciousness in the country. To be strongly pro-White now is to be a Nazi or pro-dictatorship, and this is not acceptable in polite society since the dictatorship was so unpopular.
There is also still an extremely high level of anti-Semitism in Argentina, at least as compared to the US. White Argentines complain privately about how Jews and non-Whites are wrecking the place, but have a “What can you do about it?” attitude.
The mestizos of Argentina are very light, and at some point it gets really hard to tell who is a light mestizo and who is White. The mestizos identify as Whites and say they are White.
The reason for this is that the huge immigration from Europe to Argentina lightened the Argentine mestizo population, similar to what occurred in Costa Rica. Also there has been a dramatic increase in White-mestizo breeding in the past few generations, something that was previously rare.
In addition, a correlative to US hip-hop culture called cumbia villera has recently showed up. It is based on the culture of Argentina’s mestizo and Indian ghettos, and the topics and mindset of the music resemble rap – songs about killing people, selling dope, treating women like crap, etc.
Most Argentine Whites are horrified by this trend, but a lot of young Whites are getting into because it’s “cool”, the same way a lot of young Whites are getting into Black rap music. Young Argentine Whites who are into villera music are also starting to date mestizos. As in the US, it’s White females going for the darker, thuggish types. There the young White women go for mestizo villera types, and here young White women go for Black rapper types.
At the same time, there is an increasing trend among Argentine Whites to say that they have a little bit of Argentine Indian in them, sort of like the way many White Americans say that they have a little bit of Cherokee. This is seen as progressive, liberal and hip.
I mentioned above that most Argentines are quite racist and are contemptuous, at least in private, of mestizos, Indians, mulattos and Blacks. It works the other way too. Argentines say that many Mexican, Caribbean and Colombian mestizos, mulattos and zambos really hate Argentines. Some hate Argentines and Chileans more than gringos. They call Argentines “Nazis” even though Argentines have never done anything to them. However, many of these same folks would love to get into Argentina.
The situation in Chile is very confusing. It’s not really a White country. It’s more of a light-Mestizo country. 60% of Chileans are (generally light) Mestizos, 33% are White (usually with some Indian admixture) and 7% are Indian. However, on appearance, half of Chileans appear White. Blacks are only 1%. This gives us 6 million Whites in Chile. The Whites tend to live in Santiago and in the south of the country.
Mixing occurred early in Chile, as it really took a long time to defeat the Indians; they really put up a hard fight here. They were not totally defeated until the 1880’s or so, and after that, they were not exterminated, but their population was seriously reduced. There were not many White colonists in Chile, and the few who were there were often soldiers. Mass breeding occurred between White soldiers and Indian females. This constituted the basic stock of the nation.
The initial White stock was mostly English and Spaniard. The Spaniards were mostly from Castille, Andalusia and the Basque region. Later, many immigrants arrived from Europe, and there are large German, Italian and Croatian colonies in the South. White Chileans are also Swiss, British (often Scots Irish) and French. Among the Germans, there is high support for Nazism.
The lower classes tend to be a bit darker shade of mestizo (25% Indian), but not much. The upper classes are somewhat lighter mestizos (15% Indian). All mestizos and Whites in Chile identify as White and say they are White. Whiteness is something that is highly valued by society, and Indianness and mestizaje is devalued. Chilean TV is like Mexican TV – just about everyone on it is White.
However, Chile is experiencing the same problem as Argentina, a mass invasion of darker mestizo illegal immigrants from Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, mostly the first two, beginning in 2000. Further, many of the White Argentines who settled there after the recent crisis are going home.
Along with the mass immigration of Peruvian and Bolivian Indians and mestizos has come a serious wave of street crime. The local Chilean Indians are not much of a problem. They live isolated in their own communities and leave other people alone. White Chileans will happily breed with mestizos and even Indians. Often it’s a White girl and a mestizo or Indian man. White consciousness is pretty low in Chile. Posters lament that the racial situation in Chile looks dire.
Many posters commented that mestizos and Indians in Latin America really hate Whites. Although this is a typical White nationalist claim everywhere (that all non-Whites hate Whites), there may be something to it in Latin America. One said he had heard Indians and mestizos saying that they were going to take power all over Latin America and throw all the Whites back to Europe.
All posters felt that Lula in Brazil, Chavez in Venezuela, Morales in Bolivia and Castro in Cuba were anti-White Leftist politicians.
Lula was seen as anti-White for initiating affirmative action for non-Whites for the first time in Brazil. Chavez was accused of “ethnically cleansing” Whites from the country, but that seems like nonsense. What’s going on actually is that wealthier Whites are leaving Venezuela due to Chavez’ socialist policies. Morales was accused of wanting to take over all the Whites’ property and give it to Indians and mestizos.
All over Latin America, the Indian, mestizo and anti-White cause was seen as being led by Communists for various reasons. Some of the reasons given were quite dubious. It’s probable that these Leftists are simply being driven to ameliorate the vastly inequitable situation in their countries.
One poster noted that in spite of the profound racism, at least in his part of Latin America (apparently Peru), Indians and mestizos of both sexes were constantly trying to marry White or at least have babies by Whites.
This went so far as males misleadingly impregnating White women, females misleadingly allowing themselves to be impregnated by White men, ingratiating themselves to and flattering Whites, etc.
The poster said they want to marry White to “wash themselves.” I find it dubious that mestizos and Indians have that much self-hatred, but it’s possible.
All of his aunts and uncles married mestizos, and none of the marriages turned out well.
He described Indians and mestizos as aggressive, abusive (usually verbally but sometimes physically), and unable to control their emotions well. None of the mixed race offspring of his relatives did well in school. All of his White relatives now have mixed feelings about their part-White kids, and to some extent, they are ashamed of their offspring due to their mixed blood, poor grades and mestizo values.
While most posters lamented the historical fact that the original White settlers to Latin America had bred in heavily with Indians and to some extent Blacks, others attempted to rationalize it. As one put it, it was either Indian and Black women or homosexuality/bestiality.
Some posters attempted to explain why White men had bred in so heavily with Indian women. One described it as a natural match. Indians being racially Mongoloid or Asian, Indian women are similar to Asian women. Indian women, similar to Asian women, were described as very submissive, and White men liked this quantity very much. The poster noted that in the US you see many White male/Asian female couples for the same reason. A Caucasian male and a Mongoloid female appears to be a natural mix. Each party gets what they want out of the relationship.
Another poster said that many White males continue to breed with Indians, Blacks, mulattas and mestizas because these women are not laboring under the same sexually repressive strictures that White women in the region are. The life of a moneyed White woman in the region is somewhat restricted sexually, as she feels bound by the Madonna/whore dichotomy characteristic of Hispanic culture.
However, in the White women in poorer classes and with non-White women are much freer sexually. As one poster put it, “Indian and Black women spread their legs very easily, and many White men are tempted by this.”
All posters felt that the future for Whites in Latin America was hopeless. Continued immigration of non-Whites, high birth rates of non-Whites combined with low birth rates of Whites, along with continuing and accelerating intermarriage of Whites with non-Whites, meant a slow darkening of the White population and its eventual diminishment to low numbers.
Various proposals were suggested to “take back our countries,” but all were rejected as hopeless.
One suggestion was mass emigration to Uruguay, seen as one of the last holdouts for Whites in Latin America. This was rejected as impractical, mainly due to the small size of the country.
A while back, there was a “move to Argentina” movement, but that didn’t seem to catch on either since most White Latin Americans love their home countries and don’t want to leave. Another problem was that Argentina’s economy was very bad.
There were many threads about leaving Latin America and moving to Whiter places, especially Europe.
Some radicals offered militant proposals. One was to declare a White nationalist state in Southern Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, separate from Brazil, and presumably evict all the non-Whites.
From that base, the new state would expand across the rest of Brazil, pushing the Blacks and mulattos into Northeastern Brazil. Then the Blacks would be shipped to Central Africa and the mulattos would be shipped to Angola. This proposal seems unlikely to come to fruition.
The White State in the Southern Cone, expansionist or not, is a pipe dream for other reasons. Part of the problem is that Brazilians and Argentines, even the Whites, hate each other. I’m not sure what it’s all about, maybe soccer. Also they speak two different languages and have very different cultures. Further, even White Brazilians are very nationalistic and would probably never want to leave Brazil.
A union of Uruguay and Argentina would actually be possible due to deep cultural connections between the two, but it would not be good for the White state, since Uruguay is PC Central in Latin America. It would be like annexing a gigantic Spanish-speaking Massachusetts.
I saw in these threads the future of the US. America will become much more mixed and Spanish-speaking. The history of the continent is one of the marriage of the two great races, the White and the Indian, and the language of the marriage was Iberian. We missed out on it here, since so many Indians died, White immigration was so huge, and most colonists were from Britain. Also, White colonists here brought women along.
Soon the US will become just another Latin American country, that is, we will finally become part of the continent of the Americas. In other words, the unusual and continentally anomalous experiment of “America” will slowly end, and we will finally join the Americas.
*Although the word mulatto is offensive to Blacks and mixed race people, I am going to use this word because that is the way that Black-White mixed race folks are referred to in Latin America. Further, “mixed race” is a seriously idiotic way to describe Black-White mixes. If you think this website is valuable to you, please consider a contribution to support the continuation of the site.
Three hours ago, at around 8 AM PST, the Leftist President of Honduras, Mel Zelaya, was ousted in a military coup, and the ambassadors of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua were apparently kidnapped.They’ll be lucky if they end up alive. Venezuela is threatening military action, but nothing will come of that. The Venezuelan ambassador was reportedly beaten and left by a roadside.
Cell phones are not working all through Honduras, and the government has taken over all TV and radio stations. Power has been cut to independent media stations. Sort of like in Iran, you know! Obviously not one word of this from the scum US media. But we can wall to wall headlines about the same shit in Iran. Why? Honduras is not a threat to Israel.
Officers involved in the coup, of course, were trained at the School Of Coups and Death Squads, the US military’s School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia.
I never even knew that Honduras had elected a Leftist, news to me. That’s always been one of the most backwards and wrecked countries in the whole region, but the inherent conservatism of the people has always prevented the proper armed revolutionary that the system necessitated.
There was a revolutionary band organized in 1983 by an expat US Irish Catholic priest, but it never got much done, and was quickly annihilated by the US and the Honduras government. Death squads roamed the place during the 1980’s and maybe 300-400 people were murdered. The US military set up a bunch of huge bases there, the place was overrun by actual and de facto CIA agents.
Honduras was just as much of a stinking sewer as ever, but at least it had the full guns of the US military to enforce the armed project of turning a fertile tropical land into a stinking imperialist-wrecked toilet of a country.
There were supposedly some leftwing bands running around later in the 1980’s and early 1990’s but no one knew if they were real or not. Some said they were just false flag fronts run by the Honduran military. The FMLN in El Salvador (I used to buy guns for them) used to run some guns through Honduras via Morazon Province, where one of their big strongholds was.
The military and the rich have always run the show here. It’s no surprise that the democratically elected Leftist President was tossed out in a military coup. That’s always been the way it works down there, and it’s why people like me reject the “democratic elections” way to power. It’s useless. You’re only going to get ousted by a coup.
The only way is armed revolution that defeats the army of the ruling class and transforms it into a people’s army. Even then you have to deal with the inevitable contras. It’s a conundrum all right, but maybe Sendero Luminoso is only something. Maybe parliamentary cretinism is just that.
Of course, the scum US media, including my vile “Leftist” radio station, never told me anything about this. All they told me that was that the evil “Leftist” President was trying to set up a “rogue referendum”. Turns out that is some referendum to amend the constitution to allow him to run again.
Zelaya had proposed to turn the wicked US Santo Cano military base in Honduras over to peaceful purposes, thereby evicting the US military. It was from this base that Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala was overthrown in 1954. It was from here that the Contra War and support for the Salvadoran and Guatemalan counterinsurgencies was run during the 1980’s and early 1990’s. That US military base is pretty much just a gigantic blots of Evil on the neotropical landscape.
While he is at it, Zelaya should have evicted the US Embassy. I’ve heard about that Embassy from people with good knowledge of the place. Just about every human in US Embassy in Tegucigalpa is working for the CIA or US military intelligence.
It’s hard to believe that the US government did not have something to do with this coup.
The rest of the government opposed the referendum, and I guess they feared the power of the people. The Supreme Court had apparently said that the referendum was illegal. The conflict is because, incredibly enough, the Constitution does not even allow parts of it to ever be changed by any means! This was the basis for the Supreme Court’s rejection of the referendum. But Zelaya’s referendum was going to be non-binding anyway, so what’s the deal?
Stupid me, I thought it was just Leftist tin pot dictators in banana republics again. I would say I won’t get fooled again! But I will, of course.
Repost from the old site. This article has produced a tremendous amount of controversy, angry comments, and even, oddly enough, virulent hate mail. I guess I hit some raw nerves. I stand by my comments that these cities are some of the worst in the world, and, in doing further research on the Net, have found only further support for my thesis. Some of these cities, such as Bogotá, for instance, have large wealthy districts that are apparently quite pleasant. If one is rich, one can make a nice life just about anywhere on the globe. But this is not important – what is important is how the majority live.
The title is a play on the line, “Nice place to visit, wouldn’t want to live there”, said about many less-than-desirable tourist locales. This post is about the worst places on Earth to visit, and probably to live too. The ratings were based on research done on the Internet in various places, including here and here.
I’m going to focus on the places that are dirty, smelly, crime-ridden, trashy, rip-off havens, unsanitary and dangerous (Third World), and avoid places that are merely depressing, unsightly, rude, etc. (First World). Why? Because I live in the US, and those Third World qualities are going to be the most disturbing to me. I’m also avoiding active war zones because everyone knows they are horrible.
To be fair to the “Third Worldists” out there, I noted that many people slammed various places in France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Finland, South Korea, Ireland Italy, the US, Great Britain and Australia for various reasons, mostly because they are said to be unfriendly, depressing, tacky, cheesy, boring, etc.
Detroit seemed to top the list as worst US city, along with Newark (though it had one fan), East St. Louis and New Haven (though some liked New Haven) were runners-up. Various small towns in the Rockies (especially Idaho) and Texas also were listed. For some reason, a lot of people hate Vancouver, BC in Canada.
To my thinking, many of the horrible cities below point out the catastrophe of Latin American, Indian, Indonesian and Philippine capitalism. In much of Africa, capitalism doesn’t seem to working very well.
For all its faults, impoverished Cuba certainly does not resemble any of these Latin American hellholes in any way, shape or form. I don’t think that capitalism in the First World is failing, but looking at many of the cities below, it’s hard to argue that capitalism is doing anything but failing in those places.
Some of the winners in the Loser Destination Contest: Colon, Panama: A dirty, crime-ridden disaster of a city. The most dangerous city in Latin America, full of residents who seem like they would just as soon knife you as say hello. Other than the free trade zone, the entire city seems to be sprawling slum. Colon has no redeeming qualities. This city topped many worst lists. Guayaquil and Quito, Ecuador: Guayaquil is horrible. A stinking, steaming, downright dangerous heap of a city with miles of slums. With armies of glowering gang members, this place is dangerous even in mid-day. There are garbage dumps everywhere with corpses laying out in plain sight and guns going off all the time. Quito is similar. Guayaquil topped many worst city lists. Johannesburg, South Africa: How sad that this country now has one of the worst violent crime rates on Earth. Although popular with tourists, this city is downright dangerous. This city also topped many worst lists. This blog supports the Mandela government, but the problems of this tragic nation seem insurmountable.
***** Lagos, Nigeria, or the whole country: This city, and even the whole country, seems to top everyone’s list. Garbage is everywhere, the city stinks, the poverty is horrible, animals are slaughtered on the streets, and it seems that at least half the population wakes up every morning thinking, “Who can I rip off today?” Up to 90% of the economy may be “underground”, off the books, or crime-related in some way or another.
Nigeria has what must be the worst government on Earth and the country is rated the second most corrupt on Earth. The national airlines are dangerous and not recommended. The ripoff attempts often start as soon as you land at the airport and won’t let up until you leave.
It’s best to assume that most, if not all, Nigerians you meet in Lagos are out to rip you off in some way or another and then proceed from there. The city is full of impostors, and you really do not know if anyone is really who they say they are. The police and Customs officials are all crooks and so is 99% of the government.
Most bank and post office employees are also crooked. Imagine waiting in line at the post office, and a group of swaggering gangsters with fake ID’s strut in to pick up their stolen goods reshipped from overseas. They go straight to the front of the line ahead of everyone else, pick up their stolen property, and walk away laughing, having paid off the Post Office clerks. Welcome to Nigeria.
There are Internet cafes all over the city, where 150,000 full-time Internet scammers ply their trade in plain view of anyone to see, and the government doesn’t bat an eye or lift one finger to stop them. In many cafes, 80% or more of the patrons are Internet scammers. Nigeria is now world-famous for Internet scams. Even out-of-work TV newscasters scam away in the cafes, trying to steal from Americans.
The scammers started out with the famous 419 email scams but have now branched out into lottery, romance, auction, roommate, orphanage and check-cashing scams. The scams are continuously evolving, and Nigerian con artists are widely acknowledged to be some of the best in the world, as they have been practicing the art for decades now.
On highways outside of Lagos, you can see numerous vehicles wrecked on the side of the road, or even in the middle of the road, some with dead bodies still in them or beside them. Thieves pick through the wreckage and rifle the corpses looking for stuff to steal. All of the roads are dangerous, as armed robbers often set up roadblocks to shake down travelers.
Nigeria is now a world center for counterfeit pharmaceuticals, credit card fraud and drug dealing, and a district of Lagos, Oluwole, is now a world center for top-notch forgery.
The FBI and the US Merchant Risk Council recently came to Nigeria and inspected 40 packages coming into the country from the US to check for stolen goods. 39 of the 40 packages contained stolen property.
When the agents arrived at a Lagos neighborhood and tried to arrest an 18-year-old boy for reshipping scams that targeted US merchants, much of the neighborhood – up to 100 people – rushed out of their homes to defend the local punk from Big Bad Whitey.
Although the country is awash in oil, the power goes out all the time because the government power company is so crooked. The power company has either stolen all of its own budget money or the power comes in, but the crooked company resells it on the side.
As with elsewhere in Africa, Whitey is blamed for all the troubles here. Hatred of Whitey is higher in Nigeria than in much of the rest of Black Africa and the White visitor will definitely feel it.
The degeneration of Nigerian society is complete, and the culture appears near collapse. Mobs lynch thieves in the street and kill them in public for as meager a crime as stealing a cellphone, yet crime rages on anyway. Anyone can just up and say they own your house, put it on the market and sell it and you are out a house. Law enforcement, courts and anything resembling government seem to be nonexistent.
****** Lima, Peru: When they tell you to visit Peru, they don’t mean the nightmarish capital. There are teeming slums as far as the eye can see, horrible crime (although not a lot of violent crime), pickpockets everywhere, and on top of all that, the sun never comes out. The fog mixes with the smog and the filthy streets to make a toxic brew. Lima made many worst lists.
But it has its fans, and the upscale Miraflores district is said to be nice. The execrable Shining Path took up their nihilistic, deranged war in this country for a reason – because Peru is a rotten heap of a country.
****** Medan (Sumatra), Jakarta, Surabaya, Indonesia: Jakarta is a reeking city with terrible pollution, open sewers and wrenching poverty. Medan seemed to top many lists for worst city on Earth, though it has a few fans. It’s hot, dirty and polluted, with factories, thieves and leering, menacing men everywhere. There is also nowhere to stay, not that you would want to stay anyway. Besides Medan, the rest of Sumatra is much better.
The river running through Surabaya is so polluted you might vomit walking across the bridge. As you suppress your gag reflex, you will look down and notice that people are actually washing their clothes in this river.
***** Mumbai, Patna (Bihar), Calcutta, all large Indian cities, India: Indian cities are very dirty and teeming with some of the most miserably poor and wretched people you will ever see, but at least there is not a lot of crime. The Hindu religion keeps crime down because believers fear they will be punished by returning in the next life as something terrible, like one of the huge rats you see scurrying about. Mumbai has pollution that is so bad that people actually get lung cancer from breathing the air. Mumbai, a stinking and sometimes dangerous city, made many worst city lists. Patna is the sorry capital of Bihar, the poorest state in India. It’s dirty and miserable, and it’s almost impossible to even get a taxi to get you out of town, which means it’s hard to leave the place. Calcutta is generally agreed to be one of the worst cities in India.
***** Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenyang, China: Deadly pollution, mostly from coal. Bucharest, all of Romania: Stalinist pollution covers the whole country and everyone seems depressed. Bali (in particular Kuta Beach), Indonesia: Hopes so high, reality so low. It seems everyone is out to rip you off. Surly locals hungry for money. Dangerous roads, nightmarish traffic, rude, leering men. When it rains, the sewers flood into the streets. Very high crime rate, hustlers everywhere. Most of the rest of Indonesia is pretty nice. Kuta is a tourist trap gone to Hell.
**** Manila, Philippines: A crime-ridden hellhole. There are armed guards everywhere, especially in front of banks due to constant bank robberies. Their nemeses, criminal gangs armed to the teeth, roam streets filled with prostitutes and transvestites.
It’s a town where everyone seems like they are out to rip you off in one way or other, and the hotel workers and cab drivers are all crooked. The latest advice is to have your Filipino friend meet you at the airport and head straight to their place, thereby avoiding all the ripoffs and con artists that seem to descend on every tourist. Traffic is horrible, and pollution is so bad it kills people. But some people don’t mind it.
**** Gdansk, Poland: Combine a high crime rate and daylight robberies with totally crooked, thieving officials, and you get this Polish city. However, a number of others said it’s just fine.
**** Mexico City, Villahermosa, Mexico: Mexico City is a dirty, polluted city suffering an insane, surreal epidemic of street crime, especially violent crime. Add 20 million people, stir well, bring to a boil, cover with a lid of otherworldly smog, and simmer.
Reportedly, tons of human waste are blown into the air every day, and much of the population has constant respiratory infections. The sewer system is reportedly above ground and more or less runs through lots of neighborhoods where many people are residing. Villahermosa is a Mad Max-style, violent, crime-ridden disgrace of a city. There are stabbings and shootings galore here, even with a 10 PM curfew in place.
***** Tangier, Morocco: This is a dangerous place with lots of street crime. That’s unusual for a North African country, but Tangier is so close to Europe that it is almost a part of Europe.
***** Cairo, Egypt: Cairo has horrible pollution, smells terrible, there is trash everywhere, nothing works, there are armies of miserably poor people and it boasts some outrageously awful traffic. In the souks there are huge rats and wild, mangy scavenging dogs running about in plain sight. There seems no escape from aggressive, pestering hawkers. On top of all that, all the Customs officials are criminals.
The crime rate is fairly low, though. Thank President Hosni Mubarak. 25 years ago, Cairo was one of the great world cities.
***** Bangkok, Thailand: This gigantic city has pollution so bad you need to wear a mask over your face. However, some folks like this city and say it has many positive attributes.
***** Brindisi, Naples, Italy: No one seems to like Brindisi. It’s a sad, dirty, polluted and ugly city, with hostile, brawling, drunken locals, hungry stray dogs, belligerent drivers, horrible traffic, and miles of soul-killing tenements.
You would think that despite all of that, being genuine Italians, they could still manage to make a decent pizza. Forget it: even the pizza is terrible. Brindisi topped many worst lists, although it has a couple of fans.
I had never even heard of Brindisi and had to look it up on a map. It’s located in southern Italy on the East Coast, southeast of Naples. Naples has a great deal of crime, and many think this city is overrated as a tourist destination, although others say that, despite the drawbacks, it has its joys. All of southern Italy has a lot of crime, but it’s mostly property crime.
***** Athens, Piraeus, or the whole country, Greece: Greece, especially Athens, gets mixed reviews. A lot of people really hate Athens; others don’t. The detractors say the city is dirty, ugly, depressing, polluted, and covered with garbage and traffic. I was surprised that Athens made the list, as I had always thought it was a wonderful city.
The port city of Piraeus is a nasty place. The whole city smells like a giant sewage treatment plant, and the ocean offshore has a sickening color to it.
**** Suburbs of Paris, France: These tragic towns, full of hostile Arab immigrants angrily refusing to assimilate to French culture or join French society, are a sign that the French model is not working well, at least for some folks.
There is a terribly high crime rate here, and cops and firemen often won’t go there because they get attacked as soon as they show up. These mournful towns are packed with angry, unemployed young Arab men who like to seriously riot every year or so, or even more often if the mood strikes them. Lately, they have been staging mini-riots every night. If only 100 cars are burned, that’s a good night.
Otherwise, Paris, of course, is one of the world’s great cities. But that doesn’t mean you might not walk into a subway station reeking of urine and see junkies shooting up in plain sight. But still, Paris is a must on any serious travelers’ list.
****** Brussels, Belgium: As with Paris, the districts with many Arab immigrants are quite dangerous and unpleasant, but the rest of the city is as nice as any big city. Abidjan, Ivory Coast: With one of the worst crime rates in Africa (although it has plenty of competition), this city topped many worst lists.
***** Bangui, Central African Republic: One of the worst cities in Africa, as bad as Lagos. The crime rate is totally insane. The locals will try to steal everything you own and even a contingent of armed guards will not be enough to protect you.
Your hotel room will feel like a war zone. This fiendish city made a number of worst city lists. Lonely Planet’s guidebook more or less tells you to avoid this city altogether. Here is a harrowing report of a visit to Bangui.
***** Bamako, Mali: Mali has one of the worst governments in Africa, admittedly a race with a lot of competition. Bamako is a sick joke of a town, where the tourist surcharge is rigorously enforced, and the ridiculous, potholed streets are undriveable by any vehicle. Guatemala City, Guatemala: A totally dangerous, dirty, polluted, terminal patient of a city, full of scary, heavily armed teenage soldiers. The soldiers are there to keep the teeming, crime-ridden slums that stretch as far as the eye can see, from overrunning the place. But this city has a few fans. Belize City, Belize: This sweltering, miserable, impoverished, crime-ridden, very dangerous city is built on a swamp, with a jungle for a backyard. The beggars are aggressive and even menacing, and shady characters shadow you on the streets as you walk about. Cops are nowhere to be seen. This is one of the worst cities in the Americas. But the rest of the country is a great place to vacation.
***** Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:Sao Paulo is the industrial engine of Brazil. This major city is full of garbage and very dangerous. There are hustlers as far as the eye can see, chaotic streets that render maps useless, not enough cops and Godawful traffic. Rio de Janeiro, the popular tourist destination with the killer skyline perfect for any postcard, is a deceptive place. It’s a very dangerous city with lots of violent crime. Street gangs armed to the teeth regularly shoot it out in military-style wars with the cops.
Death squads of off-duty cops funded by local businessmen roam the streets at night, murdering homeless, drug-addicted street kids and petty criminals with impunity in a sickening “social cleanup” campaign.
There are pickpockets and muggers all about, often in menacing, youthful gangs (especially on the famous beach) and they frequently operate in broad daylight. A dystopian horrorshow of a city.
****** Nairobi, Kenya: Unfortunately, this city is seriously crime-ridden. Even locals admit that violent crime has reached catastrophic proportions. Caracas, Barquisimeto, or the whole country, Venezuela: The crime is very bad here, sadly, and there is garbage everywhere you look. This blog supports Hugo Chavez, but crime in Venezuela is a tragic, long-standing problem with no quick fixes. Guinea-Bissau: There is no water, no electricity, no place to stay, and the only hotel is half-demolished. San‘a’, Yemen: In a Dickensenian touch, children are actually chained up here in order to beg! Moynaq and Nukus, Uzbekistan: These two cities broiling in a merciless desert have been ruined and turned into ecological dead zones by Stalinist pollution.
***** San Pedro Sulu, Honduras: This sad town has a horrible amount of crime. Swarms of locals will attack you on the bus, trying to steal your luggage. You will have to fight them off if you wish to retain your suitcase.
Like the rest of this wreck of a country, it’s full of US gang members gone home to Honduras. People here are very poor and desperate. If you can make it to the nice part of town and afford to stay there, though, you can be quite safe.
***** Dakar, Senegal: According to some, this large West African city has horrible street crime – it is very dangerous. They say if you don’t have armed guards with you, don’t even go outside your hotel room.
However, others report that they spent a week there and found it to be safe, in fact safer than many American cities. Violent crime is reportedly rare, and the country is one of the most stable in Africa, and has been that way since independence.
***** Port Au Prince, Haiti: This filthy, degraded, extremely dangerous and desperately poor mess of a city is best avoided at all costs. It sports open sewers, enslaved children, riots, killings and lots of other fun things. This blog did support President Aristide’s efforts to improve the tragedy of a nation called Haiti. Lome, Togo: Criminals are as common as mosquitoes here, walking around fearlessly in broad daylight in this terrible city full of miserable people and crooked taxi drivers.
***** Istanbul, Turkey: The 200% tourist markup is fully in force in this dirty, ugly city full of harassing, hawking, hostile locals and crumbling buildings, and you can scarcely find a merchant who does not enforce it. There is also a lot of crime here, including some violent crime, unusual for a Muslim city. The weather is lousy, but there are some pretty mosques to visit. However, Istanbul does have a fan or two.
The rest of the country is a great place to visit, has many fans and is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Best bet for Turkey is just to head to the tourist spots and blow off Istanbul altogether.
***** Phnom Penh, Kampuchea: This city has become a very dangerous, crime-ridden place. The gangs of little girl prostitutes add a particularly poignant touch.
***** Bogotá, Colombia or really the whole country: Bogotá is one of the most dangerous places in the Americas but there seems to be agreement that Colon, Lima and Guayaquil are worse. Really, all of Colombia is dangerous as Hell, to be honest.
This comment about Bogotá was recently rebutted by a Bogotán blogger, with more comments here. His post aggressively taking issue with this entry is in Spanish, but my Spanish is good enough to get the gist of it. Also I am getting a lot of comments coming in from Bogotáns on the Internet aggressively objecting to the content.
The sole issue that these Defenders of Bogotá are taking issue with is my contention that the city is a very dangerous place. To be honest, Bogotá used to have a truly horrible reputation for crime, but in recent years, there has been a huge effort put into cracking down on street crime. For some more agreement that Bogota is dangerous, see here, here, here and here.
I will now attempt to prove that. There are twice as many murders in Colombia as in the US, and the US has seven times as many people. That means that the murder rate in Colombia is an outrageous 14 times that of the US, and the US is considered to have a high murder rate for the developed world.
Colombia has the highest murder rate on Earth, with Washington, DC and Johannesburg not far behind, but in the case of Colombia, we are talking about a whole country, not some festering city. Out of every 100,000 people, 60-70 will be killed every year. Defenders may try to argue that this is due to a simmering civil war, but 75% of the 25,000 homicides are merely of the criminal variety.
On an average day in Colombia, there are 2 bank robberies, 8 highway robberies, 72 murders and 204 assaults or muggings. You have a greater chance of being murdered in Colombia than you do of dying of cancer! Death squads made up of soldiers and off-duty cops roam the streets, murdering drug-addicted, petty criminal street kids, transvestites, homosexuals and prostitutes.
In fact, probably more prostitutes and homosexuals are murdered per capita in Colombia than even in the most barbarian parts of the Muslim World. Want to fly a plane in Colombia? Don’t. There have been 138 plane crashes since World War 2, with 2,745 deaths.
One of the most popular things in Bogotá is scopolamine. This drug is used by crooks to disable their victims so they can rip them off. It is sprayed in the face, dumped in your drink or spiked into a cigarette. Bogotá hospitals receive an incredible 2,000 scopolamine victims every month, or an astounding 66 a day. The drug knocks you out and can cause medical problems.
Colombia has one of the world’s worst road systems. Many roads are not even marked. Drivers are reckless and many cars don’t have headlights at night. Cows have a tendency to wander into the road.
Taxis are totally dangerous and are best avoided, if possible. Women are advised to avoid all taxis at night. Anyone is advised to avoid any taxi that already has someone in it.
In many cases, this is a criminal accomplice of the thuggish driver. In addition to getting scopolamine sprayed in your face, another popular scam is the “jump-start”: you are told that the taxi has stalled and asked to get out and help push. As you do so, the taxi driver leaves with your luggage.
Buses are also best avoided. Thieves haunt the buses, waiting for you to fall asleep, at which point, they rip you off. Certain bus lines are frequented by thieves offering drugged gum, sweets, food and cigarettes. After the drug knocks you out, they rob you blind. In addition to theft and druggings, kidnapping and extortion are also rife on buses.
In view of all of the above, it is nothing short of amazing that all of these Colombians are angrily protesting my characterization of their country as dangerous. Or perhaps they doth protest too much?
***** Managua, Nicaragua: This dirty, crime-ridden, dangerous disaster of a city has a bombed-out look about it. This blog supports Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista Party and prays that they can ameliorate this mess.
***** San Salvador, El Salvador: See Managua. Full of dangerous former LA gang members. Death squads roam the streets, slaughtering gangsters by the dozen, but for every one you kill, it seems five more pop up in his place.
This blog supports the FMLN’s efforts to reform this ruined land, but the crime here has become so terrible, one wonders if anything short of an act of God could make things better. In fact, I used to make contributions too the FMLN’s weapons fund via an FMLN agent in Los Angeles during the 1980’s.
***** Detroit, New Haven, Newark, Gary (Indiana), Hammond (Indiana), USA: Detroit topped all lists as the worst city in the US. An ugly, dangerous, depressing and filthy city with a downtown that looks like a war zone – a despairing district surrounded by miles of crumbling, abandoned industrial buildings, torn-down fences and rusting cars. Newark is similar, with few to no redeeming qualities. It’s a frightening, polluted city with a postwar look of miles of weedy, trash-strewn vacant lots where crumbling apartment buildings have been torn down. It’s also a dangerous city with a high crime rate. New Haven, despite the presence of Yale University, is similar. There are legions of homeless, begging drug users clogging the streets, and the crime rate is very high due to hordes of crack-dealing gangs shooting it out on the streets. Congress and Columbus Avenues are notorious for drive-by shootings, drug dealing and muggings.
It is reportedly the HIV capital of the East Coast due to IV drug use. A lot of the more respectable people have been moving out for some time now. Although much of the city is quite ugly, New Haven does have its bright spots, thanks to Yale. There are nice parts of town, parks, trees, etc. Gary is yet another postindustrial Rust Belt train wreck of a town. A grimy town full of abandoned factories, overgrown lots, rusting fences, graffiti, barred windows and vomit. Go downtown and see tall buildings all boarded up, with no vehicles in sight and unhinged stoplights swaying in the wind – for all practical purposes, a ghost town. This was once a vibrant, working-class city, and now it looks like Road Warrior. Hammond is similar, a suicidally depressing city lined with shuttered factories on the shores of Lake Michigan. Yet another Rust Belt post-industrial ruin.
***** Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: A collapsing, dirty, crime-ridden hellhole. Osaka, Japan: I never would have thought that this city would make the list but according to my friend Tumerica, she says it is the worst city she has ever lived in. I tagged her with the title of this story. In blogging, tagging mean you are supposed to write on the topic – kind of like, “Tag, you’re it.” I will let her explain why Osaka is such a crappy place in her post here.