Not in Our Back Yard
The Decline and Failure of American-Imposed Capitalism and
the Rise of Social Democracy/Leftist Ideology in Latin America
by Manuel Valenzuela

January 15, 2004
First Published in Axis of Logic

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"The US government should accept that thetime of cowardly governments on this continent, subordinated to the dictates of Washington is coming to an end…The US does not want to acknowledge that the true cause of the fall of governments such as Sanchez de Losada's [in Bolivia], has to do with the poverty and misery generated by neoliberal policies imposedby imperialist economic models. That’s the real cause of instability in this continent."

-- Hugo Chavez, democratically elected President of Venezuela

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

 -- John F. Kennedy

“We have lived for many years a confrontation of two cultures: The culture of life, represented by the indigenous people, and the culture of death, represented by the West…If we want to defend humanity, the system must be defeated, U.S. imperialism must be defeated.''

-- Evo Morales, Bolivian Leftist-Populist Leader

The Zapatista Revolution

Ten years ago, deep in the Lacandona jungle in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas a movement arose like an early morning fog lifting up from the moist, rich ground. The Zapatista Revolution began, January 1, 1994, the same day NAFTA was implemented in Canada, the US and Mexico. Hundreds of hooded peasant rebels, indigenous and destitute, tired of their mistreatment by the government, appeared like ghosts out of the thick green jungle seeking the existence that had been denied them for 500 years, and the last 70 years of PRI dictatorial rule in particular. The hooded Indians demanded human rights, justice, independence, democracy, employment, liberty, education, healthcare, a subsistent way of life and the recognition of their lands, rights, and culture by a government that had both exploited and abandoned these indigenous people and their land for centuries. They sought a voice that would be heard around the world.

In a silent manifestation of oppressed anger, Mexico was rattled by the indigenous peasant uprising that took the Mexican government by complete surprise. Small Chiapas towns were overrun by armed Zapatistas, their municipal governments taken over. The Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), carrying mostly obsolete rifles and arms, rudimentary military weaponry and technology, spread out over their lands, making their once stealthy presence known. Foreign investment trembled, financial markets shook, governments demanded answers, and Mexico began yet another near calamitous economic meltdown. The world quickly learned of the small insurrection that had taken place in one of Mexico’s poorest states, at once becoming aware of the plight of destitute indigenous peasants and their disreputable treatment by the Mexican government.

History will mark this brave action by the indigenous peasants of Chiapas as the first rebellion by the poor and indigenous peoples of Latin America against the system, the elite, and the United States’ imposed style of capitalistic democracy. The Zapatistas struck at NAFTA, the heart of the corporate Leviathan’s enacted instrument of subjugation, enslavement and implementation of subservience. The movement started ten years ago has grown, it has inspired and it has absorbed the collective energies, hopelessness and feelings of hundreds of millions of Latin Americans who have witnessed the worsening of their lives through the implementation of American style capitalism that oftentimes only exacerbates their misery, poverty and standard of living.

The strike on the Mexican government by the Zapatistas was but the first cannon resounding the commencement of a movement that has today grown throughout Latin America, creating an environment where the poor, exploited masses are beginning to awaken from their long ‘siesta” and are coming to the realization that the system that has been in place thanks to American pressure has choked them of their dreams, happiness, lands, resources, education and wages. In short, American style capitalism has acted as colonizer, occupier, exploiter and usurper of both their countries and their lives.

The Revolution Spreads to South America

Today, the small movement that began in Chiapas ten years ago has, like an octopus extending its tentacles, enveloped almost all Latin American nations, especially those of South America. The region’s citizens are taking matters into their own hands, creating a new dynamic to a once American dominated and subservient area, unleashing mass unrest, mass solidarity and mass calls for change. The Zapatista ripple is being turned into an Ibero-American tidal wave as hundreds of millions of citizens, mostly poor, indigenous and living on somewhere near two dollars a day, are beginning to elect leaders with left leaning ideologies. These peoples are demanding better lives, less exploitation, more equality, justice, liberties, rights and stronger barriers protecting them from the nefarious market colonization mechanisms implemented by US government, economic and corporate hegemonic interests. They are demanding freedom.

The transformation of Latin America from bastion of neo-liberal American-interest policies to adopter of increased leftist-populist social democracy is a consequence of the growth of the corporate Leviathan and the increased market colonization of the region by the United Corporations of America. The malfeasance, real or perceived, seen on the part of US interests has galvanized citizens in various Latin American nations. This, along with historical antecedents of US interference in the interior governance of various countries – by proxy wars, sponsored dictatorships/puppets, coups, and economic control/mismanagement – has created a strong anti-American sentiment, made only stronger by the Bush administration’s unilateralism and unprovoked, pre-emptive blitzkrieg war against a severely amputated and sovereign nation that posed no threat to world peace and stability.

The history of US involvement in Latin America is deeply entrenched: From wars to protect American corporate interests in the early 20th century; to the war of economic depravity enacted against Cuba; to the support of repressive and murderous military dictatorships from 1945 to 1980; to the backing of death and assassination squads in Central America; to acquiescing and turning a blind eye to the decades-long Argentinean and Chilean disappearances that saw the murder of thousands; to the stealthy support for a military coup in Chile that saw the death of a democratically elected President during the Cold War Soviet scare; to the clandestine CIA operations repressing leftist Marxist movements personified by those of Che Guevara; to usurpation of democracy for over 70 years by the clandestine support for the Mexican PRI dictatorship; to the more recent coup and assassination attempts against Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez; to the present militarization of Bolivia and Colombia under the façade of the “drug war”; to the IMF imposed neo-liberal programs and austerity measures that have shattered and destabilized economies and societies throughout the region; to continuing the regime of repression using debt as leverage, including the corporate-led economic globalization that serves to exploit and subjugate nations and peoples. The United States, needless to say, is smeared in blood and complicity in the decimation of hundreds of millions of lives that happened to be alive during the Pax Americana and its appetite for foreign domination of resources and labor.

Latin America is now headed away from American style capitalism and democracy and towards a more citizen-friendly form of governance that incorporates notions of equality, social justice, real democracy, natural resource retention and control, greater access to government funds for education, healthcare and infrastructure construction and greater independence, rights and liberties. There now exists among the masses a strong ideology to push away from engaging US corporations and economic interests and reaching instead towards a more just, socialist and inclusive form of governance that places the interests of all ahead of those of the elite few.

Hundreds of millions of citizens have in essence shouted with one collective lung that they have had enough, and the blame has been put squarely on the many US backed governments, puppets, dictatorships, businessman and millionaires that are seen as exacerbating rather than improving peoples poverty-infested, slum-living, slave-wage earning, lack of education-experiencing, exploitation-laden lives. When hundreds of millions have been made far worse off under US backed economic neo-liberal principles and market colonization, their lives being a microcosm of what they once were, now trapped in a perpetual state of uncertainty and indigence, a revolution in the way a nation is run is the most likely outcome, and is indeed what is happening today throughout Latin America.

Citizens throughout the region see the exploitation of their resources, both natural and human, by American and European conglomerates, they see the subjugation of their lives through the purposeful implementation of slave wages and bottom-dwelling environmental laws designed exclusively for US corporations and passivity eventually turns to seething anger. It is in these conditions, when the masses realize their lives are nothing more than that of slaves and serfs, that change is possible and indeed likely to take place.

The reality that is today Latin America, where out of 507 million people 220 million (43.4%) live in poverty and where close to 95 million (18 percent) are considered indigent, where the richest tenth earn 48 percent of total income while the poorest tenth earn but 1.6 percent, where income per person (adjusted for inflation) grew only 7 percent from 1980 to 2000 whereas the growth had been a 75 percent increase from 1960-1980 cannot be ignored. Neither can mechanisms such as NAFTA, IMF, World Bank, WTO and now FTAA that work to lower standards of living through indebtedness and the subsequent debt payments, lower wages and social services, increase trade restrictions, make uneven crop and product competition environments compared to the subsidized mechanisms of the US and Europe, help destroy the environment through resource exploitation and continue to exacerbate indigence that has made the masses worse off than ever before. A revolution is taking place, and a new ideology is rising from the Andes to the Amazon, from the Mexican deserts to the Argentinean pampas. This movement will transform the region to a more just, equal and productive zone for all.

Latin America today is a perfect example of this movement and realization by the people. Combined with strong anti-Americanism, a sense that their lands and energies are being exploited for the sole benefit of US interests, a feeling that the rich continue to enrich themselves, usually at the expense of the masses, while the vast majority continues to dwell in the bottom echelon of the caste system, a new belief has emerged, born out of desperation, frustration and suffering, that like powerful thunderstorms slowly gathers energy until it unleashes its fury and might at the land below. This is Latin America today. This is the new movement swirling throughout Central and Southern America that might soon reach Mexico as well. The people are sick and tired of policies that serve only to make their lives more miserable while the interests of the elite and the US are put on a pedestal of divinity.

The misery is too endemic, the poverty too severe. Inequality has never been greater, justice never less. Combined with the systemic abuse and subjugation of the region for American interests and you have a flammable witches’ brew that is ready to explode throughout the region. The ingredients for discontent have reached their simmering climax. There comes a point even abject poor and abused humans reach when they can go no lower, when their lives lose all meaning and when to remember what it is to be human has disappeared from their conscious. They see their oil, gas, timber, copper, minerals, fruits, crops, slave labor, water, air and land being exploited not in their interest but for the “gringos” up north, where structural adjustment programs and debt payments render their nations feudal estates of the corporate Leviathan.

Latin America is on the verge of transformation, of shifting the way it wants to live, rejecting American imperialism and exploitation, renouncing the Leviathan’s many subjugating measures that have pillaged, raped and colonized both people and land and declaring that hundreds of millions of humans no longer wish to remain the slaves of the rich countries of the North. What is transpiring will not dwindle and disappear. On the contrary, it will only grow, becoming a beacon of hope and an example for the future. If allowed to run its course, uninterrupted by US military and economic intervention, a new form of governance might emerge that serves to make better the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

Yet a movement that severs the centuries old exploitation by American corporations for the benefit of the American economic behemoth will not be tolerated by the US oligarchy and will most likely be seen as a threat to the national security interests of the US, a clear and present danger to US foreign policy that must not be allowed to evolve to the point that it becomes a reality and a threat to the interests of the Leviathan and the elite oligarchy that owns it.

Herein lies the danger, for Bush and his cabal of capitalist elites will try to squash this growing perceived “threat” to American ‘capitalism” and “democracy.” Military intervention will be a very real possibility, economic genocide a harsh punishment. The US has too many interests in Latin America, from exploitable natural resources such as oil to the slave labor of millions. A rival to American crony capitalism and debauched democracy will not be allowed to stand, and the real threat to world peace is the Bush decision to intervene violently to suppress the growing beacon of hope that might spread to other regions of the world, including the United States. Under the guise of expanding the “war on terror” South America might be a possible next step in Bush’s pre-emptive perpetual war designed to enrich the Leviathan. The made-believe enemy called terrorists will be concocted to exist and prosper in Latin America, providing a threat to the US, thus giving Bush and his warmongering cabal made up of neo-cons, the Leviathan, military-industrial complex and the energy/oil cartel the perfect excuse to further its goals of expanding the empire.

Leftist-populist elected leaders now govern in Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Paraguay, with a leftist front-runner leading in polls for an upcoming presidential election in Uruguay in March. This does not include Fidel Castro’s rule in Cuba. Leftist-populist leaders now govern over 75 percent of South America’s combined population of 345 million people. Throughout Latin America, these leftist leaders rule over 55 percent of the region’s 507 million people.

Venezuela and Hugo Chavez

Venezuela, with vast amounts of oil and natural gas reserves, numbering in the billions of estimated reserves for each, is of vital importance to oil addicted America. It has the fifth largest oil reserves on the planet. As such, America has consistently opposed President Hugo Chavez, elected democratically in 1998 and in 2000, because of his social democratic, left-leaning populist agenda that in many instances places the needs of the masses ahead of those of the few elite and the US. Chavez scares the Bush administration because of his socialist values of equality and justice, of making better the lives of so many poor, of sharing in the nation’s oil wealth, of keeping national the oil industry and refusing to cave to American demands concerning the aforementioned oil, the drug war, the war on terror and Leviathan hegemony in Venezuela.

Chavez has introduced various social reforms such as free education, healthcare for the poor and land reform, though he has yet to implement a truly socialist agenda like complete nationalization of industry and redistributive tax allocation. He has clashed with the US because of his measures resisting American corporate and economic domination over Venezuela. As such, he has been the survivor of a clandestine US sponsored coup (April 2002) and assassination plots. This democratically elected leader has been and continues to be ostracized by the Bush administration which continues to push for his removal through recall referendums and continued elite media propaganda designed to smear him.

The true strategic reason behind US attempts at undermining Chavez lies in the vast oil wealth that exists beneath Venezuela’s ground. Like Iraq, Venezuela has been a target of US oil/energy interests. The nationalized oil industry is a barrier to the many Bush contributors and friends that want nothing more than to control the nation’s oil reserves. The US energy industry drools with anticipation of one day possessing the vast oil wealth of the South American nation. Taking control of the supply and price is of vital importance to the energy industry, which would pillage the oil, reap the profits and return little to the developing country. It is such an issue to both nations that one Venezuelan minister of the 1970’s labeled black gold the “devil’s excrement’ for its role in bringing perpetual pain and trouble to the beleaguered nation.

The deep recession Venezuela finds itself immersed in is a result of the 63-day oil and business strike of a year ago started by the powerful elite minority, with help of the CIA and top Bush administration officials, to topple Chavez and his government, along with the subsequent political whirlwind that has ensued as a result. Bush welcomed the coup along with the oil strike that decimated the country, even with his deep seated belief in preserving and protecting democracy. Yes, the champion of democracy, in such altruistic motives, wanted a democratically elected leader ousted. Rumors are now being spread, falsely, that Chavez finances and supports Colombian rebels fighting civil war, is purposefully creating instability in the region along with Fidel Castro and that he harbors and provides shelter to Muslim fundamentalist terrorists. The road to military intervention in Venezuela by the US has been set in motion.

Bolivia and the Gas Pipeline Sham Rebellion

The story of Bolivia, the poorest nation in South America, where out of a population of 8.8 million 70 to 80 percent live below the poverty line is one of misery and tremendous exploitation. Of the poor, one-third live in dire poverty. Two million Bolivians face chronic hunger, while only 12 percent of families can afford to eat the daily minimum calorie intake. Up to 45 percent of the economically active population might be unemployed, dependent on the informal sector for survival. Bolivia is mostly comprised of poor peasant Indians, many living in the rugged and high elevations of the Andean region. Bolivia, however, is blessed with the second largest underground natural gas reserves in South America, behind those of Venezuela. It is here where the story of Bolivia begins.

Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, Bolivia’s recently deposed unpopular president, had for years imposed IMF privatization policies on the public sector, especially Bolivia’s oil industry. His economic measures were opposed by the vast majority of his constituents. Thanks to his policies, the gap between the rich and poor increased exponentially. He had tried, unsuccessfully, and after massive protests, to privatize water utilities in various Bolivian towns, attempting to sell these interests to Northern corporations. The deep hatred for this policy resulted in violence and in the eventual backtracking by Sanchez de Lozada’s government. While cutting government pensions and public services while following IMF neo-liberal policies, he also proceeded to pillage the country’s resources with the help of multinational corporations.

Mr. Sanchez de Lozada, raised and educated in the US, speaks Spanish with an American accent, even though he is Bolivian by birth and blood. In short, he was a viable puppet to the US government. He won his election by one percentage point in an ordinary election for Latin America, meaning that speculation of widespread fraud was rampant. He auctioned off the nation’s resources and utilities such as telephone and railroad, oftentimes at bargain prices and usually to Northern corporations. A millionaire by inheritance, circumstance and exploitation, he had also been owner of Bolivia’s largest mining group. In the meantime, poverty and subjugation only worsened with each measure enacted by the IMF and US friendly Sanchez de Lozada. More and more of Mr. Sanchez de Lozada’s pro- US crony capitalism measures were met with resistance and struggle by the masses who saw the benefits of the country’s resources and services going not to them but to Northern companies, who were enriching themselves while they fell deeper into the well of poverty and misery.

Finally, the day arrived when Sanchez de Lozada tried to sell off Bolivia’s important vast natural gas reserves to a foreign consortium, which would export the gas to the US via Mexico by way of a long pipeline to Chile, a longtime enemy. The majority of the nation erupted in a violent three weeks of mass protest, culminating in dozens of deaths at the hands of the military and the eventual deposing of Sanchez de Lozada in mid October 2003. The popular uprising, which rejected the government’s contract with the multinational consortium, saw in the deal the legal pillage of Bolivia’s gas to the US. Given Bolivia’s long history of exploitation at the hands of European and American interests, the plan to steal natural gas sparked the rebellion centuries of pent up frustration had created. The steam was finally released.

The masses had reached their breaking point, and they took to the streets and the cities, demanding equality, justice, land reform and a more equitable distribution of wealth. They also protested against Bolivia’s entry into the Free Trade Area of the Americas, seen as another instrument of subjugation by the US. The movement fought against the taking over by Northern conglomerates of Bolivia’s natural wealth and its government services. The land and the country belonged to the people, not the Leviathan.

The contract for gas exportation stipulated that the country would only keep 18 percent of the $1.5 billion in annual income estimated to be generated by sales to the US. The standard for such a deal is usually 50 percent. Also, the gas sold to the consortium was fixed at a price significantly below market value, resulting in the loss of billions of dollars in additional income to the nation. The cost to Bolivia of the eventual gas exporting scheme: $5 billion.

The deal was highway robbery, created by the US friendly Sanchez de Lozada and the foreign consortium that was designed to enrich both parties while breaking the back of ordinary Bolivians. This example is typical of IMF, World Bank, WTO, NAFTA and soon FTAA policy, where the Leviathan exploits and enriches itself while leaving the masses with absolutely nothing by which they can improve their ever-worsening lives. This is market colonialism. This is economic genocide. This is what the Leviathan’s claws of slavery unleash onto a nation and its people.

In the end, hundreds of thousands of peasants mobilized throughout the destitute nation, marching in unison through the streets of the high Andean state, demanding change and an abolition of the Sanchez de Lozada-consortium gas contract. Sanchez de Lozada was thrown out of office due to the incessant pressure that kept building, and today he lives comfortably in the US, living off the laurels of the millions he and his family stole and exploited from the land and spirit of the Bolivian people. This is the story of Latin America, of despots, dictators and robber barons, elite inheritors of exploited humanity, supported by the US, promising dreams and delivering nightmares, pillaging and raping the nation blind while their constituents rot in the cesspool of misery they have wrought onto society.

You ask yourself why Latin America always seems to be in the dumps? It is because of people like Sanchez de Lozada who have not an ounce of compassion or care for the welfare of the people they swear to protect and serve. And, in 95 percent of the cases, these men are supported and installed by the US government. Secretly sworn to enhance and enrich the Leviathan’s interests in the nation, these so-called leaders act as a conduit for the meticulous downward spiral their nation eventually takes thanks to their fickle leadership. This is the reason Latin America is slowly but surely turning away from American crony capitalism and debauched democracy and towards social democracy and leftist-populism.

Rumors persist and realities show that US military officers operating out of the US Embassy coordinated efforts to stop the mass protests from erupting. As a result, dozens of peasants were killed, their blood spilling on the streets of Bolivia. The worries inside the Bush administration are that if further protests arise in other countries, or in Bolivia once again, defiance of the economic measures demanded by the US, IMF, World Bank, WTO and the Leviathan might spread throughout Latin America. Bush fears revolution. He fears the awakening of the masses from the prolonged doldrums and the incessant brainwashing, resulting in emancipation and new, more equitable and just forms of governance that would spell the beginning of the end for his oligarch friends. And that is why Latin America is such a threat to Bush and the Leviathan. The Zapatista Revolution is spreading, and it sends shivers down BushCo’s spine.

Ecuadorean and Colombian Devil’s Excrement

The battle being waged between peasant Indians and foreign conglomerates in Ecuador is over the country’s rich oil reserves. The exploitation of natural resources, and the squalid environmental disaster that follows and devastates jungle, people and land, is a major thorn in this nation, where so many are indigent peasants and indigenous peoples living in the vast jungles. Multinationals have taken advantage of IMF policies and have laid waste to northern Ecuador’s forests and resources, in a region near Lago Agrio. It is alleged by a lawsuit that a Texaco subsidiary left decimated an area it used for oil extraction, polluting, leaving waste in waterways and creating pits full of toxic wastewater. As a result, many of Ecuador’s citizens are reluctant, even downright hostile, to allowing more exploration and extraction of oil by foreign conglomerates.

IMF policies here have resulted in more than 50 percent of Ecuador’s national budget going to pay off foreign debt. It has had to privatize its services, cut expenditures to education, healthcare and infrastructure, while being forced to open up its resources and economy to multinational Leviathans intent on pillaging and raping both man and land. Ecuador has the highest rate of inflation in Latin America along with the most advanced rates of environmental degradation and deforestation. And, as usual for a Latin American nation, it has a malicious distribution of wealth that makes the rich richer and poor poorer. Economic growth continues its precipitous decline while Ecuador’s debt is now equal to 42 percent of annual gross domestic product.

As is usually the case when oil is involved, the US has claimed a stake in the present and future of the nation. So has the corporate Leviathan. With the continuing development of Ecuador’s Amazon oil reserves, the nation could produce as much as 26 billion barrels of oil, according to industry estimates. The exploitation of natural resources and the enslavement of the people through low wages, substandard living and hard labor along with the environmental carte blanche given to foreign conglomerates are decimating Ecuador, sending it further down the spiral of wretchedness. Revolution’s cry is not a far fetched whisper anymore in this Amazon nation.

Colombia, mired in civil war pitting Marxist rebels against pro-US interests, is quickly becoming a militarized zone, both by Colombia’s army and US military interests. While government propaganda portrays US intervention in the country as a noble fight in the war on drugs, eradicating cocaine and drug kingpins, the real war being waged by the US is to protect the multitude of oil/energy interests it has in the oil rich nation. Its military strength has been reserved for the intended suppression of any resistance against US multinationals that continue to devastate Colombia’s environment by drilling land, poisoning waters and constructing pipelines. The devils excrement called oil is destroying the fabric of the nation’s society while giving nothing in return to the citizens of Colombia. With full fledged civil war, the US military is honoring its long held tradition of defending the interests of the Leviathan.

Further destabilizing the country (as well as Ecuador and Bolivia) is the US coca eradication policy. Too many peasants, coca is not seen as an unhealthy and criminal inducing plant. Its cultivation has been a part of life for centuries. The coca plant has been used as a medicine, a hunger suppressant and as a plant whose effect is only a bit stronger than that experienced from strong coffee. In its natural form, the coca plant is an indispensable part of the culture and tradition of millions of peasants. Many Latin Americans who have grown to depend on the coca plant feel solving the drug problem starts with tackling demand in the US, not ruining lives in South America. Coincidentally, the scarcity created by the eradication policy only serves to raise the coca plant’s value, which itself encourages more farming of it. With pro-US trade policies making the farming of other staple crops insignificant due to the continuing decline in price, many farmers are instead turning to the higher price yield of the coca plant. Anti-Americanism has also served to create in the coca plant a sense of national pride, a way of getting back at the US, even in some minor way.

Not in Our Back Yard

The rising tide that is the new paradigm in Latin America is transforming an entire region where 507 million humans live. It is the call of the vast majority, trumpeting their dissatisfaction with a system that has not and will not benefit them. The popular rejection of neo-liberalism, free-market reforms, pro-business laws and regulations and pro-American foreign and economic policies imposed by the US and its various tentacles within the new world order framework by the masses in South and Central America and the Mexican Zapatistas is a sign that the many are refusing to be exploitable subjects of the Leviathan and the few oligarchs. Their shouts, marches and protests are making clear that their lands, countries and resources will no longer be free gifts that pro-US interests can subjugate, filtering out most profits while leaving the people in increasing levels of indigence and suffering. The cries of the masses are proclaiming a new approach to governance, a new way of treating a nation’s citizens that seeks the betterment of all, not just a few, a respect for natural and human resources and a new dawn of hope. The call heard in Latin America seeks human rights, real democracy, liberation from exploitation, better education and healthcare and a standard of life worth living.

The Zapatista rebellion begun ten years ago now seems in hindsight like the first battle in a long and protracted war by the peoples of Latin America. The rebellion and the ensuing ideology has now gone mainstream, as if the once unspeakable taboo has become accepted and the obstacles have now been overcome. The peasant and Indian uprisings that have become the rule rather than the exception may soon spread to Central America states and southern Mexico, where the Leviathan is menacing both land and man. The movement’s momentum might also jump borders into other parts of the Southern Hemisphere.

The region’s pendulum has shifted to the left. Brazil has elected President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, a new leader pushing a social democratic agenda not only for his country but for the rest of Latin America. Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia and Venezuela now swing left. What the US is trying to impose on the Middle East with the barrel of a gun is being rejected in South America with the clenched fists of the masses.

The poor of Latin America now realize that US imposed economies and business practices are counterproductive and indeed act as mechanisms of exploitation and poverty, lack of education and healthcare, substandard lifestyles and increased desolation. They have realized that privatization means higher prices and bills, less wages, more pollution, less social services, increased poverty and an increased miserable standard of living. The masses realize that the US- imposed system will condemn them to a life in the caste they were born into, unable to escape the grip of poverty and enslavement, unable to get an education or a meaningful job from which they can practice their abilities. They will be born and they will die in the same caste the system places them in, without opportunity and without hope. The gap between rich and poor has only increased, the growth and prosperity they were promised has been but a mirage and the overall energy of their nations have been swallowed and usurped. The lands of Latin America have been turned into feudal estates for the oligarchy. The masses have woken, their eyes are now open, and the growing social democracy now seen will only increase the betterment of lives and opportunity.

Yet the battles might be won but the war still continues. Latin America provides the US with more oil than the Middle East, and with vast quantities of the addicting devil’s excrement lying waiting to be sucked out of the South American jungles, it is a safe bet that the US will not allow a once puppet continent to turn against its interests. The power of the Leviathan is too strong and too embedded in the nations of Latin America. Social democracy, leftist-populism and the growing socialist bent appearing on the horizon will not be tolerated, and the real threat exists that BushCo might use military force to squash the mass movement taking place today. There are too many resources, natural and human, to be exploited by the US and its many interests. The oligarchs will not tolerate or allow its historical puppet to think on its own. There is simply too much money to be made in Latin America. The threat to BushCo is real, and it scares them, for they do not want to contemplate the ramifications of a successful implementation of a more just and equal ideology on the world stage.

Through democratic elections the people have spoken, rejecting US imposed economic and financial policies. They have elected leftist leaders who are slowly changing society for the better. The masses must confront their oligarchs, intent on keeping power, much the same way they must confront the mighty bullying tactics of the US behemoth. The end result sought by the Leviathan is complete control of resources, both human and natural, along with a global government of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations. In the United Corporations of America, it already has the means needed to acquire it sinister ends.

The first battle between the masses and the Leviathan is being waged in Latin America. In this war lies the future of humanity as we know it, and we should all be wishing our comrades down south the best of luck in making of their societies examples we can all one day emulate. We must keep an eye on Latin America because the next few years will be critically important for us all. Latin American leaders have voiced their opinion that the region is no longer the United States’ backyard. In so doing, they are making known that US policies are not welcome in their backyard. The once-subservient dog with no bite has suddenly grown a mighty sharp set of canines: 507 million of them.

The Revolution the Zapatistas initiated ten years ago has lifted the fog of fatalism and awakened an entire region into taking back the lives they once enjoyed and making real the dreams they once had for their children. With one united shout Latin America has spoken: “Not in our Backyard.”

Manuel Valenzuela is social critic and commentator, activist, writer and author of Echoes in the Wind, a novel to be published in 2004. His articles appear bi-weekly on axisoflogic.com. He welcomes comments and can be reached at manuel@valenzuelas.net. © Copyright 2004 by AxisofLogic.com.

Other Articles by Manuel Valenzuela

* The Exploitation of the American Soldier, Part II
* The Exploitation of the American Soldier, Part One
* Fear Factor Orange: Mind and Behavior Control in America
* The Evisceration of Democracy
* The Enemy Within: The NeoCon Hijacking of America
* The Walls that Divide Us
* The Stupefication of a Nation: Corporate Media Propaganda and its Weapons of Mass Distraction
* Automatons and Slaves: The Corporate Leviathan’s "Global Realization"
* The Hidden Unseen War: The Reality of Bush’s Iraq Part III: Failed Policy
* Perpetual War, Perpetual Terror
* Mission Accomplished 
* The Hidden and Unseen: The Reality of Bush’s Iraq, Part II: The Resistance
* The Hidden and Unseen: The Reality of Bush’s Iraq, Part I: The Dead & Wounded







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