Friday, March 03, 2006

Phillipines Crisis Showed US' Hypocrisy on Democracy

Imagine if Hugo Chavez in Venezuela were to outlaw public assembly, issue warrants for NGO leaders, lock up a half-dozen opposition (leftist) politicians and raid unfriendly newspapers accusing them of sedition? Imagine of there were to be a phone call where Chavez tells the election Commission head that he wants to win by 1 million votes? Imagine the reaction in the US State Department and the avalanche of editorial page condemnation. It would be considered a full-fledged assault on free speech and assembly and no justification of a supposed coup threat would cut it.

Well, we saw all these things and more happen in the Philippines this last week. And this was not any week, this was the 20th Anniversary of "peoples power" - the most hopeful moment in recent Filipino history, when the people's right to protest was so critical. But in 20 years, a basic democracy has turned to a cleptocracy, progress impeded by a corrupt and entrenched elite.

And guess what, there was ZERO mention by our State Department of the matters. Even worse, there were NO questions asked of them about it. Most Western media outlets covered the story over the weekend, when it appeared things may spin out of the Arroyo's control, but failed to provide context such as the utter failure of US-imposed political and economic structures and the obvious incongruencies of believing that communist rebels have joined forces with important elements of the military who are at war aginst each other.

Meanwhile, minutes before Arroyo announced the lifting of the controvertial martial law, two blasts rocked the Philippine capital near the offices of an elite police team.


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