Monday, April 03, 2006

BBC: Latin America: New Axis of Power?

The BBC has a whole new Inside Latin America section, which asks the questions How did the US Lose Latin America? What challenges does Latin America face? Is its relationship with the US changing? What are your thoughts on the future of the region?

There are the viewpoints of Noam Chomsky versus Otto Reich, Cuban-born propogandist, terrorist sympathyzer, coup plotter. They seperated the discussions unfortunately - a debate between these 2 would be quite a thing.

There's some good writing that you would never see in any American media outlet - too much America-skeptic truth about a place we still see as ours. The latest and most interesting piece is on Bolivia's Evo Morales - and his frustrating first months in office. Evo says, "You want to issue a decree to help the poor, the indigenous people, the popular movements, the workers... but there's another law. Another padlock. It's full of padlocks that mean you can't transform things from the palace... I feel like a prisoner of the neo-liberal laws." He hopes a constituent assembly - like Chavez did - will help make things possible. But the article warns of the upcoming showdown with the wealthy, oil company region of Santa Cruz (and speaks of buried guns and sabotage).

There's a piece on Chavez's recent call for stable $50 oil level, and the US Department of Energy report that showed at that level Venezuela would actually have the world's largest oil supplies (more than all the Middle East). It has the gall to mention these facts: "Mr Chavez is spending this on building infrastructure and increasing the minimum wage and improving health and education in the poor ranchos which surround the cities. Even his (Chavez's) opponents accept that (he) is extremely popular and will easily win the next presidential election in December."

Then there's another on the increasing Chinese influence in Latin America, paricularly Brazil. The US seems to be taking note of the reality, with State's Western Hemisphere chief Sec. Shannon's going East to visit Bejing. The purpose is to "negotiate the aprecise line which China must not cross in creating its new strategic alliance with Latin America, which has seen billions of dollars of Chinese money earmarked for infrastructure, transport, energy and defence projects there." The article ends with a primer on the Monroe Doctrine, which (R) Congressmen are not shy about defending.

I like reading the comments board, where the different view of the world by Americans and non is on full display.


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