Tag: Latin America

About F%$#ing Time

Chile has finally a ditched the neoliberal Milton Friedman abomination of a constitution that the murderous Agusto Pinochet foisted on them almost 40 years ago.

Over 70% of voters have approved a plebiscite to replace that constitution.

Milton Friedman, and his “Chicago Boys” made Chile, and the rest of the world a much worse place.

At some point, we should total up the deaths from their machinations.

I don’t think that they would beat out Josef Stalin, but I’m pretty sure that they make Pol Pot look a piker.

Fascists Defeated in Bolivia

Despite the best efforts to destroy the left wing Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) by the racist white elites in La Paz, as well as efforts by tye US state seucrity apparatus to overthrow the government, including a fraudulent claim of electoral fraud by the OAS, they outright won the first round of elections today.

The election, though the numbers are not official yet, are so overwhelming that the people who promulgated the coup have conceded.

My guess is that during the interregnum, the right will attempt to do whatever they can to privatize public resources and otherwise hamstring the MAS, despite the fact that the MAS presided over historic economic success and a reduction in poverty over its 14 years in power.

 Actually, the right will try to hamstring MAS BECAUSE it presided over historic economic success and a reduction in poverty over its 14 years in power.

After all, the exiting president was not only a right winger, but she thought that the indigenous populace was literally Satanic

Evo Morales’s leftwing party is celebrating a stunning political comeback after its candidate appeared to trounce rivals in Bolivia’s presidential election.

The official results of Sunday’s twice-postponed election had yet to be announced on Monday afternoon, but exit polls projected that Luis Arce, the candidate for Morales’s Movimiento al Socialismo (Mas), had secured more than 50% of the vote while his closest rival, the centrist former president Carlos Mesa, received about 30%.

Mesa conceded defeat on Monday lunchtime, telling supporters that a quick count showed a “very convincing and very clear” result. “There is a large gap between the first-placed candidate and us … and, as believers in democracy, it now falls to us … to recognise that there is a winner in this election,” Mesa said

Arce, a former finance minister under Morales, had earlier claimed victory in a late-night broadcast from La Paz. “We have reclaimed democracy and above all we have reclaimed hope,” said the 57-year-old UK-educated economist, who is widely known as Lucho.


Even Morales’s nemesis, the rightwing interim president, Jeanine Áñez, conceded that the left had come out on top. “We do not yet have the official count, but the data we do have shows that Mr Arce [has] … won the election. I congratulate the winners and ask them to govern thinking of Bolivia and of democracy,” Áñez tweeted.


For Áñez’s outgoing conservative interim government, which took power after Morales’s banishment, it was a stinging rebuke. “It tells us that the rightwing in Bolivia has no broad political support – not even close,” Shultz said. “The rightwing was given a chance to govern and proved that it is only interested in its own power and in itself and has contempt for the indigenous and poor of the country. They demonstrated that by pretending they had legitimacy that they didn’t, by overseeing real human rights abuses and impunity, and by being incompetent and corrupt in their governance. And people weren’t going to have it.” 

I expect to see more attempts by both the right in Bolivia, as well as by the US state security apparatus to overthrow this government.

And the Award for the Most Transparent Covid Excuse Goes To………

The Fascist and racist regime in Bolivia which is using Covid-19 as an excuse to put off elections that it will almost certainly lose:

Bolivia has postponed its presidential election for a second time due to coronavirus, which will leave its unelected president Jeanine Añez in power through to the end of the year.

The vote was due to take place on September 6. But with Covid-19 cases still rising in what is one of the poorest countries in Latin America, the top electoral court set a new date of October 18, with a second round, if needed, on November 29. The new government would take office in December.

The court said that “there is a consensus that the [coronavirus] peak [in Bolivia] will come sometime between the end of July and the first days of September”.

The decision is good news for Ms Añez, who had argued that Bolivians should not go to the polls until the worst had passed, and a blow to her main rival, Luis Arce, leader of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party that held power under longtime president Evo Morales until last year. He has accused Ms Añez of using the pandemic to cling to power.


It seemed she would be in the job for a matter of weeks — just long enough to organise fresh elections and oversee a transition. But after repeatedly saying she had no intention of running for the presidency, she did a U-turn in January and threw her hat into the ring.

The election was first scheduled for May but then pushed back due to the pandemic.


The last key poll before the pandemic suggested Ms Añez was third in voter intentions, behind Mr Arce and Carlos Mesa, a former president and the more centrist of the three candidates. Some polls since then have suggested Ms Añez had regained ground, but they have all been conducted online because of the lockdown.

Earlier this month, the Bolivian right moved to block Mr Arce’s participation in the election, saying he had breached electoral rules by publishing an opinion poll during the campaign period. The case is before a court.

Bolivia’s right, and its center-right, believe that it is illegitimate (literally an affront to God) for the indigenous majority in the country to hold political power, so I would expect further lawfare, and further violence, against the MAS and the poor.

I Am Feeling Way Too Much Schadenfreude over This

The most wack-doodle politician in Latin America, Jair Bolsonaro, has tested positive for Covid-19.

If I were a good person, I would wish him a prompt recovery, but I am not a good person, so I’m hoping for a poor outcome, because a poor outcome would be good for the people of Brazil, the Amazon, the indigenous people of Brazil, and the world.

It would also be profoundly ironic:

President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, who has railed against social distancing measures and repeatedly downplayed the threat of the coronavirus as the epidemic in his country became the second-worst in the world, said Tuesday that he, too, had been infected.

Critics at home and abroad have called Mr. Bolsonaro’s handling of the pandemic cavalier and reckless, allowing the virus to surge across Brazil, Latin America’s largest nation. At one point he dismissed it as “a measly cold,” and when asked in late April about the rising death toll, he replied: “So what? Sorry, but what do you want me to do?”

As the caseload has skyrocketed, Mr. Bolsonaro has shunned masks, attended mass rallies of his supporters, insisted that the virus poses no threat to healthy people, championed unproven remedies and shuffled through health ministers who disagreed with him.

Brazil now has more than 1.6 million confirmed cases and more than 65,000 deaths — more than any country except the United States.

Mr. Bolsonaro fell ill two days after he and a handful of his ministers attended a Fourth of July luncheon at the residence of Todd Chapman, the American ambassador in Brazil. Mr. Bolsonaro and other attendees sat shoulder-to-shoulder, embracing with no masks. The ambassador and his wife have since tested negative for the virus, but will remain at home, in quarantine, the embassy said.


Mr. Bolsonaro did not express contrition for his handling of the pandemic, and doubled down on his assertion that the virus poses little risk to healthy people. He characterized the diagnosis as a predictable outcome of a leadership style that requires him to be among the people. 

Of course he expressed no contrition.  That would require a level of self-awareness that he lacks.

Nature Cannot Be Fooled

The good little Neoliberals in Chile decided to increase forestation and offset carbon emissions by paying loggers to plant forests.

This program achieved none of its goals:

A multi-decade state program to subsidize tree planting in one of South America’s wealthiest nations led to a loss of biodiversity and did little to increase the forests’ capacity to capture greenhouse gases.

Chile’s plantation forests more than doubled between 1986 and 2011, while native forests shrunk by 13%, according to a new report by U.S. and Chilean academics. The country subsidized tree planting while its forestry sector boomed over that period.

Yet the environmental benefits are not as clear. Subsidies accelerated biodiversity losses in Chile as plantations often focus on one or two profitable tree species, the report said. While forest area expanded by more than 100% between 1986 and 2011, the carbon stored in vegetation increased by just 1.98% during that period.

“Our simulations indicate that plantation subsidies accelerated biodiversity losses in Chile by encouraging the expansion of plantations into more biodiverse forests,” researchers said in the paper published inNature Susainability on Monday. Chile’s case “provides several cautionary lessons,” according to Robert Heilmayr at the University of California Santa Barbara, Cristian Echeverria at Universidad de Concepcion in Chile and Eric F. Lambin at Stanford University.

This has happened time and time again:  Attempts to enlist the profit motives to achieve a public good generate profits, but little in the way of public good.

The title is taken from Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman’s comment in the appendix that he authored for the report on the space shuttle Challenger destruction:

For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.

Genocide is the Goal of Missionaries

Even if the inevitable plagues that evangelizing clerics bring to isolated indigenous tribes don’t wipe them out, it is the goal of missionaries to destroy the culture and way of life of these people.

It has been the not particularly subtle policy Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to practice genocide against Brazilian first peoples, witness his appointment of a former missionary to head the country’s missionary protection agency.

Well, now a judge has ruled that the plague ridden missionaries have to stay out of indigenous reserves.


A Brazilian judge has banned a group of Christian missionaries from entering a vast Amazon indigenous reserve with the world’s highest concentration of isolated tribes, citing risks from the coronavirus pandemic as one of his reasons.

Indigenous leaders and activists hailed the decision as “historic” and expressed hope that it could prevent a genocide in the Javari valley, a remote reserve the size of Austria on Brazil’s western borders.

“Facing with this new coronavirus pandemic we wanted to guarantee the rights of indigenous people to isolation,” said Eliesio Marubo, an indigenous lawyer who sought the ruling on behalf of Javari’s indigenous association Univaja.

Federal judge Fabiano Verli banned three missionaries, Andrew Tonkin, Josiah McIntyre and Pastor Wilson de Benjamin, from the reserve, along with the controversial missionary group New Tribes Mission of Brazil which recently bought a helicopter to convert isolated peoples in the region.

The judge referred to recent articles about isolated groups’ vulnerability to common diseases that decimated their populations in the past and authorised police and army to expel any of the missionaries found in the reserve. Brazil has so far seen three confirmed Covid-19 deaths among its indigenous population.

These missionaries would rather see 90% of these people dead if the remainder were baptized, so keep them away forever.

Ha Ha!!

Facing a crisis with COVID-19, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is reversing himself, and bringing back the Cuban doctors that he expelled when he toook office, because he now realizes just how badly he has f%$#ed himself now that he, and the rest of the world, is facing a potentially deadly pandemic:

Brazil is set to hire more doctors to fight coronavirus and the drive will include Cuban doctors in Brazil as part of a medical program that was canceled in late 2018 amid a diplomatic spat between Havana and Jair Bolsonaro, the health ministry said on Monday.

Health ministry officials said they will initially look to hire Brazilian nationals, but after that, they would try to bring in Cuban doctors – collateral damage in a war-of-words between President Jair Bolsonaro, who was then the president-elect, and Havana.

Bolsonaro, a far-right army captain, has for years railed against communist Cuba, which had close ties to previous leftists administrations in Brasilia.

It appears that Bolsonaro thinks that the Cubans have a robust system of medical schools, which allows them to provide doctors countries around the world which lack proper medical personnel.

I guess that this makes him Putin’s stooge.

OK, HIM I want Dead

I am not referring to Donald Trump, nor am I referring to any other American political figure.

Rather I am referring to the man who wants to pave over the Amazon basin, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who is the subject of conflicting reports as to whether he contracted the coronavirus.

This man is determined to plow under the whole of the Amazon, and the consequences of this would make the Black Death look like a tea party.


It is difficult to imagine that Evo Morales would have left office when and how he did — in a civic-military coup — if the Organization of American States had not found that Bolivia’s Oct. 20 election was fraudulent. To be sure, the OAS did not single-handedly bring down Morales. In the weeks before the coup, Morales faced large protests and a devastating police mutiny.

The protests did not focus solely on the election. Many were upset Morales was allowed to run at all after losing a 2016 referendum asking voters to approve his bid to seek a fourth term. The police mutiny centered on officers’ disgruntlement over pay and being asked to contain the protests. And the Bolivian right had declared that Morales could win the October election only through fraud for months before the vote, i.e., well before the OAS stepped into the fray.

Yet, the OAS actions were undoubtedly important in creating a climate within which a coup could not only succeed, but be applauded as a necessary step toward restoring Bolivian democracy, as the U.S. government and mainstream media did. In fact, the opposite has occurred. Following Morales’s ouster, Bolivia has come under the control of a right-wing authoritarian regime that has killed dozens of unarmed protesters, detained hundreds, blocked international human rights investigators, systematically repressed political opponents, threatened journalists and media outlets, embraced racism, and enacted a far-right agenda for which it has no electoral mandate nor constitutional legitimacy.

The question of whether the OAS was justified in declaring the October election fraudulent looms large. In a recent article published in The Post, John Curiel and Jack R. Williams, researchers with MIT’s Election Data and Science Lab, conclude the answer is no. Curiel and Williams used statistical analysis to analyze a central claim made by the OAS — initially in an Oct. 21, 2019, news release — that there was a “drastic and hard-to-explain change in the trend of the preliminary results” following an election-night suspension of the unofficial rapid vote count. According to the OAS, this is one of numerous pieces of evidence showing fraud. Curiel and Williams unequivocally reject this, writing: “As specialists in election integrity, we find that the statistical evidence does not support the claim of fraud in Bolivia’s October election.”

The OAS is an organ of the US regime change mousketeers.

Cue the Death Squads

Following mass protests and demands from the military, Bolivian President Evo Morales has resigned.

We are now seeing the coordinated efforts to put the setting fire to official residences and the home of Morales’ sister.

I expect to see assassination of labor and environmental activists to proceed forthwith, as happened in Honduras following the 2009 coup.

It should be noted that, notwithstanding the OAS statements to the contrary, there were no statistical anomalies in the election returns indicative of fraud.

I’m sure that someone in Langley will be getting a permission over this.

Argentina: 1 — IMF: 0

Argentine president Mauricio Macri has decisively lost his bid for reelection, showing that the the people of Argentina have gotten sick of the myth of expansionary austerity:

Argentina’s Peronists swept back into power on Sunday, ousting conservative president Mauricio Macri in an election result that shifts Latin America’s No. 3 economy firmly back toward the left after it was battered by economic crisis.

Peronist Alberto Fernandez had 47.79% of the vote, ahead of Macri’s 40.71%, with more than 90% of ballots counted, putting the center-left challenger over the 45% threshold to avoid a runoff and win the election outright.

Macri, speaking at his election party, conceded the race and congratulated Fernandez. He said he had invited Fernandez to the presidential palace on Monday to discuss an orderly transition, seen as essential for Argentina’s shaky economy and markets.

Here’s hoping that this is the beginning of a trend.

The standard neoliberal prescriptions create little more than misery.

Someone Who Knows that he Owns his Persecutors

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is refusing a release from prision, and is instead demanding an investigation of the prosecutors who are now desperate to bury the corruption in their prosecution of him:

The same Brazilian prosecutors who for years exhibited a single-minded fixation on jailing former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva are now seeking his release from prison, requesting that a court allow him to serve the remainder of his 11-year sentence for corruption at home. But Lula — who believes the request is motivated by fear that prosecutorial and judicial improprieties in his case, which were revealed by The Intercept, will lead to the nullification of his conviction — is opposing these efforts, insisting that he will not leave prison until he receives full exoneration.

In seeking his release, Lula’s prosecutors are almost certainly not motivated by humanitarian concerns. Quite the contrary: Those prosecutors have often displayed a near-pathological hatred for the two-term former president. Last month, The Intercept, jointly with its reporting partner UOL, published previously secret Telegram messages in which the Operation Car Wash prosecutors responsible for prosecuting Lula cruelly mocked the tragic death of his 7-year-old grandson from meningitis earlier this year, as well as the 2017 death of his wife of 43 years from a stroke at the age of 66. One of the prosecutors who participated publicly apologized, but none of the others have.

Far more likely is that the prosecutors are motivated by desperation to salvage their legacy after a series of defeats suffered by their once-untouchable, widely revered Car Wash investigation, ever since The Intercept, on June 9, began publishing reports based on a massive archive of secret chats between the prosecutors and Sergio Moro, the judge who oversaw most of the convictions, including Lula’s, and who now serves as President Jair Bolsonaro’s Minister of Justice and Public Security.

The prosecution of Lula was always sketchy as hell, and Lula realizes that the whole case against him is unraveling, and the prosecutors are now threatening to physically throw him OUT of prison in an attempt to prevent a thorough review of their behavior by Brazil’s supreme court.

I Weep for the Tortoises

Notwithstanding a section of their constitution banning foreign military bases, Ecuador is allowing the US to set up a base in Galapagos:

Ecuador has agreed to allow US military planes to operate from an airport on the Galapagos Islands, reports say.

US aircraft will be able to use San Cristobal airport, Ecuador’s defence minister Oswaldo Jarrin has been quoted as saying.

They will “fight drug trafficking” under a deal with Ecuador’s government, Mr Jarrin said.

The reported deal has prompted concerns over the potential impact on the environment and Ecuador’s sovereignty.


Legislators in Ecuador’s parliament have called on Mr Jarrin and environment minister Marcelo Mata to explain the scope of co-operation with the US in the islands.

They have asked them to elaborate on proposals to extend the runway at San Cristobal airport, daily El Universo reports.

Lawmaker Marcela Cevallos said the plan would be alarming for conservationists, it reported.

Opposition congressman Carlos Viteri said the agreement with the US was “unacceptable” and should be prohibited if “it intends to cede an inch of Ecuadorian territory”.

Under Article 5 of Ecuador’s constitution, the country is “a territory of peace” and the “establishment of foreign military bases or foreign facilities for military purposes shall not be allowed”.

Ecuador’s former president Rafael Correa also reacted angrily, tweeting (in Spanish) that the island was “not an aircraft carrier” for the Americans.

Mr Jarrin assured critics that “there will be no permanence of anyone” on the island.

He said any modifications to the airfield would be paid for by the US, Telesur reported.

So, the US will pay to modify airfield, potentially destroying hundreds of acres of habitat on San Cristobal, but it’s not a base.

This is manifest destiny Monroe Doctrine bullsh%$.

The Definitive Statement on Venezuela

When a CIA-backed military coup is attempted by a long term CIA puppet, roared on by John Bolton and backed with the offer of Blackwater mercenaries, in the country with the world’s largest oil reserves, I have no difficulty whatsoever in knowing which side I am on.

Craig Murray

Even ignoring the catastrophic human toll of such efforts, CIA backed regime change operations have ended up making the United States less secure in the long term.

What a Surprise, the Venezuela Aid Story Was a Lie

There was a confrontation at the Columbia-Venezuelan border over the US aid convoy 2 weeks ago, and it appears that the narrative stating that the Venezuelan Army had burned the convoy was a lie.

I would note that, until dozens of alternate sources had, and revealed the footage, the New York Times had bought into the previous narrative:

The narrative seemed to fit Venezuela’s authoritarian rule: Security forces, on the order of President Nicolás Maduro, had torched a convoy of humanitarian aid as millions in his country were suffering from illness and hunger.

Vice President Mike Pence wrote that “the tyrant in Caracas danced” as his henchmen “burned food & medicine.” The State Department released a video saying Mr. Maduro had ordered the trucks burned. And Venezuela’s opposition held up the images of the burning aid, reproduced on dozens of news sites and television screens throughout Latin America, as evidence of Mr. Maduro’s cruelty.

But there is a problem: The opposition itself, not Mr. Maduro’s men, appears to have set the cargo alight accidentally.

Unpublished footage obtained by The New York Times and previously released tapes — including footage released by the Colombian government, which has blamed Mr. Maduro for the fire — allowed for a reconstruction of the incident. It suggests that a Molotov cocktail thrown by an antigovernment protester was the most likely trigger for the blaze.

At one point, a homemade bomb made from a bottle is hurled toward the police, who were blocking a bridge connecting Colombia and Venezuela to prevent the aid trucks from getting through.

But the rag used to light the Molotov cocktail separates from the bottle, flying toward the aid truck instead.

Half a minute later, that truck is in flames.

The same protester can be seen 20 minutes earlier, in a different video, hitting another truck with a Molotov cocktail, without setting it on fire.


This guy threw Molotov Cocktails at at least 2 trucks over a period of 20 minutes, and you are calling it a f%$#ing, “Accident”?

More like a deliberate false flag.

BTW, in related news, another New York Times story, about the widespread power outages in Venezuela buries the lede:

The blackout will further depress Venezuela’s already collapsing economy, which is being squeezed by bad governance, graft and sanctions imposed by the United States. The sanctions have affected Venezuela’s ability to import and produce the fuel required by the thermal power plants that could have backed up the Guri plant once it failed.

(emphasis mine)

This is why, when I want accurate stories regarding US foreign policy, I go to the foreign press.

In the Annals of Unconvincing Denials………

An air cargo shipper and its client on Friday both denied knowledge of the small shipment of weapons that Venezuelan authorities said arrived in the city of Valencia earlier this week on a flight from Miami International Airport.

A Boeing 767 operated by 21 Air, which maintains an operating facility at MIA, delivered cargo earlier this week that included 19 assault rifles, telescopic sights, radio antenna and other materiel to the international airport in Valencia, according to a Bolivarian National Guard general, Endes Palencia.

The charge drew sharp denials both from the Greensboro, North Carolina-based air cargo company and a second company that arranged the shipment.

A lawyer for 21 Air, Alberto N. Moris, said Friday that the company was never formally notified by Venezuela of any arms seizure and had no knowledge of the cargo that was aboard its plane since it had been chartered by a second company.

“All of the cargo on board our aircraft was from the GPS-Air, who chartered the aircraft,” Moris said. The Transportation Security Administration “is going to investigate the party responsible for the cargo,” he added.


“Only a fool would try sending guns out of the airport,” said Cesar Meneses, who identified himself as a manager at the cargo shipper, which has done business with 21 Air and other companies. He said the arms shipment report was a fabrication by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to make himself appear as a victim.


Because there is no one in the US State security apparatus who has expressed interest in overthrowing the Maduro government. (Not)

The denials only added to the mystery of the alleged shipment — a mystery compounded by perhaps coincidental ties between the chairman and a key employee of 21 Air with a company that Amnesty International says once took part in a CIA program to whisk suspected terrorists to “black site” jails around the world, a procedure known as rendition.

The chairman and majority owner of 21 Air, Adolfo Moreno, has set up or registered at least 14 other companies in Florida over the past two decades. Among the people brought on to 21 Air when it formed in 2014 was Michael Steinke, its director of quality control.

Both men appear to have either coincidental or direct ties to Gemini Air Cargo, a company that Amnesty International described in a 2006 report as being among more than 30 air charter services believed to have taken part in a CIA program of rendition in which suspected terrorists were abducted abroad and taken to third-country secret “black sites” for interrogation.

There is nothing to worry about though, as the CIA has never attempted to overthrow foreign governments  ……… Right?

It Does Seem to Be an American Tradition

Another administration, another coup fomented in Latin America.

This is wrong, and it’s a distraction, we should be spending our energy on being outraged about Russian Facebook trolls.

I mean that literally, there has been an overthrow of a regime promulgated by the US in every administration since (at least) the Reagan administration.  (Honduras was Obama’s coup.)

President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela officially cut off dipomatic ties with the U.S. government on Wednesday—and gave American diplomats 72 hours to leave the country—in response to President Donald Trump declaring formal recognition of an opposition lawmaker as the “Interim President” of Venezuela, despite not being elected by the nation’s people for that position.

“Before the people and nations of the world, and as constitutional president,” declared Maduro to a crowd of red-shirted supporters gathered outside the presidential residence in Caracas, “I’ve decided to break diplomatic and political relations with the imperialist U.S. government.”


Critics of U.S. imperialism and its long history of anti-democratic manuevers in Latin American expressed immediate alarm on Wednesday after Trump’s announcement. And what Trump identified as “democracy,” critics of the move instead used Maduro’s description: “coup.”


Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), called the latest moves by the Trump administration a “disgrace.”

“It’s acceleration of the Trump administration’s efforts at regime change in Venezuela,” said Weisbrot. “We all know how well that strategy has worked out in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria—not to mention that hundreds of thousands of people in Latin American have been killed by U.S.-sponsored regime change in Latin America since the 1970s.”

I don’t claim omniscience, but I will say that should this coup be successfully prosecuted, the ordinary Venezuelan is going to  suffer, and the Venezuelan elites, along with Wall Street will loot the sh%$ out of the place.