Category Archives: Colonialism

A Voice from Haiti, Who We Are Further Victimizing

This morning I wrote about how we and the French are continuing to rip off Haiti 7 months after their earthquake.

Today I read about one woman’s experiences. She sounds so much like us. Getting to the human level during these kind of existential events, we always see that “they” are just like “us”. I wonder if we can think of our new Tamil visitors that way?

Beyond some poignant quotes below, she finishes here piece this this, which seems like a futile hope from where we stand:

We have a lot of work to do. We need to have dialogue so we can tell the international organizations what we need, what problems we have. I’d hope that the Haitian authorities and the international community can collaborate, can have good relations to develop really useful solutions for those who have problems.

Some other disturbing elements of her piece:

Young women suffer sexual aggression because they have to bathe in public.

There’s a lot of theft, you have to watch what you have very carefully. …Anyone can just frequent the camp, whether they live there or not

You have to work hard not to get sick. You see children who were normal before January 12 and now you see their color has changed, they’re skinnier, they have bumps all over their skin.

You can’t be walking around all day with all your belongings under your arms. You have to be able to say, “That is my place, that’s where my possessions are, that’s where I sleep, that’s where my home is.”

via t r u t h o u t | Amid Haitian Housing Crisis, Student Calls for Dialogue.

How We [and the French] Keep Ripping Off Haiti

It was so nice to see so many billions pledged to help Haiti after its earthquake where the planet kicked the country after it was down from centuries of racist, imperial and neoliberal exploitation.

But how much money pledged has shown up?

And worse, did you know that Haiti spent more than a century paying off France reparations money for their own freedom? Imagine what the country would have been like if it didn’t pay that odious debt.

Let’s explore all the odious exploitation of Haiti for the last 206 years, with special focus on the last seven months. Continue reading How We [and the French] Keep Ripping Off Haiti

The Queen, G20 Abuses and Canada’s Future

It has been a couple weeks and I still can’t get this out of my head.

I was going to write something quite venomous on Canada Day about the queen’s characterization of Canada, but decided to let it slide. But I can’t:

The Queen said she has witnessed more than half of Canada’s national history and praised what Canada stands for.

“This nation has dedicated itself to being a caring home for its own, a sanctuary for others and an example to the world,” she said.

via CBC News – Canada – Queen calls Canada ‘example to the world’.

It wouldn’t have been so annoying if Canada Day weren’t just days after our constitutions was suspended by the security on acid in Toronto last month.

I’m no monarchist, but this is just gratuitous. I won’t suggest the queen is deluded about the underbelly of Canada. Her job as the hands-off head of state means she has no place commenting on our controversial issues. She’s a cheerleader and a sanctioner of paradigms.

What’s hers?

Well, she’s the Queen of the British Empire, no friend to egalitarianism, social justice or political liberty. Not that she’s a shill for authoritarianism, she’s a symbol of it.

So when she says that we are a caring home for our own, our increasing socio-economic disparities disagree with that, as do the hundreds locked up in Toronto.

When she says we are a sanctuary for others, we need to see if the citizens who generally support providing refuge for American deserters from the Iraq invasion and occupation will insist the government actually permit them to stay.

When she says we are an example to the world, she is absolutely right. We are an example of G8 and G20 leadership. An example of the proper way of putting neoliberal corporate interests in the highest of places in a nation. An example of how the world ought to behave when the masters are in town.

In short, we are an example of a middle power bowing down to the new world order. Democracy, rights, freedom, social justice, economic policies that work for people not global corporate interests are the enemy of the great sucking sound of the rich getting richer and the rest of us seeing dissent and free speech criminalized.

So on our road to reclaiming Canada, let’s dump the monarchy. Because in the end, when the queen says she’s witnessed more than half our nation’s history, she knows what she’s talking about.

And I don’t want to hear from the likes of her anymore.

A Fine Collection of Canada Day Racism

First Nations propose changing Stanley Park’s name to Xwayxway.

What an interesting story about changing the name of Stanley Park to remove the colonialism. We now have Haida Gwaii and the Salish Sea. Removing colonial markers is about us as it is about the First Nations.

But I am thoroughly astonished, but sadly not surprised, at the degree of racism in the comments to this story. There are 16 comments now, only one in favour of the name change and many of those opposed spouting such racist bunk that it truly sours Canada Day.

More shame.

Libby Davies, Israel, Spin and Chill

Hot on the heals of “The Thing About Israel” from the other day, I see a campaign against Libby Davies because of a video of her comments at a rally and the spin around it.

Today I despin and respin aspects of the event.

  1. I found out about the Libby Davies YouTube video the other night when someone called AnonymousProgressive emailed their link to me with a “wtf?”. The video was part of that person’s YouTube account. The video seems to be a re-edit of a video by katzd314, with a link to this blog piece. I emailed a second time to AnonymousProgressive [] asking for their background in relation to the video and why they’re anonymous.
  2. People often comment anonymously about Israel for many reasons including because they are afraid of vitriolic retribution and a myriad of other things, whether their fear is credible or not. This is the chill atmosphere that pervades dialogue about Israel, and many other highly controversial topics. Other times, people are anonymous because they’re up to no good. It’s hard to say for sure here, but so far it looks like entrapment/gotcha journalism, blogger style. There are lots of opinions about how legitimate/useful that is. Regarding the real intentions of the poster, I still haven’t received a reply to AnonymousProgressive’s anonymity. I’ll send them this piece to see if they wish to comment, anonymously or openly.
  3. Let’s respin the video:
    1. The first question asked of Davies from the questioner is when did the “occupation in Israel” start, 1948 or 1967? Davies answers 1948. She stated that was an error here and apologized for any confusion that caused. Many actually wouldn’t see her 1948 answer as an error though.
    2. AnonymousProgressive then intersperses a defense that stating 1948 necessarily denies Israel’s right to exist. It might be a bit of a leap to say that stating that the occupation began in 1948 means a belief Israel should not exist. The UN Security Council is seen by many, like me, as far from a democratically legitimate body. The UN General Assembly’s votes are non-binding, while the 5 permanent members of the Security Council have vetoes on Security Council resolutions, which are binding. The creation of Israel has been under a cloud of illegitimacy since before 1948. Was there a forced expulsion of Palestinians, for instance? I think the same can be said for the settlement, creation and growth of Canada. At the same time, many people see no illegitimacy at all in the UN’s actions regarding Israel, or indeed Canada’s origins.
    3. Judy Rebick describes it far better here: “It is a matter of debate whether the occupation started in 1948 or 1967.  If you are of the view that the expulsion of the Palestinians from their homes when Israel was founded was unacceptable than [sic] the occupation began there.  If you agree with the foundation of state of Israel whatever the costs to the Palestinian people then you think the occupation started in 1967.  Believing that the foundation  of the state of Israel was unjust does not mean that you think the state of Israel should not continue to exist.   I believe that the foundation of Canada was unjust but I don’t call for the dissolution of Canada; although I am starting to consider it.” I happen to think that since about 96% of BC is on unceded First Nations land, we are in a similar place of occupation. Look up the Royal Proclamation of 1763 on that one.
    4. Davies then explained that in Gaza, people are suffering and that you can’t get basic necessities there. AnonymousProgressive inserted a statement from a Hamas official saying that because of bread, there is no starvation in Gaza. That may be true. But there are other necessities than bread and other ways to suffer. The International Red Cross released an unusually bold statement on Monday calling for an end to the illegal closure of Gaza. They explain suffering circumstances beyond just the presence/absence of bread.
    5. The next question in the video is whether she supports the Boycott, Divest, Sanction [BDS] campaign against Israel. The textual commentary explains she is wrong, which is logically absurd because the question was whether she supports the BDS campaign. Her opinion is her opinion. An example of an unhelpful merging of fact/opinion/vitriol that muddies clear discourse. The textual commentary explains that BDS targets all Israelis “to isolate and delegitimize the Jewish state.” That could be one goal of many who support BDS. I remember a Boycott Brand America campaign several years ago. Many who supported it wanted to delegitimize the USA, many simply wanted President Bush to get out of Iraq: a political policy choice. Do all who support BDS necessarily wish to delegitimize the Jewish state? No. To say they all do is unprovable and a bullying tactic because it puts a chill on discourse.

In the end, what comes from all this? Some discussion, some facts, some opinions, a mis-stated year, an apology, some analogies, and some unfounded logical leaps. This seems to be standard in my observation of dialogue about Israel over the last quarter century.

So then other Canadian federal politicians start condemning Libby Davies for her views. Again, Judy Rebick notes that the vast majority of Canadians do not have a positive view of Israel and just over half have a negative view. So who is offended by criticism of Israel?

I won’t put on my tin foil hat and try to list them all. But here’s the answer: those who have a stake in supporting the status quo. That includes Canada, Israel’s “best friend,” regardless of whether that’s a Conservative or Liberal government in Canada.

But we learn more when we see Murray Dobbins’ accounting of how Jack Layton reacted to Davies’ comments, apologizing to the Israeli ambassador and forcing her to make a public apology. This perpetuates the chill that there is something untouchable about talking about Israel…to the point of avoiding commentary on Israel’s killing of flotilla travelers in international waters; how is that not an international crime?

Virtually the same thing happened the week after BC NDP candidate Mable Elmore won her nomination in Vancouver-Kensington in March 2009. Using the word Zionist in an interview she gave years earlier came back into the public eye. BC NDP leader Carole James forced Elmore to apologize.

And if you’ve heard of the hitherto great journalist Helen Thomas, you can read two perspectives about the price she paid for carelessly weighing in on issues around Israel, along with a defense of her. Clearly, the stakes are high for engaging about Israel.

There is clearly a minefield around Israel discourse. There are inferences, presumed implications, assumed emotions, leaps to conclusions, fear of bad political spin, confusion around who exactly are politicians’ constituents, fear of perhaps offending a group regardless of how logical or reasonable it may be.

All these add up to a chill. A chill that I have felt victim to if you look at the very little I have written in 6 years about Israel, out of a reluctance to deal with the [at least chill-induced perceived] onslaught of opposition. That is, until recent weeks when the absence of political action in the world to address human rights violations motivated a flotilla of civilians with aid to attempt to break a blockade that violates “international humanitarian law“. Then the Rachel Corrie was kept from landing in Gaza.

Now there is a ship of German Jews readying to sail to Gaza. This should help cut the Gordian knot of simplistic manipulation and intellectual abuse that is the all-spin zone around Israeli issues and the machinery of the chill over so many who should feel free to speak their minds.

And here’s your test for today. Take a look at this classic editorial cartoon and see if you can engage with it on rational, emotional and political levels without sliding into a reactionary place. You are, of course, fee to like or dislike, respect or oppose it

And a final test, if you are still unsure of whether Zionism is a necessarily offensive word in North America, read its use and context here and try to separate the definition and use of “Zionism” and the writer’s opinions about Zionism. This should clear/muddle things up for various people. How about you?

Finally, I intentionally waited until I finished writing this before reading most of this piece by Paul Burrows to avoid restating everything that resonates with me.

So, I want to live in a community where we have open dialogue about controversial issues. When events are spun and a chill sets in, we all suffer fron this. I think our job is to not settle for simplistic answers and to be critical of the spin and “follow the money” to see who benefits from each position on the table.

The truth wants to be free. We all need to practice how to hear it and cut through the impediments.

The Thing About Israel

OK, here’s the thing about Israel, OK, one thing: there is no greater concentration of political spin in all of human history than around the issues relating to Israel. And the spin has the [likely intended] consequence of creating a chill factor to keep people from trying to reasonably discuss issues on any side of Israel issues. This chill is bad for humanity.

By the way, while I’m not commenting on this news release, I would like to mention here that the International Committee of the Red Cross has just released a very important statement on ending the closure of Gaza. People will of course support or condemn this ICRC position for good, bad, non-rational or compelling reasons. But I’m not writing about that today.

Committed activists and ideologues on all sides of Israel issues contribute to this intense level of spin expertise. Within the discourse, there are, among other things: facts, disinformation, misinformation, irrational attacks, flagrantly hyperbolic analogies, opinions, rhetoric, invective, anger, racism, Polyannaism, political agendas, global conflict paradigms that in part revolve around middle eastern land, and the governments and lobby groups of dozens of countries. It’s a classic imbroglio flambe.

I will take but one example of a variety of things I have to say about Israel. Let’s start with an analogy, knowing full well that it can be creatively re-interpreted by anyone with an agenda to accuse me of pretty much anything. I can handle that.

[Note: just for fun, let me state clearly that I make no comments in this entire piece about whether “the state of Israel ought to exist or not”…just so that if anyone accuses me of being on either side of it, I’m just not talking about that issue in this piece. Later, though. Oh, and preemptive disclaimers are a feature of a society of discourse living under a chill.]

Here’s my question. Can anyone criticize policy decisions or actions of Israel’s government?

Can Canadians criticize the government of Canada for supporting tar sands development, or even spending tax money on child care subsidies? Typically, yes. And in doing so, few seem to be accused of being racist, anti-Canadian, or harbouring hatred for Canadians.

Can Canadians criticize the US government for its support of a free trade agenda with despotic regimes, or even spending tax money on food stamp programs? Typically, yes. And in doing so, few seem to be accused of being racist, or harbouring hatred for the American people, though to be honest, many are accused of being anti-American for criticizing or supporting something someone else either agrees with or disagrees with. That’s too bad. Chills suck.

If France begins above ground nuclear testing on a “French” island in the Pacific Ocean or embraces a Tobin Tax, do I necessarily hate/love the French people for decisions of the government, regardless of who voted for what and by how much? I wouldn’t think so. I think I’d still appreciate their cinema and fries.

So a while back I wrote [in a poem] about the difference between a people and a government’s policies [see below]. Are there any differences? What should be the significance of the differences? And if you are interested in testing your attitudes toward this issue, take this test: read this article and see if you can de/re-spin everyone’s perspective. It’s pretty complicated, but a worthwhile exercise. Maybe I’ll get around to doing that in here one day.

via 22 Impolite Questions: a Response to Rhetoric Crimes « Politics, Re-Spun.

are Noam Chomsky and Phyllis Bennis anti-American if they criticize their imperial government?

and what about Israel?

am i anti-Semitic if i disagree with the domestic or foreign policy decisions of the de facto fundamentalist Jewish theocracy in Israel?

do i wish all Jews in the world dead because i don’t agree with any given decision of the Israeli government?

are Noam Chomsky and Phyllis Bennis self-hating Jews if they oppose any given decision or set of decisions of the Israeli government or decisions of the US government that support Israeli policy they disagree with?

Bill Bennett: King of Plausible Deniability!

The ad reads, “You want someone who pays taxes and is concerned about how the money is being spent,” underneath a photo of Bennett and his family and a slogan that reads, “He’s one of us.”

So Kootenay East Liberal Party candidate Bill Bennett did it again. First his campaign planned to host a beer night at a pub, advertising free beer. Bennett claims it was not his idea, but some over-zealous person on his campaign. Plausible deniability. Have a seat in your throne, Mr. Bennett!

Now he runs an ad talking about how voters want to elect someone who pays taxes BLAH BLAH BLAH. I’m trying to think of a provincial politician in a scandal about not paying taxes. Maybe that’s why he mentioned that idea.

Tom Daschle lost his chance at a cabinet post because of tax problems. Oh, wait. He was looking for a spot in Obama’s cabinet.

Ok, there appears to be no obvious context for him to make that comment, unless not living in Kootenay East means I’m missing out on some local controversy.

It is only when you look at the heredity and policies of his opponents do we see value in the statement.

NDP candidate Troy Sebastian belongs to the Ktunaxa First Nation and lives on an Indian Reserve so is exempt from federal and provincial taxes under the Indian Act. Wilf Hanni, leader of the BC Conservatives, and one of his party’s top contenders for winning a riding, is opposed to the governing Liberals’ Recognition and Reconciliation Act.

Bennett has recently broken with party policy to also oppose the new relationship, all to remove one of Wilf Hanni’s greatest wedge issues. He has also run ads recently that neglected to include the Liberal Party branding, since it carries such a stink to it these days.

So, if Bennett is more crafty than daft, his tax comment is all about continuing to remove Hanni’s wedge and play the race card against his NDP opponent. Plausible deniability exists again. Here is your scepter, Mr. Bennett!

And while daft and clueless [and arrogant and out of touch, the quite accurate NDP mantra against the Liberals] are possibilities, my money is on Bennett being crafty, sneaking free beer and racism against First Nations in because he is desperate to keep a seat he only barely won.

And in the end, he’s in trouble either way. If he’s too daft and clueless to see how free beer and a comment about paying taxes might be spun badly, why would anyone vote for him as their MLA?

And if he’s crafty, then he’s a lying, scheming, opportunist who will flip on party policy and attack an opponent by pandering to racists, and that is not a person worthy of representing any British Columbians, except of course for Liberal voters who happen to be bigots.

But then again, the BC Liberal Party has a convicted drunk driving for a premier, a former mayor under criminal investigation, a now-resigned cabinet member with a suspended driver’s license, a few others with drunk driving or a plethora of moving violations and a homophobe. And don’t get me started on the sick and disgusting things I heard come out of Harry Bloy’s mouth during question period while I was sitting in the gallery several years ago when there were two female NDP MLAs in the house. That vitriol steams me to this day.

And while the NDP has its share of candidates with some speeding tickets, the trophy with the headless bowler goes to the Liberals for either criminal or madly anti-social behaviour–and don’t get me started either on how anti-social their policies have been for 8 years.

So in the end, Bennett seems more crafty than daft to me, in part because he would fit right in with his party.

So when you go vote tomorrow, Saturday and Tuesday, if you live in Kootenay East, ask yourself if Bill Bennett is just stupid or a lying racist. Whichever answer you get, make sure you don’t vote for him.

Memo to Harper: Bush Doesn’t Have Your Back Anymore

Someone should really tell the prime minister that George w.Caesar doesn’t have his back on angry imperialist rhetoric anymore.

It’s one thing for Ignatieff to sit quietly, saying nothing, waiting for the economy to implode Harper’s government, but for Harper to show that he still thinks the Bush Doctrine rules the world means his crash will be profound when the federal Liberals pull the plug on this version of their coalition with the Conservatives.

These tidy morsels from this great CP piece below are precious:

  • “Harper took an alternate tack at the summit, waving the banner of free trade as often as possible.” Forget about how neoliberal free trade is largely responsible for our current crisis in capitalism.
  • Harper’s goals: to “maximize the benefits of increased trade and investment”
  • Harper’s new bff, the president of the Dominican Republic: “Of course, with the financial and economic global crisis, that’s the…main problem, the main concern, but this doesn’t mean that free trade for some countries is not in their best interest.” Yes, black is black and white is white, but that doesn’t mean that black can’t also be white. 
  • “Harper spoke of ‘antagonists,’ ‘cold war socialism’ and ‘rogue nations when referring to countries such as Venezuela and Cuba, declaring himself an ‘anti-Communist conservative’ in an interview with right-wing American TV channel Fox News at the summit.” Charming how Harper’s vision of Canada is filtered through Fox News.

Leaders declare Americas summit a success thanks to Obama

Published Sunday April 19th, 2009

Jennifer Ditchburn, THE CANADIAN PRESS

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – The hemispheric summit that leaders feared would implode over Washington’s chilly relations with Cuba and Venezuela was declared a success Sunday, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other key players tipping their hats to American President Barack Obama.

Leaders emerged from a retreat at the Summit of the Americas on Sunday unable to sign a wordy final declaration because of reservations by Venezuela and others who wanted stronger language on Cuba and the world financial crisis.

Still, they reached a consensus on adopting a shorter final statement, and more importantly nobody left slamming the door as happened at the last summit in 2005.

There were no confrontations between the Americans and some of their rivals. Instead, there were handshakes and Obama’s photo-friendly smile. Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez said he’d like to send an ambassador back to Washington.

The chemistry was key, as host Prime Minister Patrick Manning noted.

“We all came here I think believing that we would have quite a battle among the radically different perspectives that exist on certain subjects…that did not materialize, in fact we saw the opposite,” Harper said a closing news conference. “We saw the replacement of confrontation by dialogue, a very good dialogue.”

Harper joined several others in saluting Obama for his landmark speech Friday evening, in which he brought a message of partnership with the hemisphere based on mutual respect and dignity. Obama also acknowledged certain failures in American foreign policy, including its enforcement based drug policy.

Obama repeated his call for a new American policy in the hemisphere at a news conference Sunday. He noted how many countries are supportive of Cuba precisely because of its humanitarian efforts – it sends thousands of doctors to developing countries.

“That’s why it’s so important that in our interactions, not just here in the hemisphere but around the world, that we recognize that our military power is just one arm of our power, and we have to use our diplomatic and development aid in more intelligent ways so people can see more concrete improvements in the lives of their peoples as a consequence of U.S. foreign policy,” Obama told reporters.

He said there had been promising signs in relations between his country and Cuba and Venezuela, but that the real test would come from the actions that followed after the summit.

The issue of Cuba’s inclusion in the inter-American family and future summits was pushed off to the general assembly later this spring of the Organization of American States (OAS). The prime minister did not comment on how Canada would vote at the meeting.

Harper took an alternate tack at the summit, waving the banner of free trade as often as possible.

One of his final acts of the summit was to sweeten the pot for countries Canada is negotiating with, earmarking an extra $18 million in aid over five years to help them “maximize the benefits of increased trade and investment.”

His call for open markets found some allies.

The president of Dominican Republic said he was keen to advance negotiations with Canada for a free trade deal.

“We see trade as part of development, it’s not just trade per se – it’s trade related to development,” Leonel Fernandez told a group of Canadian reporters.

“Of course, with the financial and economic global crisis, that’s the…main problem, the main concern, but this doesn’t mean that free trade for some countries is not in their best interest.”

Harper also adopted strikingly different language than Obama.

Where Obama urged countries in his stirring speech Friday against focusing on ideological labels such as capitalist or socialist, Harper spoke of “antagonists,” “cold war socialism” and “rogue nations” when referring to countries such as Venezuela and Cuba, declaring himself an “anti-Communist conservative” in an interview with right-wing American TV channel Fox News at the summit.

His spokesman continually referred to Latin America as Canada’s “backyard” in a briefing to kick off the meeting.

Some Canadian observers said Harper seemed to misread the tone of the summit, where many countries – and not just the “rogue nations” such as Venezuela and Bolivia – have been feeling a strong domestic backlash against trade liberalization.

Opposition to a Free Trade Area of the Americas was the principal reason the last summit fell apart.

Carlo Dade, executive director of the Canadian Foundation for the Americas, gave Harper points for announcing a $4 billion financial guarantee for the Inter-American Bank (IDB), a move that he said took leadership in the hemisphere.

The financial crisis was by far the main preoccupation of countries represented at the summit.

But Dade said focusing on trade was an ill-advised strategy at a moment when many are resentful of trade – part of the reason figures such as Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Bolivia’s Evo Morales have emerged.

“There’s a lot of blame going on for the financial crisis on trade liberalization,” said Dade, who has been attending summit-related events. “Some countries have suffered in trade agreements with the United States and the European Union. They’re not like Canadian agreements…but (the government) hasn’t done the work to differentiate Canada from this.”

The damage that organized drug crime has inflicted on the region would have been a good topic to raise, Dade added.

Canada is seeing this reticence clearly in its dealings with Caribbean leaders. The 15 members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have been dragging their heels on a free-trade deal with Canada because they would like the deal to include funding that would adjust for any economic losses to their people as a consequence of a pact – this despite the fact Canada is the largest donor to the Caribbean region.

Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada, said he and other rights organizations were disappointed that Harper did not couple his rhetoric on trade with a vision for social justice and better protection for human rights.

“It certainly does seem that’s he’s been a bit of a solitary voice around this vision of free trade being the answer to all of the woes in the Americas,” Neve said.

“It seems pretty clear that a lot of the other leaders have either moved on from there, or while still interested feel there are other more pressing priorities that really need attention here.”

Harper arrived in Jamaica Sunday evening for an official visit, where he is expected to address a joint session of Parliament.

Stop Colombia From Privatization at Gun Point

In BC we know too well what a rabidly anti-union government can do to the lives of unionized and non-unionized working people. Colombia is the poster child in this hemisphere for extremism among these neoliberal, anti-human carnage-mongers. And our federal government wants to increase trade with this murderous regime!

It’s time to let Colombia–and our federal government–know that human beings deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

Follow the link to read the details and email Colombian President Uribe to let him know that we won’t stand for this: Colombia liquidates Cali unions < Global Justice | CUPE.

Paul Moist is asking CUPE members to send email to president Alvaro Uribe Velez after riot police and soldiers evicted city workers in Cali, Colombia and liquidated their union.

Sixteen members of Cali’s public sector unions have been killed since 2004, including union executive Carlos Alberto Chicaiza Betancourt.

“This is privatization at gun point,” said Moist. “It’s chilling to think that the people who are doing this are those with whom our government has just signed a trade agreement.”

The Venezuelan-Russia-USA Dance

We should all be noting a few things about escalating dance between the USA and Venezuela.

A few months ago, after 58 years of being a part of the larger US Second Fleet, the USA reconstituted its Fourth Fleet to enhance its presence in its traditional sphere of influence: Latin America, perhaps the most successful political opposition to the USA’s imperial positions of late, with an electoral machine opposing US hegemony virtually consistently.

And as much as Venezuela is increasing its trade relations with China, the next economic superpower after the USA economically implodes, Chavez has been talking with Russia about getting technology to become the third South American country to develop nuclear energy capacity, while working on joint naval operations with Russia.

Hawks in the USA spins this as reminiscent of one to three generations ago of the Russian Bear infiltrating the USA’s sphere of influence, the sphere itself being an inherently arrogant and imperialist assertion. The Soviet Union’s involvement in Cuba and elsewhere in Latin America freaked out the USA during the Cold War. Russian-Venezuelan cooperation on the military and nuclear energy has the potential to either provoke an increasingly desperate and declining empire to rash actions, or more hopefully, to let the increasingly more introspective and protectionist USA know that just because they are part of the Americas doesn’t mean they’re in charge.

And unlike the first 9/11 in Chile in 1973 where the Americans coordinated a coup of the democratically elected government and installed Pinochet, the hemisphere won’t go quietly.