Category Archives: South America

sucesos de todos los paises de Suramerica

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Says Seventy US Military Bases in Latin America Must Go

Environmental Destruction, Land Grabs: Controversial Oil Palm Plantations in the Peruvian Amazon

Brazil’s Temer Government Implicated in Political Corruption, Another Cabinet Minister Could Resign

Brazil: Impeachment Drive Accelerates amid Expanding Political Crisis

The Zika Virus, the Brazilian Microcephaly Outbreak. Covering-up Another Latrogenic Disorder

Argentina Revisited – One Month on.

Argentina: A Quiet Neoliberal Coup d’Etat in Latin America’s Southern Cone

Colombian peace talks continue amid renewed combat

Chinese premier concludes four-country tour of South America

Argentina: A Case Study of Israel’s Zionist-Wall Street Destabilization Campaign

U.S. Blocked Declaration of “Right to Health Care”, Says Bolivia’s President

Who’s Protesting in Brazil and Why?

Eduardo Galeano’s Words Walk the Streets of a Continent

Letter to the People of the United States: Venezuela Is Not a Threat

Hundreds of thousands join right-wing protests for ouster of Brazil’s president

The American Empire is a Threat to Every Nation’s Security

Obama Absurdly Declares Venezuela a Security Threat

Obama brands Venezuela “threat to national security”

Don’t Believe Mainstream US Media Coverage of Venezuela

“US Human Rights Abusers Not Welcome in Venezuela.” President Maduro Calls for “Global Rebellion Against US Imperialism”

Argentina charges US interference in crisis over prosecutor’s death

Coup Plot in Venezuela Thwarted: Plotters Paid in US Dollars Planned on Assassinating the President and Installing a De Facto Government

The Politicization of the AMIA Investigation: Pretext for Regime Change in Argentina?

Evidence Reveals Canada, UK Involvement in Venezuela Coup Plot

Venezuela Foils Obama’s Coup Plot

Political conflict between Argentinian president and intelligence agencies intensifies

Alberto Nisman’s Death and AMIA: Who Cares About the Truth?

US Orchestrated Coup Plot in Venezuela? The Insidious Role of Vice President Joe Biden

Argentina’s President Says Prosecutor Killed In Plot

José Mujica – The World’s “Poorest President”

Venezuela president visits Saudi Arabia to hold talks over oil price slump

Peace Talks in Havana and Murder in Colombia: The Santos Regime’s Dual Strategy

Global Research, November 06, 2014

cubaThere are many fabrications and false assumptions underlying the Colombia peace negotiations between the Santos regime and FARC – EP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – Peoples Army).  The first and most egregious is that Colombia is a democracy.  The second is that the Santos regime pursues policies which enhance non-violent social and political activity conducive to integrating the armed insurgency into the political system.

There is sufficient evidence to call into question both assumptions.  Over the past two decades and a half nearly three thousand trade union leaders and activists have been murdered; over 4.5 million peasants have been dispossessed and displaced by the military and paramilitary forces; and over nine thousand political prisoners are being held indefinitely for engaging in non-violent socio-political activity.  In addition scores of human rights lawyers, activists and advocates have been assassinated.

The vast majority of the victims are a result of regime directed military and police repression or paramilitary death squads allied with the military and leading pro-government politicians.

The scale and scope of regime violence against social opposition precludes any notion that Colombia is a democracy:  elections conducted under widespread terror and whose perpetrators are allied with the state and act with impunity, have no legitimacy.

The re-election of President Santos and the convocation of peace negotiations with the  FARC     to end Latin America’s longest civil war is certainly a welcome step toward ending the bloodshed and providing the basis for a transition to democracy.

While the Santos regime has put a stop to the massive state terror regime of his predecessor, the US backed Alvaro Uribe regime, political assassinations still occur and the perpetrators continue to act with impunity.

For any peace process to culminate with success, the peace accords, agreed to by both parties, must be effectively implemented.  Previous agreements ended in state massacres of demobilized guerrillas turned civil society activists and elected political representatives.

The peace negotiations have proceeded for two years and major accords have been reached on a series of vital areas of mutual concern.  In particular both sides have signed off on 3 of 5 points on the peace agenda:  rural developments, guerrilla participation in politics, policy on drug trafficking.  Current negotiations focus on the contentious “transitional justice” for victims of the conflict.  Most human rights groups and experts agree that the vast majority of victims are a result of military and paramilitary repression.  However, the Santos regime and its backers in the media claim otherwise – blaming the FARC.

Is There a “Peace Process”?

The Santos regime has thrice rejected cease fire offers by the FARC who have gone ahead and unilaterally implemented them .  The regime has chosen to continue the war in Colombia while negotiating in Havana.  The two year time span of the peace negotiations provides deep insights into the viability of the peace accords signed in Havana.  International and Colombian human rights groups and social movements provide timely reports on the scope and depth of ongoing violations of political and human rights in Colombia during the peace negotiations.

Based on data compiled by human rights attorneys and experts affiliated with the Marcha Patriotica (Patriotic March), an alliance of scores of neighborhood, peasant, trade union and human rights organizations, between April 2012 and January 2014, it is clear that the reign of state and paramilitary terror continues parallel to the peace negotiations.

During this 21 month period, twenty-nine Patriotic March (PM) activists were killed and three others were “disappeared” – and presumed murdered.  Scores of others have received death threats.

The class background of the victims points to the vulnerability of the peace agreement.  Twenty-three of the murdered members of the PM were peasant leaders and activists promoting agrarian reform, the repossession of land under the regime’s Land Restitution Law or engaged in other peaceful civil society activity.  Four of the victims were active in social movements supporting a “peace with social justice” agenda; two were human rights lawyers; two were community and neighborhood organizers and one was a leader of a local youth movement.

None of the assailants were arrested. Military and police officials, who had previous notice of death threats, took no precautions. Nor were any investigations undertaken, even when family and neighbors were privy to relevant evidence.

In the face of the Santos’ government’s unwillingness to curtail military, police and death squad complicity in the murder of peasant activists during the peace negotiations, can the regime be trusted to implement the accord on “rural development”?  Can the government guarantee the security of disarmed guerrillas as they enter the political system when over one hundred human rights activists received death threats in September 2014?

According to Amnesty International, during 2013, seventy human rights defenders were killed, including indigenous and Afro-Colombian leaders and twenty-seven members of trade unions. At least forty-eight homicides were committed by military units.  Military commanders engaged in “false positives”, meaning murdered civilians were falsely labelled by the military as “armed insurgents”.  Extra judicial killings by the military continue under the Santos regime.

Equally ominous, Santos has failed to disband the paramilitary death squads.  As a result, the regime fails to protect land claimants.  Dispossessed peasants and farmers attempting to resettle their land under Santos’ “Land Restitution Law” have been threatened or murdered by paramilitary gangs.  As a result the Law has virtually no impact on resettling peasants because of landlord retaliations.

In fact the number of dispossessed has increased according to the United Nations: 55,157, mostly rural, Colombians fled their homes between January and October 2013, because warfare between and among drug and paramilitary gangs.

Presidential Santos War on Civil Society

The pervasive insecurity that rules the countryside, the murders, disappearances and jailing of social activists, accompanying the peace negotiations, call into question the “accords” thus far reached between the FARC and the Santos regime.  Supporters of the regime argue that the number of state murders has declined over the past three years.  Critics counter that relative fewer assassination have the same effect in generating fear, undermining citizen participation and the transition to a democratic political system.

The entire conception of a successful peace process rests on the assumption that the accords will result in constitutional guarantees of free and democratic citizen participation.  Yet throughout the two year period, the regime has not demonstrated a clear and consequential commitment to elementary rights.  If that is the case during the negotiations with the popular insurgency, still active and armed, how much worse will conditions become once the military, police and paramilitary are free of any retaliation, when they will have a free hand to intimidate and strike down disarmed political dissidents attempting to compete in local or national elections?

The Santos regime appears to have adopted a two prong strategy: combining violent repression of the social movements in Colombia while adopting the language of peace, justice and reconciliation at the peace table in Havana.

The Santos regime can promise to accept many democratic changes but its practice over the past two years speaks to an authoritarian, lawless regime, content with maintaining the status quo.

The Santos regime has three strategic goals:  to disarm the popular insurgency; to regain control over the territory under insurgent control;and to weaken and undermine the popular social movements and human rights groups which are likely to form political alliances with the insurgents when and if they become part of the political system.

It is doubtful that the FARC will surrender their arms in a political climate in which paramilitary killers operate with impunity; military commanders still engage in ‘false positives’; and rural development projects are inoperative because of landowners’ terror tactics.

Unless the peace accords are accompanied by fundamental changes in the military; unless the paramilitary forces are effectively demobilized; unless the government recognizes the legitimacy of the demands of the mass social movements and human rights group for a freely elected constituent assembly is accepted, the peace process will end in failure.

Conclusion:  Four Hypothesis on Santos Strategy for War and Peace

There are several hypotheses regarding why the Santos regime negotiates a peace accord while gross violations of human rights continue on a daily basis.

(1)    The Santos regime is divided, with one sector in favor of peace and another opposed.  This hypothesis lacks any credible basis as these are no visible signs of internal conflict and the regime acts with a unified command.  While some state violence may be a result of local military commanders, at no point have national leaders reprimanded the “local” transgressors.

(2)   The Santos regime actively pursues violent acts against the social movements to strengthen its bargaining position in the peace negotiations  to secure a more favorable settlement – in other words to make the minimum of social concessions in order to placate oligarchs critical of any negotiations.  This hypothesis explains the ‘dual strategy’ approach advocated by the regime with regard to the FARC,talking peace in Havana and rejecting a cease fire in Colombia; continuing the war while negotiating peace.  But it also undermines the regime’s claim that Santos seeks to incorporate combatant groups into the political system.

(3)   The regime is in a tacit pact with former death squad – President Alvaro Uribe. As a result the government’s military apparatus is still tied to paramilitary gangs, working with landowners, drug traffickers and businesspeople.  There is no doubt that Santos has long-standing ties to Uribe – he was his Defense Minister.  Moreover, after Santos defeated Uribe’s candidate for the Presidency by a narrow margin he has sought a political accommodation with Uribe’s Congressional and business supporters.  On the other had Santos recognizes that his economic strategy, especially his focus on promoting trade with Latin America and especially Venezuela, and his big push to exploit the energy and mining sector depends on reaching a peace agreement with the FARC, which controls substantial mineral rich regions.  Hence Santos signs “paper agreements’ with the FARC, while applying a ‘hard fist’ (‘mano duro’) policy to the social movements.

(4)   The upsurge of the mass social movements, including the Marcha Patriotica, demanding the effective implementation of the ‘rural development’ reforms and repossession of land to 3.5 million displaced families and the increasing role of the human rights groups in monitoring the ongoing violations of human rights, means that the Santos regime cannot secure ‘peace’ solely through an agreement with the FARC in Havana.  If the Santos regime’s goal in the peace negotiations is to disarm the guerrillas and incorporate them into the electoral system, without dealing with the root socio-economic structural reforms, it must weaken the civil society popular movements.

This is the most plausible hypothesis.  President Santos is capable of promising the FARC any sort of ‘democratic reforms’ and is willing to sign off on anti-drug agreements and even ‘agrarian development’.   But what he is unwilling to accept is the emergence of mass peasant movements actively engaged in changing land tenure, repossessing their farms and reclaiming millions of acres of land granted to big foreign owned mining consortiums.

Santos will not ‘demobilize’ the paramilitary gangs because they are instruments of the big landowners and protect the state grants to the big mining companies.  But he will try to limit deathsquad targets to specific activists and organizations in contentious regions.

Santos has not even curtailed the cross border attacks by Colombian paramilitary groups.  Assassinations continue, the latest, the assassination of a Venezuelan Congressional leader.  He has expanded military ties with the US by pursuing agreements to collaborate with NATO – offering combat units for the Middle East wars.

What is abundantly clear is that the Santos regime has not complied with the most elementary conditions necessary to implement any of the five point reform agenda set forth in Havana. Military impunity, rampaging death squads, scores of daily death threats to human rights activists, over nine thousand political prisoners and dozens of unsolved killings of peasant leaders is not compatible with a transition to a democratic peace.  They are compatible with the continuity of an authoritarian oligarchical regime.  A democratic transition and a peace agreement requires a fundamental change in the political culture and institutions of the Colombian state.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/peace-talks-in-havana-and-murder-in-colombia-the-santos-regimes-dual-strategy/5412255

Cities on Speed Bogotá: Improving Civic Behavior

Documentary

A unique and surprising story of two mayors, Antanas Mockus and Enrique Peñalosa, who have changed behaviour patterns in the Colombian capital, bringing Bogotá out of a negative spiral of violence and chaos and remaking it as something of a visionary role model for other megacities.

Posted October 29, 2014

“The real secret behind Mockus and Peñalosa’s success is that they are two people characterized by extreme honesty and integrity in everything they do. They are two leaders who have the necessary courage to stay true to their visions, even when the opinion polls go against them. Unlike other politicians who are controlled by strategies and tactics, they have not been driven by a lust for power, only by their ideas and philosophies. And if there is a lesson to be learned by their story, it must be that the change they have managed to bring about could never have come from the traditional political system. It could only have come from the outside.” — Andreas Dalsgaard

Bogotá, Distrito Capital (Spanish pronunciation: ( listen)), from 1991 to 2000 called Santafé de Bogotá, is the capital, and largest city, of Colombia. It is also designated by the national constitution as the capital of the department of Cundinamarca, though the city of Bogotá now comprises an independent capital district and no longer belongs administratively to that department. Bogotá is the most populous city in the country, with 7,363,782 inhabitants as of 2005. Bogotá and its metropolitan area, which includes municipalities such as Chía, Cota, Soacha, Cajicá and La Calera, had a population of 7,881,156 in 2005.

In terms of land area, Bogotá is the largest city in Colombia, and one of the biggest in Latin America. It figures amongst the 30 largest cities of the world and it is the third-highest capital city in South America at 2,625 metres (8,612 ft) above sea level, after Quito and La Paz. With its many universities and libraries, Bogotá has become known as “The Athens of South America”. Bogotá owns the largest moorland of the world, which is located in the Sumapaz Locality. The city ranked 54th in the 2010 Global Cities Index, and is listed as global city of the Beta+ kind by the GaWC.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40088.htm

And the loser in Brazil is – neoliberalism

By Pepe Escobar

Sun, sex, samba, carnival and at least until the World Cup hammering by Germany, the “land of football”. And don’t forget “vibrant democracy”. Even as it enjoys one of the highest soft power quotients around the world, Brazil remains submerged by cliches.

“Vibrant democracy” certainly lived up to its billing as President Dilma Rousseff of the ruling Worker’s Party (PT) was re-elected this Sunday in a tight run-off against opposition candidate Aecio Neves of the Social Democracy Party of Brazil (PSDB).

Yet another cliche would rule this was the victory of “state-centric” policies against “structural reforms”. Or the victory of “high social  spending” against a “pro-business” approach – which implies business as the privileged enemy of social equality.

Exit cliches. Enter a cherished national motto: “Brazil is not for beginners”.

Indeed. Brazil’s complexities boggle the mind. It starts with arguably the key, multi-layered message a divided country sent to winner Dilma Rousseff. We are part of a growing middle class. We are proud to be part of an increasingly less unequal nation. But we want social services to keep improving. We want more investment in education. We want inflation under control (at the moment, it’s not). We support a very serious anti-corruption drive (here’s where Dilma’s Brazil meets Xi Jinping’s China). And we want to keep improving on the economic success of the past decade.

Rousseff seems to get the message. The question is how she will be able to deliver – in a continental-sized nation suffering from appalling education standards, with Brazilian manufacturing largely uncompetitive in global markets, and with corruption run amok.

Those ignorant, arrogant elites
Brazil is now mired in dismal GDP growth (0.3%). Just blaming the global crisis doesn’t cut it; South American neighbors Peru (3.6%) and Colombia (4.8%) are definitely going places in 2014.

And yet the numbers are not that shabby. Job creation is up. Unemployment is down (only 5.4%). Investment in social infrastructure is picking up. From 2002 to 2014, the minimum wage more than tripled. GDP per capita is up, reaching roughly $9,000 while the gini coefficient of social inequality (2012 data) is down.

Industrial production is back to the same level before the 2008 financial crisis. Brazil paid all its debts to the IMF. The proportion of debt in relation to GDP is falling – reaching only 33.8% in 2013. Workers have more purchasing power – and even with rising inflation, that mirrors better income distribution.

Social programs have benefited 14 million families – roughly 50 million Brazilians. These policies may arguably be derided as too little, too late Keynesianism. But at least that’s a start – in a nation exploited by immensely ignorant, arrogant and rapacious elites for centuries.

Rousseff’s first stint as president may also be blamed for too many concessions to big banks (extremely profitable in Brazil), powerful agribusiness interests and Big Capital. What happened, in a nutshell, is that the center-left Workers’ Party swung to the center – and was compelled to make unsavory oligarchic alliances. The result is that a significant section of its social base – the metropolitan working class, now heavily indebted to sustain its brand new consumer dream – ended up flirting with the right as a political alternative.

Add to it the PT’s not exactly brilliant management skills. True, the fight against poverty is a lofty ideal. But in such an unequal nation, that will take at least until 2030 for really serious results. Meanwhile, serious planning is in order – such as building a high-speed rail between the two megalopolises, Rio and Sao Paulo (the Chinese would do it in a few months). And seriously tackling Brazil’s oligopolies; banks, corporate media, construction/real estate conglomerates, the auto industry lobby.

And the loser is – neoliberalism
Unlike the US and Europe, neoliberalism in Brazil has been repeatedly knocked out at the ballot box since 2002, when Lula was first elected president. As for the “social democrat” opposition, there’s nothing social, and barely democratic, about it. The PSDB’s pet project is turbo-neoliberalism, pure and simple.

Team Neves had everything going for them. Their key constituency was in fact 60 million mostly angry Brazilian taxpayers – over 80% living and working in the wealthier southeastern seaboard. Life is tough if you are a Brazilian salaried professional or the owner of a small and medium-sized enterprise. The tax burden is on a par with the industrialized world, but you get virtually nothing in return.

No wonder these irate taxpayers are desperate for decently paved roads, urban security, better public hospitals, a public school system they can send their children to, and less red tape and bureaucracy – which add to the nefarious, universally known “Brazilian cost” (as in no value for money). These are not Workers’ Party voters – although some of them were. What they want is galaxies beyond the everyday tribulations of the new, large lower middle class created by the social programs first implemented by Lula.

Yet with a mediocre candidate like Neves – he even lost in his home state, where he was governor – neoliberalism does not need enemies.

Neves predictably billed himself as the dragon who would slay what Wall Street derides as “statism” – cutting government spending and “liberalizing” trade, code for privileging corporate US interests. At the same time Neves has never been able to capture the vote of an overburdened black woman in the favelas.

With Neves, Brazil’s future finance minister would have been Arminio Fraga, a slick operator who, among other things, ran high-risk funds in emerging markets for George Soros and is also a former president of Brazil’s Central Bank. Some of his shenanigans are detailed in More Money than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite, by Sebastian Mallaby. Fraga would have been the point man of a Soros-inspired government.

Fraga is the proverbial Wall Street predator. With him at the Finance Ministry, think JP Morgan controlling Brazil’s macroeconomic policy. The road in fact was already paved by PSDB’s eminence, former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who met with key global investors – via JP Morgan – in New York last month.

Fraga was keen on destroying the Lula and Rousseff administrations’ “hyper-Keynesian bet on demand” and replace it with supply, via a new “capitalist shock”. Predictably, his prescription was amplified by the enormous echo chamber of conservative Brazilian media, and drowned everything else.

And as perception is reality, contamination ensued – pressuring public spending downwards, installing major confusion among private investors, and leading Western credit rating agencies to confirm the supposed lack of credibility of the Brazilian economy.

And it’s the US against the BRICS
Brazil is slowly but surely moving from the semi-periphery to being closer to the center of the action in international relations; because of its own regional geopolitical relevance and mostly because of its leading role among the BRICS. This is happening even as Washington could not give a damn about Brazil – or Latin America for that matter. US Think Tankland, by the way, abhors BRICS.

Politically, a victory for the Cardoso/Neves neoliberals – a ghost of the social democracy they once practiced – would have thrown Brazilian foreign policy upside down; not only against the way the historical winds are blowing, but also against Brazil’s own national interests.

As Rousseff argued at the UN last month, Brazil is trying to fight a global crisis marked by increasing inequality without provoking unemployment and without sacrificing workers’ jobs and salaries. As ace economist Theotonio dos Santos stressed the decadence of the West still exerting substantial influence over the Global South via their extensive network of collaborators, he also went one up; the key fight, as he sees it, is to control Brazilian oil.

Dos Santos is referring to Brazil’s top corporation, Petrobras, currently mired in a bribery scandal – which must be fully investigated – that obscures the Holy Grail: the future revenues from “pre-salt” oil – named after the billions of barrels of oil capped by a thick layer of salt lying several miles below the south Atlantic floor. Petrobras plans to invest $221 billion up to 2018 to unlock this treasure – and expects to make a profit even if oil trades around $45 to $50 a barrel.

Politically, in a nutshell, Rousseff’s narrow victory is crucial for the future of a progressive, integrated South America. It will reinvigorate Mercosur – the common market of the South – as well as Unasur – the union of South American nations. This goes way beyond free trade; it’s about close regional integration, in parallel to close Eurasia integration.

And starting in 2015, Brazil may be on the road to renewed economic expansion again – largely boosted by the fruits of “pre-salt” and compounded with accelerated building of roads, railways, ports and airports. That is bound to have a ripple effect across Brazil’s neighbors.

As for Washington/Wall Street, the Empire of Chaos is certainly not happy – and that’s a major euphemism, especially after betting on the wrong horse, Marina Silva, a sort of Amazon rainforest-born female counterpart to Obama’s “change we can believe in”. The fact is as much as the Brazilian model of income distribution is against the interests of big business, Brazilian foreign policy is now diametrically opposed to Washington’s.

On a lighter note, at least some things will remain the same. Like “Dilma’s diary” – an apocryphal, satirical, ghost written take on the President’s busy schedule published by top Brazilian monthly Piaui, a somewhat local version of The New Yorker. Here’s a typical entry: “I watched a whole pirate copy of Homeland. Awesome! We stayed up late, me and Patriota [the former Minister of Foreign Affairs]. He found the whole thing extremely believable!”

Who said a “vibrant democracy” can’t also be fun?

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

(Copyright 2014 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/World/WOR-01-281014.html

BRICS came near losing Brazil

53855

The United States needed just three more percent to get rid of Russia’s BRICS ally, Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff. Money and experience of George Soros was used along with manipulations in electronic vote counting, but it was probably a miracle that did not let that happen. Such miracles do not repeat twice, though. Russia should support loyal governments in Latin America, as they will contribute to the creation of the new world order, of which Putin spoke in Sochi.

Many were surprised about the skyrocketing popularity of Aecio Neves – the candidate from the Social Democratic Party of Brazil (PSDB) – from 15 to 33.5 percent three weeks before the second round, and by 14.5 points – in the last 72 hours before the vote. Surprisingly, according to all forecasts, Neves was not supposed to partake in the second round, but he did, having lost to (who do you think?) protege of George Soros, the prime sponsor of “color revolutions,” – Marina Silva of the Socialist Party (PS). She joined the election race after PS former leader Edward Campos was killed in a staged air crash. Apparently, Soros could not come to an agreement with him, Wayne Madsen, a journalist and columnist with the Strategic Culture Foundation believes. Madsen is a career officer of the US Navy, a programmer, a commentator in the field of national security policy on Fox News, as well as ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera and MS-NBC networks. In a nutshell, he is a professional who knows what he is talking about.

Betting on Marina Silva as the person who took Dilma Rousseff’s 20 million votes in the 2010 election, Soros lost the first round. Then came the turn to bet on Aecio Neves. Yet, PSDM was losing all elections to the Workers’ Party (PT), starting from the first victory of Lula in 2002 (first president from PT was Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva). Neves had chances, although they were slim in fair elections. Therefore, another factor was used, namely the falsification of electronic voting. The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) purchased counting machines from US-based company Diebold.

Brazilian IT-experts say that they were the machines that were used to fabricate the 2004 elections in the US, when Republican George W. Bush won against Democratic Senator John Kerry. The scandal ended with a manual recount, a criminal case against Diebold and penalties in the amount of 2.5 million dollars that the company had to pay. Brazilian bloggers say that the technical servicing for the machines was provided by the firm called PROBAN, whose leaders were included on the lists of Neves’s campaign coordinators.

Central Brazilian media outlets, funded by US NGOs, were actively discrediting Dilma Rousseff. “The media were speculating on the subject of corruption in the government-controlled oil company Petrobras. This became another reason for the vote loss, – Brazilian journalist and blogger Armando Barreto told Pravda.Ru. Officials of the country’s biggest companies found themselves involved in the scandal, along with commercial banks, speculating on currency exchange rates, and politicians from different parties. It was reported that about $5 billion was misused.

After Aecio Neves left Marina Silva behind and entered the second round, the media began to publish biased polls saying that Neves was ahead of Rousseff. “In a grip of emotions, he committed a gross mistake, which Dilma Rousseff took advantage of very well, – says Armando Barreto. – To please neo-liberals, he said that his future Minister of Finance will be Arminio Fraga, one of the largest financiers, a student of Brazil’s mega-investor, George Soros. Arminio Fraga, in turn, said in an interview that it would be necessary to cut the powers of the National Development Bank (BNDS), Caixa Economica Bank and the Bank of Brazil. Al these institutions support social projects of the government. Furthermore, he said that strengthening the BRICS would not be a priority of his work. Obviously, voters responded to the possible curtailment of social programs, with the help of which Brazil halved the poverty level since 2003.

If Neves had won the presidential election in Brazil, one could have forgotten about Brazil as a BRICS member. The loss of such an ally would have cost too much to Russia. Obviously, no one thinks about it in Russia; no one learns the lessons from Ukraine. Why not taking advantage of the Soviet experience in Latin America? Indeed, in many countries, in Argentina for example, there is a large Russian diaspora. One must understand that pro-Russian governments in the face of Ortega, Morales, Castro, Correa and Maduro form a new world order, of which Putin spoke in Sochi last week. Why not setting up joint banks, for example?

Pravda.Ru, having the Portuguese version, faced great difficulties in obtaining decent comments related to Brazilian affairs in Russia. Experts from the Moscow State University, MGIMO, the Russian State Humanitarian University, experts from the Institute of Latin American either do not answer phone calls or provide disappointing, abstract phrases. It appears that people do not read Brazilian newspapers.

“If we want to keep “our” president in Caracas – we must do something. The same goes to Kirchner in Argentina,” Tatiana Poloskova wrote in her article “Catastrophe is near: USA almost kicked BRICS out from Latin America.” She continues: “It is Cuban specialists, who consult the administration of the Venezuelan president on economic issues. Why not ours?” “One should build permanent expert platforms in Latin America with the participation of Russian experts. The civil society should join the dialogue of the states. Some time afterwards, but not soon, these efforts will pay off,” Tatiana Poloskova wrote.

BRICS countries to end era of unipolar world
Lyuba Lulko
Pravda.Ru

Read the original in Russian 

 

Brazil: Dilma wins hottest election in Brazil’s history

Pravda.Ru

53838

Dilma Rousseff (PT) has won the second round of the Brazilian Presidential election with 51.64% of the vote, against Aécio Neves’ 48.36% after obtaining 41.59 per cent of the vote in the first round against Aécio Neves (PSDB) (33.55%).

With 99 per cent of the vote counted, Dilma has received 54,500,287 out of 112,682,849 votes. The abstention rate was 21%, there were 4.63% spoiled votes and 1.71% blank votes.

Dilma Roussef was born in 1947, the daughter of a Bulgarian father and a Brazilian mother. After the Fascist dictatorship was set up in the 1964 coup, she joined the cause of the freedom fighters fighting against the regime. She was captured, jailed and allegedly tortured between 1970 and 1972.

An economist, Dilma Rousseff started her political life after release with the Democratic Labor Party. She was Secretary of the Treasury of Porto Alegre (capital of Rio Grande do Sul in Southern Brazil), then Secretary of Energy in the State, before she joined the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) in 2000.

Two years later she was the spokesperson for energy in the cabinet of President Lula, and after his election in his first term, she became Minister of Energy. In 2005, she replaced José Dirceu as Chief of Staff (like a Prime Minister), until she resigned in 2010 to run for her first Presidential term.

This term was accompanied by some high approval ratings, the result no doubt of the popular social measures undertaken by the PT during Lula’s Presidency and carried on by Dilma’s administration. The PT was, and has been, synonymous with social programs which have raised tens of millions of Brazilians from poverty into the middle class.

Fome Zero (Zero Hunger) eradicated hunger in Brazil, with measures to create irrigation systems in the driest regions of the country; measures were also taken to combat teenage pregnancy, family agriculture was supported with the distribution of advice and money; the Family Allowance (Bolsa Família) ensured that children attended school while their families were supported; the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC) was an investment program worth over 300 billion USD aiming to create new infrastructures

All of these programs were continued during Dilma’s tenure…but she had the misfortune to be President during the unrest which occurred during the World Cup in 2014. The focus of the opposition to the World Cup was that FIFA imposed quality standards for stadiums which were far superior to those implemented in the public healthcare and education systems. In fact this was not totally fair: the Brazilian government spent ten times more on healthcare and education than it did on the FIFA World Cup.

Projects to build hydroelectric dams in the Amazon, directly affecting the lives of indigenous populations, were also highly unpopular. However, the opposition could not make inroads on Dilma’s popularity. What many foreign media outlets do not report is the fact that Dilma represents a coalition of the PT, PMDB, PSD; PP, PR, PROS, PDT, PCdoB and PRB.

Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY

PRAVDA.Ru

(timothy.hinchey@gmail.com)

http://english.pravda.ru/news/world/27-10-2014/128894-dilma_president-0/#.VE4TAR_09Cc

“Economic Genocide” in Latin America: The Unspoken Legacy of Wall Street and the IMF. President Cristina Fernandez

United Nations General Assembly, September 24, 2014: Argentina’s President Fernandez de Kirchner Denounces Economic Terrorism

Global Research, October 25, 2014

Argentina-New-York-Court-Bankruptcy-400x224Dazzling and supremely erudite, Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner denounced as terrorism the economic policies that have been strangling the developing world during the past century, and are continuing these criminal actions today, the legacy of Milton Friedman’s Chicago Boys’ gangster economic policies.  These policies, implemented by the infliction of “shock therapy,”  institutionalizing torture, murder and disappearances of individuals, groups, and often heads of state who defy these barbaric economic models, are policies which are more accurately described as global economic theft, sanctioned by the theory that “might makes right.”  

The IMF’s “conditionalities” were described, in sanitized language, as “structural adjustment programs,” demanding the obliteration of free national education and health care programs, causing the destitution of majorities of citizens in the developing countries, and resulting in the gross indebtedness of collaborating governments to parasitic interests of multinational corporations, banks, hedge funds, vulture funds and their ilk.  The Milton Friedman Chicago Boys policies were described by one of  Friedman’s most brilliant students, the German born economist Andre Gunder Frank, as “economic genocide.”

President Kirchner described her late husband, President Nestor Kirchner’s success in rebuilding Argentina, despite the total bankruptcy into which decades of the Chicago Boys policies had plunged a devastated Argentina.  She described the earlier chaotic situation, in which Argentina had five presidents in one week during 2001, a disaster rivaled, perhaps, only by Bolivia, which, similarly hostage of the Chicago Boys, had three revolutions in one afternoon, finally resulting Bolivia’s progressive presidency of Juan Jose Torres in 1970.  President Torres was overthrown, ten months later, by fascist General Hugo Banzer, with the blessing of Washington, and was then murdered in Argentina in 1975.

The earlier history of Argentina described by President Kirchner, a history common to almost all Latin America Southern Cone governments hostage to the Chicago Boys’ policy of economic genocide, is succinctly summed up by Professor John Dinges in his work “The Condor Years,” (Pages 154-155).

[By 1975],  “Inside the U.S. embassy Legal Attache Robert Scherrer quickly developed information that the Torres murder was part of the new security forces cooperation among the military governments…the bloody reality of mounting repression and the assassination of three prominent figures – the Uruguayan Senators Michelini, Gutierrez and Bolivian President Torres who had sought protection in Argentina… .Slowly, among those reading the most secret intelligence traffic about Latin America – in the embassies, in the CIA, in the Defense Intelligence Agency, the FBI and the State Department there was an awakening to a flow of hard evidence that was soon to become a flood:  that by 1975 the government of Argentina was committing human rights violations on a massive scale never before seen in Latin America, and the six military governments of the Southern Cone were cooperating to assassinate one another’s opponents.”

This was the Argentina in which Presidents Cristina and Nestor Kirchner spent their earliest years.  This was the environment in which the Chicago Boys’ murderous economic policies were forced down the throats of the majority of Argentina’s citizens, utilizing torture, murder and “disappearances” to facilitate the “privatization” of the country’s resources in the organized theft of the nation’s patrimony.  This theft was engineered by one of history’s most deadly mobs of criminals, the Chicago Boys, trained by the sociopath Milton Friedman, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for economics in a decision grossly discrediting the legitimacy of the Nobel Committee.

President Kirchner described the economic and social recovery steered by her husband, President Nestor Kirchner, a program of social and economic inclusiveness which made education widely available to Argentina’s majority, which decreased unemployment while establishing social safety nets, a program in which Argentina’s economy began to thrive, as Nestor Kirchner weaned Argentina’s economy from the IMF ‘debt trap’ (the title of the superb book by economist Cheryl Payer), and made arrangements to pay off the astronomical debts amassed during the previous period of economic domination by the Chicago Boys, (debts for which Nestor Kirchner’s government was in no way responsible). President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner spoke with legitimate pride of Argentina’s success in reducing widespread poverty, despite the financial disaster engineered by the thugs of the international financial system who are currently still attempting to hold Argentina hostage.

President Kirchner voiced the concerns of the greater part of the developing world, which voted on September 9, 2014, for the United Nations General Assembly resolution:  “Toward the Establishment of a Multilateral Legal Framework for Sovereign Debt Restructuring Process.”  Argentina’s Foreign Minister, Hector Timerman (whose father, the great journalist and human rights advocate, Jacobo Timerman, had been imprisoned and tortured for two years in Argentina during that same “dirty war” of 1976 described earlier) introduced that resolution, “establishing an ethical political and legal pathway to end unbridled speculation.”  The resolution was adopted, with 124 nations supporting it, eleven nations opposing it, and forty one abstentions…The scandalous profits made by parasitic “vulture funds” are funneled into campaign and lobbying to prevent change in the current viciously unjust economic architecture.  The Cuban delegate stated the appalling fact that “Developing countries had paid many times the amounts originally received as loans and that devoured resources essential for development.”  The distinguished American economist Joseph Stiglitz  has repeatedly emphasized precisely this same fact.

President Kirchner denounced U.S. Federal Judge Thomas Griesa, whose currently strangling injunctions, prohibiting Argentina’s repayment of 92.4 percent of the debt until the “vulture funds” are paid in full,  would force the return of Argentina’s economy to destitution, totally destroying the new economic and social programs which are empowering Argentina’s majority, and would quickly restore the earlier squalor of the economically colonized Argentina into which Milton Friedman’s thugs and the IMF had forced Argentina to subsist for decades of Kirchner’s earlier life.

In her masterpiece, “The Shock Doctrine,” exposing the criminal thuggery of Friedman’s Chicago Boys, Naomi Klein states:

“In the early nineties, the Argentine state sold off the riches of the country so rapidly and so completely that the project far surpassed what had taken place in Chile a decade earlier.  By 1994, 90 percent of all state enterprises had been sold to private companies, including Citibank, Bank Boston, France’s Suez and Vivendi, Spain’s Repsol and Telefonica.  Before making the sales, (former President) Menem and (former Finance Minister) Cavallo had generously performed a valuable service for the new owners:  they had fired roughly 700,000 of their workers, according to Cavallo’s own estimates; some put the number much higher.  The oil company alone lost 27,000 workers during the Menem years, An admirer of Jeffrey Sachs, Cavallo called this process “shock Therapy.”  Menem had an even more brutal phrase for it: in a country still traumatized by mass torture, he called it “major surgery without anesthetic.”*

“* In January 2006, long after Cavallo and Menem were out of office, Argentines received some surprising news.  It turned out that the Cavallo Plan wasn’t Cavallo’s at all, nor was it the IMF’s:  Argentina’s entire early-nineties shock therapy program was written in secret by JP Morgan and Citibank, two of Argentina’s largest private creditors.  In the course of a lawsuit against the Argentine government, the noted historian Alejandro Olmos Gaona uncovered a jaw-dropping 1,400 page document written by the two U.S. banks for Cavallo in which “the policies carried out by the government from ’92 on are drawn up…the privatization of utilities, the labour law reform, the privatization of the pension system.  It is all laid out with great attention to detail

….Everyone believes that the economic plan pursued since 1992 was Domingo Cavallos’s creation, but that’s not the way it is.”  In the long term, Cavallo’s program in its entirety would prove disastrous for Argentina.

…So many jobs were lost that well over half the country would eventually be pushed below the poverty line.”

As President Fernandez Kirchner charges, today it is obvious that U.S. Federal Judge Griesa’s ruling is an attempt to destabilize Argentina, using a new imperialist tactic devised by the current gangsters of international capitalism who thrive by devouring the lives and patrimony of the majority of citizens of the developing world, and, indeed, impose these tactics upon the “99%” percent of citizens within the countries of the developed world.

President Fernandez Kirchner explicitly denounced as economic terrorists the “vulture funds” which, supported by the United States’ judicial system, are attempting to destabilize and ultimately overthrow her government.  She stated:  “Not only those who place bombs are terrorists, but also those who destabilize the economy of countries, and cause hunger, misery and poverty from the sin of speculation.”

Judge Griesa is attempting, in fact, to fine Argentina $50,000 per day for not complying with his ruling, and declaring Argentina in contempt of court.”  In response to his brutal arrogance, President Kirchner cited a quote from former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who described such “creditors” as immoral, preventing countries from tackling problems of education, health and poverty.

Argentina’s president spoke fiercely of such engineered poverty and destitution as creating fertile breeding ground for terrorist leaders recruiting among those who have lost all hope of lives affording them options for fulfillment and dignity, and her voice echoed, 35 years later, the speech delivered on August 27, 1980 at the United Nations Eleventh Special Session on Economic Development:  “Toward a New International Economic Order”:  Joaquim Chissano, then Foreign Minister of Mozambique addressed the General Assembly, decades ago, and stated:

“The existing economic order is profoundly unjust.  It runs counter to the basic interests of the developing countries…we see the perpetuation of underdevelopment in Africa, Asia and Latin America.  The peoples of those continents are forced to face hunger, starvation, poverty, nakedness, disease and illiteracy increasingly.  We denounce any kind of economic prosperity or independence for part of mankind built on the dependence, domination and exploitation of the rest of mankind…the developing countries have warned the world about the need to take measures to eliminate the main obstacles to emancipation and progress of the peoples struggling for a proper standard of living which would meet the basic needs of life.

…During the colonial period we were branded as rebels and insurgents when we demanded the restitution of our status as human beings.  When we demanded independence we tried to talk peaceably with our masters, but no one would listen.  The dialogue of force was imposed upon us.  We took up arms.  Much blood was spilt.  But only in that way were we able to win.”

Twenty-nine years later, at the 64 Session of the United Nations General Assembly, on September 24, 2008, Stjepan Mesic, President of the Republic of Croatia, and the last President of Yugoslavia stated:

 “Our world is finally still dominated by an economic model which is self-evidently exhausted and has now reached a stage where it is itself generating crises, causing hardship to thousands and hundreds of thousands of people.  If one attempts to save this already obsolete model at any cost, if one stubbornly defends a system based on greed and devoid of any social note worthy of mention, the result can be only one:  social unrest harboring the potential to erupt into social insurgence on a global scale.”

Cristina Fernandez Kirchner, President of Argentina today raises her powerful voice in, once again, the noble call for economic and social justice.  Those who are guilty of perpetuating the injustices she and so many other world leaders abhor walked out of the hall as she spoke.  And those are the ones who may ultimately pay the fatal price for ignoring her warning.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/economic-genocide-in-latin-america-the-unspoken-legacy-of-wall-street-and-the-imf/5409932

Soros and the CIA Now Banking on Neves to Defeat Rousseff

by Wayne Madsen

After the “accidental” death of socialist candidate Eduardo Campos, Brazilians were asked to choose their president among three main candidates: outgoing President Dima Rousseff, the Social Democrat Aecio Neves, or Campus’ substitute, the environmentalist Marina Silva, known for her links with George Soros. Silva’s decision to rally behind Neves seemed to ward off foreign interference, but it is having the opposite effect, observes Wayne Madsen.

| WASHINGTON D. C.

JPEG - 11 kb
Arminio Fraga Neto with Aecio Neves

After the corporate media and the CIA and George Soros manipulators tried to engineer Green Party-turned-Brazilian Socialist presidential candidate Marina Silva into the Brazilian presidency after the classic CIA textbook aerial assassination of Socialist Party presidential standard bearer Eduardo Campos, these same forces are at it again on behalf of Social Democratic Party candidate Aecio Neves. Although Neves was polling in second place to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff before the first-round presidential election on October, the death of Campos and his senior aides in a highly suspicious plane crash on August 13, forced Neves into third place in polls. Silva, a favorite of Soros and his international network of cash-flush non-governmental organizations, was propelled into second place.

However, thanks to an aware Brazilian investigative journalism press corps, Silva’s connections to Soros and his team of interventionists and hedge fund tycoons was exposed. With Brazilian voters wise to Silva’s puppet strings to Soros and other global bankers, she managed to only come in third on October 5. Silva subsequently endorsed Neves, Soros’s second selection to take over the reins of presidential power in Brazil from Rousseff.

Neves’s chief economic adviser and the man who would become Finance Minister in a Neves presidency is Arminio Fraga Neto. A former close friend and associate of Soros and his Quantum hedge fund, Fraga is hoping that a Neves presidency will open up Brazil to “market forces,” the very same forces that have declared economic war on Venezuela and are attempting to swindle Argentina through vulture funds run by Soros’s Wall Street friends. Fraga, a habitué of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is also a former executive with Salomon Brothers and a former president of the Brazilian Central Bank. Fraga has also been linked to Goldman Sachs through a Manhattan real estate deal involving the purchase of a $7.5 million condominium from a former Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers executive. Fraga’s membership of the elitist Council on Foreign Relations and Group of 30 puts Fraga in the same camp as such Wall Street villains as Alan Greenspan, David Rockefeller, former Bank of Israel chairman Jacob Frenkel, and Wall Street apologist/columnist Paul Krugman, and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.

JPEG - 22.9 kb
Arminio Fraga Neto with George Soros

Rousseff’s easy first place victory on October 5 sent Wall Street and its owned-and-operated media outlets opposed to Rousseff’s plans to create an alternative development bank among Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa to compete with the World Bank into extreme propaganda mode. Questionable polls suggesting that Rousseff and Neves are running neck-and-neck as the October 26 second round election approaches were featured as credible news stories by the usual Wall Street pathetic “stenographers” masquerading as journalists at The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Bloomberg News, and Forbes.

Neves’s grandfather, Tancredo Neves, a left-of-center threat to the longtime Brazilian military dictatorship, fell seriously ill just as he was to be sworn in as president on March 15, 1985. Neves’s illness resulted in his lackluster and more conservative vice presidential candidate José Sarney being sworn in as president. Tancredo Neves never recovered from what was said to be diverticulitis and he died on April 21. Later, it was revealed that Neves had a cancerous tumor that was not discovered until it was too late. Rousseff’s sudden illness after her October 16 televised debate with Aecio Neves alarmed a number of Brazilians who remember the fate of Tancredo Neves.

In addition to the Central Intelligence Agency arranging for convenient plane crashes such as those that killed Portuguese Prime Minister Francisco Sá Carneiro, Panamanian leader Omar Torrijos, and Ecuadorian President Jaime Roldos all within a six-month period between December 1980 and April 1981 [after the election of Ronald Reagan as U.S. president and the return to power within the CIA of George H W Bush’s and William Casey’s infamous gunslingers], the agency’s Technical Services Division continued to develop biological weapons, including cancer weapons, to assassinate its political targets.

In recent years, a number of Latin American leaders have been felled or have been stricken with cancer or heart attacks. The two most notable victims were Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Argentine President Nestor Kirchner. Kirchner’s wife, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, was reported to have thyroid cancer, later denied by her spokespersons. The sudden onset of varying degrees of cancer also plagued such Latin American leaders as former Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo (later ousted in a CIA-engineered coup), Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos (after he signed a peace agreement with the left-wing FARC guerrilla movement), former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and Bolivia’s recently-reelected President Evo Morales.

Guyana’s President Forbes Burnham died from throat cancer and Nauru’s President Bernard Dowiyogo died from a sudden heart attack while being cared for in Washington, DC hospitals. Suspicions surrounded the two deaths at Georgetown University and George Washington Hospitals, respectively.

The CIA’s macabre Jewish-Hungarian chief scientist Dr. Sidney Gottlieb developed a host of biological weapons for the CIA’s MK-ULTRA program during his over 20 years of service with the agency. One was a biological toxin that was put inside a tube of toothpaste that was to be used by Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba and another was a botulism-infected handkerchief that was to be handed to Iraqi leader General Abdul Karim Kassem.

As for Aecio Neves abandoning the left-of-center credentials of his grandfather, this represents another aspect of CIA influence operations. Aecio Neves represents the interests of Wall Street, which is manifested by the presence of Fraga as his chief economic adviser. Wall Street vultures, including Soros and Fraga’s other associates in New York, want to privatize the Brazilian state-owned Petrobras oil corporation. Therefore, Aecio Neves has been handsomely bought off by the same globalized financial interests who attempted to engineer Marina Silva into office. With her defeat, these same forces have unsurprisingly rallied behind Neves.

For the CIA, blood is not thicker than water. It actually doesn’t matter to Aecio that the CIA may have played a part in assassinating his grandfather. Omar Torrijos’s son, Martin Torrijos, became president of Panama only to sign a pro-Wall Street free trade agreement with Washington. Martin Torrijos also gladly followed the global bankers’ orders to increase Panama’s retirement age and reform social security. Martin Torrijos also became a close ally of U.S. President George W. Bush even though Bush’s father, George H W Bush, likely signed off on the CIA’s operation to assassinate Torrijos’s own father.

George Soros’s favorite Asian opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, does not seem to mind the fact that it was Soros’s friends at the Office of Strategic Services/CIA who ordered British intelligence to assassinate her father Aung San. Aung San, a founder of the Burmese Communist Party, was slated to become independent Burma’s first post-independence leader. Aung San was killed by terrorists working for pro-British former prime minister U Saw. The weapons for the assassins came directly from British Army Captain David Vivian, who managed, with high-level “assistance” from the Burmese government, to escape from a Burmese prison in 1949.

Canada’s Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau, the son of former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, has, unlike his father, warmed up to the United States, Wall Street, and the cause of globalization. Justin Trudeau and Aecio Neves are prime examples of how the CIA eagle will take under its wings the progeny of leftist icons to achieve its goals.

President Rousseff’s policies have created powerful enemies within the walls of the CIA in Langley, Virginia and among the board rooms of Wall Street and the West’s most powerful corporations. She succeeded in proving the polls and pundits wrong on October 5 but October 26 remains yet another hurdle. The people of Brazil will be voting on October 26 as if their lives depend on it. For Brazil’s poor and new middle class, a Neves victory will destroy their livelihoods, as well as their very lives.

Source
Strategic Culture Foundation

http://www.voltairenet.org/article185699.html

“We Are Better Off Without US Government” Evo Morales

Bolivia’s president talks about the country’s ongoing socio-economic transformation and his third term in office.

By Al Jazeera

October 19, 2014 “ICH” – I have no regrets – in fact, I am pleased to have expelled the US ambassador, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and to have closed the US military base in Bolivia. Now, without a US ambassador, there is less conspiracy, and more political stability and social stability. Without the International Monetary Fund, we are better off economically.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40021.htm

Marina Silva backs candidate of Brazilian right against Workers Party

By Bill Van Auken

13 October 2014

With just two weeks till the second round vote in Brazil’s presidential election, the candidate of the PSDB (Brazilian Social Democracy Party), Aecio Neves, is running neck and neck in most polls against Workers Party incumbent President Dilma Rousseff. Polls have shown the two candidates in a statistical dead heat.

In what had been an anticipated blow against the PT and Rousseff, the candidate who ran third and was eliminated in the first round of the election, Marina Silva, announced her endorsement of Neves Sunday. She claimed the candidate of Brazil’s right-wing opposition party had made “commitments” to incorporate sections of Silva’s own program—maintenance of social welfare programs, land reform, environmentalism, etc.—into his political agenda.

A former environmental minister in the PT government and a member of the PT for nearly a quarter century, Silva left the party to run as the presidential candidate of the Green Party in 2010. She was then elevated this year from the vice-presidential running mate to top of the ticket of the Socialist Party after its initial presidential candidate, Eduardo Campos, was killed in a plane crash. She won 21.3 percent of the vote.

Silva had cast herself as the candidate of “change,” attempting to appeal to the widespread dissatisfaction with the PT and the other traditional parties that found dramatic expression in the mass protests that brought millions into the streets in June 2013 over transit fare hikes, inadequate public services and vast spending on the World Cup games. At the same time, she curried favor with big business and banking interests that saw Silva, who came from an impoverished rubber-tapping family in the Amazonas region, as an effective front for pursuing their interests.

In announcing her endorsement, Silva drew a telling parallel with 2002, when the PT first gained the presidency under the former metalworkers union leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. When Lula took office, she said, he “had an economically stabilized country” thanks to the IMF-dictated neo-liberal “reforms” introduced by his PSDB predecessor, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who was president from 1994 to 2002. The PT president, she added, had introduced policies aimed at “social inclusion” while living up to the promises made by Cardoso to Brazilian big business.

Neves, she suggested, would act in a similar fashion, keeping in place such minimal social assistance programs for Brazil’s poorest introduced under the PT, like Bolsa Familia, while maintaining the continuity of capitalist economic policies pursued by both parties in the interests of the big banks and corporations.

Contributing to Rousseff’s declining political fortunes—with the lowest poll numbers since the PT came to power a dozen years ago—are the continuing revelations concerning a massive kickback scandal at Petrobras, the state-owned energy conglomerate, which is the largest company in all of South America.

In an attempt to win himself a lighter sentence for corruption and money laundering charges, ex-Petrobras director Paulo Roberto Costa has testified that every contractor who worked for the energy giant paid 3 percent of the value of their contract in kickbacks, most of which were funneled directly into the coffers of the Workers Party.

Last Wednesday, Costa told the Brazilian Court of Justice that he brought the money directly to the treasurer of the PT, Joao Vaccari Neto, meeting him at hotels in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo and even in the party official’s own home. Lesser amounts were said to have gone to the PT’s political partners, the PMDB (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party) and the Progressive Party (PP).

Costa said that every company seeking contracts with Petrobras paid the kickback for fear of losing out to the competition. “During my time there,” he said, “I don’t recall any one company missing a payment.” According to an analysis done by the Brazilian media, these political kickbacks amount to a staggering $3.8 billion. On one project alone, a Petrobras refinery in the northeastern state of Pernambuco, the kickback was nearly $30 million.

While corruption has been pervasive under all the parties, including in the state of Minas Gerais, when Neves was governor there, the Brazilian right has turned the revelations into an effective political weapon against the PT.

In a significant signal, Neves’ top economic adviser stated last Friday that if the PSDB candidate won, the Brazilian government would be “getting much closer to the US.”

“We are keen to move back to a broader, more open approach to foreign policy,” Antonio Fraga, a former Brazilian central bank chief who is slated to become finance minister should Neves win, told investors in a teleconference with investors held in conjunction with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings in Washington last week.

Over the past year, relations between Brasilia and Washington hit a low point with former NSA analyst Edward Snowden’s revelations of systematic spying on Rousseff, including her cellphones and those of her top aides, as well as on Petrobras.

Sections of the pseudo-left in Brazil have seized upon the apparently more pro-US posture of Neves and the PSDB to justify support for the PT in the second round.

In reality, the Rousseff government has been cautious not to clash with Washington over its fundamental interests. To the extent it has pursued a nationalist agenda, it has been in the interests of Brazilian capital. The government rebuffed, for example, the widespread demand that Snowden be given asylum in Brazil.

US administrations under both Bush and Obama have generally treated the PT government as the “responsible left,” counterposing it to the Chavez-Maduro government in Venezuela, and seeking to collaborate with it in pursuing its interests in the hemisphere. This included the dispatch of Brazilian armed forces to relieve US Marines who had been occupying Haiti following the US-orchestrated overthrow of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/10/13/braz-o13.html

Peru faces threat of housing bubble

By Cesar Uco

13 October 2014

Peru’s National Institute of Statistics and Information (INEI in Spanish) released statistics last month establishing that property prices in the country have risen faster than anywhere else in the world, ballooning by 121 percent between 2008 and 2012. This outstrips London (35 percent), Hong Kong (61 percent), China (64 percent) and Brazil (90 percent).

The difference between Peru and the other countries that have seen real estate prices climb sharply is that the Peru’s was one of the few national economies to emerge virtually unscathed from the world financial crisis that erupted in 2008.

The foreign investor-friendly policies pursued by President Ollanta Humala—and his predecessor Alan Garcia—made Peru one of the very few countries that initially benefitted from the crisis. By branding Peru as an attractive and secure place to invest, they were able to attract foreign money that was pouring out from crisis-ridden nations. At the same time, the country’s economy benefited from mining exports, with China as its largest partner. To do this, Humala quickly scrapped the minimal reformist promises of his “social inclusion” program, which won him the presidency with up to 80 percent of the vote in the poorest areas of the country.

For a few years now, construction, alongside mining, banking and emerging sectors like retail and agribusiness, has played a leading role in raising the average family income of millions above extreme poverty levels.

Recent economic developments, however, have proven that Peru is not immune to the capitalist world crisis. The economy this year is decelerating, affecting all sectors.

The rise of Peru’s GDP in recent years can be quickly erased as the world economy faces further contractions, returning millions of Peruvians to conditions of extreme poverty.

What sustained the demand in housing is the rise of the emerging middle class and entrepreneurs—sections of the population not linked to the traditional bourgeoisie.

The fortunes of the new entrepreneurs are generally quite slim. They depend on Peru’s position as a mineral export country and with China decelerating, their prospects can fizzle quickly.

According to US standards, “Property bubbles,” the Peruvian financial web site SEMANAeconomica.com reports, “are usually measured by the price/rent ratio. This indicator shows the number of years you would have to rent a property to recover the purchase price. When there is a bubble, this ratio is usually higher than 25. In Lima this figure reaches 16 as measured by the Peruvian Reserve Central Bank (BCR in Spanish).” The 25 ratio obviously is a figure used to measure a housing bubble in a developed country like the US.

Opposing this analysis, SEMANAeconomic.com reports, “economic analyst Ricardo Lago, argues that the price/rent ratio should not focus on the number 25. Speaking to the Daily Mail, he noted that in the case of an illiquid asset such as a home, the ratio should be around 12, meaning there already is an economic bubble in many of the districts of Lima.”

This argument is far stronger than the simple comparison of prices in different Latin American cities. According to Scotiabank-Peru, “still, so far Peru has one of the lowest prices per square meter (m2) built compared to other countries in the region. In Peru it is US$ 1,810 per m2, while in countries like Brazil it exceeds US$ 3,700, in Argentina and Chile US$ 2,800 and in Colombia US$ 2,300.”

As the demand from sector A on the income scale—the richest—is almost fulfilled, banks have turned their attention to sectors D and E—the poorest and most vulnerable. One can only wonder what the mortgage interest rates would be for the most fragile sections of the Peruvian population. As a point of reference, credit card effective annual rates now surpass 100 percent.

The purpose of the SEMANAeconomic.com article is to warn the capitalists, and especially the banks, that Peru may actually be in a housing bubble and should demand that Humala enact policies before the bubble bursts. It is an endorsement of the tightening of mortgage credit that has already started.

“In Peru” says the web site, “rather, mortgages are slowing. Between August 2013 and August 2014, the stock of housing loans grew by 13 percent, while between 2012 and 2013 it grew by 24 percent. However, 90 percent of loans are intended to finance a first home, which would not have increased the risk of speculation. Dollarization in the credits is 41 percent.”

In addition to higher prices in construction materials, Scotiabank-Peru warns, “there is another issue to consider: the increase in mortgage banking delinquency; which between late 2013 and August 2014 … increased 55 percent.”

One significant aspect of the housing boom and its slowdown that was not mentioned by SEMANAeconomica.com is the way in which it has fueled the corruption dominating the construction unions. With the slowdown, rival unions, the Apra-dominated CTP and the Stalinist-dominated CGTP, compete even more ferociously for new projects. In order to win the right to act as labor contractors, they stop at nothing. It has been widely reported that both unions have hired hit-men to get rid of the competition. So far, over a dozen union leaders have been murdered this year.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/10/13/peru-o13.html

%d bloggers like this: