Thursday, March 8, 2007
Negroponte as Tour Director
By ROGER BURBACH
"Bush's trip to Latin America is a calculated effort to counter Hugo Chavez's growing influence in the region and to separate the "bad left" from the "good left", namely Uruguay and to some extent Brazil. He hopes to add them to the dwindling bloc of pro-US nations, including Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico which he is visiting.
From the beginning the trip is provoking wide spread opposition. He will be greeted by demonstrators in Montevideo, Uruguay who are opposed to the special trade agreements being negotiated with the government of Tabare Vasquez. Even members of his ruling party, the Broad Front, are active in organizing the demonstration.
Across the border in Argentina, which Bush will not visit, massive demonstrations are being organized to coincide with his stay in Uruguay. And to add insult to injury, Hugo Chavez, is flying in to take part. While President Nestor Kirchner will not be participating, lower level government officials are. This comes on the heels of a series of commercial and economic accords that Kirchner just signed with Chavez on a trip to Caracas, including the founding of the Bank of the South, which is seen as an alternative to US dominated institutions like the Inter-American Development Bank......
All three countries are raising the banner of socialism. In Venezuela Hugo Chavez is intent on leading the country to a "new socialism for the twenty-first century." In Bolivia Evo Morales governing party is called Movement Towards Socialism, a "party of a new type" comprised largely of social movements. And in Ecuador, Rafael Correa in his inaugural address in January called for an opening to the "new socialism for the twenty-first century" and declared that Ecuador has to end "the perverse system that has destroyed our democracy, our economy and our society."
When Bush returns and finds out that his trip has done little to alter the growing leftist trend of Latin America, the iron fist of the new Deputy Secretary of State, John Negroponte, will take control of US policy. Negroponte as ambassador to Honduras helped run the contra war in Nicaragua in the 1980's, which murdered thousands of innocent civilians in Honduras as well as Nicaragua, and he is known to believe that more aggressive measures have to be taken against Chavez and the gathering storm in Latin America. He comes to his new post after serving as Director of National Intelligence, and prior to that ambassador in Bagdhad. Given that Condoleezza Rice has little expertise in Latin America, Negroponte will set policy for the region, overriding the few remaining moderates in the State Department's office of Hemispheric Affairs.
With Negroponte we can expect a marked increase in US covert operations, aimed not only at Chavez in Venezuela, but also at the other governments and the popular movements in the region that are leading the charge against the historic US domination of Latin America and are bent on constructing more equitable societies."