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Good Girl Rice, Bad Boy Chavez?

by Ardaga C. Widor Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2006 at 11:25 AM
ardaga_c_widor@yahoo.com.br

Ms. Rice calls for a United Front against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Why? What ar the objectives behind such a move? We look at it from a both, Latin (in this case Brazilian) and U.S., American persepective.

So Ms. Rice and the White House posse suggested a United Front against evil Democracy eater Hugo Chavez. I heard it on the news.

Hmm. In order to understand this information, I first need to know what Washington (not only towards Latin America) stands for. And I need to know what Washington’s pragmatic understanding of Democracy is.

Let’s have Professor Noam Chomsky explain it to me humble Latin American childish mind.

“(…) the United States is as close to the ‘ideal case’ of state capitalist democracy as can be found.

The main designer (…) was an astute political thinker: James Madison, whose views largely prevailed. In the debates on the Constitution, Madison pointed out that if elections in England ‘were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place, ‘giving land to the landless. The Constitutional system must be designed to prevent such injustice and ‘secure the permanent interests of the country’, which are property rights.

Among Madisonian scholars, there is a consensus that ‘the Constitution was intrinsically an aristocratic document designed to check the democratic tendencies of the period,’ delivering power to a ‘better sort’ of people and excluding those who were not rich, well born, or prominent from exercising political power (lance Banning). The primary responsibility of government is ‘to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority,’ Madison declared. That has been the guiding principle of the democratic system from its origins until today. (…)

Madison foresaw that the threat of democracy was likely to become more severe over time because of the increase in ‘the proportion of those who will labor under all the hardships of life, and secretly sigh for a more equal distribution of its blessings.’ They might gain influence, Madison feared. He was concerned by the ‘symptoms of a leveling spirit’ that had already appeared, and warned ‘of the future danger’ if the right to vote would place ‘power over property in hands without a share in it.’ Those ‘without property, or the hope of acquiring it, cannot be expected to sympathize sufficiently with its rights,’ Madison explained. His solution was to keep political power in the hands of those who ‘come from and represent the wealth of the nation,’ the ‘more capable set of men,’ with the general public fragmented and disorganized. (…)

We learn a lot about ‘really existing democratic theory’ by seeing how this problem is perceived, particularly in secret internal documents, where leaders can be more frank and open. (…)

Latin American elites are ‘like children,’ Secretary of State John Foster Dulles informed the National Security Council, ‘with practically no capacity for self-government.’ Worse still, the United States is ‘hopelessly far behind the Soviets in developing controls over the minds and emotions of unsophisticated peoples.’ Dulles and Eisenhower expressed their concern over the Communist ‘ability to get control of mass movements,’ an ability that ‘we have no capacity to duplicate’: ‘The poor people are the ones they appeal to and they have always wanted to plunder the rich.’ (…)

In other words, we find it hard to induce people to accept our doctrine that the rich should plunder the poor, a public relations problem that had not yet been solved.

The Kennedy Administration faced the problem by shifting the mission of the Latin American military from ‘hemispheric defense’ to ‘internal security,’ a decision with fateful consequences, beginning with the brutal and murderous military coup in Brazil. The military had been seen by Washington as an ‘island of sanity’ in Brazil, and the coup was welcomed by Kennedy’s ambassador, Lincoln Gordon, as a ‘democratic rebellion,’ indeed ‘the single most decisive victory of freedom in the mid-twentieth century.’ A former Harvard University economist, Gordon added that this ‘victory of freedom’ – that is, the violent overthrow of parliamentary democracy – should ‘create a greatly improved climate for private investments, ‘giving some further insight into the operative meaning of the terms freedom and democracy.

Two years later Defense Secretary Robert McNamara informed his associates that (…) the Latin American military understand their tasks and are equipped to pursue them, thanks to Kennedy’s programs of military aid and training. These tasks include the overthrow of civilian governments ‘whenever, in the judgment of the military, the conduct of these leaders is injurious to the welfare of the nation.’ Such actions by the military are necessary in ‘the Latin American cultural environment,’ the Kennedy intellectuals explained. (…)

The pattern continues today. The champion human rights violator in the hemisphere is Colombia, also the leading recipient of U.S. military aid and training in recent years. The pretext is the ‘drug war,’ but that is ‘a myth,’ as regularly reported by major human rights groups, the church, and other who have investigated the shocking record of atrocities and the close links between the narcotraffickers, landowners, the military, and their paramilitary associates. State terror has devastated popular organizations and virtually destroyed the one independent political party by assassination of thousands of activists, including presidential candidates, mayors, and others. Nonetheless Colombia is hailed as a stable democracy, revealing again what is meant by ‘democracy.’ (…)”

Thank you Professor. I can see clearly now.

And you Ms. Rice and White House posses: sorry not to correspond to your stereotype of an easy to manipulate Latin American dumb kid. And, believe me, we’re working hard down here, at the grassroots that is, in order to get more Chaves and more Morales and – if necessary – even more Prestes and Guevaras to forge a United Front against your Democracy eating and cannibal system. By any means necessary, as Brother Malcolm advised.

I wonder, by the way, what decent and democratic U.S. citizen like Huey Newton and Bobby Seale had made of a snow white house sister like Condoleezza…

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