Is the U.S. Planting Evidence to Help Fight the Left in Latin America?
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This week, the LA Times is running a series of debates on US-Venezuela-Latin American relations between Andres Martinez, senior fellow at the New America Foundation, and Angelo Rivero Santos, the deputy chief of mission of the Venezuelan Embassy in the US. According to the article, the first debate, " Which way, Latin America?" was originally based on the question "Are Central American nations moving toward neo-liberal free markets or a 21st century form of Bolivarian socialism?" but the Times was forced to change the title because Martinez may know less about Central America than Paris Hilton. Instead of answering the original question, Martinez decided to go with something like, "Venezuela sucks and Brazil & Chile rule."
One of Martinez's few mentions of Central America refers to the "conservative pro-American [regimes] in Colombia, Mexico and much of Central America." Huh? Which Central America is he talking about? Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Belize all have leftist to centrist governments. Most have good relations with the US, but also pursue independent policies. In fact, all of the above mentioned countries except Costa Rica are members of Venezuela's Petrocaribe initiative, which provides low-cost oil to the Caribbean and Central America. According to Reuters, Chavez set up Petrocaribe "in 2005 to bolster his regional influence", because of course, Venezuela has no possible interest in helping prevent its smaller neighbors' economies from collapsing. And sorry Mr. Martinez, but Costa Rica is now also going to join the diabolical scheme (Cuba, the D.R., Jamaica and other smaller island nations are also members).
The only Latin American president that can hang with the pro-Americanism of Colombia's Uribe is El Salvador's Tony Saca. But El Salvador is not "much of Central America" and Saca's term ends next year. Currently, the left-wing FMLN's candidate is ahead by 20+ points in El Salvador's presidential election, and the US and the right-wing ARENA government are desperate. Not desperate enough to propose good policies, but tying Chavez to the FMLN just isn't working. Maybe there's an obscure link to the terrorist FARC. But where can this be found? Gold star if you guessed that propagandistic treasure trove of the right known as the Magic Laptop. US intervention, laptop accusations, and a right-wing media frenzy after the jump.