- While he may be dead in the corporal sense, the
spirit of Simon Bolivar continues to wage the struggle
for freedom from oppression. Hugo Chavez is perhaps the most familiar
incarnation of Bolivar's élan vital as he defies the neocolonial
policies of the United States, a nation which has supplanted the European
colonial empires as looters of Latin American bounty. Bolivar's spiritual
essence also burns brightly in Evo Morales, another leader of the
poor and oppressed in Latin America. Barring a CIA-orchestrated assasination
or sabotage of the election process, in December Morales will be the next
democratically-elected president of Bolivia. And deservedly so.
- The only thing they have to fear is fear itself....or
is there something more?
- As they have with Chavez, the United States government
and its lapdogs in the mainstream media have vilified Morales. Morales
and Chavez are both portrayed as "threats" to the United States
and have been characterized as "enemies". It is mind-boggling
that the leaders of the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the history
of humanity can view these men or their tiny nations (neither of which
have the military might to overpower the state of Rhode Island) as legitimate
threats. Is the US power elite suffering from delusional paranoia?
Actually, their fears are well-founded, but one needs to analyze the situation
a bit more closely to discern the root cause of their trepidations.
- The "Least of my Brethren"
- Hugo Chavez has publicly castigated the United States
(and Bush II in particular) on several occasions. Drawing calls for his
assasination from "respected US Christian leader" Pat Robertson,
Chavez has clearly stated his intention to use his vast petroleum
resources as a geopolitical weapon against the United States. He drew thunderous
applause at the UN for his speech in which he maligned the United
States government and its policies. As the democratically-elected president
of Venezuela, a member of the indigenous population, a survivor of a US-sponsored
coup in 2002, and the winner of a recall referendum in 2004, Chavez has utilized
his nation's rich oil reserves to wage a war on poverty. He has used oil
revenues to provide schools, medical care, and basic necessities at subsidized
prices to the 80% of Venezuelans who live below the poverty line. He has
also instituted land reforms to provide impoverished farmers an opportunity
- Aligning himself closely with Fidel Castro, a man who
has been a thorn in the collective sides of the United States ruling elite
for years, Chavez has drawn further ire from US leaders. Since 1959, Castro
has bedeviled the US government as the Cuban leader who deposed Fulgencio
Batista, a ruthless dictator whom the US government supported. While ruling
Cuba, Batista widened the wealth gap to a chasm (sound familiar?) and dispatched
his death squads, which captured, tortured, and murdered thousands
of "Leftists". Castro is certainly no saint, but Cuba was not
exactly a paradise under America's proxy either.
- Trading oil for the use of many of Cuba's superbly-trained
physicians, Chavez has parlayed his relationship with Castro to an advantage
for the poor of his nation. Ironically, the infinitely benevolent and wise
leaders of the United States rejected offers of help from both Chavez and
Castro during Hurricane Katrina. While the Bush regime spurned overtures
of help from our "enemies", over a thousand Americans died in
the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as a result of criminal neglect and
incompetence on the part of a US government now geared almost solely
to represent and sustain the interests of the wealthy, corporations and
the military industrial complex.
- Chavez is not alone as the revolution gains momentum
- Meanwhile, in Bolivia, a man named Evo Morales represents
another incarnation of the spirit of Simon Bolivar as he fights to squelch
US imperial interests in his nation. Standing on the brink of winning
the presidency in the elections scheduled for December of 2005, Morales
represents the next link in the chain of fierce Latin American resistance
to US exploitation of their people and resources.
- Juan Evo Morales Ayma was born in 1959 in Orinco to a
family of indigenous Quechuans, but moved to Chapare province in the 1980's
to cultivate coca leaf. Growing coca leaf is a practice dating back
to the Incan Empire. While the Indigenous people of Bolivia, who comprise
over 50% of the population, chew coca leaves to ease hunger and make folk
medicines, coca leaf is also the primary ingredient in cocaine. As part
of its "War on Drugs", the United States began a program in the
1990's to eradicate coca production. In 1998, Plan Dignity, a barbaric
and violent US-sponsored effort, resulted in the elimination of nearly
80% of coca production and left the campesinos in Bolivia with no economically
viable alternative crops to cultivate. Supplied and supported by the United
States, the Expeditionary Task Force, a paramilitary unit which the locals
called "America's Mercenaries", reportedly engaged in violence
and murder. Just imagine if Canada financed paramilitary forces in the
United States which wiped out 80% of the production of Sudafed and Iodine
because they are used in the manufacture of crystal meth. How long would
Americans stand for that?
- In response to the intrusive, oppressive policies
of the United States and its puppet Bolivian president, Hugo Banzer,
Evo Morales emerged as a leader of the Cocaleros, an opposition movement
comprised primarily of coca growers. His support in Chapare and Carrasco
de Cochabamba was strong enough that he was elected to the national Congress
in Bolivia in 1997 by the widest margin amongst the 68 Congresspeople
who won in that election.
- In the words of Morales:
- 'There is a unanimous defence of coca because the coca
leaf is becoming the banner for national unity, a symbol of national unity
in defence of our dignity. Since coca is a victim of the United States,
as coca growers we are also victims of the United States, but then we rise
up to question these policies to eradicate coca.
- 'Now is the moment to see the defence of coca as the
defence of all natural resources, just like hydrocarbon, oil, gas; and
this consciousness is growing. That is why it is an issue of national unity.'
- As a leader with widespread popular support, and a powerful
force within the Movement to Socialism (MAS) party, Morales began to broaden
his agenda beyond that of supporting the cultivation of coca. Like Chavez
in Venezuela, Morales has emerged as a champion of the poor and oppressed,
and by default, a fierce opponent of the blatantly corrupt plutocracy in
- The (Corporate) "American Way"
- In early 2000, Morales began intense efforts to
stymie the imperial policies of the United States, which enable multinational
corporations to engage in obscene exploitation of other nations. Demonstrating
the depths of the cruelty of the "free market", neoliberal economic
policies which the corporatocracy of the United States imposes on other
nations, a large multi-national corporation called Aguas de Tanari was
on the verge of purchasing the water works in Cochabamba, a Morales
strong-hold. Under their business plan, 65% of the locals would not have
been able to afford drinking water. Supporting Aguas de Tanari's dreams
of imposing nightmares on the people, local laws were passed which
criminalized catching and using rain water. Morales and his allies led
powerful protests, which included road-blocks, and eventually crushed
the despicable effort to inflict misery and suffering to generate profit.
- Down, but definitely not out
- In early 2002, the Bolivian government issued Supreme
Decree 26415, which essentially prohibited the sale of coca-leaf. Riots
broke out in Sacaba, which was home to a legal coca market. Four campesinos
and three Bolivian soldiers were killed. Pressure from the US embassy led
to the removal of Morales from his Congressional seat for his involvement
in so called "terrorism" in Sacaba. His removal was later determined
to be unconstitutional.
- The next round of elections in Bolivia in June of 2002
whisked Morales back into office. In pre-election polling, MAS barely registered
with a paltry 4%. However, thanks to powerful opposition to US presence
and influence in their nation, 20.94% of Bolivians supported MAS in
the election. MAS came in only slightly behind the winning party. Unfortunately
for the Bolivian people, they traded one proponent of US policies for another.
Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada replaced Jorge Quiroga.
- Leave our hydrocarbons alone!
- Lozada's allegiance to US interests eventually cost him
his presidency. Bolivia possesses vast natural gas reserves, which until
the Bolivian Gas War in 2003, were exploited by multi-nationals through
neoliberal policies instituted by the United States. In October of 2003,
the Bolivian military killed nearly one hundred members of the poor and
working class who participated in strikes and created road blocks in opposition
to the theft of their nation's precious resources. Lozada resigned and
fled the country, leaving his vice-president, Carlos Mesa, to rule Bolivia.
- More protests against Bolivian government-enabled exploitation
of the nation's hydrocarbon resources erupted in mid-2005. Morales was
instrumental in the protests and in the subsequent ouster of Mesa as president.
Attacking from yet another angle, Morales (and his increasingly powerful
MAS party) also called for the indictments of Mesa, Quiroga, and Lozada
for their complicity in partnering with multi-national corporations in plundering
Bolivian oil and natural gas (without the approval of the Bolivian Congress).
- Take another moment to empathize here
- Envision LUKoil of Russia seizing control of
the oil industry in Alaska. In return for paying small royalties
and minimal taxes, LUKoil gets to pump, keep, and sell as much American
oil as it chooses. LUKoil profits handsomely while consuming our
resources with minimal return to the United States. Somehow, I do
not think that would fly with the American public. Yet our government
enables powerful corporations to treat Bolivians in this
manner. Maybe that is why they are called free market policies. Hypocrisy
be thy name.
- As Morales gears up for the impending presidential election
in December, his commitment to economic justice and human rights in the
face of the oppressive, malevolent agenda of the United States government
and its proxies in Bolivia remains clear and strong.
- Summarizing his position succinctly, Morales stated,
- "The worst enemy of humanity is capitalism. That
is what provokes uprisings like our own, a rebellion against a system,
against a neoliberal model, which is the representation of a savage capitalism.
If the entire world doesn't acknowledge this reality, that the national
states are not providing even minimally for health, education and nourishment,
then each day the most fundamental human rights are being violated."
- To what conclusion do the facts lead?
- After careful consideration of the facts, it becomes quite
clear why the corporate interests and incredibly wealthy hijackers of our
constitutional republic in the United States are so desperate to convince
their "electorate" that men like Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales
are our "enemies". These men do pose a grave threat. If they
maintain their hold on power and continue to advance the Bolivarian Revolution
throughout Central and South America, powerful corporations will lose their
capacity to commit legal larceny by plundering resources (a practice which
leaves much of the Latin American population living in abject poverty).
Morales is undermining the charade our government calls the "War on
Drugs", which is simply another means of employing military intervention
in the region and supporting ruthless leaders who implement policies
favorable to the interests of the wealthy elite of the United States.
- Yes, Morales is a dangerous man indeed. Like
Chavez, he is rising like an ominous storm on the horizon, poised
to strike powerful bolts of lightening through the fat wallets of
the proponents of neoliberal economic policies (which are modern means
of non-violent colonization). The Bush regime has legitimate reasons for
fearing these men. They are imminent threats to the health of US cash cows
throughout the Latin American region.
- Based on the fact that the US government and media
are defining Morales and Chavez as our "enemies" because
they champion human rights and economic equality for their people in the
face of American neocolonialism, I conclude that the Bush regime
and many members of our Fourth Estate are morally bankrupt. What is even
more distressing about their persistent efforts to convince Americans
that Morales and Chavez are Antichrists is the fact that those who
stand to "suffer" from this Bolivarian "diabolical
scheme" to end US economic exploitation and oppression in Latin America
represent a small fraction of the US population.
- Who will "feel the pain" if multi-nationals
can no longer steal from Latin Americans?
- Members of the Bush regime....do you really care?
- The 1% of Americans who own 33% of the wealth....yawn
- Executives and major share-holders of large corporations.....oh,
the pain, the pain
- Evo Morales and Hugo Chavez are friends to the majority
of Americans, and to most of humanity. Each step of success for the Bolivarian
Revolution will be a step in the evolution of humanity toward the fulfillment
of the teachings and dreams of Christ, Gandhi, Martin Luther King,
and other great spiritual leaders throughout human history. Progress for
the Bolivarians means regression for the cancer on humanity referred
to as neoliberalism, or more appropriately, economic imperial conquest.
- So the next time Fox or CNN portrays Morales and
Chavez as enemies of the United States, remember that sometimes rooting
for the "bad guys" can be a good thing.
- Jason Miller is a 38 year old activist writer with a
degree in liberal arts. He works as a loan counselor in the transportation
industry, and is a husband with three sons. His affiliations include
Amnesty International and the ACLU. He welcomes responses at firstname.lastname@example.org
or comments on his blog, Thomas Paine's Corner, at http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/.