Latin America in view

From the new July-August 2013 issue of News & Letters:

World in View

Latin America in view

by Eugene Walker

Bolivia’s Statism—The government of Evo Morales and Garcia Linera, while using anti-neoliberal words, and proclaiming themselves anti-capitalist and for socialism, are in fact practicing a state form of capitalism. Most recently they have acted against miners, teachers and healthcare workers who demonstrated for decent pensions for retiring workers. Earlier, the government attempted to force the building of a road through the lowlands of Bolivia against the wishes of the Indigenous peoples living there. A fierce resistance forced the project to be put on hold. This “Andean-Amazonian type of capitalism,” to use the words of Vice President Garcia Linera, substitutes the wishes and demands of the state for the self-activity of Indigenous workers and peasants.

Guatemala’s Genocide Trial in Disarray—Efraín Ríos Montt, the dictator who, as commander of the armed forces in the early 1980s, directed a civil war against all the Mayan Ixil people, was found guilty of genocide. But in a stunning reversal, the Guatemalan court declared the final part of the trial illegal, leaving the verdict in disarray. How matters will now proceed is unknown. Through the testimony of the Ixil people the bloody hand of Ríos Montt was decisively revealed. The U.S. under Ronald Reagan gave full cover to these horrendous events in the name of fighting “Communism.”

Honduras coup anniversary—This June marks the fourth anniversary of the military coup that toppled elected President Manuel Zelaya, which was then followed by the fraudulent presidential election of Porfirio Lobo. An ongoing resistance has faced politically motivated murders of resistance activists by the military and police and private armies employed by the largest landowners. Those killed include peasant cooperative leaders, lawyers and journalists as well as unionists, teachers, and LGBTQ activists.

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