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Is the U.S. Continuing to Pay No Heed to Latin America?
email this pageprint this pageemail usJerry Brewer -
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November 29, 2010

Names and faces aside, it is not difficult to tell the similarities between one leftist Latin American leader from another these days. The reason is simply that the image of one appears to fit all.

While international media and other officials chastise the U.S. for ignoring Latin America, as well as for having little interest in Latin American affairs, leftist leaders led by President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela do just the opposite.

Chavez, taking lessons from the history of Fidel Castro’s anti-U.S. rhetoric, has generously passed onto his own protégés, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, the golden rule of subterfuge. Subterfuge has long been the stage of drama during Fidel Castro’s regime, perpetuated for decades.

Contrary to popular opinion and many in the U.S. ignoring Latin America, Chavez, Morales, and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa constantly cry and warn the CIA did it; they are trying to assassinate me; the U.S. is planning to invade; they are plotting a coup against me; all the U.S. lies; among other threats and condemnations — all of this as their deception by artifice. This, it would seem, to justify mass weapons purchases while their poor continue to live in misery, and their government's coffers are significantly depleted.

However this stratagem is much more. It borders on complete disrespect of their own nation’s intellect and credibility by supposing fear for their own personal gain, and deflecting criticisms of their own governing acts.

This modus operandi is not new to psychologists and students of argumentation and debate techniques. Interjecting a threatening component can motivate many to acquire resistance to a particular premise and bolster persuasion. Too, it may become inoculating enough to dismiss or deflect the accusations or weaknesses of the orator’s critics or actions.

Although Cuba's Fidel Castro did, on occasion, have potential assassination plans directed against him over the decades by his opposition, he would far more frequently announce threats of death or invasion to keep light and attention on such acts in the world media. And his students have learned well.

Morales, with his Movement for Socialism (MAS) party, has become a very outspoken critic of the U.S. He was elected President of Bolivia in 2005 as a democratic socialist. The political enemies of Morales “vehemently oppose his putting the country on the path to socialism.” In fact, tensions between Morales' supporters and opponents have risen dramatically over the past two years, with several eastern provinces claiming to be autonomous or quasi-independent of the control and authority of the central government.

Morales has accused the U.S. of coups against him, Hugo Chavez, Rafael Correa, and Manuel Zelaya in Honduras. He has stated that “U.S. policies to combat drugs and terrorism were pretexts for ‘intervention’ in the region.” This may be his justification (as with Chavez and Correa) for ceasing cooperation with U.S. DEA and similar officials in drug interdiction, and vehemently opposing U.S. military bases in the region used for drug interdiction.

However, Colombia can boast with much pride as to the value and victories they have achieved with U.S. support.

Recently Morales confronted the U.S., namely Defense Secretary (and former CIA Director) Robert Gates, at a regional defense ministers meeting in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. "Latin American compatriots, we must recognize that the US beat us in Honduras, the North American empire beat us. But the people of Latin America also won in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador,” he said, adding: "The score is 3-1.”

Bolivia is the world's third-largest cultivator of coca (after Colombia and Peru) with an estimated 29,500 hectares under cultivation in 2007, and the third largest producer of cocaine. Bolivia is a transit country for Peruvian and Colombian cocaine destined for Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Europe. One must wonder why he would reject help in drug interdiction.

Last year at a meeting of the Union of South American nations, Chavez, rushing over to President Barack Obama and in front of photographers, gave Obama a copy of the book, "The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent," which chronicles U.S. and European economic and political interference in the region.

Obama should have reciprocated with a book about Chavez's mentor Fidel Castro, in which Cuba has trained thousands of communist guerrillas and terrorists, and has sponsored violent acts of aggression, subversion and execution in most democratic nations of the southwestern hemisphere.

Furthermore, this is the same Chavez who is launching joint ventures with Iran, including some in Nicaragua and Bolivia. This because, with limited domestic reserves available for its nuclear program, Iran is helping Venezuela in the mining of uranium.

Even President George W. Bush was often criticized for not paying enough attention to Latin America. It may just be time to put some serious attention into the region.

Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation firm headquartered in northern Virginia. His website is located at

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