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The Humungous South and Central America Question.

 
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2003 03:40 pm
I wait with bated breath...
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2003 03:45 pm
fbaezer,

I'm hoping you'll join us here: The relationship between climate and wealth.
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2003 12:26 pm
dlowan:

On the start of the thread, you mentioned the Guatemalan death squads.

Yesterday, there were Presidential elections in Guatemala. The biggest promoter of death squads, former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, famous for his motto, "Fusiles y Frijoles" (Guns and Beans), lost badly, with less than 15%, according to exit polls.

The winners were conservative Oscar Berger, with 42% of the vote, and centrist Alvaro Colom, with 27%. The five left-wing parties who gathered around 18% of the vote are expected to support Colom in the second round. So the Ríos Montt voters will finally decide the race.

As usual, elections in Guatemala were pretty chaotic; two women died in a human avalanche (people got desperate from long queues), three polling stations were burned by angry townspeople (in a bitter majoral dispute) and a top official of Colom's party was shot in the porch of his house.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2003 12:49 pm
Blimey.

A good government, you think?

Actually, it is odd you should post here now - I was watching a history of the CIA on sunday night - I knew the US was somehow involved in the creation of the horror in Guatemala - but I didn't know just how - until then...
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2003 01:02 pm
I must admit I'm a little bit biased about Guatemalans.

14.3% for Ríos Montt sounds to me like 14% too much.
Too much poverty/violence there, and institutions are too frail. But they're not in the dump they were a couple of decades ago.

Of course, the whole of Latin America always remembers the bad deeds of our northern neighbor.
Jacobo Arbenz, Guatemala, 1954. We don't forget.

(Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs), Cuba, 1961. We don't forget.
Juan Bosch, Dominican Republic, 1966. We don't forget.
Salvador Allende, Chile, 1973. We don't forget.

Support for the often genocidal military dictators of Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua (and then, support of the contras), Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile. We don't forget.)
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2003 01:12 pm
Indeed. Chile was closest to my heart and knowledge - only because we knew so many Chilean refugees - and the contras - because a number of people I know went to Nicaragua to work during that war.

Spooky people are still voting for butchers in Guatemala.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2003 01:14 pm
Hey! Bush says no more supporting of dictators in the Middle East (not sure where that leaves the saudi royal family - but still) - I wonder if that will extend itself to the Americas? LOL...
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2003 01:29 pm
I believe that, with the end of the Cold War, American support for "our s.o.b.s" has dwindled a lot in this continent.

The Clinton administration actually supported democracy in the Americas.

GWB, as usual, doesn't know what his talking about. Americans wish they had more democratic allies in the Middle East. Fact is: they don't.
Middle East democrats are a minority, and among those, the pro-American ones are a small minority.
You can't put those minoritary democrats into power and claim it is the democratic will of the people, can you?
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2003 01:57 pm
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..........it is possible that GWB and co feel able to determine the will of the people in the Middle East without further reference to them....

yes - I thought Clinton's foreign policy had been, usually, pretty positive...
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2003 02:05 pm
Re-reading the latter posts.

During the Clinton era US support withdrawal helped end the authoritarian Fujimori government in Perú and the demise of the military in Paraguay.

Democracy without democrats reminded me of an absurd phrase we, the left wing supporters of the Mexican bank nationalization in 1982, coined: "the decree may not be democratic in its form, but it is democratic in its project".
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patiodog
 
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Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2003 02:21 pm
Mainly reading with eyes open, because I know little about this stuff. One thing comes to mind:

Quote:
But the US cotton was for the internal market, while the sugar cane was for exports, in exchange of consumer goods for the upper classes.


Quote:
The U.S. would be a very different country if the Civil War had ended in a split of the new nation--or worse, in a total victory of the South over the North, and an impostion of Southern mores over the Yankee view of the world.


I'm wondering how different the trade situation in North and South America was. Clearly there were extensive trade networks among the British colonies. Trade bonds usually lead to political bonds, and to more effective exploitation of whatever resources are available to the trading parties. Infrastructure can develop (thinking roads and, later, railroads here, among other things).

Was there extensive trade between the South American colonies, or was that hindered by the various identities of their overlords back in Europe? (That is, was Argentina more of a trading partner for Brazil or more of a competitor?)


Also, it's always seemed to me that Spain and Portugal had less in the way of resources, human and otherwise, to send to the Americas because of their holdings elsewhere, where as Britain had yet to stretch itself really thin in the colony business. (And when it did, in the 19th and 20th centuries, things definitely did not go very well.)
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2003 02:52 pm
patiodog:

During both the Colonial and the inmediate postcolonial era, there was little intercolonial trade, and a lot of trade with the metropolis (substituted, after Independence, for France, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA).

In the Mexican XIX Century, there was a clear-cut difference between Liberals and Conservatives, in which trade had a lot to do.
Liberals were pro free-trade, presidentialist, pro US, anti Catholic church and against unused lands.
Conservatives were protectionists, pro monarchist Europe, very Catholic and favored "unclosed commons".
So we had, at about the same time, a situation similar to the US North against South. And, at about the same time, we had Civil War (Mexico had also the French occupation, and a short lived Habsburg "Empire").
Presidents Lincoln and Juarez were allies, since their views on economics, human rights and trade converged.
The forces of progress won on both sides... but institutions made the difference. While the multiparty system prevailed in the US, the Mexican liberals had no opposition. Soon, one of those liberals had no opposition within his party. Porfirio Díaz was President from 1874-1880 and from 1884 to 1910, when the Revolution overthrew him.
Mexico modernized during those years, but at a much slower pace than the US. The gap widened tremendously. And today it is just as big.

Other Latin American nations had a different fate. In Colombia, the stalemate between conservatives and liberals, led to a truce, but the main social and economical issues remained unsolved.
In Peru, the conservatives won.
In Argentina, the beef, cattle and grain exporters were never defeated, and have always had tremendous importance. Conservative by nature, they are perhaps the clue to Argentina's impossibility to gain first world status during the XX Century.
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patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2003 03:10 pm
I remember reading somewhere that northern and southern Afghanistan weren't connected by a reliable road until the middle of the 20th century. I can imagine there are parts of South America -- particularly the Andes and the Amazon -- where similar situations may exist. It would be hard, I'd think, for an integrated transcontinental economy to develop in these sorts of conditions. Just an uninformed impression, though.
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2003 04:39 pm
Heck, if Mexico had had reliable roads in the mid XIX Century, we wouldn't have lost half of our territory to the US!

I mean, the country wasn't really integrated until the second half of that century.

The idea of an integrated Latin America sounds pretty. It just ain't workable, at the moment, nor it will be in the upcoming future.

We have competing oligarchies, and some very rooted anachronic patriotism.

If economic blocs are being formed all over the planet, where does one prefer to be? At the precarious helm of a bickering weak bloc, or at the passenger car, or even the caboose, of a powerful one?
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patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2003 04:49 pm
Quote:
We have competing oligarchies, and some very rooted anachronic patriotism.


Then we need to send our "Get Modern: the Norteamericano Way" immediately. What you get is a small box of polyglot corporations to turn all your national oligopolies into one trans-world oligopoly, and enough vapid media saturation take the edge off of any local outbreak of national hubris. You see how it's already brought California in line?

(Course, then somebody down there will get the idea to put up a few maquiladoras here, and next thing you know, my standard of living is shot, so I ain't gonna let it go cheap...)
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2003 05:56 pm
You see, patiodog, before the market opening, we had the worst of the possible worlds:

*"Local" industrialists produced low quality products at high prices (some of those "local" industrialists were really disguised branches of transnational corporations).
This didn't mean wages were high. Protectionism protected profits.
*Protectionist "nationalistic" policies needed a lot of paperwork, that made it easy for bureaucracies to extort money (industries paid, via mafia style kickbacks, a price for such "protection")
*Of course, that didn't help productivity at all. With a captive market you can do what you want.
*And, in the other side, well managed national enterprises were prevented from exporting -and thriving- , because of tariffs and other barriers from our trade partners.
*Low quality-high prized "national" goods are a big incentive to illegal importing and selling ("fayuca" is the word we used for such stuff).

--------

Maquiladoras were really a middle stage in economic integration: the labor-intensive parts of production are made where labor is cheap; the capital-intensive ones, where capital is cheap, or human capital (technically speaking) relatively abundant.
Now we have global production for global markets.

--------

The cultural melting is under way, thank goodness. But it is much slower than the economic one, thank goodness.

I see the world going local and global at the same time.

(Although the "vapidization" of politics is a global phenomenon: it is the dawning of the age of videocracy).
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2004 10:30 am
News have developed about a digression on this thread:

fbaezer wrote:

Oddly enough, the son of Carlos Mejía Godoy (the author of the "Anthem of Sandinista Unity"), fought in Iraq, as a member of the US Armed Forces.

Oh, Latin America!


Not so odd, after all.

Sgt. Camilo Mejía was condemned to one year imprisonment for refusing to return to Iraq on the grounds that it was "an unjust war".
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2004 03:27 pm
Well, well.....very interesting development.
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L R R Hood
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2004 03:46 pm
This may seem a little off topic, but I've read in several books (I like military history) about Nazi's from WWII Germany moving to Argentina and Costa Rica. Why was it that they were able to move to these countries? Do these countries not have an established legal system that would send these war criminals back to Germany?

These Nazis didn't move to the middle east, or Africa... the moved to South America. I'd love to hear more info about this, if anyone knows.
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2004 05:01 pm
Costa Rica, I dunno why it is mentioned.

But several nazis fled to South America after WWII, mostly to Argentina, Paraguay and Chile.

The reason behind their move is not legal, but political, clearly at least in the case of Argentina.
Juan Domingo Perón (yes, Evita's husband) sympathized with the Axis. He was trained in Mussolini's Italy. Some elements of the Peronista movement have fascist roots: nationalism, identification of the country and the leader, corporativist unionism... even some paraphernalia.

Paraguay had been under a party dictatorship, the Colorado Party, with later -1954- became a personal dictatorship: Alfredo Stroessner. The Party, the Nation and Stroessner were one and the same thing in this extreme right movement.

Finally Chile. While it was democratic after WWII, it also had very important settlements of German migrants, mostly in the Switzerland-like south. The German (Prussian) influence was also noticeable among the armed forces.

Nazis fled to where they thought they'd be more difficult to track. A German in Syria or Nigeria would be much more noticeable than a German in Argentina or, as it happened in several cases, in the USA.
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