In LA for Biden’s ‘Summit of the Americas,’ Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke about press freedom at a journalism forum. Abby Martin confronted him over US hypocrisy. Featuring commentary from Abby after the event.
Two years ago, I underestimated the power of U.S. imperialism, to the consequence of having a nasty shock when I found out that Bolivia’s president had been forced to resign in a U.S.-orchestrated military coup. I had anticipated that Washington would carry out a regime change attempt in Bolivia for months prior to that day, but up until the coup actually happened, I remained under the illusion that Bolivia’s democracy would withstand the onslaught of white supremacist terrorism that Washington’s running dogs were unleashing upon the country after the 2019 election. U.S. hegemony was in decline; even the Pentagon had admitted this two years prior. For the imperialists to have victory at that moment felt counterintuitive, especially to my younger and more naive mind.
“Uncountable are the editorials in every American and European newspaper and magazine of note adding to this vocabulary of gigantism and apocalypse, each use of which is plainly designed not to edify but to inflame the reader’s indignant passion as a member of the “West,” and what we need to do. Churchillian rhetoric is used inappropriately by self-appointed combatants in the West’s, and especially America’s, war against its haters, despoilers, destroyers, with scant attention to complex histories that defy such reductiveness and have seeped from one territory into another, in the process overriding the boundaries that are supposed to separate us all into divided armed camps.” — Edward Said, 2001
Last year, when the Bolivian people fought back against brutal repression to force out the coup regime that the U.S. empire installed in 2019, the imperialists quietly went into panic mode. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looked visibly discouraged at the news that the Movement for Socialism (MAS) Party’s Luis Arce was to become the country’s president. Just a year after Washington had used its terrorists to force out the previous MAS president Evo Morales, the indigenous proletarian movement had reversed the counterrevolution.
On 27 March, 2021, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken released a press statement wherein he said:
“The United States is deeply concerned by growing signs of anti-democratic behavior and the politicization of the legal system in Bolivia in light of the recent arrest and pre-trial imprisonment of former interim government officials.”
Abby Martin’s Empire Update wraps up the last week in US imperialism: Biden breaks major campaign promise to punish Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi murder; US & France extend war in Africa; Bolivia and Venezuela defy US Empire; major bloodshed on the horizon in Afghanistan.
The roots of the Democratic Party’s foreign policy are found in WWII, the atomic bombing of Japan and militarization during the Cold War. Biden supported the Iraq War but fought for the nuclear agreement with Iran. What should we expect from his administration? Vijay Prashad joins Paul Jay on theAnalysis.news podcast.
In Bolivia, the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) – a major leftist political force – has returned to power following a thumping victory in the 2020 elections. The MAS presidential candidate Luis Arce obtained 55.09% of the votes, decisively ahead of the neoliberal candidate Carlos Mesa and the right-wing extremist Luis Fernando Camacho who garnered 28.83% and 14% of the votes, respectively. The triumph of MAS in Bolivia is highly significant since it follows hard on the heels of the 2019 US-backed coup which violently overthrew the MAS president Evo Morales and attempted to re-institute neoliberalism through blood and bullets. Headed by the de facto president Jeanine Áñez (a religious bigot), the fascist coup government genuflected to the American empire, joined the conservative Lima Bloc — a group of 12 Latin American nations determined to subvert the Bolivarian Revolution — exited leftist regional forums, kicked out Cuban doctors and re-established ties with Israel. With the re-election of the MAS, it has been demonstrably shown that Bolivians don’t have any liking for the barbaric blueprint of imperialism and socialism still throbs through the nation’s body.
On 9 October, 1967, Che Guevara – one of the greatest revolutionaries ever known – was murdered in Bolivia under the orders of Washington. This death was foreseeable. In 1966, Che Guevara had left Cuba to wage an anti-imperialist struggle in the South American nation of Bolivia. The plan was to establish a mother column led by Che in Bolivia, with further guerrilla columns branching out from the main unit to enter the neighboring countries of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru, thus creating a continent-wide revolutionary front. This anti-imperialist plan of action was based on the way Vietnam heroically resisted the full-blown onslaught of American hegemony. As Fidel Castro put it, “In the same measure in which Vietnam resists, the revolutionary liberation movement will grow in other parts of the world. Other fronts of the struggle for liberation will open throughout the world in direct proportion to Vietnam’s resistance.”
Maj. Gen. Andrew Croft, the commander of 12th Air Force, wrote on 22 August: “I have seen an increasingly contested strategic space where Beijing and Moscow are aggressively investing time and resources in Latin America to support their authoritarian models of governance. The Air Force must reinforce the strength of our longstanding commitment to the Western Hemisphere. We lose ground when we are unable to commit to spending the time and resources to fly our aircraft south and train alongside our partners.”
Latin America has surpassed more than 5 million Covid-19 cases to overtake North America, with 4.8 million Covid-19 cases, as the region worst-hit by the Coronavirus pandemic. This astronomic increase in Covid-19 cases has been accompanied by a corresponding economic catastrophe of great magnitude. According to a United Nations Policy Brief entitled “The Impact of COVID-19 on Latin America and the Caribbean”, “Parts of Latin America and the Caribbean have become hotspots of the coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic, exacerbated by weak social protection, fragmented health systems and profound inequalities. COVID-19 will result in the worst recession in the region in a century, causing a 9.1% contraction in regional GDP in 2020…This could push the number of poor up by 45 million (to a total of 230 million) and the number of extremely poor by 28 million (to 96 million in total), putting them at risk of undernutrition.” The Policy Brief further states that “The sharp drop in economic activity is expected to lift the unemployment rate from 8.1% in 2019 to 13.5% in 2020. The poverty rate is expected to rise by 7.0 percentage points in 2020, to 37.2%, while extreme poverty is expected to rise by 4.5 percentage points, from 11.0% to 15.5%, which represents an increase of 28 million people.”
The paradigm of capitalism and colonialism has naturally produced a long series of backlashes from those who haven’t benefited from these systems. The first time that the resistance efforts took an entire nationwide territory from these forces of oppression was during the first series of successful anti-colonial revolutions. Starting with overthrows like the 1804 Haitian liberation from the French empire, a period in history started which can be called the First Wave of anti-colonial and anti-capitalist revolutions.
Last week, when the billionaire neo-colonialist Elon Musk was confronted on Twitter about how his company is benefiting from the Washington-perpetrated coup in Bolivia, he replied with a statement that encapsulates the ugly nakedness of current U.S. imperialism: “We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it.” I have a feeling that when the world looks back on 2020, the time when the U.S. lashed out with such great violence when faced with its imperial decline, Musk’s declaration will be seen as the moment when the mask of the empire came off.
When liberal politicians like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders say that we can solve inequality by taxing the rich, they’re trying to make it seem like the relationship between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat is a legislative dispute instead of a class war. They’re proposing that the interests of the ruling oligarchs can be reconciled with our interests, and that all this will take is a rearrangement of the tax system.