Latin America is the portion of the Americas comprising countries and regions where languages that derived from Latin —such as Spanish, French and Portuguese are predominantly spoken. Puerto Rico, which is almost always included within the definition of Latin America despite being a territory of the United States. Including French-speaking territories, Latin America consists of 20 countries and 14 dependent territories from Mexico to Tierra del Fuego and includes much of the Caribbean, with a total population estimated at more than 652 million (as of March 2, 2020)
- If we wanted to express how we'd like our revolutionary combatants, our militants, our men, to be, we should say without hesitation of any kind: that they be like Che! If we wanted to express how we'd want the men of future generations to be, we should say: that they be like Che! If we wanted to say how we'd want our children to be educated, we should say without faltering: we want them to be educated in Che's spirit! If we wanted a model of a man, a model of a man who does not belong to this time, but who belongs to the future instead, I'd heartily say that this model without a single stain on his conduct, attitude or behavior, is Che! If we want to express how we want our children to be, we must say with all the heart of vehement revolutionaries: we want them to be like Che!
- Scorn relations with the imperialist Government of the United States, a Government of genocide and decadence...We have supported, we are supporting and we shall support revolutionary movements in Latin America... We feel very well outside the O.A.S., in fact better than inside. The O.A.S. is an organization that is bound to disappear.
- With what moral authority can they speak of human rights — the rulers of a nation in which the millionaire and beggar coexist; the Indian is exterminated; the black man is discriminated against; the woman is prostituted; and the great masses of Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, and Latin Americans are scorned, exploited, and humiliated? How can they do this — the bosses of an empire where the mafia, gambling, and child prostitution are imposed; where the CIA organizes plans of global subversion and espionage, and the Pentagon creates neutron bombs capable of preserving material assets and wiping out human beings; an empire that supports reaction and counter-revolution all over the world; that protects and promotes the exploitation by monopolies of the wealth and the human resources of whole continents, unequal exchange, a protectionist policy, an incredible waste of natural resources, and a system of hunger for the world?
- Imperialism cannot conceive of a free people, a sovereign people, an independent people. Because, simply and plainly, for them the people is nothing more than an empty phrase.
- We are a poor country that wants to take the efforts and resources now being invested in defense of the revolution and invest it in tractors and plows. And we support general and complete disarmament, under strict international control. We are for an end to the arms race and we salute the SALT II accords as an important step in this direction. We demand respect for the territorial integrity of states and renunciation of the use of force in international relations. We condemn the existence of military bases.
- They talk about the failure of socialism but where is the success of capitalism in Africa, Asia and Latin America?
- Las ideas no necesitan ni de las armas, en la medida en que sean capaces de conquistar a las grandes masas. (Ideas do not need weapons, to the extent that they can convince the great masses.)
- I never perceived a contradiction in the political revolutionary field between the ideas I maintained and the idea of that symbol, that extraordinary figure who had been so familiar to me since I began to reason.
- Let us yield a bit. Let us grant socialism a few more years. Socialism is so obsolete, it is dying by itself.... Did I say socialism? I assure you on my honor this was not a mental slip. This was a slip of the tongue. Do not forget that. Capitalism—and I say it with such gusto—capitalism is so obsolete that it is dying by itself.
- Capitalism has neither the capacity, nor the moral, nor the ethics, nor the will to solve the problems of poverty.
- The world has an offer for everybody but it turned out that a few minorities--the descendants of those who crucified Christ, the descendants of those who expelled Bolivar from here and also those who in a certain way crucified him in Santa Marta, there in Colombia--they took possession of the riches of the world, a minority took possession of the planet’s gold, the silver, the minerals, the water, the good lands, the oil, and they have concentrated all the riches in the hands of a few; less than 10 percent of the world population owns more than half of the riches of the world.
- They [US officials] say they want to impose a democratic model. But that's their democratic model. It's the false democracy of elites, and, I would say, a very original democracy that's imposed by weapons and bombs and firing weapons. What type of democracy do you impose with marines and bombs?
[If] we walk in the streets of the Bronx, if we walk around New York, Washington, San Diego, in any city, San Antonio, San Francisco, and we ask individuals, the citizens of the United States, what does this country want? Does it want peace? They'll say yes. But the government doesn't want peace... It wants to exploit its system of exploitation, of pillage, of hegemony through war... But what's happening in Iraq? What happened in Lebanon? In Palestine? What's happening? What's happened over the last 100 years in Latin America and in the world? And now threatening Venezuela -- new threats against Venezuela, against Iran?
- Venezuealan President Hugo Chavez in his Speech at the U.N. General Assembly, Wednesday, September 20, 2006
- I think there are reasons to be optimistic...because over and above the wars and the bombs and the aggressive and the preventive war and the destruction of entire peoples, one can see that a new era is dawning... the era is giving birth to a heart. There are alternative ways of thinking. There are young people who think differently. And this has already been seen within the space of a mere decade. It was shown that the end of history was a totally false assumption, and the same was shown about Pax Americana and the establishment of the capitalist neo-liberal world. It has been shown, this system, to generate mere poverty. Who believes in it now?... What we now have to do is define the future of the world. Dawn is breaking out all over. You can see it in Africa and Europe and Latin America and Oceanea. I want to emphasize that optimistic vision.... We have to strengthen ourselves, our will to do battle, our awareness. We have to build a new and better world... Venezuela joins that struggle, and that's why we are threatened. The U.S. has already planned, financed and set in motion a coup in Venezuela, and it continues to support coup attempts in Venezuela and elsewhere.
- Venezuealan President Hugo Chavez in his Speech at the U.N. General Assembly, Wednesday, September 20, 2006
- ...reminded us just a moment ago of the horrendous assassination of the former foreign minister, Orlando Letelier. And I would just add one thing: Those who perpetrated this crime are free. And that other event where an American citizen also died were American themselves. They were CIA killers, terrorists... In just a few days there will be another anniversary. Thirty years will have passed from this other horrendous terrorist attack on the Cuban plane, where 73 innocents died, a Cubana de Aviacion airliner. And where is the biggest terrorist of this continent who took the responsibility for blowing up the plane? He spent a few years in jail in Venezuela. Thanks to CIA and then government officials, he was allowed to escape, and he lives here in this country, protected by the government. And he was convicted. He has confessed to his crime. But the U.S. government has double standards. It protects terrorism when it wants to.
- Should Latin America and the Caribbean accept these methods that so hurt our region in the entire 20th century? How many military interventions? How many coup d’états? How many dictatorships were imposed during the long and dark 20th century in Latin America and the Caribbean, and who did it favor? Did it favor the Peoples? What interests did they represent? The interests of the transnational companies, the unpopular interests; long dictatorships, like Augusto Pinochet’s in Chile, were faced by our peoples due to the stubbornness of the American elites...
- We bring our homeland’s truth to this honorable UN General Assembly; after the failure published and announced by the New York Times of these illegal, unconstitutional and criminal attempts of regime change, after the democratic presidential election, last May 20th, when I, Nicolas Maduro Moros, obtained 68% of the popular votes through free elections – the 24th election in 19 years, of which 22 have been won by the revolutionary forces of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, at different levels of approval, against the opposition forces of our country; after the failure of the attempted military coups, candidacies and electoral tactics supported by Washington...
- Throughout most of the nineteenth century we experienced constant occupations, invasions, annexations, and in the great blow of 1848 [in the Mexican-American War] it cost us the loss of half of our territory. This violent, territorial expansion of the United States was consecrated when Cuba, Spain’s last bastion in the Americas, fell in 1898 with the suspicious sinking of the battleship Maine in Havana. . . . Since that time, Washington has never ceased carrying out overt or covert operations against the independent countries south of the Rio Grande... the people of Cuba deserve a prize of dignity and the island . . . should be declared a World Heritage site...
The proposal is no more and no less than to build something similar to the European Union, but in accordance with our history, our reality, and our identities. In this spirit, we should not rule out the replacement of the OAS [Organization of American States] with a truly autonomous organization — not a lackey of anyone, but a mediator at the request and acceptance of parties in conflict in matters of human rights and democracy. . . . What is proposed here may seem utopian. However, it should be considered that without the horizon of ideals we will get nowhere and, consequently, it is worth trying. Let’s keep Bolivar’s dream alive.
- Andrés Manuel López Obrador as quoted in AMLO Wants a United Latin America, Kurt Hackbarth, Jacobin Magazine August 16, 2021
- There are days which occur in this climate, at almost any season of the year, wherein the world reaches its perfection; when the air, the heavenly bodies and the earth, make a harmony, as if nature would indulge her offspring; when, in these bleak upper sides of the planet, nothing is to desire that we have heard of the happiest latitudes, and we bask in the shining hours of Florida and Cuba; when everything that has life gives sign of satisfaction, and the cattle that lie on the ground seem to have great and tranquil thoughts.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays: Second Series, "Nature", (1844)
- Warfare is a means and not an end. Warfare is a tool of revolutionaries. The important thing is the revolution. The important thing is the revolutionary cause, revolutionary ideas, revolutionary objectives, revolutionary sentiments, revolutionary virtues!
- All I gotta say about Elian is, thank God he's Cuban. 'Cause if he had been Haitian, you'd have never heard about his ass. If Elian Gonzalez was Elian Mumoombo from Haiti, they'd have pushed that little rubber tube back into the water. "Sorry, fella. All full."
- Dave Chappelle, Dave Chappelle: Killin' Them Softly (2000)
- There are profound differences between our countries that will not go away. We hold different concepts on many subjects, such as political systems, democracy, the exercise of human rights, social justice, international relations, and world peace and stability. We defend human rights. In our view, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are indivisible, interdependent, and universal. We find it inconceivable that a government does not defend and ensure the right to healthcare, education, social security, food provision, development, equal pay, and the rights of children. We oppose political manipulation and double standards in the approach to human rights.
- Despite assassination attempts and international isolation - especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union - Castro has clung on to power and remains the world's longest surviving head of state. Meanwhile his people will risk almost anything to flee, and the country continues to decay. In 2003 seventy-five dissidents were imprisoned for up to eight years for daring to speak out against the regime. They have concrete slabs for a bed, eat food that would 'make a pig vomit,' and use lavatories that 'regurgitate their fetid contents around the clock.' On the other hand, Cuba has an efficient and generous welfare state and health system.
- Nigel Cawthorne, Tyrants: History's 100 Most Evil Despots & Dictators, New York : Barnes & Noble, (2006) ISBN 0760775672, p. 90
- The United States for many years has tried to convert Puerto Rico into a model of hybrid culture: the Spanish language with English inflections, the Spanish language with hinges on its backbone--the better to bow down before the Yankee soldier. Puerto Rican soldiers have been used as cannon fodder in imperialist wars, as in Korea, and have even been made to fire at their own brothers, as in the massacre perpetrated by the U.S. army a few months ago against the unarmed people of Panama--one of the most recent crimes carried out by Yankee imperialism. And yet, despite this assault on their will and their historical destiny, the people of Puerto Rico have preserved their culture, their Latin character, their national feelings, which in themselves give proof of the implacable desire for independence lying within the masses on that Latin American island.
- Of all the thousands of rulers, potentates, strongmen, juntas, and warlords the Americans have dealt with in all corners of the world, General Manuel Antonio Noriega is the only one the Americans came after like this. Just once in its 225 years of formal national existence has the United States ever invaded another country and carried its ruler back to the United States to face trial and imprisonment for violations of American law committed on that ruler's own native foreign turf. Following the bombardment [of Panama], the United States suddenly found itself in a delicate situation. For a while, it seemed as though the whole thing would backfire. The Bush administration might have quashed the wimp rumors, but now it faced the problem of legitimacy, of appearing to be a bully caught in an act of terrorism. It was disclosed that the U.S. Army had prohibited the press, the Red Cross, and other outside observers from entering the heavily bombed areas for three days, while soldiers incinerated and buried the casualties. The press asked questions about how much evidence of criminal and other inappropriate behavior was destroyed, and about how many died because they were denied timely medical attention, but such questions were never answered.
- We shall never know many of the facts about the invasion, nor shall we know the true extent of the massacre. Defense Secretary Richard Cheney claimed a death toll between five hundred and six hundred, but independent human rights groups estimated it at three thousand to five thousand, with another twenty-five thousand left homeless... Noriega was arrested, flown to Miami, and sentenced to forty years' imprisonment; at that time, he was the only person in the United States officially classified as a prisoner of war... The world was outraged by this breach of international law and by the needless destruction of a defenseless people at the hands of the most powerful military force on the planet, but few in the United States were aware of either the outrage or the crimes Washington had committed. Press coverage was very limited. A number of factors contributed to this, including government policy, White House phone calls to publishers and television executives, congress people who dared not object, lest the wimp factor become their problem, and journalists who thought the public needed heroes rather than objectivity.
- My real job... was giving loans to other countries, huge loans, much bigger than they could possibly repay. One of the conditions of the loan — let’s say a $1 billion to a country like... Ecuador — and this country would then have to give ninety percent of that loan back to a U.S. company... to build the infrastructure — a Halliburton or a Bechtel... Those companies would then go in and build an electrical system or ports or highways, and these would basically serve just a few of the very wealthiest families in those countries. The poor people... would be stuck ultimately with this amazing debt that they couldn’t possibly repay. A country today like Ecuador owes over fifty percent of its national budget just to pay down its debt. And it really can’t do it. So, we literally have them over a barrel. So, when we want more oil, we go to Ecuador and say, “Look, you’re not able to repay your debts, therefore give our oil companies your Amazon rain forest, which are filled with oil.” And today we’re going in and destroying Amazonian rain forests, forcing Ecuador to give them to us because they’ve accumulated all this debt. So we make this big loan, most of it comes back to the United States, the country is left with the debt plus lots of interest, and they basically become our servants, our slaves.... It’s a huge empire. It’s been extremely successful.
- Omar Torrijos, the President of Panama... had signed the Canal Treaty with Carter much... It was a highly contended issue. And Torrijos then also went ahead and negotiated with the Japanese to build a sea-level canal. The Japanese wanted to finance and construct a sea-level canal in Panama. Torrijos talked to them about this which very much upset Bechtel Corporation, whose president was George Schultz and senior council was Casper Weinberger. When Carter... lost the election, and Reagan came in and Schultz came in as Secretary of State from Bechtel, and Weinberger came from Bechtel to be Secretary of Defense, they were extremely angry at Torrijos — tried to get him to renegotiate the Canal Treaty and not to talk to the Japanese. He adamantly refused... He had his problems, but he was a very principled man. He was an amazing man, Torrijos. And so, he died in a fiery airplane crash, which was connected to a tape recorder with explosives in it, which — I was there. I had been working with him. I knew that we economic hit men had failed. I knew the jackals were closing in on him, and the next thing, his plane exploded with a tape recorder with a bomb in it. There’s no question in my mind that it was C.I.A. sanctioned, and most — many Latin American investigators have come to the same conclusion. Of course, we never heard about that in our country.
- The book was to be dedicated to the presidents of two countries, men who had been his clients whom I respected and thought of as kindred spirits – Jaime Roldós (1940-1981), president of Ecuador, and Omar Torrijos, president of Panama. Both had just died in fiery crashes. Their deaths were not accidental. They were assassinated because they opposed that fraternity of corporate, government, and banking heads whose goal is global empire. We Economic Hit Men failed to bring Roldós and Torrijos around, and the other type of hit men, the CIA-sanctioned jackals who were always right behind us, stepped in.
- Today, a new $1.3 billion, three hundred-mile pipeline constructed by an EHM [economic hitman] organized consortium promises to make Ecuador one of the world's top ten suppliers of oil to the United States. Vast areas of rain forest have fallen, macaws and jaguars have all but vanished, three Ecuadorian indigenous cultures have been driven to the verge of collapse, and pristine rivers have been transformed into flaming cesspools... Because of my fellow EHMs and me, Ecuador is in far worse shape today than she was before we introduced her to the miracles of modern economics, banking, and engineering. Since 1970, during this period known euphemistically as the Oil Boom, the official poverty level grew from 50 to 70 percent, under- or unemployment increased from 15 to 70 percent, and public debt increased from $240 million to $16 billion. Meanwhile, the share of national resources allocated to the poorest segments of the population declined from 20 to 6 percent... Unfortunately, Ecuador is not the exception. Nearly every country we EHMs have brought under the global empire's umbrella has suffered a similar fate. Third world debt has grown to more than 62.5 trillion, and the cost of servicing it — over $375 billion per year as of 2004 — is more than all third world spending on health and education, and twenty times what developing countries receive annually in foreign aid.
- Ecuador is typical of countries around the world that EHMs have brought into the economic-political fold. For every $100 of crude taken out of the Ecuadorian rain forests, the oil companies receive $75. Of the remaining $25, three-quarters must go to paying off the foreign debt. Most of the remainder covers military and other government expenses — which leaves about $2.50 for health, education, and programs aimed at helping the poor. Thus, out of every $100 worth of oil torn from the Amazon, less than $3 goes to the people who need the money most, those whose lives have been so adversely impacted by the dams, the drilling, and the pipelines, and who are dying from lack of edible food and potable water.
- This country … abounds in that Cuba is a heaven in the spiritual sense of the word, and we prefer to die in heaven than serve in hell.
- Cuba doesn’t have a dictatorship — it’s a revolutionary democracy.
- Hugo Chávez during his television/radio show ¡Aló Presidente! on August 21, 2005
- Chavez became the bugaboo of American politics because his full-throated advocacy of socialism and redistributionism... delivered some indisputably positive results. Indeed, as shown by some of the most significant indicators, Chavez racked up an economic record that a legacy-obsessed American president could only dream of achieving. Chavez's first decade... saw Venezuelan GDP more than double... both infant mortality and unemployment almost halved... under Chavez's brand of socialism, poverty in Venezuela plummeted... its "extreme poverty" rate fell from 23.4 percent in 1999 to 8.5 percent... left the country with the third lowest poverty rate in Latin America... college enrollment... more than doubled, millions of people have access to health care for the first time... the number of people eligible for public pensions has quadrupled.
- When... a country goes socialist and its economy does what Venezuela's did... especially when said country has valuable oil resources... [Venezuela] came to be seen as a serious threat to the global system of corporate capitalism... a high crime prompting a special punishment... Are there any lessons to be learned from Venezuela's policies that so rapidly reduced poverty?...Are there any constructive lessons to be learned from Chavez's grand experiment with more aggressive redistribution? Such questions need to be asked. The problem is that...at the moment Chavez's name is invoked, the conversation is inevitably terminated, ending any possibility of discourse. That is by design - it is what the longtime caricaturing and marginalizing of Chavez was always supposed to do. But maybe now [that Hugo Chavez has passed away]...a more constructive, honest and critical economic conversation can finally begin.
- Latin America is not the same Latin America... the only country who vote against stopping the embargo, eliminating the embargo in the U.N. is United States and Israel. The world already has said that they don’t agree with the embargo against Cuba. I also think that — we mentioned Hugo Chávez. Hugo Chávez, Lula in Brazil, Correa in Ecuador have shifted this concept that Latin America is just a backyard of the United States, creating a new regional policy. And with that regionalization, both for TeleSUR—there are like four or five different organizations been created that allow Latin Americans to do more work among themselves, both economically and politically, including resolving some of the political issues within our region.
I also think it’s significant that when we talk about the U.S. arresting Noriega, that it comes off like the U.S. role has been to protect citizens from dictators. Every dictator that served the U.S., that was overthrown by their people, was protected by the U.S. Stroessner was taken to Brazil after he was overthrown. He was the most longest in power.
- What the press downplays, if it mentions it at all, is the very real and significant ways that US sanctions have contributed to these problems facing Venezuela and how these sanctions are making it nearly impossible for Venezuela to solve these problems. What the press also fails to mention is the even greater humanitarian issues confronting Venezuela’s next-door neighbor, Colombia – the US’ number one ally in the region and, quite bizarrely, the newest “global partner” of NATO from Latin America. And, the US is very much responsible for these issues as well, but in quite different ways. The fact is that, by a number of measures, Colombia has one of the worst human rights situations on earth, but you would never know this from watching the nightly news.
- I just returned from observing my fourth election in Venezuela in less than a year. Jimmy Carter has called Venezuela’s electoral system “the best in the world,” and what I witnessed was an inspiring process that guarantees one person, one vote, and includes multiple auditing procedures to ensure a free and fair election. I then came home to the United States to see the inevitable “news” coverage referring to Venezuela as a “dictatorship” and as a country in need of saving. This coverage not only ignores the reality of Venezuela, it ignores the fact that the U.S. is the greatest impediment to democracy in Venezuela, just as the U.S. has been an impediment to democracy throughout Latin America since the end of the 19th century. ...most of Venezuela’s poor are better off now than they were before the Bolivarian Revolution of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro... Before Chavez, the sprawling poor barrios which ring the cities were literally not on any government maps, and they had no utilities and no election centers. After Chavez...they were provided with utilities, health service, election stations and, most important, dignity. Chavez even started a world-class music program which has now provided 1 million underprivileged children with music education.
- While thousands of people gathered around Miraflores Presidential Palace to greet the re-election of President Nicolás Maduro, opposition sectors, the United States, the European Union and the Latin American right launched a predictable destabilization plan against the most recent democratic electoral process undertaken on Sunday, May 20, in Venezuela.The Venezuelan people, victims of one of the most brutal economic wars of recent times, only comparable to the blockade imposed on Cuba for more than 50 years, re-elected Nicolás Maduro as their legitimate President with more than six million votes. From the photos used in the international media, to the headlines chosen, the coverage of the elections in Venezuela was designed to try to undermine the participation of citizens and their majority support for the Bolivarian Revolution...most of the Western mass media continues to echo terms such as “political prisoners,” when the government has provided countless evidence that those who are being prosecuted have committed crimes or incited violence, which has resulted in hundreds of deaths.
- Iramsy Peraza Forte in Ten Attempts to Destabilize the Re-elected Venezuelan Government of President Maduro, Granma, (23 May 2018)
- For the third consecutive year, South America slid backwards in the global struggle to achieve zero hunger by 2030, with 39 million people living with hunger and five million children suffering from malnutrition. “It’s very distressing because we’re not making progress. We’re not doing well, we’re going in reverse. You can accept this in a year of great drought or a crisis somewhere, but when it’s happened three years in a row, that’s a trend,” reflected Julio Berdegué, FAO’s highest authority in Latin America and the Caribbean. The regional representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations said it is cause for concern that it is not Central America, the poorest subregion, that is failing in its efforts, but the South American countries that have stagnated. “More than five million children in Latin America are permanently malnourished. In a continent of abundant food, a continent of upper-middle- and high-income countries, five million children … It’s unacceptable,” he said in an interview with IPS at the agency’s regional headquarters in Santiago.
- It's not just Bolton. I think the person who's most got Trump's ear on Latin America is Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio who has a widespread constituency of expat Venezuelans who are very wealthy... they've been wanting to do whatever's possible to provoke regime change in both Venezuela and Cuba and, I think, Rubio probably made a deal with Trump saying essentially he would back Trump's policies and agenda if Trump lets him lead on Latin America...
- We begin today by looking at the fight in Congress over disaster aid for Puerto Rico since it was ravaged by Hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017. On Monday, two competing disaster relief bills stalled in the Senate as Democrats and President Trump continue to fight over federal relief funds for Puerto Rico. A companion bill to a January package passed in the House failed after Republicans objected to the lack of relief funding for recent flooding in the Midwest. Another Senate bill, supported by Republicans, fell short of the 60 votes it needed. It contained just $600 million for Puerto Rico’s food stamp program, a number Democrats say is far too low as many Puerto Ricans are still recovering from the devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Maria.
- Veterans For Peace is outraged at the unfolding coup d’etat in Venezuela, which is clearly being orchestrated by the U.S. government. Two hundred years of blatant U.S. intervention in Latin America must come to an end... Years of increasingly crippling U.S. sanctions have succeeded in destabilizing the Venezuelan economy and created great unrest, division and migration. The U.S. government encouraged Venezuelan opposition parties to boycott last year’s election. Now they are calling the election fraudulent, and attempting to install a little-known politician more to their liking. This is part of a dangerous game that the U.S. continues to play throughout Latin America.
- We salute Venezuela that clearly fights for peace, in a commitment that has its foundations in the spirit and conviction of our Latin American and Caribbean peoples, and so we ratify it on the 85th anniversary of [Sandino] our ‘general of free men’ ... Beyond their political positions, countries have said that they are not in favor of intervention or war. There are some agreements that have to be worked on and initiatives to be developed to find a solution through peaceful means in Venezuela.
- Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua Rejects Possible Military Intervention In Venezuela, Telesur (21 February 2019)
- June 28 marks a grim milestone in Honduras: ten years of dictatorship, of tragedy and resistance, of protest and repression. The 2009 coup d’état that ousted democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya carried uncanny echoes of the darkest days of US-backed war in Central America, and proved a harbinger of the coming right-wing counterrevolution in the region. After the military ousted Zelaya, parliamentary coups unseated democratic progressive governments in Paraguay and Brazil, and reactionary ambassadors of capital have since risen to power in elections across the continent.
In the words of Dana Frank, “Honduras was the first domino which the United States pushed over to counteract the new governments in Latin America.”
...As the Latin American left reckons with its failures to build a sustainable base for a transformative political project, US-backed elites have set about liberating territory for capital at the expense of the region’s most vulnerable populations and ecosystems. In Honduras, whose history and landscape were already scarred by United Fruit plantations and US military bases, this project has taken a particularly brutal form.
- Fidel Castro said that instead of investing so much in the development of increasingly sophisticated weapons, those with the resources should promote medical research and put science at the service of humanity, creating instruments of health and life, not death. #cubanobel
- Did you know that of the nearly 1200 health professional Cubans involved in fighting COVID-19 around the world, more than half are women? Join the campaign to award them the Nobel Prize. https://cubanobel.org #CubaNobel
- Fantastic article by Cuba’s Ambassador to Canada, @JosefinaVidalF, about the 2 pandemics facing Cuba: COVID and the US embargo. #CubaNobel
- Cuban doctors arrive in Martinique to fight coronavirus. "The only thing that motivates us is to save lives, that's the most important thing in the eyes of a Cuban doctor.” That’s why they could get the Nobel Prize. (27 June 2020)
- Maybe Sen. @marcorubio should stop sabotaging Cuba’s international health brigades fighting Covid around the world, and instead invite them to help stop the spread in his own state of Florida!
- I reach above me and pull down a file on Guatemala. It is on the CIA coup of 1954. Why did the US destroy that small country? Because the landless movement and the Left fought to elect a democratic politician - Jacobo Árbenz - who decided to push through a moderate land reform agenda. Such a project threatened to undercut the land holding of the United Fruit Company, a US conglomerate that strangled Guatemala. The CIA got to work. It contacted retired Colonial Carlos Castillo Armas, it paid off brigade commanders, created sabotage events, and then seized Árbenz in the presidential palace and sent him into exile. Castillo Armas then put Guatemala through a reign of terror. 'If it is necessary to turn the country into a cemetery in order to pacify it,' he said later, 'I will not hesitate to do so.' The CIA gave him lists of Communists, people who were eager to lift their country out of poverty. They were arrested, many executed. The CIA offered Castillo Armas its benediction to kill: A Study of Assassination, the CIA's killing manual, was handed over to his butchers. The light of hope went out in this small and vibrant country.
- Vijay Prashad, Washington Bullets: A History of the CIA, Coups, and Assassinations. Monthly Review Press, 2020. pp. 13-14
- We speak with Salvadoran American journalist Roberto Lovato about how decades of U.S. military intervention in Central America have contributed to the ongoing humanitarian crisis at the border. Some 18,000 unaccompanied migrant children are now in U.S. custody, according to the latest figures, and more than 5,700 are in Customs and Border Protection facilities, which are not equipped to care for children. This comes as a record number of asylum seekers are arriving at the southern border, fleeing extreme poverty, violence and climate change in their home countries. “You have the ongoing epidemic of U.S. policy and the crisis that is not of migration as much as it’s the crisis of capitalism, backed by the kind of militarism and militarized policing that you see not just in the United States, but in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, on and on,” Lovato says. “The border is the ultimate machete of memory. It cuts up our memory so that we forget 30 years of genocide, mass murder, U.S.-sponsored militarism and policing, failed economic policies.”
- We need a recognition of the absolute and unadulterated failure of U.S. policy, which is actually not even a failure. It’s designed to do this. And so, the U.S. needs to just kind of — to start solving this, needs to stop interventionist policies and economics that bring about privatization of water. Like, something like..85% of the crises in Central America are based in water.
- Nearly a million people lost power last Thursday after a fire at an electrical substation in the capital San Juan. The massive blackout came just days after the private U.S. and Canadian company LUMA Energy formally took over management of the island’s electric grid from PREPA — that’s the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority — which was devastated by Hurricane Maria... Many people are still without power, facing ongoing blackouts. The union for Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, for PREPA, fought to block the privatization. Puerto Rico’s Fiscal Control Board, the mechanism put in place by Congress to manage its public debt, has pushed an austerity agenda that includes privatization of public assets like the electrical grid.
- Donald Trump had little interest in Latin America, other than labeling its refugees as terrorists, drug dealers and rapists. He reversed the initial steps President Barack Obama took to move to better relations with Cuba. He doubled down on crippling sanctions, illegal under international law, on Venezuela, and pushed to overturn the president of the country. Biden has both an opportunity and an imperative to offer better relations. Latin America has been battered by the economic collapse accompanying the pandemic... Now elections promise to bring a new generation of progressive leaders to power across the hemisphere... Biden now must choose how to react to these developments... The opportunity is to launch a new chapter of what Franklin Roosevelt termed the Good Neighbor Policy. Let's join China in a competition defined not by battleships and coups but by investments in infrastructure and by increased trade....As the region's neighbors, we have a big stake in their prosperity and their health. We should be leading the effort to provide and help distribute vaccines against the Coronavirus. We should be helping governments choose their own development projects. We should be mobilizing the region to address the deepening crisis caused by the extreme weather resulting from climate change—and aid the transition to sustainable energy.... Biden and Democrats are more likely to gain support in the communities with a new generation by changing course, not by continuing what clearly has failed.
- A wave of protests in Cuba became the somewhat unlikely focus of global attention earlier this week... A statement from Joe Biden’s office read: We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime. Media, too, were quick to focus on the story, giving the protests front and center coverage, something extremely unusual for demonstrations in Latin America. Far larger and more deadly movements in Chile and Ecuador were mostly ignored by the corporate press (FAIR.org, 12/6/19). Meanwhile, the political situation in Haiti, which has seen three continuous years of nationwide protest, was overwhelmingly ignored... However, while giving the protests a great deal of coverage, the corporate press across the political spectrum consistently downplayed one of the primary causes of unrest: the increasingly punitive US blockade... By refusing to frame these as intentional consequences of US foreign policy, corporate media consumers are less prone to critique their own government’s actions and more likely to support the very measures that are partially responsible for keeping Cuba in the state that it is in. A skeptical reader might wonder if that is exactly the point.
- We just heard from the Minister of Honduras. Let us recall that United Fruit Company essentially ran his country for a long time. United Fruit’s attorney was US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, and his brother Allen Dulles was the head of the CIA. On behalf of United Fruit Company, the two Dulles Brothers conspired to overthrow President Jacobo Árbenz of Guatemala, next door to Honduras, in order to stop the land reforms that Árbenz was trying to implement. So, yes, we have a global food system, but we need a different system. That different system must be based on the principle of universal human dignity in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the principle of national sovereignty in the UN Charter, and the economic rights in the Universal Declaration and the International Covenant of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights . In the Universal Declaration, all governments agreed that social protection is a human right, not merely a “nice thing,” or a pleasant thing, but a basic human right. That was 73 years ago.
- After World War II, the United States has been taking advantage of the hegemony of the US dollar to wring gains from the creation and flow of the world's wealth. It has used the dollar hegemony to increase the financial risk of developing countries, plunder their wealth, including resources and real estates, and obtain the monopoly rights of such public service industries in these countries as water, electricity and transportation. In those Latin American countries that adopted the Washington Consensus, the economic growth rate in the 1990s decreased by 50 percent on average from that in the 1980s.
- US, biggest saboteur of post-WWII global peace, China Daily Global September 17, 2021
- Mexico’s president Andrés Manuel López Obrador has called for a union of Latin American countries. Drawing on the revolutionary vision of Simón Bolívar, it aims for regional integration as a bulwark against foreign interference... a truly autonomous Latin American union of nations that is "not a lackey of anyone" to potentially replace the Washington-based Organization of American States... On July 24, Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) gave the most important foreign-policy speech of his administration at a summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
The speech came on the birthday of Simón Bolivar, the Caracas-born revolutionary leader who liberated a large part of South America from the Spanish in the first two decades of the nineteenth century, earning himself the title El Libertador, or “The Liberator.” Above and beyond his military exploits, Bolivar is known for his vision of a united Spanish America, one strong enough to resist the recolonizing impulses of Spain, the rest of Europe, and a young and expanding United States... López Obrador was clear why it had failed to become a reality. In addition to factors internal to the region, AMLO pinpointed the Monroe Doctrine, which, he asserted, fragmented the peoples of the continent and destroyed what Bolivar had sought to build. Finally, instead of an exhausted model based on “impositions, interference, sanctions, exclusions, and blockades,” AMLO called for a new form of cooperation among the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.
- The lies peddled about Venezuela’s past make US US aggression against it possible in the present. It is worth summing up some of these key lies:
Venezuela was “once prosperous” and ruined by socialism. In fact, Venezuela was an unequal country in which most people were poor despite the country’s oil wealth, which had generated huge export revenues since the 1920s.
Venezuela was a democracy before Chavismo. In fact, Venezuela’s democracy was a gravely flawed system in which politicians alternated holding power according to an undemocratic agreement, and rammed austerity down the throats of Venezuela’s poor by committing massacres, such as the Caracazo.
Chavismo ruined Venezuela’s democracy. Chávez indeed attempted to carry out a coup in 1992, but he came to power through an election in 1998, and afterward made changes through extensive democratic processes.
- In his State of the Union address on February 6, 2019, Donald Trump said: We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom—and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair. Trump’s ridiculous comment was not considered controversial, because the Western media, including the anti-Trump outlets like the New York Times, have spent many years conveying a lie: that Venezuela had been very prosperous and democratic until Hugo Chávez, and then his successor Nicolás Maduro, came along and ruined everything. If readers believe that, then they may indeed wonder, “Why shouldn’t the US government help Venezuelans return to that prosperous state?”
- Another exodus is happening halfway around the world as asylum seekers from Central America make the perilous journey to the U.S./Mexico border. There, they face draconian U.S. immigration policies that consign them to "Remain in Mexico."... these migrants live in constant danger in squalid, makeshift refugee camps in Mexican border cities, waiting for a chance at asylum in the United States.... The U.S. government reported a record 210,000 migrant apprehensions along the southern border in July. Many of these people hail from the so-called "Northern Triangle" countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, where widespread inequality, systemic corruption, food insecurity, gang violence and now climate change are forcing people from their homes. These problems have long been exacerbated by U.S. military, economic and political interventions in the region. The United States engaged in "dirty wars" in Central America and has supported coups against democratically elected governments there, from overthrowing the government of President Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954 to actively supporting the coup against President Manuel Zelaya in Honduras in 2009. The United States has a responsibility to provide a safe haven for refugees, from Afghanistan, Latin America, or elsewhere, and to cease interventions that fuel these crises and displace so many.