Latin America's Revolt Spreads

I wrote about the spreading Latin American protests bit more than a week ago.
In that short period of time there's been three crucial developments.


In Chile

The number of people killed in violent protests against rising living costs in Chile has risen to 11, Santiago Governor Karla Rubilar said on Monday.
The military and police used tear gas and water cannon against protesters and a curfew was imposed in major cities.

A state of emergency already in place in Santiago is to be extended to cities in the country's north and south.
...Mr Piñera - who took office in March 2018 after having served as president between 2010 and 2014 - has deployed soldiers and tanks for the first time since 1990, when Chile returned to democracy after the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

The protesters/rioters are angry about the entire neoliberal system that Libertarians love to point to, and the government's rhetoric is alarming to say the least.

What began as protests against subway-fare increases quickly morphed into outpourings of discontent over income equality, pensions, health and education.

While Mr Pinera back-pedaled on the fare increase, his efforts to crack down on violence have merely intensified it. Late Sunday, he had a stark message for Chile: We are at war, choose sides and we will win.

“We are at war against a powerful, relentless enemy, who doesn’t respect anyone, who is willing to use violence without any limits, even if it means the loss of human life,” Mr Pinera said in a televised speech. The rioters “represent evil.”

Meanwhile in Peru

The Peruvian government on Wednesday authorized the intervention of the armed forces and police to unblock access to one of the country’s largest copper mines, after owner Chinese miner MMG Ltd said it may have to cease production at the site.

The decree, published in official newspaper El Peruano, declared a state of emergency for 30 days in an Andean area where residents have been blocking a road used by the mining company to transport concentrates for almost four weeks.

Some background in Peru

The situation in Peru turned almost Kafkaesque in early October, when embattled President Martin Vizcarra dissolved the opposition-controlled Congress following a prolonged conflict between the two institutions. The Congress in turn stripped Vizcarra of his post and named the vice president as the acting president, but within hours he had resigned and asked Vizcarra to hold early elections. The standoff has continued, as the matter has been referred to the country’s Supreme Court. Peru has been rocked by instability since Vizcarra’s predecessor, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, resigned over a massive corruption scandal that has spread from Brazil to several other countries in the region.

Nothing has changed in Haiti and Honduras, where protesters are still battling corrupt U.S.-backed governments.
But in Ecuador the tide is turning.


The deal, which included the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), is a retreat for the government of President Lenín Moreno and a victory for the protesters.

Jubilant crowds took to the streets, chanting in celebration. But the agreement doesn’t resolve the underlying problems. Moreno is not likely to finish the remaining year and a half of his presidential term without a recurrence of serious unrest.

Besides stopping austerity, Moreno also agreed to raise taxes on the wealthy.
Moreno cut a deal after he deployed the military...and then the military came out for the protesters and against the police.
Moreno must have realized that he only had hours to go before being kicked out.

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they are right

For almost a decade, Vanderbilt’s LAPOP survey has been measuring the region’s trust of China and the United States. In 2012, 14 out of the 20 nations surveyed said they trusted the United States more than China.

While trust in both nations is declining, this year’s survey found that only Panama, Nicaragua and Colombia still trusted the United States more than China.

Washington’s draconian immigration policies and withdrawal from multilateral agreements, such as the Paris climate accord, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the North American Free Trade Agreement seem to have soured the region.

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edg's picture


Good essay. Thanks for writing it. But this bit you quoted from Miami Herald has me scratching my head:

Washington’s withdrawal from multilateral agreements, such as the Paris climate accord, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the North American Free Trade Agreement seem to have soured the region.

The citizens of those countries were okay with the United States doing coups, regime change, death squads, austerity, pillaging of natural resources, war on drugs, financial terrorism, etc. But our withdrawal from the Paris accord has sent them streaming into the streets in anger? They're upset about the TPP? They're willing to die for NAFTA, which doesn't even include them? I'm not quite sure I believe that.

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But I thought the poll was worth mentioning.

As for the reasons behind the poll...I don't want to be accused of being slanted.
It may be true. It may be false.

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Pluto's Republic's picture


Got me to thinking how our filthy propaganda has poisoned even our so-called local media, like the Miami Herald. Not to suggest that they are otherwise shy of propaganda:

Washington’s withdrawal from multilateral agreements, such as the Paris climate accord, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the North American Free Trade Agreement seem to have soured the region.

One of those doesn't fit with the other two, as you sarcastically pointed out. Every nation in the regions affected by these agreements has something to hate about what the US does. But the only country in South America that gave a shit about the TTIP was Columbia, which is not exactly the brightest bulb in South America's chandelier.

As to Gjohnsit's overall perspective on the real story, here, I thought he seriously rocked the view with the international range of sources he chose. I took a closer look. When I had commented hours earlier, I saw that he was reporting separate instances of protest and chaos taking place in different countries for different reasons. This time I could feel the underlying harmony of purpose that came from all of them. At a meta level, those links tell the real story. To me, at least.

If the Neocon psychopaths running US "foreign policy" suddenly came to and realized that their empire was essentially dead and could not be revived under current conditions — no matter how many fires they set — I wonder if they would at last surrender to reality. The British did as best they could when their Empire died. The Russians were stoic about the death of theirs. The US could suck it up and behave constructively. We could party for awhile. The peace dividend would be monumental. We could have a Jubilee.

But the Americans have a lot to account for, for the evil they've put into motion. They have set off a race to the finish with Russia and China to build doomsday machines designed for 'defense' that will probably kill all of us. I used to trust US innovation until they privatized the defense industry and handed it over to corporations who are in it to see how much money they can bilk out of the government. Apparently, a lot. The amount of missing money that the Pentagon cannot account for now currently stands are $21 trillion after failing the Pentagon's first and only audit. [Checked. Only $1 trillion accounted for when the US attacked Afghanistan.] And that's not counting perks like the global franchise on the heroin trade.

Now, I only trust the Pentagon to continue to fail at everything. So far, so good.

Way too much evil has passed under the proverbial bridge for the US to apologize or walk anything back. Too much blood on its hands. BOOM!! Every hour another US soldier kills himself. "We built that."

I wonder what Americans would think if they were ever exposed to the facts. The media is not going to tell them what's really going on. But many outside the US know the unvarnished truth. Among the Latin American countries, for example, all citizens over the age of six have a good grasp of what America has done, internationally. It's actually taught in school. Kids six and under run foreign exchange services wherever gringos travel.

[edited for clarity]

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The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus

reg the government atrocities in Chile.

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Cassiodorus's picture

Bolsonaro has to go.

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"I was Zuckerberging people before Zuckerberg's balls dropped." -- the Devil, on "Rick and Morty"

just as poo was about to hit the fan!
Chile was pretty stable when I was there. The Pinochet Regime atrocities were openly discussed by the guides. The military seemed to be making up for past wrongdoings, sort of being trusted to do the right thing from now on.
Brazil was right at the shift from ousting the President to the new one, and people were being cautiously optimistic. Bolsonaro was elected shortly after I left.
I am very encouraged that mass demonstrations are accomplishing anything anywhere, and I am not at all surprised that those incredible people are rising up.
They have nothing to lose. They will have no compunction about going full frontal assault.

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@on the cusp the potential threat of unrest in Ecuador but the violence seems overblown by the media. This was mostly a transportation strike The violence was not extensive. Opportunists with other motives and, possibly, Moreno supporters intending to discredit the protesters is not out of the realm of possibility in my mind. It’s certainly in the neoliberal playbook.

Cuenca was shutdown and stores were short of merchandise, mostly food shipped in, but wasn’t dangerous except in spots. My wife, son, and many I know were inconvenienced but not much more than that. Cuenca is an oasis so it’s not entirely representative of the rest of the country but dangerous isn’t a word I’d apply to Ecuador. Quito and Guayaquil were undoubtedly more disturbed. The military siding with the protesters is a promising sign for stability and not good for Moreno I think.

I’ll learn more when I return next week. I’m spending the night with a Quito native before going home. I’ll get his take on the issues and the situation then. I’ll do the same when I get home. A friend’s father is a retired special forces colonel who I may be able to talk with. We’ll see. Otherwise, I’ll talk with expats and educated locals who will probably give me a good feel for the situation

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@vtcc73 "Got out" meant able to board a plane as scheduled.
I agree Cuenca ( haven't been there...yet)is an oasis. Heard it over and over both times I have travelled to Ecuador.
Please send us all your Quito person's insight.
And stay safe, and best wishes to you and your family, and to the fabulous citizens of Ecuador.

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@on the cusp @on the cusp There was plenty of chaos and uncertainty in Quito when I went through. I was stuck an extra day because of a flight cancellation. People were also stuck due to protester roadblocks from the transit strike. These situations are shocking and filled with uncertainty. It isn’t fun.

Still, nobody I know in Cuenca was all that concerned then or now. One of my young college student friends wasn’t too happy with the damage downtown. I doubt he expected anything like what happened or had ever seen such a thing. He seemed to have gotten over it when we talked the past two days. I hope so because I doubt we’ve seen the last of this crap. Interesting times indeed. Know what I mean?

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@vtcc73 n/t

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Pluto's Republic's picture

...if it were not for their own material benefit?

Did people in the US form a national government in order to build killing machines and fight endless foreign wars?

Did they form a national or state government so they would die of neglect and abandonment if they got unlucky or fell on hard times and couldn't sustain themselves?

Did the American people form a national government so that their beautififul continent could be exploited, abused, poisoned, blighted, and pieced together like a junkyard dystopia with all the esthetics of a bootstrapping Libertarian?

After so many books have been written and published about this modern era, It strikes me as rather amazing that the suffering seems to emanate from one book, one author: John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hitman.

Yet, the only blame seems to go to Democracy for making it possible, or to the people themselves, who kept voting and didn't put a stop to it after to started ruining their lives.

Where do you think the blame belongs?

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The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus
janis b's picture

@Pluto's Republic

if it were not for their own material benefit?”

I like your questioning and the alternatives it suggests, which would be far healthier for all.

The blame lays with the too-easily deceived population who vote contrary to their and others wellbeing, but especially with those who use their power to deceive.

I’m not sure if I have the heart to read this book, but I’m sure it must be very revealing.

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earthling1's picture

Full Spectrum Dominance is turning to Full Spectrum Defiance.

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