by Alberto Garrido
Though it hasn't come to a head yet, the continental polarization between Bush and Chavez has accelerated. On the one hand, the Chavez-Castro-Morales block decided to launch the socialist revolutionary triangle through pressure tactics on the energy front. Its space (for now) is the Americas, without national exceptions. The polarization pressed by Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia puts an end to the interamerican institutional transition stage, because it clashes with its strategic interests, which are geared to establishing socialism on a continental scale.
The Andean Community is not necessary, because it helps the US on the road to FTAA, via the bilateral free trade agreements. By the same token there's no need for the Group of Three, Colombia-Mexico-Venezuela, because Mexico and Colombia have deals with the US.
Uruguay, disenchanted with "this" Mercosur run by Brasil and Argentina and edging to sign its FTA with Washington; Ecuador, which feels tempted to sign an FTA, like other countries that find themselves in similar situations, have gotten the message. Even Brazil and Argentina, which tried to use Chavez and Venezuela's oil as a way to softening up Washington and getting an FTAA Lite (i.e., one that solved their trade disagreements with the US), have to choose between what they understand their trade interests to be and their future energy needs.
Chavez's radical behavior goes far beyond the electoral - whether domestically or internationally. Humala didn't understand that. Much less have Lula and Kirchner digested it. The great continental polarizer is Chavez. This is the time of the States, but the time of the peoples is nearing, represented by parties or movements, even if those peoples have the petro-states as strategic weapons.
This is why the deal signed in Havana is the Free Trade Treaty of the Peoples. This is why Chavez says that the concept of "integragion" has to be changed in favor of "union", which comes closer to the bolivarian ideal of the greater fatherland. It's just that this union shall have to come about in the context of a socialist Latin America and Caribbean, and that strategy goes through a number of stages, among which the crucial one is the asymmetric resistance war against the US.
Without fully understanding what they're facing, the White House keeps, meanwhile, working on a hypothesis of "multiple wars" within the framework of a global war. This explains why Porter Goss has been jettisoned from the CIA, leaving room for Michael Hayden, a general from John Negroponte's team and one of the most hard-line hawks in the Reagan and Bush II administrations.
The Pentagon already controls almost 80% of the spying and intelligence budgets in the US.
Meanwhile, according to the Washington Post, Donald Rumsfeld has given the green light to setting up Special Forces in Latin America with "absolute freedom to act," as the Pentagon will not have to ask for permission from the State Department of those countries where they are stationed.
Let those who have eyes use their common sense.
May 10, 2006
Just to prove that there's nothing creepier than a delusional paranoid with a long track-record of being right, here's Alberto Garrido's latest column: