Mon Feb 25, 2013, 07:33 AM
polly7 (11,487 posts)
Think There's No Alternative? Latin America Has A Few
By Seumas Milne
Source: The Guardian
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Ever since the crash of 2008 exposed the rotten core of a failed economic model, we've been told there are no viable alternatives. As Europe sinks deeper into austerity, governing parties of whatever stripe are routinely rejected by disillusioned voters – only to be replaced by others delivering more welfare cuts, privatisation and inequality.
So what should we make of a part of the world where governments have resolutely turned their back on that model, slashed poverty and inequality, taken back industries and resources from corporate control, massively expanded public services and democratic participation – and keep getting re-elected in fiercely contested elections?
Despite their differences, it's not hard to see why. Latin America was the first to experience the disastrous impact of neoliberal dogma and the first to revolt against it. Correa was originally elected in the wake of an economic collapse so devastating that one in 10 left the country. Since then his "citizen's revolution" has cut poverty by nearly a third and extreme poverty by 45%. Unemployment has been slashed, while social security, free health and education have been rapidly expanded – including free higher education, now a constitutional right – while outsourcing has been outlawed.
And that has been achieved not only by using Ecuador's limited oil wealth to benefit the majority, but by making corporations and the well-off pay their taxes (receipts have almost tripled in six years), raising public investment to 15% of national income, extending public ownership, tough renegotiation of oil contracts and re-regulating the banking system to support development.
Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/think-theres-no-alternative-latin-america-has-a-few-by-seumas-milne
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Think There's No Alternative? Latin America Has A Few (Original post)
|Peace Patriot||Feb 2013||#2|
|Judi Lynn||Feb 2013||#3|
Response to polly7 (Original post)
Mon Feb 25, 2013, 10:52 AM
Peace Patriot (22,007 posts)
2. This news needs to be shouted from the rooftops...
...because the controlled corporate media will never tell us about it. And I was beginning to wonder about The Guardian as well, with their frequent "Big Lie" articles against the Latin American Left.
I'm glad to see them publish some truth about this, for once. It is precisely because Latin Americans have mounted successful leftist democracy revolutions, along "New Deal" lines, that the corporate media reviles, and lies about, these countries and their leaders, and insults their voting populations by calling the leaders whom they have elected, in free and fair elections, "dictators."
The same forces ("organized money") also called FDR a "dictator."
It would be a hoot, if so much suffering was not involved, that the 1% feels bullied when they are forced to pay their fair share and are prevented from destroying society with their insatiable greed. And these days the 1% is made up of transglobal corporate monsters that operate like countries unto themselves and multi-billionnaires who do the same, surely the worst "oligarchy" ever to plague Planet Earth. They perceive democracy as tyranny because democracy, when it is real, asserts FAIRNESS. And democracy has become real in Latin America--a wondrous achievement in the Latin American countries where it has occurred, notably Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, Uruguay and Nicaragua. Let us hope that democracy will also succeed in the countries where the U.S. and local fascists are trying desperately to prevent it (notably Honduras, Paraguay, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico) or have seriously undermined it (Chile, Peru, Costa Rica).**
One of the coup generals, in the U.S.-enabled, rightwing coup d'etat in Honduras, said, of his coup, that it was intended to "prevent communism from Venezuela reaching the United States" (quoted in a report on the coup by the Zelaya government-in-exile). To this coup general, universal free medical care, universal free education through college, good wages and benefits, fair taxation, development of "the commons" (public infrastructure and services) and other elements of a good society = "communism." Democracy = 'communism.'
Says a lot about the forces at work AGAINST democracy in Latin America. Anything that is not rapacious exploitation of people and resources = communism. Fairness = communism. The common welfare = communism. And yet, as Thomas Jefferson once eloquently wrote, in our founding document, insuring the common welfare is the OBLIGATION of democracy. It is the POINT of democracy. It is the HEART of democracy. No individual rights can be achieved without the common welfare.
You think you have a right to own a house? What happens to that right with a "privatized" fire department? You think you have a right to make a living? What happens to that right if your job is outsourced to China? You think you have a right to speak out? Good luck with that, with all the public airwaves controlled by transglobal corporations and multi-billionaires. You think you have a right to vote? Ha! Guess who is 'counting' virtually all the votes in the USA with 'TRADE SECRET' code--code that you are forbidden to review--and NO AUDIT of those results in half the states, and a miserably inadequate audit in the other half?*
Just a word about how real democracy is being achieved in Latin America--the most important lesson for us, in my opinion.
The no. 1 key to the leftist democracy revolution in Latin America is HONEST, TRANSPARENT vote counting. They have it. We don't. Their media is as bad as our media, if not worse--yet they are able to elect one "FDR" after another. So it ain't the media. Their grass roots poor have been more desperate than ours, and thus have become far, far, FAR better organized. That is the no. 2 key. But no amount of organizing works if people have not seen to it, first, that their votes are counted--properly, accurately, in the PUBLIC VENUE. The Latin American countries that are electing good leaders have seen to this, and we have not. The LatAm countries where democracy is struggling, or that have been grossly interfered with, have multiple and varied problems with their elections (political violence, coups, election fraud, corruption, etc.) One hope for the latter is that the trend toward honest, transparent elections is a strong one. Latin Americans--and international groups such as the Carter Center--have done, and are doing, tremendous work on this front, so basic to everything.
*(Answer: ES&S, which bought out Diebold, now controls 75% of the so-called vote counting in the USA. Their tabulation code is SECRET. The audits are non-existent or very inadequate. ES&S has far rightwing connections that would make your hair stand on end.)
**(Latin America is a huge and complex region--not easy to sum up. The methods by which real democracy is being prevented or undermined vary considerably. For instance, Honduras was a direct, U.S.-aided coup d'etat, whereas in Colombia and Mexico, the US "war on drugs" has been used, in various ways, to destroy social cohesion--and now Honduras is getting that treatment as well, on top of having a coup government. Chile and Costa Rica have suffered less from direct U.S. assault (though Costa Rica is being "war on drugs" militarized) and more from U.S., global and local, "free trade for the rich." The labor unions in Costa Rica has been put down. The socialists in Chile are struggling--and lost the last election to a rightwinger, who now has a 25% approval rating. Chile, Costa Rica and Mexico are still democratic, but with serious qualifications and drawbacks. Colombia and Honduras are not democratic and political murder (of labor leaders and other advocates of the poor) is commonplace--an epidemic--committed by the U.S. funded/trained militaries and their closely tied rightwing paramilitary death squads.)
Note: There is a duplicate post on this Guardian article, at