By Lonna Gooden VanHorn, Nov. 10, 2005
President Bush, in world opinion the most unpopular American president in history, traveled to Latin America last week to sell the idea of "free trade. " But the people of Latin America know what the corporate globalists ' idea of "free trade " really means, and they are no longer buying what the United States is selling. They are smarter than we are.
In the preface to his book "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, " John Perkins writes:
"Economic Hit Men (EHM 's) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (U.S. AID), and other foreign "aid " organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planets natural resources. Their tools include fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder. They play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying dimensions during this time of globalization. I should know; I was an economic hit man. "
Perkins writes that part of his job as an EHM was to create exaggerated economic models of how the GNP of a country would benefit from dams or oil exploration or ??? Leaders would borrow money from the IMF or the World Bank to finance the cost of such development, but it was required that American corporations such as Bechtel and Halliburton be hired to do the work. Consequently, most of the borrowed money never really left American pockets. It went almost directly from the IMF or the World Bank into the coffers of Halliburton, Bechtel, or other huge international corporations, although it can be assumed cooperative leaders derived personal as well as political benefits from their willingness to sell out the best interests of their countries for the enrichment of American corporations.
Third World countries paying First World contractors ' rates almost guarantees the loans cannot be repaid by the debtor nations, so America takes her pound of flesh in the form of favorable U.N. votes, or we confiscate resources. An added benefit to our corporations operating in poor countries is that they can exploit and pollute with much more impunity in developing nations than they can in the United States. Although, sadly, Bush is working mightily to close the pollution gap as well.
In Iraq, we are taking imperial impunity to an even higher level. In May of 2003, one of President Bush 's first acts of the occupation was to sign Executive Order 13303. As Chris Floyd wrote in "Dubya Indemnity, " in order 13303
"Bush proclaims that any legal action taken for any reason against any American corporation dealing in "Iraqi petroleum products" at any point in the process -- from well-head to gas-pump to boardroom -- "constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security" of the United States ... The Bush edict grants a blanket immunity to all traffickers in Iraqi oil -- as long as their moolah finds its way, by hook or crook, into the coffers of "United States persons or entities." Bush declares flatly that any "judicial process" launched against these protected entities "shall be deemed null and void." And how to guarantee that his partners and patrons won't be troubled by some rogue nation that still clings to the outmoded principle of law and order? Simple: One of the agencies authorized to "employ all powers" necessary "to carry out the purposes of this order" is our old friend, the Defense Department. "
The American people are kept in ignorance of our "of/by/for corporations " governments true agenda, and even if the American media chose to expose it, many Americans would refuse to believe it. But the people of Central and Latin America have seen American interventionism in their countries, military and otherwise. They have seen that a rise in the country 's GNP does not necessarily translate into better lives for that country 's people. They have good reason to believe the allegations made by Perkins and others are true. They have seen that when American companies come in to their countries, a few among them get richer, but many among them see very little if any improvement in their lives. Indigenous people are often virtually wiped out. Many become landless, and consequently have less control over their lives. Some of those who survive become even more impoverished than they were before "progress " financed through the IMF or the World Bank came to their country.
Money that their governments could have used to provide services for their own people must, instead, be used to pay off their indebtedness to the World Bank or the IMF even though most of the borrowed money ended up in the coffers of American companies.
In Argentina, Chavez was embraced by Diego Maradona, the Latin America soccer equivalent of American basketballs Michael Jordan, while he called G.W. Bush "human rubbish. "
In Argentina Bush talked about leaders who do not provide for their people. But the people he lectured recently witnessed on television how the richest nation in the world could not or did not rescue thousands of poor people stranded in New Orleans. In New Orleans, also, the usually hidden face of Americas own poor was exposed to the shock of self-satisfied Americans and foreigners alike. Chavez, while autocratic, is improving life for the poor of his country, while Bush is clearly intent on helping only the rich in America. The poverty rate in the United States has increased every year he has been in office, as has the number of people without health insurance.