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America's Corporatocracy Says "No MAS"

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While he may be dead in the corporal sense, the spirit of Simon Bolivar continues to wage the struggle for freedom from oppression. Hugo Chavez is perhaps the most familiar incarnation of Bolivar's élan vital as he defies the neocolonial policies of the United States, a nation which has supplanted the European colonial empires as looters of Latin American bounty. Bolivar's spiritual essence also burns brightly in Evo Morales, another leader of the poor and oppressed in Latin America. Barring a CIA-orchestrated assasination or sabotage of the election process, in December Morales will be the next democratically-elected president of Bolivia. And deservedly so.


The only thing they have to fear is fear itself....or is there something more?

As they have with Chavez, the United States government and its lapdogs in the mainstream media have vilified Morales. Morales and Chavez are both portrayed as "threats" to the United States and have been characterized as "enemies". It is mind-boggling that the leaders of the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the history of humanity can view these men or their tiny nations (neither of which have the military might to overpower the state of Rhode Island) as legitimate threats. Is the US power elite suffering from delusional paranoia? Actually, their fears are well-founded, but one needs to analyze the situation a bit more closely to discern the root cause of their trepidations.


The "Least of my Brethren"

Hugo Chavez has publicly castigated the United States (and Bush II in particular) on several occasions. Drawing calls for his assasination from "respected US Christian leader" Pat Robertson, Chavez has clearly stated his intention to use his vast petroleum resources as a geopolitical weapon against the United States. He drew thunderous applause at the UN for his speech in which he maligned the United States government and its policies. As the democratically-elected president of Venezuela, a member of the indigenous population, a survivor of a US-sponsored coup in 2002, and the winner of a recall referendum in 2004, Chavez has utilized his nation's rich oil reserves to wage a war on poverty. He has used oil revenues to provide schools, medical care, and basic necessities at subsidized prices to the 80% of Venezuelans who live below the poverty line. He has also instituted land reforms to provide impoverished farmers an opportunity at ownership.

Aligning himself closely with Fidel Castro, a man who has been a thorn in the collective sides of the United States ruling elite for years, Chavez has drawn further ire from US leaders. Since 1959, Castro has bedeviled the US government as the Cuban leader who deposed Fulgencio Batista, a ruthless dictator whom the US government supported. While ruling Cuba, Batista widened the wealth gap to a chasm (sound familiar?) and dispatched his death squads, which captured, tortured, and murdered thousands of "Leftists". Castro is certainly no saint, but Cuba was not exactly a paradise under America's proxy either.

Trading oil for the use of many of Cuba's superbly-trained physicians, Chavez has parlayed his relationship with Castro to an advantage for the poor of his nation. Ironically, the infinitely benevolent and wise leaders of the United States rejected offers of help from both Chavez and Castro during Hurricane Katrina. While the Bush regime spurned overtures of help from our "enemies", over a thousand Americans died in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as a result of criminal neglect and incompetence on the part of a US government now geared almost solely to represent and sustain the interests of the wealthy, corporations and the military industrial complex.


Chavez is not alone as the revolution gains momentum

Meanwhile, in Bolivia, a man named Evo Morales represents another incarnation of the spirit of Simon Bolivar as he fights to squelch US imperial interests in his nation. Standing on the brink of winning the presidency in the elections scheduled for December of 2005, Morales represents the next link in the chain of fierce Latin American resistance to US exploitation of their people and resources.

Juan Evo Morales Ayma was born in 1959 in Orinco to a family of indigenous Quechuans, but moved to Chapare province in the 1980's to cultivate coca leaf. Growing coca leaf is a practice dating back to the Incan Empire. While the Indigenous people of Bolivia, who comprise over 50% of the population, chew coca leaves to ease hunger and make folk medicines, coca leaf is also the primary ingredient in cocaine. As part of its "War on Drugs", the United States began a program in the 1990's to eradicate coca production. In 1998, Plan Dignity, a barbaric and violent US-sponsored effort, resulted in the elimination of nearly 80% of coca production and left the campesinos in Bolivia with no economically viable alternative crops to cultivate. Supplied and supported by the United States, the Expeditionary Task Force, a paramilitary unit which the locals called "America's Mercenaries", reportedly engaged in violence and murder. Just imagine if Canada financed paramilitary forces in the United States which wiped out 80% of the production of Sudafed and Iodine because they are used in the manufacture of crystal meth. How long would Americans stand for that?

In response to the intrusive, oppressive policies of the United States and its puppet Bolivian president, Hugo Banzer, Evo Morales emerged as a leader of the Cocaleros, an opposition movement comprised primarily of coca growers. His support in Chapare and Carrasco de Cochabamba was strong enough that he was elected to the national Congress in Bolivia in 1997 by the widest margin amongst the 68 Congresspeople who won in that election.

In the words of Morales:

'There is a unanimous defence of coca because the coca leaf is becoming the banner for national unity, a symbol of national unity in defence of our dignity. Since coca is a victim of the United States, as coca growers we are also victims of the United States, but then we rise up to question these policies to eradicate coca.

'Now is the moment to see the defence of coca as the defence of all natural resources, just like hydrocarbon, oil, gas; and this consciousness is growing. That is why it is an issue of national unity.'

As a leader with widespread popular support, and a powerful force within the Movement to Socialism (MAS) party, Morales began to broaden his agenda beyond that of supporting the cultivation of coca. Like Chavez in Venezuela, Morales has emerged as a champion of the poor and oppressed, and by default, a fierce opponent of the blatantly corrupt plutocracy in Washington DC.


The (Corporate) "American Way"

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Jason Miller, Senior Editor and Founder of TPC, is a tenacious forty something vegan straight edge activist who lives in Kansas and who has a boundless passion for animal liberation and anti-capitalism. Addicted to reading and learning, he is mostly (more...)
 

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