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Sunday, October 31, 2004

Viva America Latina!

From the NY Times:
ONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, Oct. 31 - Tabaré Vázquez, a Socialist doctor running as the candidate of an opposition coalition that includes former guerrillas, narrowly triumphed Sunday in the presidential election, bringing the left to power for the first time in this South American country.

The victory by the coalition, known as the Progressive-Encounter-Broad-FrontNew-Majority, whose largest faction consists of Tupamaro guerrillas turned politicians, strengthens a trend throughout the continent. As in the last presidential votes in Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador and Argentina, the candidate most opposed to American-supported free-market policies has defeated backers of those policies.
(emphasis added)

The people of Latin America have realized that "globalization" norteamericano style means poverty and repression. They know this from over half a century of World Bank, IMF, and WTO policies designed to bankrupt their economies and impoverish the workers. It looks more and more like the Free Trade Area of the Americas, FTAA (or ALCA en Espanol) may be a dead letter. That will be very good for the people of South America, but it will also be a huge benefit for the large majority of US citizens who get most of their income from wages (or used to). The best way to really win in the race to the bottom is to drop out. If our two-sided single party won't bring common sense and fairness to trade, hopefully the world will force it on us.

I saw the movie "The Corporation" last Monday. One of the best parts for me was its coverage of the story of Cochabamba Bolivia's recapturing of its municipal water system, which the globalizers had managed to put into the hands of Bechtel. Hopefully the Zapatistas in Mexico achieve success as well in turning that country's government into an agent for the people and not for gringo corporations like Coca Cola and General Electric. (They've got a ways to go, since President Vicente Fox is a former Coca Cola exec, and Mexico is the only country on the planet to consume more Coca Cola per capita than the US.)