Maybe it was always unfair, comparing President George W. Bush to Captain Queeg, Herman Wouk’s fictional crackpot destroyer captain.. Bush’s condition in fact reflects a truly royal, breakneck-speed dementia. In less than a decade, his reign has re-enacted over a hundred years of Spain’s colonial decline and mutation from despotism to dictatorship, though the determination of King Carlos Alfonso Bush to destroy the Republic has not yet provoked civil war. To judge the accuracy of the comparison, consider the undeniable collapse of
Despite the neat independence dates, fixing the precise moment at which
Real-world history : make-believe corporate media mirror
That last event has yet to happen, more on that later; first, those refineries. On July 17th, Ecuadoran energy Minister Jorge Alban announced agreement with the Venezuelan government to build a refinery in
On July 20th Presidents Hugo Chavez Frias of
This epoch-making event in Latin America’s history puts the mean, self-serving, debt-plus-aid development cooperation model of the
Their reports isolated remarks from one of Chavez’s six-hour Alo Presidente television programmes, warning visiting foreign politicians like Mexico’s PAN party President Manuel Espino not to exploit Venezuela’s democracy to make interventionist political attacks on the Venezuelan government. (3) Neither the Guardian nor the BBC mentioned that, in Mexico, Espino’s PAN party functionaries are applying official advertising boycotts to media they dislike, for example the “A.M” newspaper in Guanajuato and the widely respected “Monitor” radio current affairs programme, which has been forced to close. (4)
ALBA marches on
Regardless of the robotic Americanist auto-pilot propaganda marketed by corporate media perception managers, the ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas) integration initiative, led by Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, continues to develop momentum. The latest sign of its potential reach was the presence of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and
One self-evident reason Manuel Zelaya is interested in better relations with
“Zelaya and Bush also discussed the energy situation in
Translation: “Bush said to Zelaya, “Forget US help with your energy difficulties. Turn your maize and sugar into fuel. Let the people eat cake (baked from genetically modified US grain).”
No wonder, then, that in January this year Zelaya’s government took temporary control of oil terminals belonging to Chevron and Esso.(6) The move broke up a service station cartel that was costing Honduras over US$60 million a year courtesy of the deregulated “free market”. In March this year, Honduras renewed diplomatic relations with Cuba. (7) President Zelaya is likely to visit Cuba in August, the first Honduran president to do so in decades. (8) Against Bush regime wishes, Zelaya has also appointed Jorge Arturo Reina, a leading centre-left Liberal Party politician, as Honduran ambassador to the UN.
The pro-Bush regime Honduran ex-ambassador to the UN, Enrique Ortez Colindres, declared that by going to Managua, Zelaya “is installing an anti-yankee government and provoking division in Central America”. Charles Ford, current US ambassador-proconsul in Honduras, condemned President Zelaya’s presence in Managua accompanying Hugo Chavez for the anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution , saying: “I think the (Honduran) government in a very clear way has defined its interests and has defined the people with whom it wants to be.” (9)
Not just energy difficulties are making President Zelaya drift into the ALBA camp. The same report cites President Zelaya claiming the US has deported 40,000 Hondurans just this year – women and men desperately seeking a better life in the US so as to be able to support their families back home. Zelaya and Chavez face other criticism, apart from that of the US ambassador. Influential Honduran Catholic Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga opined recently that, “ChÃ¡vez thinks he is a God with the right to trample on everyone’s rights, with an arrogance that one has seen in history already in other dictators”.
Rodriguez Maradiaga received a typically caustic response from President Chavez who called the Cardinal an “imperialist parrot”. Still, Manuel Zelaya managed to persuade Hugo Chavez to offer Rodriguez Maradiaga an apology – though Chavez insisted on inviting the Cardinal to Venezuela so he can have learn some facts before voicing his jaundiced opinions. (10) Manuel Zelaya announced the Cardinal’s acquiescence to Chavez’s apology at the airport where he was seeing off over 100 Hondurans heading for Caracas to receive free medical treatment as part of Venezuela’s cooperation programme with the Honduran government.
The Miranda motif
Signs are that the Honduran government at the very least will sign up to a preferential energy deal with Venezuela, even if it does not immediately join Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua in ALBA. This has been on the cards ever since CAFTA was railroaded through the “Finlandized” Central American parliaments by their respective US puppet regimes. Only Costa Rica has yet to ratify CAFTA, a sell-out investment treaty dressed up as a trade deal. It overwhelmingly favours US corporations. The benefits for Central American businesses and agriculture have so far turned out to be minimal or negative, offering zero solutions to the region’s fundamental energy problems, hence the relevance of ALBA’s integrated trade, energy and social investment model.
King Carlos-Alfonso-Bush and his Ministro de Indias, Thomas Shannon, known more prosaically as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, seem dumbly to play out the self-same roles as their Carlist predecessors in Spain. Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez Frias reincarnates and surpasses the role Francisco de Miranda lived out for the Spanish kings, Carlos the Third and Carlos the Fourth. Those monarchs dogged Miranda’s efforts to mount a republican revolution in Latin America against their empire. Attacks from Catholic Church hierarchs in Venezuela and foreign prelates like Rodriguez Maradiaga echo Miranda’s persecution by the Holy Inquisition.
In November 1785, Spain’s ambassador to Paris, the Count of Aranda wrote about Miranda to the Spanish Prime Minister of the time, “He is getting the world into such a state and in America there may well be so many sparks that, if care is not taken, a man like this on his own could cause more damage than a very great number.” (11) Little has changed after over two hundred and twenty years. Once-loyal imperial satrapy, Honduras – John Negroponte’s former death-squad terror stomping ground – is feeling its way out of the imperial dark and into ALBA’s new dawn. Another downward ratchet in the US empire’s decline.
toni solo is an activist based in Central America – toni.tortillaconsal.com
1. “Ecuador y Venezuela acuerdan construir refinerÃa”, Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias,17/07/07
2. “Un megaproyecto para salir de la megamiseria en que nos dejÃ³ el neoliberalismo” Radio La Primerisima, Managua 21/7/2007
3. “Criticise me and you’re out, ChÃ¡vez warns foreigners” Rory Carroll, Guardian, 24/7/2007 – and – “Chavez to expel foreign critics”, bbc.co.uk, 23/7/2007
4. “PeriÃ³dico mexicano, vÃctima de boicot publicitario”, CERIGUA, Argenpress.info, 20/07/2007 – and – “Se cierra ‘Monitor’, otro golpe a la libertad” Julio Pomar, Argenpress.info, 01/07/2007
5. “Bush Meets with Salvadoran, Honduran Presidents in New York” Scott Miller, Washington File Staff Writer, September 19th 2006, http://useu.usmission.gov Brussels, Belgium
6. “Honduras temporarily grabs Exxon, Chevron terminals”, Reuters, January 14th 2007
7. “Honduras sends first ambassador to Cuba in decades” Caribbean Net News, March 02, 2007
8. “Presidente Honduras irÃ¡ a Cuba por primera vez en casi 50 aÃ±os”, www.cubaverdad.net, July 20th, 2007
9. “Bush molesto con Zelaya” El Nuevo Diario, Managua, 22/7/2007
10. “Honduran church protests against Chavez insult to cardinal” http://english.eluniversal.com/2007/07/24/en_pol_art_honduran-church-prot_24A905039.shtml – and – “Cardenal acepta disculpas de Hugo ChÃ¡vez”, http://www.laprensahn.com/ediciones/2007/07/27/cardenal_acepta_disculpas_de_hugo_chavez_dice_presidente_zelaya – and – “ChÃ¡vez ofrece disculpas a Card. RodrÃguez Maradiaga pero pide que se rectifique” http://www.aciprensa.com/noticia.php?n=17787
11. Note to p.131of “Francisco de Miranda : precursor de las independencias de America Latina” by Carmen L. BohÃ³rquez MorÃ¡n. FundaciÃ³n Editorial El Perro y la Rana. Caracas. 2006. ISBN 980-396-238-8 taken from A. Grisanti, “Miranda juzgado por los funcionarios espaÃ±oles de su tiempo. Grisanti Editores. Caracas. 1954