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AMLO’s Administration Seeks to End Mexico’s Energy Dependence

teleSUR | July 11, 2018

Mexico’s next energy minister under president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said that the new administration’s energy agenda will be to increase domestic gas and diesel production and reduce dependency on foreign imports.

Rocio Nahle, appointed by AMLO for the energy ministry, said in an interview with a local paper that AMLO’s government will address the “energy imbalance” that makes it dependent on foreign imports to meet national demand.

AMLO has previously made pledges along this line during and after the election, saying that ending the massive fuel imports would be a priority for his first three years.

Mexico has imported an average of 590,000 barrels per day of gasoline and 232,000 per day of diesel, almost all of which comes from the United States. While the United States profits on gas sales to its neighbor, Mexico’s domestic production has decreased by half since the first year of outgoing President Enrique Peña Nieto’s term.

Today, gasoline output by Mexican state oil company Pemex meets less than a quarter of national demand, putting Mexico’s energy system in a situation of deep dependence on the United States.

During the election campaign, Lopez Obrador was sharply critical of the Pena Nieto’s policy to allow foreign and private oil companies to operate fields on their own for the first time in decades, ending Pemex’s monopoly.

Nahle said the next government will also begin construction of at least one new oil refinery, which she expects to be operating by the halfway point of Lopez Obrador’s six-year term.

AMLO also outlined several legislative priorities on Wednesday, particularly ending presidential legal immunity, and slashing the presidential salary.

The incoming administration would also put forward a law to remove obstacles to holding public consultations, as well as create a mechanism for recalling the president, he said.

Lopez Obrador said during the campaign he could hold public consultations on issues ranging from the government’s opening of the energy sector, the construction of Mexico City’s new airport, gay marriage and even his performance as president.

July 12, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

Mexico’s new president wants to scrap $1.36bn helicopter deal with US

RT | July 12, 2018

Mexico’s newly-elected, anti-establishment president is planning to scrap some of the deals his predecessor had signed up to, including a $1.36 billion order for eight MH-60R Seahawk helicopters for the country’s Navy.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, widely known as AMLO, was elected Mexico’s next president on promises to pursue national interests and reduce the country’s reliance on the US. He has vowed to cut government spending as soon as he takes over the top office in December. Amid a number of announced measures, the anti-establishment leader promised to scrap some of the deals outgoing President Enrique Peña Nieto had sealed with the US during his tenure. Among his targets are the Lockheed Martin MH-60R helicopters, which the US State Department green-lighted to sell back in April.

“We know of the order to purchase eight gunship choppers for the Mexican Navy, made to the government of the United States, for a total value of 25 billion pesos, that purchase will be canceled, because we cannot [afford] this expense,” Lopez Obrador said Wednesday.

Washington approved the sale of choppers to the Mexican Navy together with multi-mode radars, night vision devices, and other sensors to help its neighbor combat organized crime and drug-trafficking. The deal, worth some $1.36 billion, also included a package of armaments, such as Hellfire missiles, lightweight hybrid torpedoes, and machine guns.

In addition to the helicopters, the newly elected leader ordered his team to contact Boeing to negotiate selling Peña Nieto’s 787 Dreamliner back to the company. Back in 2016, the plane (named ‘José María Morelos y Pavón’) cost the country $218.7 million, which the government agreed to repay over the next 15 years. “The idea is to sell it, not lose money, sell it for what it’s worth, but I’m not going to get on that plane,” the politician vowed.

Lopez Obrador, an outspoken critic of Donald Trump, received around 53 percent of votes to win the presidential race earlier this month. Honoring his campaign promises, on Wednesday he promised to slash government officials’ salaries, as well as end the practice of lifetime pensions for former presidents. “It is time for the government to tighten its belts,” he stressed.

July 12, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Mexico: Who Are the Women That Make Up Half of AMLO’s Cabinet?

(L-R): Luisa Maria Alcalde, Rocio Nahle, Irma Sandoval and Olga Maria del Carmen Sanchez are part of AMLO’s cabinet. | Photo: Facebook / Twitter / plumas libres
teleSUR | July 11, 2018

Eight of the key figures in AMLO’s future government are women and they have interesting proposals for Mexico.

Of the 16 confirmed members of president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s cabinet eight are women. teleSUR English reviews their profiles and plans for their tenure.

AMLO’s cabinet will include representatives of the business sectors and members of the traditional Institutional Revolution Party, but it also has an important share of academics and progressive women.

Olga Maria del Carmen Sanchez, the first woman to head the ministry of the Interior, was a judge in Mexico’s Supreme Court between 1995 and 2005. She is in favor of legalizing marijuana and believes the country needs to rethink its policy on drugs.

During an interview with Zosimo Camacho, Sanchez criticized the lack of judicial symmetry with the United States and stressed the importance of changing the strategy in the war on drugs. “How is it possible that here in our country we are killing ourselves and the U.S. is decriminalizing drugs?,” she questioned.

AMLO’s pick for social development, Maria Luisa Albores is an agronomist and specialist on social economy, which is based on the principle of solidarity. Since 2001 she has worked with Indigenous and Campesino communities in the development of productive and economic cooperatives and projects.

During the campaign trail, Albores vowed to work for the economic and social inclusion of rural Mexico and stressed the importance of restructuring Mexico’s social development ministry. According to Albores the ministry has “served to keep people poor, and poverty has been administered electorally.”

For Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, AMLO has appointed Luisa Maria Alcalde, a lawyer and former legislator, who has done extensive work on a dignified salary in Mexico.

Alcalde has announced she will hold meeting with Mexico’s private sector and the country’s central bank to find a viable path to an increase to the country’s minimum wage.

Economy will be headed by Graciela Marquez, Ph.D. in economic history and professor in several universities in Mexico and abroad. She has written extensively on economic development, inequality and commercial policy. She would be the first woman to head the ministry of economy and will head the current negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Alejandra Frausto has accepted to lead Mexico’s ministry of culture. She has worked to promote access to culture and the arts as a central element in social development, with an emphasis on popular and Indigenous cultures.

The Ministry of Environment and natural resources will be headed by Oxford graduate Josefa Gonzalez, who studied transformative art and has worked with vulnerable populations in art-related projects. For the past years she has worked in the southern state of Chiapas in conservation and reforestation projects.

Irma Sandoval has been given the Ministry of the Civil Service. She is a political scientist and researcher for Mexico’s Autonomous University (UNAM). Sandoval is also the coordinator of UNAM’s Lab on corruption documentation and analysis.

She has proposed to use technology to monitor the good use of public resources, a monitoring system open to citizens to control public works, and to encourage anonimous complaints to fight corruption in Mexico.

Finally, AMLO’s pick for the Energy Minister is Rocio Nahle who has worked in the petrochemical industry for years. Her main proposal is the construction of two refineries in Tabasco and Campeche, and the rehabilitation of six refineries to meet Mexico’s internal demand.

RELATED:

Mexico President Strikes Upbeat Tone on Trump Ahead of Talks

AMLO to Implement San Andres Agreements Signed With Zapatistas

 

July 11, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Mexico: AMLO Says No to Presidential Bodyguards

teleSUR | July 4, 2018

Mexico’s newly elected President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, also known as AMLO, refused federal protection during a meeting with current President Enrique Peña Nieto, at the National Palace.

AMLO, who won the election with a historic 53% of the votes, was offered the requisite presidential protective detail but declined the offer. The president-elect left the meeting with Peña Nieto and entered the front seat of a Volkswagen Jetta, surrounded by supporters but no bodyguard in sight.

“There’s going to be a real change, a deep change. It will be a radical change, but nobody should be scared,” Lopez Obrador stated following the meeting with the current president.

Though the most recent electoral campaign was one of the deadliest in Mexico’s history, with over 130 killings recorded in less than 200 days, AMLO had rejected military protection.

“I will not use the services of the presidential general staff, I will not be surrounded by bodyguards, those who fight for justice have nothing to fear (…) The people will protect me,” he said in March address.

Lopez Obrador’s approach to security is one of the proposed outstanding changes in his government plan, in which his mandate has proposed the removal of military forces from the streets through a training and professionalization plan for the police.

Scholarships for young people, pensions for seniors and the revision of previously awarded oil contracts will also be among the priorities for his administration.

July 4, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Candidate for local elections gunned down in Mexico

Emigdio Lopez Avendano, a Mexican politician killed in the latest act of violence in Mexico (file photo)
Press TV – June 26, 2018

A candidate in Mexico’s elections was gunned down along with four other people on Monday as they made their way to a campaign rally, the Oaxaca state government and police said.

The candidate was identified as 50-year-old Emigdio Lopez Avendano, a member of an indigenous community called Piedra Ceniza, the state justice department said.

He and the four other people killed in the attack on their truck supported the party of leftist presidential front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, it added. Two other people were wounded.

Lopez Avendano was running for a local council seat in Oaxaca.

Sunday’s voting will see Mexico elect a new president, congress and state and local officials.

The campaign has set a record for violence, with more than a hundred politicians and candidates killed, most of them at the local level.

June 26, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

Russian Meddling in Mexican Election Statements Groundless – President of Senate

Sputnik – 18.05.2018

The statements made by US and Mexican politicians about alleged the interference of Moscow in the elections in Mexico are unfounded, Ernesto Cordero Arroyo, the president of the Mexican Senate, told Sputnik.

“They had not presented any evidence and we should understand that during the election campaign people become very creative and inventive,” the Mexican politician said.

According to the senior lawmaker, the Mexican side has not registered any foreign meddling in the election process.

Mexicans will elect the next president of the nation on July 1. Ahead of the vote, former US National Security Adviser Herbert McMaster said that the United States noticed signs of “Russian intervention” in the Mexican presidential election.

Enrique Ochoa, the leader of Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (IRR), said the international media outlets had “documented” the interests of Russia and Venezuela in backing leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Russia has faced numerous accusations of interference in foreign elections, including the 2016 US presidential vote. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has called the claims groundless, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has stressed that there was no evidence to substantiate such accusations.

May 18, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Mexico: Mayoral Candidate of AMLO’s Party Murdered

Jose Remedios Aguirre Sanchez (L) with presidential hopeful Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. | Photo: Twitter @AvseFernando
teleSUR | May 11, 2018

Electoral campaigns in Mexico suffered another casualty on Friday with the murder of Jose Remedios Aguirre Sanchez, a mayoral candidate from the same coalition as presidential hopeful Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, commonly known as AMLO.

The 35-year-old candidate was shot dead at close range in the Ecological Park of the Apaseo el Alto. Two other people were reportedly injured. The perpetrators escaped in a white convertible Ford Mustang with a U.S. license plate, according to witnesses.

Aguirre was competing in the race for mayor in the municipality of Apaseo el Alto, in Guanajuato, with the Movement of National Regeneration (Morena) party.

Before entering the race for Apaseo el Alto’s mayor, Aguirre had served as the director of public security in the same municipality between 2012 and 2015.

Since September when electoral campaigns began around the country, over 90 candidates, politicians and officials have been violently murdered.

Aguirre was a member of the progressive Morena party that is backing the coalition of Andrez Manuel Lopez Obrador, one of the top picks for Mexico’s presidency.

May 12, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

The US Is Meddling In Mexico’s Election By Accusing Russia Of Doing So

By Andrew KORYBKO – Oriental Review – 13/01/2018

US National Security Advisor McMaster claimed that Russia is meddling in the upcoming Mexican elections.

This explosive news was shared by Reuters, which in turn was reporting on a mid-December video of a speech that McMasters gave to the Jamestown Foundation and which was just posted on a Mexican journalist’s Twitter account over the weekend. In it, one of the US’ most influential security figures says in relation to the unsubstantiated claims of Russian interference in foreign elections that “you’ve seen, actually, initial signs of it in the Mexican presidential campaign already”, but to Reuters’ credit they added that he didn’t elaborate on this afterwards and even cited an expert who remarked that “so far, it’s just speculation”.

That said, Reuters attempted to propel the paranoia forward by remarking that the leftist populist-nationalist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, commonly known by his abbreviated initials as AMLO, is “seen by some analysts as the Kremlin’s favorite, given the positive coverage he has received from government-funded media outlets like Sputnik and Russia Today”, thus relying on the conspiracy theory that everything on Russia’s publicly funded international media outlets is apparently aired on direct orders of the Kremlin, which isn’t true at all. Nor, for that matter, is the inference in the report that Russia is backing AMLO because of its desire to sow problems between the US and Mexico.

There’s credence to the forecast that AMLO’s potential victory would complicate US-Mexican relations because of the contradictory visions of their two leaders in that case, but this, as well as Russian international media’s detailed coverage of the leftist populist-nationalist candidate, don’t in and of themselves “prove” anything about Moscow’s alleged meddling in the upcoming elections. Rather, McMaster’s hysterical claim seems to be part of a preemptive infowar designed to discredit AMLO’s potential victory just like the Clintons tried to do with Trump’s over the same issue of alleged “Russian interference”, thereby suggesting that the US’ permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (or “deep state”) assess his odds of winning to be much higher than is publicly being reported.

That would explain why one of the top decision makers in the Trump Administration is already rolling out the weaponized narrative that Russia is supposedly backing AMLO, since they also want to add ammunition to the right-wing’s arsenal of personalized attacks in order to scare the electorate away from voting for him. Thus, it’s actually the US that’s openly interfering in the Mexican elections, just as it always has to one extent or another, and not Russia, with McMaster’s clumsily blatant hypocrisy emphasizing just how high Washington believes the geostrategic stakes to its security to be if “the wrong guy” gets into power and how desperate the US is to stop that from happening.

The post presented is the partial transcript of the CONTEXT COUNTDOWN radio program on Sputnik News, aired on Friday Jan 12, 2018.

January 13, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

In Latin America the Pendulum Swings to the Right

By James Petras | Axis of Logic | December 20, 2017

Introduction

Clearly the pendulum has swung to the right in the past few years. Numerous questions arise. What kind of right? How far right? How did they gain power? What is their appeal? How sustainable are the right wing regimes? Who are their international allies and adversaries? Having taken power, how have the rightist regimes performed and by what criteria is success or failure measured?

While the left has been in retreat, they still retain power in some states. Numerous questions arise. What is the nature of the left today? Why have some regimes continued while others have declined or been vanquished? Can the left recover its influence and under what conditions and with what programmatic appeal.

We will proceed by discussing the character and policies of the right and left and their direction. We will conclude by analyzing the dynamics of right and left policies, alignments and future perspectives.

Right-Radicalism: The Face of Power

The right wing regimes are driven by intent to implement structural changes: they look to reordering the nature of the state, economic and social relations and international political and economic alignments.

Radical right regimes rule in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Paraguay, Guatemala, Honduras and Chile.

In several countries extreme right regimes have made abrupt changes, while in others they build on incremental changes constituted over time.

The changes in Argentina and Brazil represent examples of extreme regressive transformations directed at reversing income distribution, property relations, international alignments and military strategies. The goal is to redistribute income upwardly, to re-concentrate wealth, property-ownership upward and externally and to subscribe to imperial doctrine. These pluto-populist regimes are run by rulers, who openly speak to and for very powerful domestic and overseas investors and are generous in their distribution of subsidies and state resources – a kind of ‘populism for the plutocrats’.

The rise and consolidation of extremist right regimes in Argentina and Brazil are based on several decisive interventions, combining elections and violence, purges and co-optation, mass media propaganda and deep corruption.

Mauricio Macri was backed by the major media, led by the Clarin conglomerate, as well as by the international financial press (Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.). Wall Street speculators and Washington’s overseas political apparatus subsidized his electoral campaign.

Macri, his family, cronies and financial accomplices, transferred public resources to private accounts. Provincial political bosses and their patronage operations joined forces with the wealthy financial sectors of Buenos Aires to secure votes in the Capital.

Upon his election, the Mauricio Macri regime transferred five billion dollars to the notorious Wall Street speculator, Paul Singer, signed off on multi-billion dollar, high interest loans, increased utility fees six fold, privatized oil, gas and public lands and fired tens of thousands of public sector employees.

Macri organized a political purge and arrest of opposition political leaders, including former President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner. Several provincial activists were jailed or even assassinated.

Macri is a success story from the perspective of Wall Street, Washington and the Porteño business elite. Wages and salaries have declined for Argentine workers. Utility companies secured their highest profits ever. Bankers doubled interest rate returns. Importers became millionaires. Agro-business incomes skyrocketed as their taxes were reduced.

From the perspective of Argentina’s small and medium business enterprises President Macri’s regime has been a disaster: Many thousands have gone bankrupt because of high utility costs and harsh competition from cheap Chinese imports. In addition to the drop in wages and salaries, unemployment and under employment doubled and the rate of extreme poverty tripled

The economy, as a whole, floundered. Debt financing failed to promote growth, productivity, innovation and exports. Foreign investment experienced easy entry, big profits and fast departure. The promise of prosperity was narrowly based around a quarter of the population. To weaken the expected public discontent – the regime shut down independent media voices, unleashed thugs against critics and co-opted pliable gangster trade union bosses to break strikes.

Public protests and strikes multiplied but were ignored and repressed. Popular leaders and activists are stigmatized by the Macri-financed media hacks.

Barring a major social upheaval or economic collapse, Macri will exploit the fragmentation of the opposition to secure re-election as a model gangster for Wall Street. Macri is prepared to sign off on US military bases, EU free trade agreements, and greater police liaison with Israel’s sinister secret police, Mossad.

Brazil has followed Macri’s far right policies.

Seizing power through a phony impeachment operation, the mega-swindler Michel Temer immediately proceeded to dismantle the entire public sector, freeze salaries for twenty years, and extend retirement age for pensioners by five to ten years. Temer led over a thousand bribe-taking elected officials in the multi-billion dollar pillage of the state oil company and every major public infrastructure project.

Coup, corruption and contempt were hidden by a system granting Congressional impunity until independent prosecutors investigated, charged and jailed several dozen politicians, but not Temer. Despite 95% public disapproval, President Temer remains in power with the total backing of Wall Street, the Pentagon and Sao Paolo bankers.

Mexico, the long-standing narco-assassin state, continues to elect one thieving PRI-PAN political regime after another. Billions in illicit profits flows to the overseas tax havens of money laundering bankers, US and Canadian mine owners. Mexican and international manufacturers extracted double digit profits sent, to overseas accounts and tax havens. Mexico broke its own miserable record in elite tax avoidance, while extending low wage-tax ‘free trade zones’. Millions of Mexicans have fled across the border to escape predatory gangster capitalism. The flow of hundreds of millions of dollars of profits by US and Canadian multi-nationals was a result of the ‘unequal exchange’ between US capital and Mexican labor, held in place by Mexico’s fraudulent electoral system.

In at least two well-known presidential elections in 1988 and 2006, left of center candidates, Cuahtemoc Cardenas and Manuel Lopez Obrador, won with healthy margins of victory, only to have their victories stolen by fraudulent vote counts.

Peru’s rightist mining regimes, alternated between the overtly bloody Fujimori dictatorship and corrupt electoral regimes. What is consistent in Peruvian politics is the handover of mineral resources to foreign capital, pervasive corruption and the brutal exploitation of natural resources by US and Canadian mining and drilling corporations in regions inhabited by Indian communities.

The extreme right ousted elected left-of-center governments, including President Fernando Lugo in Paraguay (2008-2012) and Manuel Zelaya in Honduras (2006-2009), with the active support and approval of the US State Department. Narco-presidents now wield power by means of repression, including violence against popular movements and the killing of scores of peasant and urban activists. This year, a grossly rigged election in Honduras ensured the continuity of narco-regimes and US military bases.

The spread of the extreme right from Central America and Mexico to the Southern Cone provides the groundwork for the re-assertion of US centered military alliances and regional trade pacts.

The rise of the extreme right ensures the most lucrative privatizations and the highest rates of return on overseas bank loans. The far right is quick to crack down on popular dissent and electoral challenges with violence. At most the far right allows a few rotating elites with nationalist pretensions to provide a façade of electoral democracy.

The Shift from the Center-Left to the Center-Right

The political swings to the far right have had profound ripple effects – as nominal center-left regimes have swung to the center-right.

Two regimes have moved decisively from the center-left to the center-right: Uruguay under Tabare Vazquez of the ‘Broad Front’ and Ecuador with the recent election of Lenin Moreno of PAIS Alliance. In both cases the groundwork was established via accommodations with oligarchs of the traditional right parties. The previous center-left regimes of Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa and Uruguayan President Jose Mujica succeeded in pushing for public investments and social reforms. They combined their leftist rhetoric while capitalizing on the global high prices and high demand for agro-mineral exports to finance their reforms. With the decline in world prices and the public exposure of corruption, the newly elected center-left parties nominated and elected center –right candidates who turned anti-corruption campaigns into vehicles for embracing neoliberal economic policies. The center-right presidents rejected economic nationalism, encouraged large scale foreign investment and implemented fiscal austerity programs appealing to the upper middle class and ruling class.

The center-right regimes marginalized the leftist sectors of their parties. In the case of Ecuador, they split the party, with the newly elected president realigning international policies away from the left (Bolivia, Venezuela) and toward the US and the far right– while shedding the legacy of their predecessor in terms of popular social programs.

With the decline in export prices the center-right regimes offered generous subsidies to foreign investors in agriculture and forestry in Uruguay, and mine owners and exporters in Ecuador.

The newly converted center-right regimes joined with their established counterparts in Chile and joined the Trans Pacific Partnership with Asian nations, the EU and the US.

The center-right sought to manipulate the social rhetoric of the previous center-left regimes in order to retain popular voters while securing support from the business elite.

The Left Moves to the Center Left

Bolivia, under Evo Morales, has demonstrated an exceptional capacity for sustaining growth, securing re-election and neutralizing the opposition by combining a radical left foreign policy with a moderate, mixed public-private export economy. While Bolivia condemns US imperialism, major oil, gas, metals and lithium multi-nationals have invested heavily in Bolivia. Evo Morales has moderated his ideological posture shifting from revolutionary socialism to a local version of liberal democratic cultural politics.

Evo Morales’ embrace of a mixed economy has neutralized any overt hostility from the US and the new far-right regimes in the region

Though remaining politically independent, Bolivia has integrated its exports with the far right neoliberal regimes in the region. President Evo Morales’s moderate economic policies, diversity of mineral exports, fiscal responsibility, incremental social reforms, and support from well-organized social movements has led to political stability and social continuity despite the volatility of commodity prices.

Venezuela’s left regimes under President Hugo Chavez and Maduro have followed a divergent course with harsh consequences. Totally dependent on extraordinary global oil prices, Venezuela proceeded to finance generous welfare programs at home and abroad. Under President Chavez leadership, Venezuela adopted a consequential anti-imperialist policy successfully opposing a US centered free trade agreement (LAFTA) and launching an anti-imperialist alternative, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA).

Advancing social welfare and financing overseas allies without diversifying the economy and markets and increasing production was predicated on continuous high returns on a single volatile export – oil.

Unlike Bolivia under President Evo Morales, who built his power with the support of an organized, class conscious and disciplined mass base, Venezuela counted on an amorphous electoral alliance, which included slum dwellers, defectors from the corrupt traditional parties (across the spectrum) and opportunists intent on grabbing office and perks. Political education was reduced to mouthing slogans, cheering the President and distributing consumer goods.

Venezuelan technocrats and political loyalists occupied highly lucrative positions, especially in the petroleum sector and were not held to account by workers’ councils or competent state auditors. Corruption was rampant and billions of dollars of oil wealth was stolen. This pillage was tolerated because of the huge influx of petro-dollars due to historic high prices and high demand. This led to a bizarre situation where the regime spoke of socialism and funded massive social programs, while the major banks, food distributors, importers and transportation operators were controlled by hostile private oligarchs who pocketed enormous profits while manufacturing shortages and promoting inflation. Despite the problems, the Venezuelan voters gave the regime a series of electoral victories over the US proxies and oligarch politicians. This tended to create overconfidence in the regime that the Bolivarian socialist model was irrevocable.

The precipitous drop of oil prices, global demand, and export earnings led to the decline of imports and consumption. Unlike Bolivia, foreign reserves declined, the rampant theft of billions was belatedly uncovered and the US-backed rightwing opposition returned to violent ‘direct action’ and sabotage while hoarding essential food, consumer goods and medicine. Shortages led to widespread black marketeering. Public sector corruption and hostile opposition control of the private banking, retail and industrial sectors, backed by the US, paralyzed the economy. The economy has been in a free-fall and electoral support has eroded. Despite the regime’s severe problems, the majority of low income voters correctly understood that their chances of surviving under the US-backed oligarchic opposition would be worse and the embattled left continued to win gubernatorial and municipal elections up through 2017.

Venezuela’s economic vulnerability and negative growth rate led to increased indebtedness. The opposition of the extreme right regimes in Latin America and Washington’s economic sanctions has intensified food shortages and increased unemployment.

In contrast, Bolivia effectively defeated US-elite coup plots between 2008-10. The Santa Cruz-based oligarchs faced the clear choice of either sharing profits and social stability by signing off on social pacts (workers/peasants, capital and state) with the Morales government or facing an alliance of the government and the militant labor movement prepared to expropriate their holdings. The elites chose economic collaboration while pursuing low intensity electoral opposition.

Conclusion

Left opposition is in retreat from state power. Opposition to the extreme right is likely to grow, given the harsh, uncompromising assault on income, pensions, the rise in the cost of living, severe reductions in social programs and attacks on private and public sector employment. The extreme right has several options, none of which offer any concessions to the left. They have chosen to heighten police state measures (the Macri solution); they attempt to fragment the opposition by negotiating with the opportunist trade union and political party bosses; and they reshuffle degraded rulers with new faces to continue policies (the Brazilian solution).

The formerly revolutionary left parties, movements and leaders have evolved toward electoral politics, protests and job action. So far they do not represent an effective political option at the national level

The center-left, especially in Brazil and Ecuador, is in a strong position with dynamic political leaders (Lula DaSilva and Correa) but face trumped up charges by right-wing prosecutors who intend to exclude them from running for office. Unless the center-left reformers engage in prolonged large-scale mass activity, the far right will effectively undermine their political recovery.

The US imperial state has temporarily regained proxy regimes, military allies and economic resources and markets. China and the European Union profit from optimal economic conditions offered by the far right regimes. The US military program has effectively neutralized the radical opposition in Colombia, and the Trump regime has intensified and imposed new sanctions on Venezuela and Cuba.

The Trump regime’s ‘triumphalist’ celebration is premature – no decisive strategic victory has taken place, despite important short term advances in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. However large outflows of profits, major transfers of ownership to foreign investors, favorable tax rates, low tariff and trade policies have yet to generate new productive facilities, sustainable growth and to ensure economic fundamentals. Maximizing profits and ignoring investments in productivity and innovation to promote domestic markets and demand has bankrupted tens of thousands of medium and small local commercial and manufacturing firms. This has led to rising chronic unemployment and underemployment. Marginalization and social polarization without political leadership is growing. Such conditions led to ‘spontaneous’ uprisings in Argentina 2001, Ecuador 2000 and Bolivia 2005.

The far right in power may not evoke a rebellion of the far left but its policies can certainly undermine the stability and continuity of the current regimes. At a minimum, it can lead to some version of the center left and restoration of the welfare and employment regimes now in tatters.

In the meantime the far right will press ahead with their perverse agenda combining deep reversals of social welfare, the degradation of national sovereignty and economic stagnation with a formidable profit maximizing performance.

James Petras’s most recent book: 
THE END OF THE REPUBLIC AND THE DELUSION OF EMPIRE

December 20, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mayor Killed in Mexico, 3rd in Less Than a Month

teleSUR | December 10, 2017

Mexican Mayor Jose Santos Hernandez was killed on Friday afternoon, the third murder of its kind this month. The other two murders took place in Veracruz.

Officials said gunmen intercepted Santos’ car, forced him from the vehicle – in which he was traveling with family – and killed him.

He is the sixth mayor killed so far this year, an AFP report stated.

Mexico’s murder rate has soared extraordinarily and has put the Latin American country on track to reach a historically high death figure by the closing of 2017, which would surpass 2011 and 2012 ‘war on drug’ numbers.

There have been almost 24,000 murders reported at the end of October.

Data from the National Association of Mayors reveals that approximately 50 mayors have been murdered since 2003 and 82 since 2006.

Half of the murders are committed in the states of Oaxaca, Michoacan, Veracruz and Guerrero.

Veracruz is regarded as one of the most violent states in the country.

December 10, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption | , | Leave a comment

Parliamentary lobby in Mexico to support Israeli settlement activities

Mexican MPs with leaders of settlers in the Occupied West Bank
Palestine Information Center – September 15, 2107

NAZARETH – A lobby group advocating Israel’s settlement activities has been formed in the Mexican parliament, according to Israel’s Channel 7.

The Palestinian Information Center (PIC) quoted the channel as saying that this lobby group would work on promoting the trade relations between Mexico and Israel’s industrial settlements and outposts [in the West Bank].

According to the channel, head of the West Bank regional council Yossi Dagan said the lobby was officially announced during the current week in the Mexican parliament, describing it as “very important for Israel.”

The channel affirmed that this lobby would also influence Mexico’s positions at the UN and its institutions in favor of Israel.

September 15, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , | 1 Comment

Journalist Accuses Moscow of Alleged Meddling in Mexican Politics

Sputnik – April 13, 2017

Mexican journalist and columnist for the El Financiero newspaper Fernando Garcia Ramirez has accused Russia of meddling in Mexican politics. According to him, “the dark hand” of Russian President Vladimir Putin has already reached Mexico, with Moscow trying to influence the presidential election in the country that is to take place next year.

In his article titled “The Russian Threat to Mexico” (“La amenaza rusa en México”), the journalist accused the Kremlin of allegedly attempting “to appoint its man” as the head of the country, referring to the opposition leader Andres Manuel López Obrador whom he called “an authoritarian populist.”

According to the journalist, Moscow’s ability to “influence” politics in any corner of the planet has been demonstrated many times. The examples, according to Ramirez, are the victory of Donald Trump in the United States, Brexit in Britain, and the recent defeat of former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in a referendum on constitutional reform.

Explaining the reasons why it might be beneficial for Russia to influence the election in Mexico, the newspaper columnist wrote that it would be “convenient” for Moscow to have an “anti-American” politician on this post.

The journalist also believes that the Kremlin will use the RT TV channel as “its favorite weapon” as well as “a key instrument of Russian propaganda.” According to him, the media source already has its agent in Mexico, referring to Mexican analyst John Ackerman, who published several critical articles about the Mexican authorities on the RT website.

Meanwhile, the article caused a wave of ridicule in social networks.”I have not seen such a frightening title and such an empty content for long time,” a man named Hugo Ortega Romero wrote.

“Ha-ha-ha, of course, Russia is to blame for absolutely everything,” Leonardo Guzmán Vázquez continued.

Mexican journalist Gabriel Infante Carrillo confessed in an interview with Sputnik Mundo that he also “almost died of laughter” when he read the article.

According to him, the article is part of a slander campaign against Lopez Obrador, leader of the left opposition, whose support in the country is growing. However, this has nothing to do with “external factors” and Russian media, Carillo argued.

“The article in the El Financiero is directed not so much against Russia but rather against the opposition leader Lopez Obrador, a leftist candidate in the upcoming presidential election. The fact is that his popularity has been growing, which is why the probability that he will win is quite high. That is why the media supporting the authorities do everything to discredit him. And thus, they decided to follow the example of their American colleagues, who never stop talking about the alleged Russian contribution to the victory of Donald Trump. Thus, we see another example of how artificial anti-Russian hysteria has been used for political purposes,” the journalist stated.

Related:

CIA Shows ‘No Single Piece of Evidence’ of Russia’s Alleged Involvement in US Election

April 14, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment