DiarioCoLatino , El Salvador
On the Elections in Nicaragua
and the United States
By Rigoberto Palma
Translated By Robert Sullivan
27 November 2012
Edited by Keturah Hetrick
El Salvador - DiarioCoLatino - Original Article (Spanish)
The Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (Sandinista National Liberation Front), or FSLN, won a convincing victory in its Nov. 4 elections, receiving 80 percent of the vote and winning 87 percent of mayoral elections. These results, which are due to the social and economic achievements of the government and the weakness of the right, strengthen both the changes in Nicaragua and the progressive left forces in Latin America. Despite the strength of the Sandinista victory and that OAS recognized the validity of the vote, the U.S. government called them fraudulent and termed the 57 percent turnout as low. But that is a high percentage for municipal elections.
The FSLN's success should not surprise anyone because during its administration, the economy was revived, illiteracy was eradicated and poverty fell. One of the greatest successes of the government was its entrance to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, or ALBA, a cooperation agreement with Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Cuba and other Caribbean nations. Through ALBA, Nicaragua boosted important social projects and diversified export markets to the point that now Nicaragua's second export market (after the United States) is not El Salvador, but Venezuela.
Two days after the Sandinista victory in the United States, Barack Obama won the presidential election, which was characterized by a high level of absenteeism and by the election’s closeness, which amounted to a difference of barely one percent.
Obama's legitimacy is questioned by the low turnout and the almost-tie vote with his main rival. His new government will have to face two major challenges: the internal economic crisis and the movement toward displacing the United States as the number one world power.
The internal problem is seen mainly in production stagnation, high unemployment and huge public debt that represents 103 percent of GDP. The displacement as a hegemony has been brewing for some years, and the IMF sees it coming in 2016, when China's GDP reaches 18 percent of world GDP, versus 17.7 percent from the United States. Because China is already the leading exporter, if it takes the lead in production, it will try to impose its currency as the main currency of the world economy.
For the U.S., the displacement of its currency would be a heavy blow because most of its work with machinery and raw materials, especially energy, that it imports through loans from China and Japan and through the printing of unbacked dollars. It would be unable to continue issuing this money if the currency were displaced as the basis of world exchange.
In an article entitled “The Dollar in Intermediate Care,” published by the website Rebelión on July 22, 2009, researcher Hedelberto López Blanch states, “America has the ability to continue to print unlimited amounts of dollars to pay for imports, support wars and maintain over 750 military bases around the globe, but the fact is that the greenback is now in intermediate care, and if it gets worse, it could wind up in intensive care. "
Along with the decline in the U.S. economy, there is the truly extraordinary growth of the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, which, together with South Africa, form the group BRICS, an acronym of these countries. In 2011, the BRICS accounted for 19.8 percent of world GDP, slightly less than the U.S. but more than the eurozone. In 2012, its GDP could overtake the U.S., as the member economies will grow more than the U.S. economy. BRICS countries plan to create a supranational currency. Economic expansion in China, Russia and India also means the expansion of South America, with its abundant oil, gas, lithium, copper, silver, tin, nickel, cobalt, bauxite and other raw materials in demand by Asian economies. A new world, comprised of the Asian and South American blocs, is coming, and BRICS is their economic and political manifestation. And the displacement of the United States as the world’s top economy implies at the same time a decline in its military and political hegemony.
To prevent the coming change, the government and economic power groups in the United States will try to control energy resources and markets of Asia and South America. Where they already have control, they will try to extend their dominance. How they will get that control remains to be seen because the military option is less effective than before and because it is unenforceable against the BRICS and South American countries, which are expanding their levels of integration. An understanding with the emerging world would be less costly to the United States and less dangerous for the world. But since that would mean accepting the displacement, the imperialist logic will not tolerate it — unless the emerging world imposes this acceptance with its political and economic power.
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