Latin America Breaking Washington's Grip

Is Latin America moving toward an 'an inevitable confrontation' with the United States? According to this editorial from Mexico's La Jornada, the expanding divergences between Washington and most of this hemisphere are a 'historic opportunity' for Central and South Americans to once and for all break the 'hegemonic' ties that have bound them for so long to the northern 'Superpower.'


Translated By Paula van de Werken

March 27, 2006

Mexico - La Jornada - Original Article (Spanish)

Over Half a Million People Jammed the Streets of Downtown
Los Angeles on Saturday, in Opposition to Proposed Legislation
on Illegal Immigration. (above and below).

—BBC NEWS VIDEO: Tremendous Outpouring Of Opposition
to Immigration Reform Bill in Congress, Mar. 26, 00:01:46RealVideo

RealVideo[NEWS PHOTOS: Immigration Reform Backlash].

President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela: Spearheading
a Movement to Break Washington's Grip Over a Region
that Has Been Called 'America's Own Backyard.' (above).

Chile's Newly-elected President Michelle Bachelet and Argentine
President Nestor Kirchner last Week. Whether Bachelet Will
Choose to Align Herself With the Movement Away from U.S.
Dominance in the Region Remains to be Seen. (below).


Economic, political and social differences between the governments of the United States and the rest of the continent multiply from week to week. For instance, during the week which has just ended, in that neighboring country [the U.S.], there were unprecedented organized demonstrations by migrant Latin American laborers [photo, right]. Yet, Washington proceeded on its path toward a show-down with the government of Venezuela; whereas Argentina and Bolivia took important steps to nationalizing their natural resources, the water supply of Buenos Aires for the former, and the hydrocarbons, mining and water by the latter. Moves that as far as the Bush Administration are concerned, are offensive and are heresy.

By varying degrees and in different intensities, the Superpower and the rest of the nations in this hemisphere are moving toward what appears to be an inevitable confrontation. It seems unlikely that in the realm of social issues, Washington will renounce its criminalization of migratory workers, since their legal persecution constitutes yet another mechanism sure to cheapen the cost of labor that arrives on its territory. In  politics, the White House multiplies its signs of hostility toward Cuba and Venezuela.  In economics, our northern neighbor maintains its pressure to impose a regional free trade agreement, so much so that Mercosur [Common Market of the South, comprised of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay], with Argentina and Brazil in the lead, continues fighting for a regional trade agreement which is more equal and less predatory than the Free Commerce Area of the Americas (FTAA) which the Bush Administration and its present allies, the Mexican government among them, are pushing for.

Far from having fallen into disuse, as the local neo-liberal theorists imagined, the idea of national sovereignty has resurfaced with renewed vigor, and has been central to winning back control of governments in Caracas, Brasilia, Buenos Aires and La Paz. All that remains to be seen, is how the new government of Michelle Bachelet in Chile will align her nation within the region. How events unfold also depends on the results of elections that will take place in Peru and in Mexico this year, in April and July respectively, and which could bring about changes in the foreign policies of both countries.

Current conditions in this hemisphere are without precedent. Never before has American hegemony in its backyard been so widely questioned by the subcontinent, and within full view of Washington’s own politicians. And never in the history of Latin America, have so many governments – in unison - exercised their powers in open disagreement with the White House.

And there is something else to consider … In no other moment of recent history has the United States been seen on the world stage in such a weakened condition. It is militarily and politically bogged down by a criminal war without future in Iraq. Its hegemony in Asia is lost. Its lectures on democracy are rendered moot by atrocities committed by its own military and intelligence corps in various parts of the world. Domestically, its government has been discredited by corruption, inefficiency and mendacity. Washington has lost any room to maneuver, after so many decades of being allowed to line up Latin American leaders and to have them replaced with bloody dictators.

Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the
Presumed Front-Runner in the Mexican Elections, to be
Held in July, Standing at Zocalo Square in Mexico City Last Month.


It seems obvious, then, that an invaluable opportunity has presented itself, for the nations of Latin America to define, in a sovereign manner, the methods of their own development. It is a chance for them to dedicate themselves to reducing the abysmal poverty that divides the miserable majority  from the prosperous elite, and to recuperate their plundered and privatized national resources, which will further the process of regional integration and permit them to form a united bloc;  that is, under conditions far much more favorable to the global economy.

The coalescence and consistency of such an opportunity depends, in good measure, on the regional role which our government [Mexico] plays beginning on the 1st of December [when a new government takes over]. Mexico might once have been an issue of concern to the colonialist interests of our northern neighbor, but [Mexican] politicians have laid many of those concerns to rest by acting like the scabs of Latin America, above all in the debate over trade integration. Our next president will have in his hands, therefore, an enormous responsibility, which will transcend national boundaries.