Right-Wing Victories In Argentina, Venezuela Could Accelerate US Dominance In The Region

Recent elections in Argentina and Venezuela have yielded major changes that could ultimately open the door to greater interference by corporate interests and the U.S.
By @walzerscent |
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    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — The recent right-wing triumphs in Argentina and Venezuela are being touted as a pivotal moment in South American politics, with the longstanding balance of power shifting away from the left and toward the right.

    In the 1970s, when a socialist fever was spreading across South America, especially after Salvador Allende’s triumph in Chile, the United States was concentrating on devious paths to destabilize the change that had been achieved through democratic elections. The neoliberal experiment that commenced in Chile on Sept. 11, 1973 later expanded in the region via Plan Condór, through which the U.S. sought to prop up dictatorships in the Southern Cone.

    The Macri family business, the Macri Society or Socma, expanded its wealth during Argentina’s dictatorship era. According to a TeleSUR report, the family business grew significantly throughout the late 1970s and 1980s by providing services to the regime, including waste management and postal services.



    And last month, a narrow victory went to Mauricio Macri, a right-wing presidential contender. With the backing of his party, he was part of the minority opposition to a bill proposed by former President Cristina Fernandez earlier this year that sought to investigate dictatorship crimes and those complicit in them.

    After election results were announced, Jackie Fox, a psychological counselor, who was quoted in The Guardian, stated: “This is the end of corruption. We have someone who doesn’t need to become richer than he already is.” Yet a Nov. 23 analysis from TeleSUR warned:

    “The election of Mauricio Macri in Argentina’s presidential race comes as a welcome victory to the country’s business elite and right-wing parties across Latin America, but the president-elect has some dubious ties that could signal a lasting legacy in the new head of state of darker times in Argentina.”

    Indeed, recent elections in Venezuela have demonstrated a similarly chilled socialist fever which once gripped the region — a fever which democratic elections had kept in power until just recently. And, alarmingly, it’s opening the door wider to U.S. and corporate interference.

     

    Does Macri mark Argentina’s return to a neoliberal agenda?

    Despite earlier indications that left-wing candidate and former Vice President Daniel Scioli would likely emerge victorious, right-wing contender Mauricio Macri was propelled to a 3-point victory in November, spelling the end of the leftist era ushered in by Néstor Kirchner in 2003 and continued through his wife, Cristina Fernández.

    Argentina’s former Minister of Economy Domingo Cavallo, whose policies some claim were responsible for the country’s financial collapse in 2001 and its ensuing default, clearly spelled out the terms upon which Macri’s political success would hinge, stating that his rule “might also help to put a definite end to the ‘Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America’ that has caused such a great damage to the peoples that adhered to it.”

    Following the election, Macri declared his intentions to align the country’s foreign policy with that of the U.S., while shunning Venezuela and Iran, saying, “We need to be in the world.”

    However, as Jonathan Watt sand Uki Goñi noted in The Guardian last month, Macri’s “small margin of victory could hamper his ability to push through political changes, particularly because Macri does not have a majority in either house of congress,” particularly as the former president continues to enjoy popularity among populist “Peronists, union members and supporters in congress.”

    Despite any perceived hurdles he may have to jump in his return to a neoliberal agenda that is likely to dominate his presidency, Macri has already declared his intention to expand the role of corporate media by scrapping the Media Law put into place under the Fernandez administration. Macri argues that it inhibits free-market competition, but, according to TeleSUR, critics maintain that an end to the Media Law “and its limitations on the size of media conglomerates is a direct assault on a democratic commitment to a diversity of voices in the media and will be a death sentence for alternative opinions in the media.”

    In his first comments following the announcement of election results, Macri stated that building relations with other countries in Latin America was a priority, adding that he would raise the issue of Venezuela’s alleged human rights abuses at Mercosur, the regional free trade association. During the final presidential debate, Macri had, in fact, threatened to seek to expel Venezuela from the trading bloc.

    Once the right-wing victory in Venezuela was ascertained, though, Macri did not feel compelled to pursue Venezuela’s expulsion any further. Indeed, given the close electoral triumphs and Macri’s apparent intentions to boost Argentina-U.S. relations, the shift of power away from Venezuela’s socialist bloc is none other than an added victory for Macri, who is being hailed as the commencement of change in the continent.

    For his part, Scioli had warned that “Macri wants to leave us to the luck of the market,” and accused him of making “a pact with the IMF and vulture funds.”

    Although the rhetoric can be perceived as part of the pre-election diatribe, the accusation is reminiscent of right-wing tactics in Venezuela, where prominent individuals have discussed the concept of foreign intervention through the International Monetary Fund as part of the plans to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

     

    Maduro: ‘A counterrevolution has won’

    In Venezuela, the Democratic Unity Roundtable, the coalition opposition group, made significant gains in this month’s legislative elections. It won 99 out of 167 seats in the National Assembly elections, shifting the balance of power away from the country’s socialist base for the first time in nearly two decades.

    In the wake of election results, President Nicolas Maduro reiterated that the destabilization tactics of the U.S.-backed right wing had managed to influence public opinion enough to sway votes away from the socialist principles of the Bolivarian Revolution, the socialist movement of his predecessor and mentor, Hugo Chavez.

    In the aftermath of the defeat, Maduro’s rhetoric shifted from acceptance of the outcome of the election — though he continued to reiterate that economic sabotage such as deprivation of basic household staples, played a crucial role in the result — to calls for strengthening the grassroots movement in the country.

    After calling upon Venezuelans to “recognize in peace these results and re-evaluate many political aspects of the revolution,” Maduro embarked upon an offensive, vowing to protect workers’ rights and announcing “the creation of a new law to protect workers’ stability for the next three years.”

    The announcement was made as the Venezuelan opposition had already started threatening an overhaul of existing legislation that protects workers’ rights — namely, the Organic Labor Law — in favor of ushering in a capitalist agenda. The 2012 Organic Labor Law sought to protect workers’ rights by proclaiming the need to “protect work as a social deed” and “recognizing workers as creators of socially produced wealth and as protagonists in education and work processes.” Cipriana Ramos, a leading opposition lawmaker and the head of one of the country’s largest business organizations, argued that the law “can’t exist to benefit workers.” With an overwhelming majority, the opposition can now begin work to repeal existing legislation that has safeguarded workers’ rights and shift power back to the Venezuelan oligarchy.

    The opposition also declared that, should it win two-thirds of the National Assembly seats, it would seek to oust Maduro. Other threats voiced by the opposition are in direct retaliation against the Bolivarian Revolution, including threats to repeal the Law on Fair Costs and Prices, a price-setting law which ensures affordable and accessible commodities for the entire Venezuelan population.

    In the wake of election results, Maduro insisted: “The opposition hasn’t won — a counterrevolution has won.”

    TeleSUR has not been averse to criticizing government weaknesses in the aftermath of the elections. While acknowledging the role played by intentional disinformation, particularly through international media and social media, Maduro’s inability to deal resiliently with the economic sabotage affecting the working class has been cited as another factor contributing to the defeat.

    While the opposition revels in its newfound grasp on power, it will also face an uphill battle as it attempts to convince its voters of an independent strategy away from the U.S. After violent incitement backed by the U.S., as well as the support garnered from European countries which attempted to portray Maduro’s government as infringing upon human rights — in February 2014 the European Parliament passed a resolution urging Maduro to resign — the right-wing agenda in Venezuela is a clear return of the oligarchy with the intent of destroying the socialist structure.

    The methods used to sabotage Venezuela today may differ slightly from those of the past, notably Chile and the ensuing Plan Condor. However, it is clear that the U.S. has, through various means, attempted to destroy Venezuela, in particular by targeting its strongest structures, such as the accessibility of goods and services to accommodate basic needs and, on a higher level, Venezuela’s oil.

    According to U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby, the election results “reinforce for us the importance of continuing to have dialogue with Venezuela, and to continue to try to get this relationship on a better path.”

    Dialogue with the U.S. is a mere euphemism for collaborative interference. In November, TeleSUR and the Intercept revealed that since 2010, the U.S. National Security Agency spied on Petroleos de Venezuela, a state-owned oil and natural gas company, obtaining data which would in turn provide an opening through which to spy on the company’s officials. U.S. President Barack Obama authorized the operation in 2010, and it was carried out by the CIA and NSA, operating directly from the premises of the U.S. Embassy in Caracas.

    This revelation should not be viewed as an isolated incident but within the context of coups against Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution since 2002, when Chavez was briefly ousted and the designated U.S. and IMF-backed Pedro Carmona took over for two days.

    After Chavez’s death, destabilization and coup attempts intensified — with the latest in February 2015 — following a series of oppressive international measures such as U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan leaders for alleged human rights violations.

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    • Otto Greif

      Outsiders didn’t sabotage Venezuela, chavismo policies did.

      • TecumsehUnfaced

        That’s very well documented to be a lie.

        You must be a bankster stooge.

        • Otto Greif

          You’re delusional.

          • TecumsehUnfaced

            Nope, just not a bankster stooge disinformation agent like you, my boy.

            • Otto Greif

              The adverse consequences of chavismo policies were easily predictable.

              • TecumsehUnfaced

                Yes they were. The savage oligarchs and their empire allies would attack with every bit of sabotage they could contrive. That’s very well documented, little troll.

                • Otto Greif

                  Those policies didn’t fail because of sabotage, they failed because they were stupid and at odds with reality.

                  • TecumsehUnfaced

                    Yammer, yammmer, you can’t prove any of that silly lie. The problems came from sabotage well documented and the steep fall in oil prices, which were also probably sabotage too.

                    You are stupid, mendacious, at odds with reality, and all for looting the people just like the vicious oligarchs and the Empire capitalists have done for centuries.

                    • Otto Greif

                      Price controls always lead to shortages, only fools like you and Hugo don’t realize that. It’s hilarious you think global oil prices have fallen as part of a plot to sabotage Venezuela.

                      • TecumsehUnfaced

                        Without the sabotage by hoarding by the big oligarchs, there never would have been the need for price control. You stupidly don’t think that the oil prices had nothing to do with Venezuela’s economic problems.

                        You also show that you grasp of basic economics is very poor, because of your poor reading abilities. I simply threw the low oil prices out as possible sabotage as a possibility. As I intended, it got you all yammering.

                        It’s hilarious that you think that wealth extraction by economic thugs is good for the people of the country and that any sabotage is okay.

                      • Otto Greif

                        Who knew the toilet paper shortages in Venezuala are because “the big oligarchs” are hoarding all the toilet paper.

                      • TecumsehUnfaced

                        Who else would be doing it?

                        http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Venezuela-to-Implement-New-Anti-Hoarding-Measures-20150309-0006.html

                        You’re stupidly going to blame that on Maduro, rather than the ones doing it?

                      • Otto Greif

                        That article is hilarious.

                      • TecumsehUnfaced

                        You are hilarious.

                        You are too obviously a troll for the reactionary wealth extractors.

                      • Otto Greif

                        You support policies that hurt poor people.

                      • TecumsehUnfaced

                        Ha!. You are just like the hasbara. You accuse others of your own sins.

                        How do you explain your support for Mauricio Macri and Paul Singer with any claim that you don’t support policies that hurt poor people?

                      • Otto Greif

                        That’s a fact, you’re too stupid and delusional to recognize it.

                      • TecumsehUnfaced

                        Wrong, I recognize that you are a hungry, little vampire working mendaciously for the big ones. After all, you are all for bleeding the people of Argentina billions of dollars to fatten up the big vampire vulture, Paul Singer.

                      • TeeJae
                      • Otto Greif

                        Ever notice there are no “basic good” shortages in countries that haven’t enacted idiotic price controls? Obviously not.

                      • TecumsehUnfaced

                        Ever notice that the wealth extractors always have their fangs deeply sunk enough not provoke any shortages or other kind of sabotage? People just get eaten up by debt entrapment and die faster. That is why you love being a pig for the wealth extractors.

                        Remember the wealth extractors have attacked over thirty countries since WWII. Iran, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Cuba, Haiti, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Congo, Namibia, Iraq…

                      • Otto Greif

                        “Fangs deeply sunk enough not to provoke shortages”, that doesn’t even make any sense. You haven’t the slightest idea how the real world works.

                      • TecumsehUnfaced

                        You couldn’t figure out that I talking about those countries under control of the wealth extractors? Sorry, my boy you shown that you are the one who doesn’t understand the world, or alternatively, you do but you are a liar working to set the rest of us up for a bloodletting.

                      • Otto Greif

                        Setting you all up for a bloodletting? You should get psychological counseling.

                      • TecumsehUnfaced

                        Look who’s talking! The jerk who wants to feed the wealth extractors as much as they want to take.

                      • Otto Greif

                        I want to feed you to the wealth extractors, after the bloodletting of course.

                      • TecumsehUnfaced

                        Finally, you are being honest about the vicious stupidity from which you act. No wonder you a sick reactionary troll off the Breitbart site.

                      • David Christian

                        Did you notice how once the price controls were removed, the food shortages ended? Problem now is the hyperinflation created by Maduro. There is food on the shelves, but nobody can afford it.

      • TeeJae

        Tecumseh is right. It’s been well researched and documented that life greatly improved for Venezuelans under Chavez, and that Western powers have had a vendetta against Venezuela because it refuses to join the Monopoly Capitalist party. So, you’ve either been fooled by the oligarchy’s propaganda or you are one of their agents.

        • theciscoshow

          What bullshit, he destroyed a country with great resources and enough oil to pay for many things. He and his truck driver successor were corrupt and power hungry. The reason the ‘commodities’ were not on the shelves is because those morons laws on pricing called for prices goods could not be produced at a profit for. When that happens, those goods are not produced. Socialist bullshit will always fail and will always lead to tyranny, as in Venezuela.

          • TeeJae

            I’m not sure where you’re getting your information, but it is incorrect. Here are some sources that debunk the mainstream narrative (aka conventional wisdom) regarding Chavez and Venezuela:
            http://fair.org/blog/2012/12/13/does-hugo-chavez-keep-fooling-venezuelans/
            http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/02/02/venezuela-a-coup-in-real-time/
            http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=8836
            http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/apr/15/nicolas-maduro-venezuela-vote-for-chavismo

            As you’ll see, that “Socialist BS” actually worked very well for the Venezuelan people.

            • David Christian

              How is it working for the people now? Is the hyperinflation making Venezuelans richer? Do the 8 hours lines bring everyone closer together?

              • TecumsehUnfaced

                So you believe that the aristocracy that always impoverished the people before is the answer? Maybe the U.S. should just stop its economic war against them. But why would the U.S. do that? It is ruled by elite whose only care is power.

                • David Christian

                  Please describe how the USA caused the food shortages in Venezuela. Don’t link any Telesur articles or Telesur reprints. Because absolutely NONE of those articles bother to explain it.

                  • TecumsehUnfaced

                    You haven’t read the links TeeJae cited you? You still haven’t told me who you work for, in spite of multiple requests. You are blocked.

              • TeeJae

                Until the US releases its stranglehold, it can’t work. The only way Venezuela can truly prosper on its own is for the US to give up its capitalist designs on the country and/or for Venezuela to boot out all US influence, including the covert agents working behind the scenes.

                • David Christian

                  You think the USA caused the 800% hyperinflation? Did the CIA hack their currency printer? Please explain what the USA did to cause food and medicine shortages in venezuela.

                  • TeeJae

                    I cited links earlier in this comment thread. Read those.

                    • TecumsehUnfaced

                      He’s bothering me to. He’s a disinformation agent. I have to hand it to him, everything he posts is wrong but in a subtle or tricky way.

                      • TeeJae

                        I sensed that, too. May have even called him out on it at one point, on this or another thread.

                      • TecumsehUnfaced

                        He doesn’t work like a normal person. He goes away for hours, days, even months, and then appears with a many pronged attack, all of which are identical to those of other trolls.

    • TecumsehUnfaced

      The traitor thug with the glib tongue, Mauricio Macri, will try to fvck the people of Argentina to make fabulously wealthy vampire, Paul Singer, founder and CEO of the vulture hedge fund Elliott Management Corporation, even more wealthy with the blood of the people of Argentina.

      • wynn

        The stupid people of Argentina should have known better than to bring Macri in after Cristina Kirchner. When the peasants see the neoliberal agenda implemented, maybe then the people will wise up. Too late. You deserve whatever you reap!

        • TecumsehUnfaced

          Why? I’m not Argentine. I’m not going to suffer from Macri. I just disapprove of vampires feeding even on fools.

      • Otto Greif

        Argentina shouldn’t borrow money if it can’t pay it back.

        • TecumsehUnfaced

          So you stupidly recommend paying odious debt contrived by banksters and their corrupt allies assisting in draining off the people’s tax money?

          • Otto Greif

            “Banksters” had nothing to do with it, the Argentine government sold bonds.

            • TecumsehUnfaced

              That’s stupid. Banksters always get in the middle of such corrupt deals to rip off as much as they can. They why they arrange to pay off corrupt military to do coup d’etats, so they can kill all the people’s representatives that are blocking the corrupt deals, like they did in Argentina.

              Keep coming. bankster boy.

              • Otto Greif

                Educate yourself on how sovereign debt works.

                • TecumsehUnfaced

                  Educate yourself how odious debt is created by dictators working with corrupt banksters to loot the country.

                  But you already know about that, don’t you? And like a good little bankster-hedge fund troll are busily trying to justify the rape of Argentina by the despicable vulture, Paul Singer.

                  That’s okay. We are much aware that you have no more morality than he. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be equating the looting of a country with sovereign debt.

                  Keep coming. hedge fund vulture boy.

                  • Otto Greif

                    If you think Kirchner was a dictator why are you whining about her losing office?

                    • TecumsehUnfaced

                      Hey, stupid! It wasn’t Kirchner, who set up the debt. She and her husband were the ones who had to deal with the problems your beloved thug wealth extractors caused.

        • TeeJae

          It’s not that simple. When it comes to the IMF, World Bank and Central Banks (i.e. the REAL powers-that-be), there is ALWAYS more going on behind the scenes than meets the eye (and definitely more than mainstream media will ever reveal). It’s all about insatiable greed for money and lust for power. These major financial institutions ultimately control the world, mainly through debt schemes. To get to the root of all evil (er, the matter), just follow the money.

          • David Christian

            Venezuela paid off it’s IMF debt in 2007.

            • TecumsehUnfaced

              Hehe, you think that’s wonderful.

              • David Christian

                Chavez, thought it was wonderful, but what does he know, right?

                • TecumsehUnfaced

                  Read John Perkins, Confessions of an Internet Hit Man.

            • TeeJae

              At what cost to the people?

              • David Christian

                Venezuela was doing fine in 2007. High oil prices masked the effects of the socialist policies.