Prolific academic Vijay Prashad is the Executive Director of Leftword books, a publishing house out of India. Recently he published a book with Noam Chomsky, “The Withdrawal: Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and the Fragility of U.S.” Vijay collaborates with social movements on an international level, including with the leadership of many left-wing Latin American governments.
On the subject of censorship, the conversation naturally turns to the cancellation of RT, including shows hosted by Chris Hedges and Lee Camp himself. Vijay points out that many liberals who claim to champion free speech are making an argument based on politics and not principle, as evidenced by their lack of outrage over me and Chris. Claims that we are Russian propagandists are thrown around, when, in reality, Lee was never told what to talk about. In fact, he had complete editorial freedom for 9 years and hundreds of episodes. This is unimportant to the liberals whom Vijay is referring to.
Veering the conversation into the recent coup in Peru, Vijay tells Lee that “from the minute he won the presidency” his primary opposition Keiko Fujimori (daughter of former dictator, Alberto Fujimori) worked to undermine him. His opposition went so far as to have someone liaising with the U.S. embassy and its the defense attaché. Vijay wrote a recent article that named the very defense attaché who was collaborating with the Peruvian coup plotters. He tells us the former president was arrested by his own bodyguard, seemingly as he was fleeing towards the Mexican Embassy. The minister of defense visited the U.S. embassy the day before the coup, further heightening suspicion. Despite all of this and ever the optimist, Vijay finishes his analysis on the situation in Peru with a warning for the coup plotters and oligarchs: “don’t count your chickens yet, really don’t count your chickens”.
While going into the similarities between coups in Latin America and the recent coup of former Pakistani prime minister, Imran Khan, Vijay explains that Khan rose to prominence by speaking out against drone strikes. A mercurial figure who strengthened ties with China and refused to condemn Russia, Khan has survived an assassination attempt and continues to be incredibly popular. In Pakistan, there remains a strong sentiment that the United States Embassy was involved in removing the former President from power.
Next year is the 200th anniversary of the Monroe Doctrine – the United States’ declaration of ownership over all the Americas. Vijay points out that the document actually says that Europe cannot interfere in Latin America, which essentially means that the entire region is the United States “backyard”. He tells us that there was an invasion almost every year in Latin America for some time. President Biden’s remarks that Latin America “is not our backyard” but rather “our front yard” is no improvement at all.
Biden has more or less continued President Trump’s policies, except on Venezuela, where the Ukraine War has forced him to negotiate for Venezuelan oil. Therefore, Vijay says, the people of Latin America have had enough; even coups will not stop the anti-imperialist tide sweeping across the region.
Catch this and more on this week’s interview for Behind The Headlines!
Lee Camp is an American stand-up comedian, writer, actor and activist. Camp is the host of Behind The Headlines’ new series: The Most Censored News With Lee Camp. He is a former comedy writer for the Onion and the Huffington Post and has been a touring stand-up comic for 20 years.