Ecuador as banana republic?
By Jerry Mazza
Journal Associate Editor
Oct 23, 2006, 01:08
That is the
question for the Ecuadorian people, as paradigm for Mexican, South and Central
Americans and Americans themselves, as Ecuadorians face a runoff election
between the populist Chavez-leaning Rafael Correa and Alvaro Noboa,
conservative banking and banana magnate.
The trouble that
the magnetic economist and obscure university professor Rafeal Carrrea is
already facing is an unexpected weak showing in the first round of voting for
president on Sunday, Oct. 13, as reported by the NY Times� Early
Returns Point to Runoffs in Ecuador. The trouble with run-offs is that they
generally run into a sharp right turn and stay there after some period of
heated protest from the left, just like they have in the good old USA.
himself in the same hot water leftist reformers in other Latin American
elections have this year, reported the New
York Times a day later. That is, defending their link to President Huge
Chavez of Venezuela, one of the few outspoken detractors of Bush and his march
to World Hegemony, including Other People�s Resources (and Money) on behalf of
the Empire of the Landed. Even the usually pro-left workers seem tamed, if
indeed their votes were correctly counted and not hacked in some back room as
they were in America for the last three elections.
Correa is also
against negotiating a free trade treaty with the United States, which generally
leaves nations prey to multi-national American corporations looking for slave
labor and/or appropriation of said natural resources. Again, Chavez has been
rebelling against that trend, particularly concerning Venezuela�s vast oil
stores, which give him potent international leverage. Ecuador has oil, but not
in such great quantity. Nevertheless Correa and Chavez are friends, just as
Chavez is with Daniel Ortega, front-runner in Nicaragua�s presidential election
next month, though Ortega has downplayed that friendship a bit.
Peru�s Alan Garcia, who, despite his first term ending in hyperinflation, made
a comeback this year to beat Ollanta Humana, an ultranationalist and former
army officer endorsed by Mr. Chavez. Nevertheless, President Evo Morales of
Bolivia remains an ardent supporter of energy nationalization and Hugo Chavez�s
closest ally in the Andes.
Rafael Correa would
also like to renegotiate Ecuador�s foreign debt. Lastly, he wishes to terminate
the US military use of an air base in Manta, on the Pacific Coast, for drug
�surveillance,� which generally means drug �involvement.� This is the Correa
trifecta of discontent and rightly so, which naturally sent shock waves through
Wall Street banks.
And guess what? As
of Tuesday, October 17, Noboa won about 27 percent of the vote and Correa 22
percent, about 70 percent of the votes counted on Monday. But Correa challenged
the results and claimed fraud could have shaved the count, which was hurt by
delays. Moreover, election officials tossed out a contract with the Brazilian
company �overseeing� (or overriding) electronic tabulations. By any chance,
aside from the US, does this sound like the July/August election in Mexico? Let
me refresh your memory.
comes this summary, �The results of the Mexican general election of July 2, 2006, were controversial and
contested. According to Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), the
initial "Quick Count" was too close to call and when the 'Official
Count' was complete, Felipe Calder�n of the conservative National Action Party
(PAN) had won by a difference of 243,934 votes (or 0.58%). The runner-up,
Andr�s Manuel L�pez Obrador of the left-of-center Alliance for the Good of All
(PRD, PT, Convergence), immediately challenged the results and has led massive
marches, protests, and acts of civil disobedience in Mexico City.
�On August 9, while protests continued to expand, a partial recount was
undertaken by election officials after being ordered to do so by the country's Federal Electoral Court
(TEPJF). TEPJF is also frequently referred to in the media by the acronym of
its predecessor, the TRIFE.
The court found 'sufficient evidence of reported irregularities at about nine
per cent of the polling stations' to justify re-opening the polling station
�After having made a partial recount, the same court decided that the
election was fair and ruled that Felipe Calder�n is President Elect.� Does that
echo the US Supreme Court blowing the whistle on vote-counting and handing the
election to George Bush in 2000? At the very least, Calderon�s shady victory
has not earned him Chavez�s friendship.
But whether Correa of Ecuador loses or wins (by some strange turn), the
process of vote-tampering, � la the USA, continues to be an attack on
democracy. In addition, Noboa had his own trifecta against Correa. The first New York Times article describes Noboa
�calling Mr. Correa a �friend of terrorists, a friend of Chavez, a friend of
Cuba,� (read communists). Aptly Mr. Correa responded, �Mr. Noboa would rule
Ecuador like a 'banana plantation.'�
But then Alvaro Noboa is a
�Swiss-educated billionaire scion of an elite family in Guayaquil,� a
conservative banker who, in addition to bananas, controls more than 100
companies in Ecuador and other countries. He has said he would end diplomatic
relations with Venezuela and Cuba if elected. He stumped as a bible-thumping,
God-fearing businessman, who promised cheap housing and free wheelchairs to the
poor and handicapped, a Pat Robertson gone south.
Present as Past, Past
battle for hearts and minds continues, the stack being stacked as we go. Should
a right-wing victory occur, we can expect Noboa to call in the World Bank
and/or IMF and take out some huge loans at outrageous interest rates for
�public works projects� and begin summarily looting the country in the name of
modernizing for democracy, � la Confessions of an
Economic Hit Man, by John Perkins.
in the first paragraph of Perkins� preface, he writes �Economic hit men (EHMs)
are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of
trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, the US Agency for
International Development (USAID), and other foreign 'aid' organizations into
the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who
control the planet�s natural resources. Their tools include fraudulent
financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder. They
play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying
dimensions during this time of globalization. I should know. I was an EHM.�
Actually in Chapter
24, page 165 of Confessions, �Ecuador�s
President Battles Big Oil,� Perkins takes us back to the late 1960s when, �the
serious exploitation of oil in the Ecuadorian Amazon basin began . . . and it
resulted in a buying spree in which the small club of families who ran Ecuador
played into the hands of the international banks. They saddled their country
with huge amounts of debt, backed by the promise of oil revenues. Roads and
industrial parks, hydroelectric dams, transmission and distributing systems,
and other power projects sprang up all over the country. International
engineering and construction companies struck it rich -- once again.�
And again Perkins
writes, �One man whose rising over this Andean country was the exception to the
rule of political corruption and complicity with the corporatocracy [Perkins
word for fascism] . . . was Jaimie Roldos, again a university professor and
attorney in his late thirties . . . charismatic and charming. . . . He had
established a reputation as a populist and a nationalist, a person who believed
strongly in the rights of the poor and in the responsibility of politicians to
use a country�s natural resources prudently.�
short, Roldos like Chavez had captured the attention of the world, bucking the
status quo and going after the oil companies. He accused the Summer Institute
of Linguistics (SIL), an �evangelical missionary group from the US� of
collusion with the oil companies. In fact, as Perkins points out the SIL,
according to sources, received funding from Rockefeller charities. John D.
Rockefeller, the family scion was the founder of Standard Oil, which later
split into the majors, including Chevron, Exxon and Mobil, when the US Supreme
Court, on May 15, 1911, declared it a monopoly under the Sherman Antitrust Act.
Roldos took them on and Texaco as well.
Suffice it to say,
Roldos fought through the Carter administration and the beginning of Reagan�s,
and only weeks after expelling the SIL missionaries, Roldos died in a fiery
airplane crash, on May 24, 1981.
Of course, �the
world was shocked. Latin Americans were outraged. Newspapers through[out] the
hemisphere blazed, �CIA Assassination.�� The fact is, at the last moment before
his flight, �one of his security officers had convinced him to board the decoy
airplane. It had blown up.�
Do we think the
�security officer� was a CIA or government operative or a greedy man who took a
pocket full of money? Hardly makes a difference. Osvaldo Hurtado took over as
Ecuador�s president and SIL members were granted special visas. And Osvaldo,
�launched an ambitious program to increase oil drilling by Texaco and other
foreign companies in the Gulf of Guayaquil and the Amazon basin.� So it goes.
I suggest, beyond
the newspaper reports of elections, you read Confessions of an Economic Hitman, which in a way is the extension of the excellent Killing Hope -- U.S. Military And C.I.A. Interventions Since World War
II by William Blum. Blum gives you a panoramic look back at our intervention
not only in Ecuador (chapter 25, p. 153) with all its machinations, but those
of some 50 plus nations and locales around the world.
The march to
Hegemony you will find did not originate with our present administration,
though it received a renewed and resounding push. Unfortunately, this urge to
control and own the world seems woven into our history, along with the greed of
the Euro/Anglo and American elites, the conquistadors of old, who first
massacred the indigenous populations, to rule in their indecent purity the
mixed descendants and survivors of each group.
Thus the struggle
against them by those who would be free should be considered an integral part
of our lives in a �democratic� society. Behind the flags, you will always find
the long-fanged faces, vampires of reaction ready to pounce on figures of
reform ready to chase the moneylenders and their lot from the Temple of this
world, trying to prevent them from turning still one more piece of it into a
Jerry Mazza is a
freelance writer living in New York City. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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