Tuesday, June 26, 2007
The revolution behind "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"
THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED DIRECTED AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY KIM BARTLEY AND DONNACHA O'BRIAIN IRELAND, 2003 74 MINUTES
An excellent video about Democracy and revolution where the people won out against the elite, the media, and corporate government.
A New Assertiveness for Latin American Governments
June 13, 2007
by Mark Weisbrot
International Business Times/ CEPR
The relationships between governments and investors - especially transnational corporations -are changing rapidly, and this is especially true in Latin America today. Last month, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua surprised many international observers by announcing that they would withdraw from the World Bank's international arbitration body, the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)....
Bolivia's position is that ICSID is not an impartial arbitrator, and cannot be expected to act as one, so long as it is part of the World Bank.... The World Bank has long used its power - not only from its own lending of $23 billion annually, but also as part of a "creditor's cartel" led by the International Monetary Fund - to pressure governments to adopt policies favored by transnational corporations. These include privatizations and removing restrictions on foreign ownership, trade, and investment flows.
Bolivia maintains that their government, which was elected with a majority that was tired of seeing the country's natural resources drained to make foreign companies rich while their country remained the poorest in South America, needs to change the rules so that they are at less of a disadvantage relative to giant corporations. They have a good case. Since the government raised its royalty rates on hydrocarbons - with the government's share of the biggest gas fields going from 18 to 82 percent - it has increased its revenue by nearly 7 percent of GDP. This is a huge increase in revenue.
The IMF wrote in their country papers on Bolivia that the country would be hurting itself by raising the royalty rates. They were wrong, as were most of the experts in Washington and the US business press. In these circles it is taken as given that anything which pleases foreign investors is good for the host country, as it will attract foreign investment. Likewise, anything that foreign investors don't like is generally portrayed as a potential disaster.
In recent years it has not worked out that way, especially in Latin America....
The biggest news, the most important news, the news you never hear about Latin America is that the Bolivarian revolution, started by Venezuela--a movement toward Latin American self-determinaion--is WORKING. Transparent elections, real representation in government of the vast poor majority--impoverished by the exploitation and brutality of the '80s and '90s--government social justice policies, local control of natural resources, rejection of U.S.-dominated "free trade" (global corporate piracy), rejection of World Bank/IMF financial policy (foreign loan sharks), and rejection of the murderous U.S. "war on drugs" (war on poor peasants and leftists), regional cooperation, and leftist (majority) rule in general on all fronts, are transforming Latin America for the better.
You wonder why Bush's State Department and its echo chamber--our war profiteering corporate news monopolies--revile and demonize Hugo Chavez and Venezeula? This is why. Because they are the leaders of the democracy and social justice movement that is sweeping Latin America, and pushing the U.S. bully out. And this movement is defying all predictions by SUCCEEDING in its democratic and economic justice goals.
The article also cites the case of Argentina, but it leaves something out--that it was Venezeula that helped bail Argentina out of World Bank debt, and went on to establish the Bank of the South (Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay) to provide an alternative to the World Bank/IMF, to help its neighbors out ruinous World Bank/IMF debt, and thus to create healthy trading partners for itself, Brazil and other countries. Argentina is well on its way to recovery, all indicators up--as they are in every country that has managed to democratize itself and join the Bolivarian revolution.
The turning point was in 2002, when rightwing forces, backed by the U.S/Bush, staged a violent military coup against the democratically elected government of Venezuela, kidnapped President Chavez, suspended the Constitution, and shut down the elected National Assembly (Congress) and the courts. Typical South American "news" story (we've seen it all before; democracy cannot work there), right? Wrong!
Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans poured into the streets and surrounded Miraflores Palace (the seat of government) in opposition to this fascist takeover, defeated the coup, and restored Constitutional government, despite the active partipation in the coup by corporate news monopoly TV stations like RCTV, which spread disinformation and lies all over the airwaves, and then hosted meetings of the coup leaders on TV, congratulating themselves on the end of democracy in Venezuela.
They were wrong.
Democracy won! The people won! This amazing event is chronicled in the documentary "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," by Irish filmmakers who happened to be in Miraflores Palace when the coup occurred. How lucky they were! This was the event that turned the history of Latin America around, from a century of U.S.-backed coups, assassinations, mass murders, torture and oppression, to a 21st century of democracy, justice and prosperity shared by all.
It was a pivotal event. For once, the bad guys, with their guns and tanks and suspension of the Constitution, lost, and the people succeeded in restoring democracy in a Latin America country!
And that event led directly to this one: Bolivia rejecting World Bank arbitration in disputes with exploitative foreign corporate predators.
After restoration of democracy in Venezuela, Bolivia then elected a leftist (majoritist) government, led by Evo Morales, the first indigenous president of Bolivia, and a close ally of Hugo Chavez and Venezuela. The Andes region (rich in oil, gas, minerals, forests and other resources) is now dominated by peaceful, democratic, leftist (majorityist) governments, as is the whole of South America, as a matter of fact (Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay--also Nicaragua to the north--and with strong leftist movements in Peru and Paraguay, likely to win future elections).
The courage and determination of tens of thousands of Venezuelans--in turning back the 2002 coup, and in their bold economic initiatives and democratic ideas--has changed everything.
And we, at DU, need to know this, as do our fellow citizens in the U.S. The war for independence that we are so proud of is being fought again--with peaceful tools--among them, the ballot box--to the south of us, and our royalists--our King Georges--are lying to us about it. They don't want us to know. And you don't have to think about it very long to understand why.
The good guys are winning.