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Latin America moves left: as Communist groups exert increased influence in Latin America, threats to the U.S. are coalescing and becoming increasingly evident.

Thanks in large measure to policies of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and Inter-American Development Bank, virtually all of our hemispheric neighbors are bankrupt and hopelessly mired in debt. Unfortunately, the IMF-WB-IDB policies that have caused the social and economic havoc in these countries have been falsely billed as "free market" reforms. Not surprisingly, this has discredited genuine free market reforms and driven many of the disenchanted and desperate into the arms of the Castroite Left. The following capsules provide a troubling look at disturbing political developments in some of the countries south of the border.

Argentina: The fourth most populous nation in Latin America with the third largest economy, Argentina under President Nestor Kirchner is following the Marxist tilt of Brazil's President Lula and Venezuela's President Chavez. Elected in 2003, he was the sixth president sworn in in 18 months, following Argentina's economic meltdown. With his Partido Justicialista controlling both houses of Parliament and 16 of the 24 provincial governorships, he launched purges of the military, police, and the courts in order to stack the system with his own ideologues. Kirchner quickly established ties to Cuba and dramatically expanded relations with China.

Bahamas: Only 65 miles from Florida, these islands usually conjure images of resorts and sun-splashed beaches. But the Bahamas have become a strategic chokehold target for Communist China. The Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa, Ltd., China's global maritime stalking horse, operates and controls one of the world's largest and most modern seaports in the capital city of Freeport. Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie paid a visit to China in August 2004 seeking an expansion of Chinese investment in his country.

Brazil: By population, economy, technology, and natural resources, Brazil is Latin America's giant. President Luiz "Lula" da Silva, a longtime Communist--and together with Fidel Castro a founder of the terrorist cabal known as the Sao Paulo Forum--has pledged to make Brazil the region's first nuclear weapons power. Soon after his 2002 election, Lula announced he would stop Brazil's adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. "Why is it that someone asks me to put down my weapons and only keep a slingshot while he keeps a cannon pointed at me?" he asked. "Brazil will only be respected in the world when it turns into an economic, technological and military power." With a robust nuclear energy program and nuclear weapons research facilities--not to mention military and technological ties to Russia and China--Lula could make good on this threat.

Chile: President Ricardo Lagos and his Socialist Party, often described as "moderate," are showing their true colors. Last December, the Lagos government indicted former President Augusto Pinochet, charging him with kidnapping and murdering political opponents. The 89-year-old Pinochet, in fragile physical and mental health, has been the target of leftists worldwide since his 1973 coup d'etat overthrew the blossoming Communist dictatorship of Salvador Allende. Communists and leftists of every stripe have flocked back to Chile, including Michelle Bachelet, who spent several years in Communist East Germany. Bachelet is being muted as a top candidate to become Chile's first female president, at the head of the Socialist Party ticket.

Colombia: On January 1, terrorists of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) massacred 17 peasants--including 4 children and 6 women--who were attending a New Year's party in Arauca Province near the Venezuela border. Thus, FARC continues a bloody legacy that has ravaged Colombia for more than four decades.

Cuba: After having been declared irrelevant for years, aging Communist dictator Fidel Castro is enjoying his newfound influence throughout Latin America. where left-wing regimes now dominate the major countries in the region. With funding from China and oil from Venezuela, his decrepit economy has been given a new lease on life.

El Salvador: President Elias Antonio Saca of the anti-Communist ARENA Party was elected with 58 percent of the vote in March 2004. But he is facing potentially violent opposition from the FMLN, a Communist terrorist group that has been playing the political "reform" game over the past decade but is moving back more openly to its militant roots. Its leader, Schafik Handal, took 36 percent of the vote in the presidential elections. At a July 18 meeting of the terrorist Sao Paulo Forum in Managua, Nicaragua, Handal told Cuba's Prensa Latina: "New peaceful methods of struggle have evolved in order to take power, but armed struggle cannot be ruled out. It may emerge at any moment." The FMLN is receiving help from Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.

Guatemala: Antigua, Guatemala, hosted the 2002 gathering of the Sao Paulo Forum, which brought over 1,000 revolutionaries together from across Latin America and throughout the world, including representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Communist Parties of the U.S., Australia, UK, and Canada. Now that Chile's Pinochet has been indicted, expect to see a similar clamor by the international Marxist Left to instigate an indictment and prosecution of General Efrain Rios Montt, who headed Guatemala's anti-Communist government in 1982-83. None of the "human rights activists" pushing these campaigns have the slightest interest, of course, in pursuing justice against the torture, murder, and genocide practiced by Fidel Castro in Cuba, Daniel Ortega and Tomas Borge in Nicaragua, or other Marxist-Leninist despots.

Jamaica: This island nation will host the China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum in February 2005. The Jamaican government also has announced that it will be deepening diplomatic ties with China by opening an embassy in Beijing this year. Jamaican Prime Minister Percival J. Patterson served as deputy prime minister in the Marxist regime of Michael Manley, then stepped into the top executive slot when Manley resigned in 1992. After Marxist madman Bertrand Aristide was overthrown in Haiti last year and forced to take refuge in South Africa, Patterson invited him to Jamaica, where he housed him in his private residence.

Mexico: Mexican President Vicente Fox has succeeded in packaging himself as a champion of political reform and free market economics. Compared to the socialist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) or the even more radically Marxist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), Fox and the National Action Party (PAN) do appear more rational and conservative. But is Fox really a chameleon? Two of his most important mentors are militant Marxists and co-founders of the radical-left intellectual movement known as the Latin American Alternative: Professor Roberto Mangabeira Unger, a Brazilian, who, for the past 30 years, has been one of Harvard University Law School's most influential legal theorists; and Mexican political theorist Jorge Castaneda, who served as Fox's first foreign minister and now teaches at New York University. Prof. Unger helped package "former" Marxist professor Fernando Henrique Cardoso as a market-oriented reformer and become president of Brazil. But the administration of Cardoso, the phony reformer, was merely a transition to the undisguised Marxism of Communist leader Lula da Silva. Will Fox follow a similar path and end up transferring Mexico into the hands of Cuautemoc Cardenas, the fiery Communist leader of the PRD? Cardenas, a member of the Sao Paulo Forum and comrade of Lula, is a leading contender for Mexico's presidency.

Nicaragua: In the November 2004 elections, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) won more than half of the 152 mayoral races, including in Managua, the nation's capital and largest city. This impoverished country has still not recovered from the decade of bloody Sandinista rule in the 1980s, when the Sandinistas looted the national treasury, leaving Nicaragua bankrupt. A Sandinista-led coalition controls the national Congress and passed several measures in 2004 that will lead to a constitutional showdown this year with anti-Communist President Enrique Bolanos. Sandinista maximum leader Daniel Ortega, who served as dictator during the Sandinista reign of terror, hopes to regain his earlier position. Ortega is a co-founder (with Cuba's Castro and Brazil's Lula) of the terrorist Sao Paulo Forum, which held its annual meeting in Managua in July of 2004 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Sandinista revolution.

Uruguay: The November 2004 elections proved a major upset, turning out conservative President Jorge Batlle Ibanez, to be replaced by left-wing Tabare Vazquez, whose Frente Amplio party is a founding member of the terrorist Sao Paulo Forum.

Venezuela: Last December, Hugo Chavez's regime hosted its second Bolivarian Congress, attracting more than 2,500 radicals, Communists, and terrorists from throughout Latin America. Among the attendees were Sandinista chiefs Daniel Ortega and Tomas Borge from Nicaragua and FMLN terrorist leader Schafik Handal. Chavez's stand on terrorism was evident as early as 1999, when, as the newly elected president, he corresponded with infamous terrorist Vladimir "Carlos the Jackal" Ramirez, imprisoned in France for multiple murders. Chavez expressed his warm "solidarity" with Carlos, a fellow Venezuelan Red. Carlos was then given a regular slot in one of Venezuela's Chavez-connected newspapers to propagandize as a columnist from his prison cell. When the 9/11 attacks hit America, Chavez's top aides organized an anti-American demonstration in Caracas that featured burning American flags.
Fast Facts on Latin America

 GDP
Country Population % Pop. Below Total Per
 Poverty Line (billions) Capita

Antigua & Barbuda 68,320 N/A $0.75 $11,000
Argentina 39,144,753 51.7 435.50 11,200
Bahamas 299,697 N/A 5.05 16,700
Barbados 278,289 N/A 4.36 15,700
Belize 272,945 33 1.28 4,900
Bolivia 8,724,156 70 21.01 2,400
Brazil 184,101,109 22 1,375.00 7,600
Chile 15,823,957 20.6 154.70 9,900
Colombia 42,310,775 55 263.20 6,300
Costa Rica 3,956,507 20.6 35.34 9,100
Cuba 11,308,764 N/A 32.13 2,900
Dominica 69,278 30 0.38 5,400
Dominican Republic 8,833,634 25 52.71 6,000
Ecuador 13,212,742 65 45.65 3,300
El Salvador 6,587,541 48 30.99 4,800
Grenada 89,357 32 0.44 5,000
Guatemala 14,280,596 75 56.50 4,100
Guyana 705,803 N/A 2.80 4,000
Haiti 7,656,166 80 12.30 1,600
Honduras 6,823,568 53 17.55 2,600
Jamaica 2,713,130 19.7 10.61 3,900
Mexico 104,959,594 40 941.20 9,000
Nicaragua 5,359,759 50 11.60 2,300
Panama 3,000,463 37 18.78 6,300
Paraguay 6,191,368 36 28.17 4,700
Peru 27,544,305 54 146.00 5,100
St. Kitts & Nevis 38,836 N/A 0.34 8,800
St. Lucia 164,213 N/A 0.87 5,400
St. Vincent & the 117,193 N/A 0.34 2,900
 Grenadines
Suriname 436,935 70 1.75 4,000
Trinidad & Tobago 1,096,585 21 10.52 9,500
Uruguay 3,399,237 23.7 43.67 12,800
Venezuela 25,017,387 47 117.90 4,800

 External U.S. Foreign Aid
Country Debt 1946-2002 2002 only
 (billions) (millions) (millions)

Antigua & Barbuda $0.23 N/A N/A
Argentina 145.60 $2,356.6 $3.7
Bahamas 0.31 86.3 6.2
Barbados 0.67 20.2 0.7
Belize 0.48 299.7 2.8
Bolivia 5.33 3,593.4 177.3
Brazil 214.90 9,703.3 24.7
Chile 43.15 2,384.5 1.9
Colombia 38.26 5,659.2 534.8
Costa Rica 5.37 1,879.5 4.7
Cuba 12.52 71.4 7.2
Dominica 0.16 14.3 0.4
Dominican Republic 6.57 2,055.8 34.8
Ecuador 15.69 1,334.9 104.0
El Salvador 6.58 5,531.3 110.9
Grenada 0.20 67.3 0.3
Guatemala 4.96 2,416.1 74.0
Guyana 1.20 316.6 11.8
Haiti 1.20 2,069.5 58.1
Honduras 5.25 2,981.0 46.7
Jamaica 4.96 1,867.7 20.9
Mexico 159.80 4,818.1 95.1
Nicaragua 5.83 1,626.0 51.5
Panama 8.83 1,385.8 19.8
Paraguay 2.96 434.2 14.2
Peru 29.95 4,430.2 291.5
St. Kitts & Nevis 0.17 N/A N/A
St. Lucia 0.21 N/A N/A
St. Vincent & the 0.17 N/A N/A
 Grenadines
Suriname 0.32 46.0 1.2
Trinidad & Tobago 2.61 543.9 0.7
Uruguay 10.73 350.8 1.8
Venezuela 32.51 1,452.3 17.7


SOURCES

The above data, with the exception of the "U.S. Foreign Aid" figures, are from the CIA's The World Factbook 2004. The information on U.S. foreign aid is from the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID's) U.S. Overseas Loans and Grants and Assistance from International Organizations, July 1, 1945-September 30, 2002. The USAID is an agency of the State Department.

EXPLANATIONS

Percentage of Population Below Poverty Line: Definitions of poverty vary greatly among nations, with richer nations generally defining "poverty" more generously than poorer nations.

GDP: Gross Domestic Product is the total value of a nation's annual output of goods and services. "GDP Per Capita" is the total GDP divided by the population.

External Debt: The external debt is the total public and private debt owed to nonresidents.

U.S. Foreign Aid: These figures include not just USAID loans and grants, but other U.S. economic and military assistance, including "non-concessional" loans from the U.S. Export-Import Bank and other agencies.
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Title Annotation:Latin America
Author:Jasper, William F.
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:0LATI
Date:Jan 24, 2005
Words:2248
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