“The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signalized the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production.”

Karl Marx: Capital


Jack Woddis in An Introduction to Neo-Colonialism (1967) helps in understand why Donald J. Trump believes he has a right to overthrow the duly elected President of Venezuela.  It has to do with the fact that the Cold War never ended for Latin America and that the Neo-Colonialism installed and re-installed in South America was weakened by Bush's War on Terror.  Because of the all-encompassing nature of the War on Terror, the U.S. had to move both the CIA and the Marines to the Middle East and Central Asia. 


With the empire busy oppressing peoples elsewhere, the countries of Latin America beginning with Brazil got rich--(attested to by former Ambassador Wendy Sherman)—installed socialistic ideology--reduced poverty, and thrived until the War went south and Bush and Condoleezza Rice noticed Chavez and began to protect and maintain monopoly capitalism in Venezuela.  Soon, all progress stopped as progressive leaders were either arrested like Lula or attacked like Chavez; thus making it plain that it is, and always had been, the United States that had/has kept South America in poverty.

Woddis, a Marxist theorist proves that Karl Marx, as a historian understood Capitalism better than the capitalist themselves, even today.  Woddis posits that the modern colonial system matured at the end of the nineteenth century as a consequence of the change from free competitive capitalism to monopoly capitalism or imperialism.  Long before then territories in Africa, Asia, Australasia, and North and South America had been seized by the European powers---as military outposts, as trading centers, for the seizure of slaves, for the looting of gold and silver, and for white settlement.  This was part of the process of the emergence of European capitalism.


Marxism explains the 50 (Unsanctioned) nations aligned with Trump against Venezuela via colonial hunt activities are part of “the chief momenta of primitive accumulation”--(all fearful of Trump Sanctions).  On the basis of the wealth seized in this way, capitalism arose in Europe.  The advance of industrial techniques in the nineteenth century, the growth of large scale industry, and of concentrations of economic power in the hands of a relatively small number of major companies and banks led to a change in the pattern of relations between the European powers of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Expanding industries at home required increasing quantities of raw materials; the growth in the quantity of manufactured goods, including capital equipment, needed additional outlets to that of the home market; the possibilities of earning further profits at a still higher rate were at hand in the form of cheap land and cheap labor.


Food Fight: Trump Administration Levels Tariffs On Mexican Tomatoes


A worker dumps a bucket of tomatoes into a trailer at DiMare Farms in Florida City, Fla., in 2013. The Trump administration is preparing to level a new tariff on fresh tomatoes imported from Mexico in response to complaints from Florida growers. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

While the trade war with China is rattling financial markets around the world, another trade skirmish is about to play out in the supermarket — in particular, the produce aisle. The Trump administration is preparing to level a new tariff — or tax — on fresh tomatoes imported from Mexico.

The move comes in response to a growing outcry from Florida tomato growers, who have a lot of political leverage.

Florida used to dominate the American market for tomatoes sold in the winter and spring, but over the past two decades the state's growers have been losing ground to Mexico. If you pick up a ripe, red tomato in the grocery store this time of year, the chances are good it was grown south of the border.

"Depending on where you are in the country, especially at the retail level, you're going to see mostly Mexican tomatoes at this time of year," said Michael Schadler, executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Exchange, a growers trade group. Mexico now grows more than half the fresh tomatoes sold in the United States. Imports from Mexico have more than doubled since 2002.

"To me, the tomato industry is a model child of what has happened with NAFTA and free trade," said Florida grower Tony DiMare, whose family is marking its 90th year in the business. The DiMare family used to raise 5,000 acres of winter tomatoes near Homestead, Fla. This year they grew less than 600.

Florida growers have long complained that Mexico is unfairly subsidizing its tomato crop and otherwise taking advantage of the United States. But under a series of agreements dating to 1996, the U.S. government chose not to pursue protectionist measures.

Now the Trump administration is changing course. The administration served notice in February that it would withdraw from the latest agreement on May 7, clearing the way for a 17.5% tariff on Mexican tomatoes.

"This is the day we've been waiting for for a while," Schadler said.

Florida lawmakers, led by Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Ted Yoho, lobbied for the change. They complain that Mexico has been selling its tomatoes at artificially low prices.

"Our producers, they can't get a box, a wrapper and the seeds in the ground for what Mexico is selling it for," Yoho said.

"The Department of Commerce remains committed to ensuring that American domestic industries are protected from unfair trading practices," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. "We remain optimistic that there will be a negotiated solution."

Tariffs could be refunded if a subsequent investigation finds no unfair pricing.

But Mexican growers and the companies that import their fruit insist price is not the biggest factor behind Mexico's growing market share. Unlike Florida tomatoes that are mostly picked green, Mexican tomatoes are typically allowed to ripen on the vine. Advocates of the Mexican fruit say consumers are simply voting with their taste buds.

"Tomatoes that we see today have very good flavor. They have nice acidity. They pop when you bite into them," said Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, an importers group. "Back in the day, before the innovations, we had a lot of pink and mealy tomatoes that frankly didn't keep consumers coming back."

Jungmeyer argues that rather than update their farming procedures, Florida growers have sought refuge from a protectionist federal government. He warns the new import duties will raise prices and limit consumer choice.

"Duties are harmful to the American consumers," Jungmeyer said. "It's a tax on consumers. And that's the wrong way to go with fruits and vegetables."

The Trump administration has embraced tariffs on a wide variety of imports, from washing machines to solar panels. Now that Mexican tomatoes are being added to that list, Florida growers say they feel like they have an ally in the White House. And since Mexico has been expanding its exports during other times of year, growers say this is now a fight that extends well beyond Florida.

"A lot of growers who are in states that produce tomatoes in the summer — which is a lot of different states — are now saying, we certainly commiserate with our friends in Florida, because now we're being impacted by the same Mexican competition," Schadler said.

Still, Yoho says the administration might not have acted without pressure from lawmakers. Members of Congress had extra leverage because Trump needs all the support he can get to ratify his new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada.

"We voiced our opinion that if we don't get the seasonally grown vegetables straightened out, I can't support the USMCA," Yoho said, using the president's preferred name for the trade deal.

In other words, the price of a new North American free trade agreement may be tariffs on Mexican tomatoes.

Jack Woddis posits that direct colonial rule was the most effective form for the imperialist powers because it gave them unfettered control over the man-power and resources of the major part of the world.  It made it possible, too, for each imperialist power to keep out rivals from “its” territories and prevent the intrusion of competing monopoly firms; and it facilitated the maintenance of troops and bases on the spot to defend the economic interests of the Western powers.  To cap it all, colonial rule made it possible to burden the colonial people themselves with paying for the very troops which held them down.


But the old-style colonialism is vanishing.  Post WWI and WWII less than one percent of mankind remain under European or American rule.


Sanctions As The New Neo-Colonialism

For the United States, the method of controlling a country without exercising direct political rule has been a long standing one.  [The latest iteration of this neo-colonialism is Sanctions issued by the Trump administration because of its vast octopus of banking control worldwide.]   For decades American imperialism pulled the strings in Liberia, determined its policies and ran its economy.  The entire constitutional system was modeled on that of the United States, and the Liberian currency was based on the dollar.


If was above all in Latin America, however, that the United States fashioned and practiced this tactic.  Outwardly Mexicans ruled Mexico, Venezuelans ruled Venezuela, the Bolivians ruled Bolivia, and so on.  Porfirio Diaz, the hated dictator of Mexico, was a Mexican.  Vencente Gomez, butcher of Venezuela, was a Venezuelan, as was the tyrant Jimenez who followed him.


The bloody despot Trujillo was a son of San Domingo and Batista, Cuba's sorrow, was Cuban-born.  And it was the same in all twenty Latin American republics.  Outwardly they were independent—and constitutionally speaking they were independent in fact.  But real power was not in the hands of the people of these countries, [and still are not in the 21st century].  It resided firmly in Wall Street and [with] Washington [Sanctions], acting through a most fearsome and corrupt brood of dictators [masquerading as presidents approved by Trump and the United States].


How U.S. Domination of these territories was established has been described by one who helped to bring it about:


America's “anti-colonialism” is a complete myth, for the real facts are that in Latin America the United States established one of the cruelest and most bloody empires the world has ever seen, and one moreover which has been immensely profitable for Wall Street.   According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America, the U.S. Monopolies received, in the period 1946-56, $3.17 for every dollar invested there; in the same period profits amounting to $5,600 million were shipped back to the United States In the fifteen years between 1947 and 1962 the influx of new U.S. Investments in Latin America was $6,500 million but the profits pumped out reached $10,000.  For a country “without colonies,” the United States has done not at all badly.


The United States did not limit herself to taking profits; [it took away souls and historical memory].  To make this possible, she directed and distorted the economies of the Latin American countries, condemned them to become largely dependent on one or two commodities each—such as coffee in Columbia, tin in Bolivia, copper in Chile, bananas in Honduras, oil and more recently iron ore in Venezuela—restricted their production of essential foodstuffs [especially Standard Oil and Rockefeller in Venezuela], and stifled their industrial growth.


Thus, in essence, disguised methods of colonialism [Sanctions] are not an entirely new form of colonial domination.  Yet there is something new in the emergence of neo-colonialism.  This is demonstrated by the fact that between 1945 and 1965 some 1,250,000 people in sixty countries, [fifty of which have united with Trump to overthrow Maduro] liberated themselves from direct colonial rule and established their own sovereign governments [to be recolonized by U.S. Financial Sanctions].


Before 1945 disguised forms of colonial domination were only practiced in a minority of territories, mainly in Latin America, and only particularly in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.  Today however, so headlong has been the retreat of direct colonial rule that it can be said that neo-colonialism has now become the dominant form and is no longer the exception, [via Sanctions].

Patrick Iber in Neither Peace nor Freedom: The Cultural Cold War in Latin America (2015) gives more details the United States on how Latin America intellectuals were used as pawns in a Cold War that has never ended.  The Cold War was supposed to have ended with the fall of the Soviet Empire and the Berlin Wall.  That may have been true for Europe, but not for Latin America.  The taste for empire is too much with the United States and it military proclivities.

In his Introduction, Patrick Iber quotes the self-delusions of Latin intellectuals in the face of Neo-colonialism that was soon to overtake all of South America:  “The intellectuals in Latin America,” declared Brazilian sociologist Fernando Henique Cardoso in 1971, “are the voice of those who cannot speak for themselves.”  Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes similarly argued, toward the end of the Cold War, that where civil society was repressed, the intellectual had to take on multiple social roles as a “tribute, a member of parliament, a labor leader, a journalist, (and) a redeemer of his society.”


Both Cardoso and Fuentes were articulating a common understanding of the position of Latin American intellectuals in the second half of the twentieth century.  As privileged communicators from a part of the world riven by some of its deepest inequalities, their challenge was not simply to interpret the continent but to change it.  Progressive left-wing author and artists from the region were said to be unusually close to political power.  They were appointed to diplomatic posts, they worked to lobby rulers on behalf of an assumed popular voice, they opposed and even assassinate dictators, and they sometimes held high political office themselves.


But the idea that there was in twentieth-century Latin America a cosmopolitan, progressive community of artists and thinkers who could speak for and redeem regions through words and actions was a myth, [because they had not reckoned with the neo-colonialist ambitions of the United States.]


The political dilemma worldwide was were heightened by the conflict between the two major world power the Soviet Union and the United States.  Artists, writers, and other intellectuals on the left, including those in Latin America, tried to pursue justice, peace, and freedom.  But, as the historian and antinuclear activist E.P. Thomson wrote, at the onset of the Cold War “the cause of freedom and the cause of peace seemed to break apart”--the idea of freedom being associated with the United States and that of peace with the Soviet Union.


In their Cold War struggle, the world's two most powerful states sought dominance in military, economic, scientific, and cultural fields, vying to demonstrate the superiority of capitalist democracy over communism or vice versa.  Education, Stalin explained, is a weapon who’s “effectiveness depends on who holds it and against whom it is directed.”  The Cold War, a U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) official wrote, was “fought with ideas instead of bombs.”  The United States and the USSR each assumed that intellectuals would play important roles in influencing public opinion and form the vanguard of social change.


During the Cold War each superpower sponsored organizations whose goals were simultaneously cultural and political, most prominently the World Peace Council (WPC) in the case of the Soviet Union and the CIA-financed Congress for cultural Freedom (CCF) in that of the United States.  Confident in the persuasive weight of “authentic,” local voices articulating or reinforcing the messages of Cold War powers, these bodies hoped to attract artists and intellectuals to generate works and ideas that would influence world opinion.


The WPC was well represented in Latin America by world-renowned Communist artists: the Mexican painter Diego Rivera, the Brazilian novelist Jorge Amado, and the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, each of whom devoted his art and years of his life to the cause of peace in the early 1950s and faced persecution for doing so.

The anti-Communist CCF, by contrast, focused on the totalitarian continuities between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, insisting that culture could flourish only in the absence of state control and that a just society could not abandon freedom of thought in the way that Communism required.  It was brought to Latin America largely by those on the left who had faced political persecution by orthodox Communists during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939.  [The descendants of this White Euro-elite are shown and interviewed on/in the media demonstrating in the streets of Venezuela against Maduro, while the majority population is Black and brown, and poor and invisible.]


The CCF sponsored conferences, subsidized magazines and book publications, and organized opposition to groups that it viewed as Communist fronts, beginning with the WPC.  Established in Europe in 1950 and in Latin America by 1954, it was slowly dismantled after revelations in 1967 that it had largely been financed by the CIA.  Like the communist-aligned organizations it opposed, it too had been a front.


Both the CCF and the WPC were instruments of the propaganda of ideas known as cultural diplomacy: the deliberate exchange of art, music, polemics, students, and scholars for the purpose of shaping international perceptions.  But the language of “fronts,” inherited from the era, risks reducing the complex dynamics of the Cultural cold War to simple story of superpower manipulation.

The arrival of the Cold War [and its rebirth by Putin & company] meant that the Left's internal conflicts would be inscribed onto superpower competition, and thus that struggles for justice around the world would be refracted through the imperial interests of the United states and the USSR.  In Latin America, that would leave the Left with almost no viable options for pursuing its aims without compromising them.


In Trump, Hungary's Viktor Orban Has A Rare Ally In The Oval Office


Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks to the media in Berlin on July 5, 2018.  Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban visited the White House on Monday, his first formal meeting with a U.S. president in more than 20 years.

Then-President Bill Clinton received Orban, now one of Europe's most prominent nationalists, in 1998, back when the Hungarian leader was a 35-year-old reformist who had earned his pro-democracy street cred as an anti-Soviet activist. Orban had helped his country transition out of communism.

But some analysts say the Hungarian leader has found a kindred spirit in President Trump, a fellow nationalist. Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, once called Orban "Trump before Trump." The two men both have hard-line views on immigration. They slam critical coverage as fake news. Both have strained relationships with traditional American allies in Europe, and both have spoken positively about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Both Donald Trump and Viktor Orban have made immigration their signature issue," says Kim Lane Scheppele, the Laurance S. Rockefeller professor of sociology and international affairs at Princeton University and an expert on Hungary. "Whipping fears and nationalist sentiments is exactly how they operate. So it would be really tempting to say that they're working from the same song sheet. And they sort of are, at the level of rhetoric and rallies and election campaigns."

The difference, according to Scheppele, is that Orban has had far more success turning his campaign pledges into law.

"Viktor Orban's a lawyer, and he works like a lawyer and he works by the law," she says. "And in that way, what that enables him to do is to pass legal reforms that are instructions to the government, instructions to the civil service. He actually creates a legal blueprint that captures everybody in its web."

Orban is considered a brilliant political tactician whose ruthlessness was forged after his Fidesz party lost elections in 2002 and he found himself out of power.

"Viktor Orban is famous for his view that politics is war," says Gabor Gyori, a senior analyst at the Budapest-based Policy Solutions think tank. "This is destroy or be destroyed."

Under Orban, Hungary has rewritten its constitution to strengthen his control over parliament and has gerrymandered the country's electoral map. His party, which controls parliament, has weakened the courts. Orban supporters control most of the media; critics are either ignored or vilified. His administration is cracking down on nonprofits supporting migrants and minorities.

"This all has the veneer of legality, so you assume Hungary is still a democracy based on the rule of law and respecting fundamental rights and European Union values," says Petra Bard, a Hungarian constitutional law scholar now living in Frankfurt, Germany. "It's hard to stomach that laws have been used to drive a democratic country into authoritarianism."

Orban has told supporters that he wants to transform Hungary into an "illiberal democracy," balancing individual freedom with the interests of the nation. He promised Hungarians that he would protect the country's homogeneity.

"We must defend Hungary as it is now," he said in a speech last year. "We must state that we do not want to be diverse. ... We do not want our own color, traditions and national culture to be mixed with those of others."

That sentiment was most prominently on display in 2015, when hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers from the Middle East and elsewhere trekked through Europe. Many tried to cross through Hungary to reach Western European countries like Germany and Sweden.

Orban was outraged that migrants, many of them Muslim, could cross into "Christian Europe." He eventually built a barbed-wire border fence to keep them out of Hungary. They instead rerouted to neighboring countries like Croatia and Slovenia.

"I would like to raise the voice of the people all over in Europe that they are full of fear," Orban told reporters in 2015. "And the reason why they are criticizing us is that we are not defending the European borders."

The message hit home in Hungary, where church bells ring every day at noon to commemorate a military commander who stopped an invasion by Ottoman Turks in 1456.

In the southern city of Pecs, Kazmer Szabo, a 79-year-old retired dental technician, considers Orban a protector. He points to an Ottoman-era mosque in the city square.

"At the end of the day, this is about history," he says. "Orban understands that we are a country that was once occupied for 150 years by the Turks. We know what that means."

The number of migrants arriving in Europe is now at its lowest level since 2014, largely because of deals struck by centrist politicians such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti. Yet Orban and his surrogates falsely accuse Hungarian American billionaire George Soros of encouraging migrants to come again.

During election season, Soros' face is plastered on billboards and anti-immigration ads. On recent billboards, he was pictured with Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission's president, who the Orban administration claims is working with Soros to revive migration.

"We have seen how George Soros and his network of NGOs, civil groups and lobby organizations ... have infiltrated European institutions," says Balazs Hidveghi, the spokesman for Orban's political party, Fidesz.

Because Soros is Jewish, this vilification unnerves Andras Heisler, who leads the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities in Budapest.

"George Soros is the emblematic Jewish capitalist," Heisler says. "To make a campaign with his face, his smile — this is playing with fire."

Soros founded Central European University, which he created as a bridge between post-communist eastern and central Europe and the more open West. Orban's administration has expelled the institution from Hungary, claiming it is forcing multiculturalism on a country that doesn't want it.

CEU is an American institution, but Orban doesn't seem concerned about upsetting the United States. It's not the first time. Late last year, his administration refused an American extradition request for two suspected Russian arms dealers, instead sending them back to Russia.

The White House said it hoped to use Orban's visit as an opportunity to lure Hungary away from Russia and China by signing agreements on arms and natural gas. But in a letter to Trump last week, members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said they want Orban to address his country's "downward democratic trajectory and the implications for U.S. interests in Central Europe."

The European Union has also issued warnings to Hungary about its backsliding on democracy, but Orban has faced no serious punishment.

Instead, says Scheppele, the Hungary expert at Princeton, he is inspiring nationalists across the world.

"Orban uses a language that's like a dog whistle not just in his own country but to autocrats and right-wing nationalists everywhere in the world," she says. "He's created in plain sight an autocratic regime in the middle of the EU, winning what look like real elections, passing what look like real laws. ... Other autocrats want to know, how do you do it?"

Patrick Iber posits that U.S. Policy toward Latin America during the Cold War aimed to stamp out Communism in the region and to maintain the prerogatives of empire.  Multiple policy strands coexisted and overlapped: some sought more liberal allies to develop the region, while others thought that dictatorships would make the best partners.  As formulated by President Kennedy, the dictum was, “There are three possibilities in descending order of preference: a decent democratic regime, a continuation of dictatorship or a leftist Castro regime.  We ought to aim at the first, but we really can't renounce the second until we are sure that we can avoid the third.”

But even when the U.S. Policies were nominally committed to producing liberal outcomes and political democracy, their outcomes could still be illiberal.  For that reason, the history of Latin America has often played an important role as a corrective to more triumphal accounts of U.S. victory in the Cold War, where it can serve either as a reminder of the mournfully high cost of a just victory or as evidence to support the argument that, as dreadful as the politics of the Soviet Union were, justice was not the point of the struggle at all.

Historian John Coatsworth calculated that between 1960 and 1990 anti-Communist Latin America was more repressive than the Soviet bloc when measured by the numbers of political prisoners, victims of torture, and executions of political dissenters.  Although U.S. Policies were not always the proximate cause of this violence, and the Latin American right had its own reasons for the actions it took to suppress political opponents, the United States both aided dictatorships and helped bring them about and the climate of paranoid anti-Communism that the United States encouraged was a significant factor in the darkness of Latin America's Cold War years.

How Trump's Embrace Of Authoritarian Rulers Has Impacted The World


NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with Robin Wright, of The New Yorker and the Wilson Center, about President Trump's embrace of authoritarian leaders.

The emergence of the diplomatic Cold War after World War II did have a considerable impact on the way in which the Cultural Cold War was conducted: it would give both foundation and furnishings to a prefabricated structure.


In much of Europe the Cold War saw the expansion of social democratic governments with robust welfare states, political freedom, and electoral democracy.  Similar projects were much less successful in Latin America despite (or perhaps because of) it deeply unequal societies.  Why did social democracy not flourish in Latin America?


Why did the effort to define and build a humane socialism in the region fail?  Three major arguments have been offered in explanation.  One posits that Latin American democracy experienced relatively few gains because of a decision by the Left in the wake of the Cuban Revolution to abandon democracy in favor of Marxists fantasies and the mythology of revolutionary change carried out by small groups of soldiers.

U.S. Sanctions Have Cubans Bracing For Tough Economic Times


Views: 14

Comment by mary gravitt on May 23, 2019 at 12:46pm

Hubris has told Donald Trump that he can reopen the Cold War because the US is so rich and the US has enough WMD to destroy Russia, China, and any Third World nations that decides its freedom in on the line.  Trump a bully by nature has no world view outside of Self-aggrandizement.  Hubris has always brought empires to ruin.  And the fact is every country envies US power and wealth, and like Babylon the Great--all her enemies will fall on her and devour her if her foot slips.  Even its own people like to see her burn.

Comment by mary gravitt on May 23, 2019 at 12:52pm



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