Category Archives: Chile

The Rich Only Support Democracy when the Elected State Serves their Class Interests, Otherwise They Try to Overthrow It

Zamfir: Thanks Robert. I appreciate the site, and it’s nice to feel welcome.

Obviously one problem in discussing this is that terms like ‘left’ and ‘right’ or ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ have been given all kinds of different meanings. If economic conservatism is identified with free market ideology then I’m pretty ambivalent about that, at best. And if it’s identified with support for whatever this internationalist economic system is that we have now, I’m against it.

I find it very weird that people who are conservative about social and cultural issues often support “economic conservatism” of that kind. It’s so clear that these things are incompatible! Anyway I certainly have no problem with socialism per se. I would only disagree with certain versions, or cases where I believe socialism ends up being destructive of healthy families and cultures (in much the same way that capitalism can be).

As for democracy I’m not sure what I think about it. I think I’m a reactionary to the extent that I don’t believe that democracy, or any other specific system or procedure, is always good or always essential to a good society. My sense is that some democracies or kinds of democracy are fine, while others are really bad. It all depends on some many factors aside from the system or procedure itself.

I do want a society where the interests of most people, including the poor, are taken into account fairly. But I don’t see any reason why that could never happen in a non-democratic state. Or, more precisely, for anything that’s good about some democracies, I don’t see why certain non-democratic regimes couldn’t also have those good things; it would all depend on other factors such as the culture and history of the people, their typical behavior and beliefs, etc.

So I guess I’d support coups against democratic regimes in some cases–though things would have to be pretty bad–and also against non-democratic regimes in some cases. I don’t think coups are always bad. (In fact, that’s one thing that seems silly about a lot of rigid ‘conservative’ ideology–the wish to preserve order and the status quo no matter how terrible it’s become…)

You say the rich don’t support democracy. I wonder if that’s true. Maybe they don’t support the ideal of democracy, for the reasons you mentioned. But, again, bearing in mind the looseness of terminology here, they sure do seem to support systems that we normally call “democratic”. Is the US a democracy in your view?

Are England or Ireland or Canada democracies? If so, then I don’t agree that the rich never want democracy. My sense is that they long ago figured out how to manipulate these kinds of systems to get the results they want. They manage the perceptions and values of the masses so that they always end up “freely choosing” the same garbage that the elites wanted all along.

A good question is whether this is an inevitable feature of democracy. (I don’t know the answer.) It could be that in any feasible form of democracy, no matter how close it gets to the ideal, you end up with powerful interests rigging the process to maximize their own wealth and power. And I don’t like that, because I want the interests of ordinary people to be taken into account. Ironically, then, I’m skeptical about many forms of democracy because I think the masses deserve to have a say.

So I’d be against democracy in cases where ‘democratic’ systems are hijacked by elites and used against the people. That’s what’s happening in most of the western world, I’d say. Not to say I’d support a coup in this situation–and certainly not if the point of the coup was to install an even more extreme form of exploitation. But I’m not entirely sure what to say about democracy. I think the reactionary critique has merit. (But then, don’t communists also criticize democracy for roughly similar reasons?)

The Communist view is that seeking power peacefully would be a great idea except the ruling classes will never allow it to happen. They say that power never gives up without a fight, and I believe that they are correct. Nevertheless, most Communists support Venezuela, Nicaragua and only leftwing democratic countries. But the Communists would say, “Look what happens why you try to take power peacefully. You get Nicaragua, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Honduras, Haiti, and even Argentina.”

The ruling class will just overthrow the democratic Left state any way they can, always using anti-democratic means to do so. That’s why Lenin called people who supported the peaceful road to socialism “parliamentary cretins.” He thought it was a great idea but it would never work because the rich would never allow the Left to take power peacefully.

The Communist view is also that you never have democracy under capitalism anyway, as the capitalists and the rich always ending ruling the state one way or another through all sorts of means. And yes, the rich and the capitalists always take over all the media in any capitalist country as you said, they use it to shape the view of the people to support the class politics of the rich. Such support being called false consciousness.

Gramsci said that the ruling class took over the entire culture in capitalist countries and brainwashed the masses into supporting the project of the rich. They did this via cultural hegemony. Marx said that the culture of the rich is always the popular culture in any capitalist country. So the ruling class turns all of us into “little rich people” or “little capitalists” to support their project. They brainwash us into thinking we are the same class as the rich and that we are all capitalists ourselves, so we should support Capital. These are lies, but most Americans are easily fooled.

Ralph Nader called this “going corporate” or “thinking corporate.” He says that in the US, most people adopt the mindset of the corporations and think of themselves are part of the corporate structure whether they are or not. If everyone is part of the corporate structure, then what’s good for corporations is good for all of us, which is the project of the Republican Party, neoliberalism everywhere, the Latin American rich, etc. It’s a big fat lie, but people want to be rich and a lot of workers want to think of themselves are busy little capitalist money-making, go-getter, can-do, Bossterist entrepreneurs because it seems to cool to own your own business.

And the Communists would call this false consciousness and their argument would be that under capitalism, most people adopt false consciousness.

I think in the US, the rich see the tide coming and the rule of the rich is going to end so they want to lock in as much of the state as possible by stacking the courts, gutting the safety net, massive tax cuts that will be impossible to get rid of, and that Constitutional Convention they are two states away from getting where they want to rewrite the whole US Constitution to lock in rule by the rich for as long as possible. The rich see the writing on the wall. That’s why they came up with the computerized elections scam, so they could steal elections as long as people kept voting against the rich.

The gerrymandering of districts now makes it almost impossible to get rid of Republican majorities on state representatives in the House and in Senators and Assemblymen in the states. It’s all locked in.

So as the rich saw the tide turning and demographics moving against them, they instituted a full court press to do all sorts of extremely anti-democratic stuff to stay in power. If the people would just vote for them anyway, they would not have to do that, but apparently most Americans have now turned away from the politics of the rich, so the rich will have to lie, cheat, and steal to stay in power from now on.

Also they elected Donald Trump, by far the most corrupt, authoritarian and even outright fascist leader this country has ever had. And this follows too. Whenever there is a popular movement against the rich and the capitalists, the rich and the capitalists always, always, always resort of fascism to stay in power. This has been proven endlessly over time, even in Europe. Trotsky had some great things to say about this. Check out “Thermidor.” Trotsky truly understood what fascism was all about. It is a desperate last ditch move by the ruling class to seize power in the face of an uprising from the Left.

The rich and the capitalists are determined to stay in power, by hook or by crook, by any means necessary, and they will lie, cheat, steal and kill as many people as they have to just to keep the Left out of power. They simply will not allow the Left to rule. They must rule and if they are out of  power, they will use any antidemocratic means to get power back.

Which is the story of the CIA, the Pentagon and 100% of US foreign policy since 1945 and even before then. Read Samuel Butler.

I mean, we on the Left generally allow the Right to take power if they do so democratically. Sure they destroy everything like they always do, but most of us are committed to the democratic means of seeking power. Even most Communist parties will not take up arms against any rightwing government, saying they prefer to seek power by peaceful means. Typically, the CP will issue a statement that the nation is not in a revolutionary situation right now. There are objective conditions under which a nation is said to be in a revolutionary situation. I’m sure you can recall a few. It is then and only then that most CP’s will go underground and issue a call to take up arms.

Frankly, almost all Left insurgencies postwar were defensive. The Left allowed the Right to take power and then the Right started running around killing people. Usually the Left sat there for a while and let themselves get killed before taking up power. I know the Viet Cong just sat there from 1954-1960 while the rightwing Vietnamese government ran amok in the countryside, murdering 80,000 Communists in six years. They kept asking the North Vietnamese for permission to take up arms, but the North kept denying it.

The Colombian, Salvadoran and Guatemalan guerrillas only took up guns after the state had been running about murdering them unarmed for years. The Salvadoran guerrillas said they got tired of sitting in their homes waiting for the rightwing state to come kill them, and they decided that if the state was going to come kill them anyway, they might as well pick up a gun and defend themselves. They also took up arms because the Right kept stealing elections by fraud.

The Right had cut off all methods of seeking power peacefully, so the Left picked up guns. The message is if you elect a leftwing government, sooner or later the Right will overthrow it and then there will be a reign of terror where many Leftists will be murdered. Knowing that, if you were a Leftist in some country, would you not be afraid to put the Left in power knowing you stood a good chance of being murdered once the inevitable rightwing coup took place?

The Colombian and Honduran governments only stay in power by killing people. Lots of people. The Greek Communists only took up arms after the government had been killing them for some time.

Also once a Left government is overthrown by the rich and the capitalists, the new Rightist government institutes a reign of terror where they slaughter the defeated Left for many years. This went on for decades after 1954 in Guatemala, and it goes on still today. After Aristide was overthrown, the rightwing government murdered 3,000 of his supporters.

After Allende was overthrown, Pinochet murdered 15,000 people over a decade and a half. A threat from the Left prompted the Indonesian government to fake a Left coup and murder 1 million Communists in a couple of months. Even before the Korean War broke out, from 1948-1950, the South Korean government killed hundreds of thousands of Communists in the South.

As they withdrew when the North attacked, the South Koreans killed South Korean Communists everywhere they went. After the fascist coup in Argentina, the government decimated the Left, murdering 30,000 mostly unarmed supporters of the Left. The same thing happened in Bolivia with the Banzer Plan when Hugo Banzer took power after the tin miners briefly sought power. The new rightwing government in Brazil is already starting to murder members of the former Left ruling party. They’re not going to stop.

After the fascist coup in Ukraine, the Communist Party was outlawed and many of its members were murdered. War was declared on labor unions. Workers in one union were chained to a heater inside the building and the building was set on fire.

The party supported by half the population (the Russian speakers and their supporters) the Party of Regions, was outlawed, a number of its deputies were murdered and there were attempts to murder the leader of the party, lastly by setting his house on fire which set his neighbor’s house on fire instead. He fled to Russia. Now half the population and all of the Russian speakers had not party to represent them, which is why they took up arms. They were locked out of power.

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Should the Rich and the Reactionaries Be Given Rights?

Sisera: So what does that mean then? You believe rich people are inherently oppressors who don’t deserve rights but then White men are okay?

Most of them are oppressors, of course. Don’t you even understand class politics or the nature of capitalism at all. Those rich people who are pursuing their economic self interests in the class war, well of course they are our oppressors. The oppressors of me and mine anyway. I suppose they see us as oppressors.

Marxist theory doesn’t say that anyway. It just says that when the rich pursue their self interests in the class war, everyone who’s not rich gets fucked. You want to call that oppression? You are welcome to. If you side with the rich, you are an idiot. Why would you side with your class enemies. Most of them are oppressors, of course. Don’t you even understand class politics or the nature of capitalism at all.

Those rich people who are pursuing their economic self interests in the class war, well of course they are our oppressors. The oppressors of me and mine anyway. I suppose they see us as oppressors. Marxist theory doesn’t say that anyway. It just says that when the rich pursue their self interests in the class war, everyone who’s not rich gets fucked. You want to call that oppression? You are welcome to. If you side with the rich, you are an idiot. Why would you side with your class enemies?

The rich are our class enemies. Does that mean they oppress us? I dunno. When they’re in power, they screw us over. All of the rich hate democracy, lie like rugs, and support violence, murder, terror, genocide, coups, and dictatorships anywhere the people take power.

Personally, I think all conservatives and reactionaries are pure filth. I wish they would all drop dead tomorrow. That way they would be where they belong: in graves. They’re nothing but pure garbage. Show me a reactionary or conservative anywhere on Earth that’s actually a human and not a lying, sadistic, murderous piece of scum. There aren’t any!

In a democratic society, of course the rich get their rights, but they abuse the fuck out of them, and anytime they people take power, the rich start using violence, coups, death squads, rioting, judicial and legislative coups, etc. to get their way. We let the rich take power all the time. They won’t let us take power at all. I’m glad the Chinese Communists took away the rights of the reactionaries.

Look what would happen if they had rights? See Venezuela, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Honduras, Haiti, Brazil, Paraguay, Colombia, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Philippines? That’s what happens when you give the rich and the reactionaries any rights at all. Right now they would be burning China to the ground like they are doing to Venezuela and Nicaragua because they are furious that a people’s government got put in.

If that’s the way they are always, always, always going to act, why give them rights? So they can destroy your country and take down any democratically elected government they don’t believe in?

They try to destroy by antidemocratic means any people’s or popular government any time it gets in.

And when they take power themselves, they usually put in a dictatorship.

This is what happens if they don’t get their way and the people elect a democratically elected people’s government:

Attempted coups by street violence: Nicaragua, Ukraine, Syria, and Thailand.

Attempted coups by economic warfare: Venezuela, North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Nicaragua.

Coups by legislative means: Paraguay and Brazil.

Attempted legislative coup: Venezuela.

Coups by judicial means: Brazil.

Coups by direct overthrow of the state: Honduras, Haiti, Venezuela, and Egypt.

Attempted coups by direct overthrow of the state: Ecuador and Bolivia.

Coup by insurgency: Haiti.

Attempted coup by insurgency: Syria.

Coups by direct invasion: Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Panama, Libya, and Grenada.

This is what happens every time they get into power, especially if they take over a people’s government: 

Right-wing death squad authoritarian regime installed: Honduras*, El Salvador, Argentina, Brazil*, Guatemala*, Chile, Philippines*, Uruguay, Bolivia, Indonesia*, and Ukraine*.

No I don’t have a problem taking away rights from reactionary fucks! Why should we give them rights? Give me one reason! One! One reason!

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Why the US Working Class Is Not Radicalized

Radicalized meaning having any sort of working class or class consciousness at all. Radicalized meaning pro-worker. Yes, believe it or not, the US working class is not even pro-worker. The US working class is actually anti-worker!

The problem is that we do not have a tradition of working class radicalism here as in Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. Working class people in all of those countries are radicalized and pro-worker with a high state of class consciousness and they usually vote for pro-worker political parties.

Mexicans, however, are profoundly depoliticized.

Nevertheless, you can argue as my mother does when I asked her why the Central American revolutions were not spreading to Mexico, to which she responded that “The Mexicans already had their revolution.” And though the Left neglects to see it this way, the Mexican Revolution was definitely one of the great leftwing revolutions of the 20th Century, at least as good as the Russian Revolution and without many of the problems. Most people don’t realize how horrible feudal life was in Mexico before the Mexican Revolution. If I told you what it was like, you would quit reading and call me a liar. It was that bad.

In Latin America, your average proletarian, working class person, who, let’s face it, is not real smart, is often ideologically Leftist, as they have been politicized by powerful leftwing movements. There are no powerful leftwing movements in the US to do this, so the non-White working classes are not radicalized. They are liberalized but not radicalized.

The White working classes are actually ideologically Rightist, which makes no sense at all of course.

However, I have met many Salvadorans here. I tell them that I used to support the FMLN revolutionaries down there and that I even used to contribute to their weapons fund. It’s actually true. I would meet a guy in a sleazy Salvadoran bar in Lafayette Park and give him a check to some weird cryptic organization. They are hesitant at first but then they break into wide smiles. Even those who did not support the FMLN don’t really care that I did. That movement was radical Left but had huge support across society because Salvadoran society is very unfair.

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Regime Change Fails: Is a Military Coup or Invasion of Venezuela Next?

Great article from Global Research on US machinations against Venezuela. I am not sure if the US would invade Venezuela, but under Trump, all bets are off. The man is a lunatic and so is his insane political party and he and they are capable of anything. However, if we invaded Venezuela, it would set off a big war because a lot of Venezuelans would fight back.

Chavez has distributed guns and all sorts of arms to his supporters in the barrios and rural areas. These Chavista militias train all the time.

The Venezuelan Military would not surrender. Chavez purged the ranks of all of the rightwingers and he stacked the officer corps with his supporters. This was after the first coup when the officer corps supported the coup but the rank and file soldiers did not. That and countless armed masses marching on government buildings reversed the coup quite quickly.

Speaking at his alma mater, the University of Texas, on February 1, Secretary of State Tillerson suggested a potential military coup in VenezuelaTillerson then visited allied Latin American countries urging regime change and more economic sanctions on Venezuela. Tillerson is considering banning the processing or sale of Venezuelan oil in the United States and is discouraging other countries from buying Venezuelan oil. Further, the US is laying the groundwork for war against Venezuela.

In a series of tweets, Senator Marco Rubio, the Republican from Florida, where many Venezuelan oligarchs live, called for a military coup in Venezuela.

How absurd — remove an elected president with a military coup to restore democracy? Does that pass the straight face test? This refrain of Rubio and Tillerson seems to be the nonsensical public position of US policy.

The US has been seeking regime change in Venezuela since Hugo Chavez was elected in 1998. Trump joined Presidents Obama and Bush before him in continuing efforts to change the government and put in place a US-friendly oligarch government.

They came closest in 2002 when a military coup removed Chavez. The Commander-in-Chief of the Venezuelan military announced Chavez had resigned and Pedro Carmona, of the Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce, became interim president. Carmona dissolved the National Assembly and Supreme Court and declared the Constitution void. The people surrounded the presidential palace and seized television stations, and Carmona resigned and fled to Colombia. Within 47 hours, civilians and the military restored Chavez to the presidency. The coup was a turning point that strengthened the Bolivarian Revolution and showed people could defeat a coup and exposed the US and oligarchs.

US Regime Change Tactics Have Failed In Venezuela

The US and oligarchs continue their efforts to reverse the Bolivarian Revolution. The US has a long history of regime change around the world and has tried all of its regime change tools in Venezuela. So far they have failed.

Economic War

Destroying the Venezuelan economy has been an ongoing campaign by the US and oligarchs. It is reminiscent of the US coup in Chile which ended the presidency of Salvador Allende. To create the environment for the Chilean coup, President Nixon ordered the CIA to “make the economy scream.”

Henry Kissinger devised the coup, noting a billion dollars of investment were at stake. He also feared the “the insidious model effect” of the example of Chile leading to other countries breaking from the United States and capitalism. Kissinger’s top deputy at the National Security Council, Viron Vaky, opposed the coup, saying,

“What we propose is patently a violation of our own principles and policy tenets .… If these principles have any meaning, we normally depart from them only to meet the gravest threat . . . our survival.”

These objections hold true regarding recent US coups, including in Venezuela and Honduras, Ukraine, and Brazil, among others. Allende died in the coup and wrote his last words to the people of Chile, especially the workers, “Long live the people! Long live the workers!” He was replaced by Augusto Pinocheta brutal and violent dictator.

For decades the US has been fighting an economic war, “making the economy scream,” in Venezuela. Wealthy Venezuelans have been conducting economic sabotage aided by the US with sanctions and other tactics. This includes hoarding food, supplies and other necessities in warehouses or in Colombia, while Venezuelan markets are bare. The scarcity is used to fuel protests, e.g. “The March of the Empty Pots,” a carbon copy of marches in Chile before the September 11, 1973 coup. Economic warfare has escalated through Obama and under Trump, with Tillerson now urging economic sanctions on oil.

President Maduro recognized the economic hardship but also said sanctions open up the opportunity for a new era of independence and “begin the stage of post-domination by the United States, with Venezuela again at the center of this struggle for dignity and liberation.” The second-in-command of the Socialist Party, Diosdado Cabello, said,

 “[if they] apply sanctions, we will apply elections.”

Opposition Protests

Another common US regime change tool is supporting opposition protests. The Trump administration renewed regime change operations in Venezuela, and the anti-Maduro protests which began under Obama grew more violent. The opposition protests included barricades, snipers, and murders, as well as widespread injuries. When police arrested those using violence, the US claimed Venezuela opposed free speech and protests.

The opposition tried to use the crackdown against violence to achieve the US tactic of  dividing the military. The US and Western media ignored opposition violence and blamed the Venezuelan government instead. Violence became so extreme it looked like the opposition was pushing Venezuela into a Syrian-type civil war. Instead, opposition violence backfired on them.

Violent protests are part of US regime change repertoire. This was demonstrated in the US coup in Ukraine, where the US spent $5 billion to organize government opposition, including the US and EU funding violent protesters. This tactic was used in early US coups like the 1953 Iran coup of Prime Minister Mossadegh. The US has admitted organizing this coup that ended Iran’s brief experience with democracy. Like Venezuela, a key reason for the Iran coup was control of the nation’s oil.

Funding Opposition

There has been massive US investment in creating opposition to the Venezuelan government. Tens of millions of dollars have been openly spent through USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy, and other related US regime change agencies. It is unknown how much the CIA has spent from its secret budget, but the CIA has definitely been involved in Venezuela. Current CIA director, Mike Pompeo, said he is “hopeful there can be a transition in Venezuela.”

The United States has also educated leaders of opposition movements, e.g. Leopoldo López, was educated at private schools in the US, including CIA-associated Kenyon College. He was groomed at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and made repeated visits to the regime change agency, the National Republican Institute.

Elections

While the US calls Venezuela a dictatorship, it is in fact a strong democracy with an excellent voting system. Election observers monitor every election.

In 2016, the economic crisis led to the opposition winning a majority in the National Assembly. One of their first acts was to pass an amnesty law. The law described 17 years of crimes including violent felonies and terrorism committed by the opposition. It was an admission of crimes back to the 2002 coup and through 2016. The law demonstrated violent treason against Venezuela. One month later, the Supreme Court of Venezuela ruled the amnesty law was unconstitutional. US media, regime change advocates and anti-Venezuela human rights groups attacked the Supreme Court decision, showing their alliance with the admitted criminals.

Years of violent protests and regime change attempts and then admitting their crimes in an amnesty bill have caused those opposed to the Bolivarian Revolution to lose power and become unpopular.  In three recent elections Maduro’s party won regional, local and the Constituent Assembly elections.

The electoral commission announced the presidential election will be held on April 22. Maduro will run for re-election with the United Socialist Party. Opposition leaders such as Henry Ramos and Henri Falcon have expressed interest in running, but the opposition has not decided whether to participate. Henrique Capriles, who narrowly lost to Maduro in the last election, was banned from running for office because of irregularities in his campaign, including taking foreign donations. Capriles has been a leader of the violent protests. When his ban was announced he called for protests to remove Maduro from office. Also banned was Leopoldo Lopez, another leader of the violent protests who is under house arrest serving a thirteen year sentence for inciting violence.

Now the United States says it will not recognize the presidential election and urges a military coup. For two years, the opposition demanded presidential elections, but now it is unclear whether they will participate. They know they are unpopular, and Maduro is likely to be re-elected.

Is War Against Venezuela Coming?

A military coup faces challenges in Venezuela, as the people, including the military, are well educated about US imperialism. Tillerson openly urging a military coup makes it more difficult.

The government and opposition recently negotiated a peace settlement entitled “Democratic Coexistence Agreement for Venezuela.” They agreed on all of the issues including ending economic sanctions, scheduling elections, and more. They agreed on the date of the next presidential election. It was originally planned for March, but in a concession to the opposition, it was  rescheduled for the end of April. Maduro signed the agreement even though the opposition did not attend the signing ceremony. They backed out after Colombian President Santos, who was meeting with Secretary Tillerson, called and told them not to sign. Maduro will now make the agreement a public issue by allowing the people of Venezuela to sign it.

Not recognizing elections and urging a military coup are bad enough, but more disconcerting is that Admiral Kurt Tidd, head of Southcom, held a closed door meeting in Colombia after Tillerson’s visit. The topic was “regional destabilization,” and Venezuela was a focus.

A military attack on Venezuela from its Colombian and Brazilian borders is not far fetched. In January, the NY Times asked, “Should the US military invade Venezuela?” President Trump said the US is considering US military force against Venezuela. His chief of staff, John Kelly, was formerly the general in charge of Southcom. Tidd has claimed the crisis, created in large part by the economic war against Venezuela, requires military action for humanitarian reasons.

War preparations are already underway in Colombia, which plays the role of Israel for the US in Latin America. The coup government in Brazil increased its military budget 36 percent and participated in Operation: America United, the largest joint military exercise in Latin American history. It was one of four military exercises by the US with Brazil, Colombia, and Peru in Latin America in 2017. The US Congress ordered the Pentagon to develop military contingencies for Venezuela in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

While there is opposition to US military bases, James Patrick Jordan explains, on our radio show, the US has military bases in Colombia and the Caribbean and military agreements with countries in the region; and therefore, Venezuela is already surrounded.

The United States is targeting Venezuela because the Bolivarian Revolution provides an example against US imperialism. An invasion of Venezuela will become another war-quagmire that kills innocent Venezuelans, US soldiers, and others over control of oil. People in the United States who support the self-determination of countries should show solidarity with Venezuelans, expose the US agenda, and publicly denounce regime change. We need to educate people about what is really happening in Venezuela to overcome the false media coverage.

Share this article and the interview we did on Clearing The FOG about Venezuela and the US’ role in Latin America.  The fate of Venezuela is critical for millions of Latin Americans struggling under the domination of US Empire.

Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers are co-directors of Popular Resistance where this article was originally published.

If you enjoy the hard work that goes into this website, please consider a contribution to support the continuation of the site. Donations are the only thing that keep the site operating.

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Alt Left: One of My Heroes

ac7kgfr56cfyWho is this man and what is he known for? What did he do and what happened to him?

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Jesus Was a Socialist

Modern Protestant Prosperity Doctrine is such a perversion of the spirit of Christianity that it can only be seen as a heresy.

Jesus famously said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get into Heaven.” This comment is very poorly understood – most seem to think he is talking about a camel actually walking through the eye of a sewing needle, which is of course not possible. However, at the time, “The Eye of the Needle” was a pass high in the mountains of Palestine. It was indeed passable, but it was such an ardous climb over such rugged mountains that many camels simply could not hack the trek and were not able to accomplish the journey. Hence, it was possible for a camel to go through the Eye of the Needle, but it was not an easy task at all, and many simply could not cut it. And so it was with the rich and their chances of heavenly grace and redemption according to Jesus.

Liberation Theology, the Catholic doctrine of the Social Gospel updated and radicalized in Latin America to “Jesus with a machine gun” was utilized by many armed guerrilla groups as a religion of revolution, even armed revolution.

The philosophy of this doctrine was to preach for “the preferential option of the poor,” and this is right in accord with Catholic Social Gospel if not a supercharged form of it. It is seen in Latin America as a nearly subversive and even insurrectionist doctrine, and in a sense it is, although most LT preachers and lay people are not armed.

In fact, Venezuelan Bolivarianism or Chavismo was profoundly influenced by Liberation Theology and there is evidence that many of the other New Left regimes in Latin America were also. LT was a huge influence on the Sandinistas, the FMLN guerrillas and now politicians in El Salvador, the ELN in Colombia (founded by an actual priest with a machine gun, Camilo Torres), the PT of Lula and Dilma Youssef in Brazil, Evo Morales in Bolivia, possibly Correa in Ecuador and certainly Paraguay under Fernando Lugo of Paraguay, a former priest and guerrilla who ruled that land until a US sponsored coup removed him.

The Lavalas Movement in Haiti of Jon Bertrand Aristide, also removed in a US-sponsored coup, was profoundly influenced by LT; in fact, Aristide himself was a preacher of Liberation Theology.

In recent decades, there has been a lot of discussion in Cuba about a “Catholic Communism” and now that believers may join the party, this movement seems to be on an upswing. The novel doctrine was that Catholicism and Marxism were indeed compatible with each other instead of being oxymoronic. Castro himself stated that he was a “social Catholic” a few years before he died.

The extent to which LT has influenced the regimes of Batchelet in Chile or Fernandez in Argentina, the former guerrillas in power in Uruguay under Jose Mujica, or Ollanta Humala in Peru is not known, although there were many LT preachers in Peru a few decades ago, and incredibly enough, many priests actually supported the Shining Path.

But the Social Gospel, Liberation Theology, and the “Catholic Communism” that developed in some European lands in the 20th Century have much more in common with a pure interpretation of Jesus’ teaching than the individualist and materialist Protestantism that developed in the US. “Jesus was a socialist” always makes more sense than “Jesus was a capitalist,” although most Evangelicals are loath to admit this. Nevertheless, they squirm and act uncomfortable when you bring it up, so it shows that on some level they at least worry it is true.

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73% of Venezuelans Continue to Support Chavismo

Tulio: Robert, I have two friends from Venezuela, a married couple, the female is white, the male is dark brown. I assure you they are not racist, they have never called me “mono” and they have been completely and 100% kind to me as long as I’ve known them. I have even visited them and stayed in their home, and they have visited me and stayed in mine. Never seen their bank account but I’m pretty sure they are not rich.

They are probably middle class by Venezuelan definition. They are 100% opposed to Chavismo. I don’t even know where they fall on the left-right continuum per se. They really don’t even talk much politics with me outside of opposing the condition their country is in. They are now living in Santiago, Chile where they worked and resided since the rise of Chavez, but frequently go to Venezuela to see family. I’m not an expert of Venezuelan internal affairs by any means. I’ve gotten a lot of my info directly from them.

Neither of them seem “right wing” to me in any sense that I understand the term. They seem to want nothing more than a stable, functional and non-authoritarian government. I also see massive marches in Caracas. I can’t believe all those tens of thousands of people are rich, right wingers. When I see close up photos of the crowd, they look like just ordinary Venezuelans to me. You seem to be painting a broad brush here and assuming anyone against Chavismo is a hard right-winger

Any Venezuelan who has the money to travel out of the country to the US or back and forth to Chile all the time, all by plane, is by definition not middle class. I would call those people upper middle class.

There will never be a government like they want in there as long as Chavismo is in because the Opposition will always be rioting in the streets and tearing stuff up like they have been doing ever since he got in. These people say they want a non-authoritarian government, but they supported the coup against Chavez. The first things the putschists did was to dissolve Congress, the National Assembly and Courts and put in martial law. They put a dictatorship in as soon as the coup took power.

The poster’s friends say they want a non-authoritarian state, but they support the extreme dictatorship that took power in the coup. The Opposition riots in the streets and calls for a coup every time they lose an election. This is because every time they lose an election, they insist against all evidence that it was stolen from them. Their calculus is that the only legitimate elections are the ones that they win. If the other side wins, it’s automatically stolen due to fraud, and we need to have a military coup to put “democracy” back in power. That ideology does not sound very democratic to me.  To the Opposition,  the definition of democracy is “when we win.” The definition of dictatorship is “when the other side wins.” Sound like a democratic project?

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A decptively large Opposition crowd in Venezuela. You will not find one working class, low income or poor person in that crowd. Everyone is middle class to rich. And no matter how big that crowd is, the Chavista march will always be a lot bigger. That crowd represents 27% of the population. That’s called a minority movement.

They lack majority support. That crowd is the upper class, the upper middle class and unfortunately a lot of the middle class. There are a lot of middle class people in those crowds.

This is where the poster is getting his ideology from. Them and their lies. The Venezuelan Opposition is out of their minds. They are not rational and they are not honest. They lie constantly. They are as bad as Trump and the Trumpster Republicans, and in fact, both movements are very similar.

The project of the Opposition is extreme rightwing. I told you that they regularly call Chavez mono and that they removed Bolivar’s portrait because he was a bit too swarthy and not White enough and replaced it with a more proper Nordic one. The poster’s friends may not be racist reactionaries, but a lot of the people in the Opposition are very racist, and the poster’s friends are not denouncing that. I guess they are OK with it.

The project of the Opposition is to dismantle all of Chavismo and to go back to the way it was.

They are going to take it all down – the free health care, the free education, the neighborhood councils and circles, the public housing, the redistribution of oil income to the people, the cheap government-subsidized food and household goods to the people, the free houses given to the people, the public spending on infrastructure, the whole nine yards. Before Chavez came in, you never went to the doctor, the dentist or the eye doctor because you could not afford it. You either got over the medical issue or you died. Raw sewage ran down the streets of the shantytowns on the hills. In 1989, 91% of the people could afford only one meal a day and that was the same percentage of people in poverty. Venezuela had always been like this since Independence. The oligarchy had always been in charge and had never lifted one damn finger for the people.

All of the opposition politicians want to go back to that. All of them. The poster’s friends may not realize this, or perhaps they do not care. The Latin American middle class has always lined up with the Extreme Right project of the rich and the oligarchs, much to their detriment. This is because they consider the opposition to that  project to be Communists, and they think that is worse.

In Latin America, it’s Commies or Fascists. That’s your choice. Pick your poison. That’s because moderation or a Centrist project never works down there. The problems are too severe, and Centrist projects never touch the power of the oligarchs, so nothing ever changes.

Venezuela has never been more democratic than under Chavez. Venezuela has the freest press in Latin America. The authoritarian dictatorship crap is another big fat lie the Opposition made up.

73% of the Venezuelan people continue to support the Chavista Project because it’s the only one that’s for the people. The Opposition has no numbers. Those people you see marching above are part of the 27% opposition, and that is why they never win. I would also point out that pro-government marches happen at the same time as those Opposition marches, and they are almost always much bigger. You just never read about them in the Western media.

Those 73% are not stupid. They remember life back when the oligarchy ruled. They know that the Opposition wants to go directly back to that and not change one thing. This has been their project from Day One. Yes, it is a very far right, reactionary project. Compared to what the Opposition wants, most of the people want to stay with Chavismo.

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Venezuela: The Lies Never Stop

Tulio: Left wing economics aren’t working out in Latin America either. Let’s face it, Latin America is dysfunctional whether it’s run by the left or right. I know Robert is a Chavista and all but the results speak for itself. They are probably a few clicks away from outright civil war.

The poster’s problem is that he gets all his Venezuela news from the Western media. You will not read one true thing about that country in the Western media. It is an all out propaganda war from Day One. If you want to read the truth about Venezuela, go to Venezuelanalysis. It’s all straight up 100% facts there, no spin. And many articles are quite critical of the government.

Yes, it is a civil war because the Right is running through the streets rioting, killing people, burning down buildings, buses and police cars. Let me ask you something. Suppose when Obama was in, Republicans went on a rampage all over the US, rioting, burning stuff down, killing people, firing guns, setting up snipers, setting off bombs, throwing grenades, killing lots of cops. Would you blame Obama for that? Because that is exactly what the commenter is doing.

This is part of the Right’s project down there. They lost the election, so they are trying to overthrow the government by force. What exactly is the state supposedly do about what is in effect a rightwing insurgency?

What they are trying to do is to create so much chaos that the military steps in and does a rightwing coup. Barring that, they are creating so much chaos and disorder that the US steps in with the military, invades and overthrows the Chavistas in the name of humanitarian intervention. It’s the exact same scheme we pulled in Syria when we turned ISIS and Al Qaeda loose on secular regime.

The US government’s official policy in Venezuela now is regime change. Mattis himself said so. The riots, destruction, arson, murders and political assassinations are all being coordinated with the US. We are the cause of all that violence down there.

There are no poor results of Chavismo. Things were booming along for many years. The rightwing has been sabotaging and boycotting the economy since Day One.

Norway is far more socialist than Venezuela. China is orders of magnitude more socialist than Venezuela. There’s nothing socialist at all about Venezuela. The economy is 100% capitalist controlled.

All Chavismo did was take a lot of that oil revenue and spend it on the people. If you think that’s a failed model, I do not know what to say to you.

After the oil price crashed, the government could no longer cover up for the business sector’s sabotage of the economy.

There are shortages? How can there be shortages in a 100% capitalist controlled economy? Answer me that. There cannot be. If there are shortages, why don’t they import some food? Why don’t they make some stuff that is in shortage?

The business sector is refusing to import products, and they are refusing to make products in short supply.

You need to go study how Kissinger and Nixon blew up the Chilean economy. They did the exact same thing, down to the letter. This is the Chilean Model down to the letter.

“We will make the Chilean economy scream.

–  Henry Kissinger.

Every week they seize huge warehouses full of products that are being hoarded by the capitalists in order to create artificial shortages. You heard of a shortage of syringes? A warehouse full of 21 million syringes was recently seized. If you read the Venezuelan papers, these seizures happen all the time, maybe every other day.

Why is there inflation? The capitalists have caused artificial shortages by hoarding stuff, refusing to produce stuff and refusing to import stuff. These artificial shortages of course caused inflation.

This economic sabotage has been going on from Day One, but when the oil prices were high, the government could cover up for the Economic War by importing their own products and selling them to people for cheap. Hence the state covered up all the artificial shortages caused by the refusal to import and manufacture products. When the oil price crashed, the state no longer had the money to import goods to cover up for the shortages, and furthermore, the Economic War went into high gear.

Furthermore, since Maduro has come in, he has made a hard turn to the Right from Chavez. His administration of full of rightwingers and representatives of the business sector. He caves to opposition demands over and over. They are always demanding hikes in the controlled prices, and he keeps raising them. No matter how much they raise the prices, the capitalists do not produce one more item. It’s all a scam.

Keep in mind that the economic crash has occurred against the background of a hard right turn in the government under a government that is now about 50% rightwingers and people from the business community. They can’t get a handle on things either. Did you hear what I said?

The economy crashed as the government turned Right and filled the executive with people from the business sector. According to the poster’s logic, rightwing economics is responsible for the crash.

That’s not really true either. Neither Right nor Left economics is responsible for the crash. The ministers from the business community can’t control the problems either. No one can.

There is a problem with currency, but that was created by the capitalists too. Currency controls were put in because the capitalists were taking all their money out of the country. No country can put up with that for long. So currency controls were put in, but that causes a black market in currency.

Price controls were put in because the capitalists staged a lockout strike that caused horrible shortages and sent prices skyrocketing.

Incidentally, despite currency controls, the business community still takes $50 billion out of the country every year. Do you know how much more they would take out if the currency controls were taken off?  The system would probably collapse.

The fake excuse all along was that price controls make it so the producing the price controlled products is not worthwhile. This is their fake excuse for the shortages. Now the price controls have been almost completely lifted, and they are still refusing to make stuff or import stuff. What’s their fake excuse now?

I agree that the standard Communist model caused a lot of economic problems, but the lie is that Venezuela is a Communist country like Cuba or the USSR, and this is the cause of all the problems. It’s caused by “socialist failure.” Why isn’t socialism failing in Europe? Why isn’t it failing in China? Why isn’t it failing in most of the world that runs social democratic systems?

The Chavistas were simply trying to produce a European style social democracy in Venezuela. Even that’s too much for the Venezuelan elite.

I will have you know that the rightwing Venezuelans the poster cheers for are some of the racist people on Earth. The commenter is Black. I assure you that the people he cheers for hate him because he is Black. Their word for Chavez was Mono. That means monkey. They call him monkey because his White blood is mixed with Indian and Black.

When they came into power, the first thing they did was take down the portrait of Bolivar because they said he looked too dark. They put up a new portrait that showed him as White as a Swede. These are the racists that this Black commenter is supporting.

The government is screwing up badly by not floating the currency, but that’s not a Right versus Left thing so it’s not a fault of Left economics. It would be a very unpopular decision, and Maduro is a weak and not very good leader and he does not have the balls to put in.

Hence I agree that the problems in part are caused by failures of the regime, but those failures having nothing to do with Right or Left economics. They’re not dealing with the currency problems, and that’s a failure on their part, but it has nothing to do with capitalism or socialism or any of that.

The price controls were put in to fight inflation. The Right screams about inflation and about price controls. They took all the price controls off, and the prices went way up. Now they are screaming because the prices went up. They criticize the problem, and they attack the solution to the problem.

You can’t win with these people.

I agree that the Communist model leaves a lot to be desired, and the lie is that the problems of Cuba and the USSR are being replicated in Venezuela. It’s a lie because Venezuela never even made it to social democracy. Venezuela is a capitalist country through and through.

I will ban any posters who attack Venezuela as a failure of Left economics because it’s nothing of the sort. Now if  you want to talk about problems with the Cuban model, go for it.

 

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Anatomy of a Lie: All Latin American Revolutions Came from Cuba and the USSR

Jason: Also, the left not only believes the other side will torture them like on Hostel, but they believe the US is aiding the right. I suppose at one time, the right thought the USSR was aiding the left, but I think the real facts were exaggerated.

They have good reasons to think that. Do you realize that hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have in fact been tortured like in Hostel? All with the approval, coaching, cheerleading and assistance of the US?

The USSR was aiding the Left only in a sense. In only a very few countries had an armed revolutions had sprung up and Cuba was aiding them. Russia gave the Cubans lots of arms and the Cubans smuggled them to Nicaragua and then to the rebels in El Salvador. That was it as far as I can tell.

The revolutionaries in the following countries never got one bullet or one nickel from Cuba or the USSR:

Guatemala: URNG and others 1954-1994
Colombia: ELN, FARC 1964-present
Peru: focos in the 1960’s, Sendero Luminoso 1980-present, MRTA 1984-1996
Ecuador: Sendero Luminoso 1990
Venezuela: small focos in the 1960’s and 1970’s
Brazil: urban guerrillas in the 1960’s
Uruguay: Tupamaros 1970-1983
Bolivia: Sendero Luminoso 1990, MIR 1960’s
Paraguay: recent guerrillas supported by the FARC 2012-present
Argentina: Tupamaros 1970-1983
Nicaragua: Sandinistas 1964-1979
Honduras: small guerrilla bands in the 1980’s
Chile: Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front 1970-1989, Lautaro Front 1990’s

As you can see, armed revolutions started up in all of those countries at one time or another usually for very good reasons. The Right tried to blame all this revolutionary activity on the USSR bogeyman. But the USSR never gave any of those groups one bullet or one dime. The Right also claimed and still does that everything was peachy clean and hunky dory in all of those countries except for the evil Soviets coming in and stirring things up by giving those university students all those funny ideas. This is complete nonsense. The truth is that if you have a decent country, you never get Left guerrillas, rural, urban or otherwise.

You only get an armed Left when your country is a complete Hellhole. The way to defeat an armed Left is to create at least a semblance of a decent society. If you do that, the Left will lay down its arms and even join the government.

The US always wants to say that rebels have no agency.

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Latin American Politics Finally Comes To America

I guess Chile has their version of the mighty keyboard warrior like the US. No shortage of white shit for brains running around say they’re going get rid of all the Jews and blacks.. then you have a fair number of blacks running around saying they’re going to get rid of their white oppressors.. etc. Totally delusional twats. Maybe rightists are a serious problem in Chile but I don’t consider YouTube comments a proper gauge of sentiment and support.

I have been engaged off and on in deep study of this region since 1989. 28 years.

You don’t understand Chile. You don’t understand Latin America.

Really the entire rightwing down there is exactly like this. The rich, elite Whites’ basic attitude in almost every country down there is “All Communists must be killed.” And Communist means anyone even slightly left of center. A huge % of the population in Chile is still pro-Pinochet, and this is precisely how they think.

The Left stages marches and protests all the time, often is support of Allende. Rightists, of whom there are many supporters still meet them and there is wild street fighting. Rightists then stage marches often in support of Pinochet. The Left shows up and there is wild street fighting.

Did some searches.. looks like the bigger demonstrations were over education and state (or lack of it) support. Seem to follow the US model – most of the protests are peaceful but then you have “the hooded ones” raising a ruckus. I couldn’t find anything that indicated there were large counter protests by rightists – not saying that didn’t happen but I just couldn’t find them If you have a link or links I’ll take a look.

Ok, well I think I may have read this some time ago. I do remember reading it, but it could have been a while back. It could well have been years ago, or a decade or more ago. But at one time in recent history, this is how it was.

Perhaps the Left vs. Right riots have quieted down in recent years, but that’s the way it was not long ago.

Protests in Chile have historically been far more riotous and violent than demos in the US. There’s not really any comparison. Anyway, violent riots on the US Left are a relatively new phenomenon. Trump is a corrupt, vicious, evil ultraright dictator ruling in a typical Latin American model. All of the Latin American Right is exactly like Donald Trump. That’s why the Left is so violent down there. Trump has succeeded in finally bringing Latin American ultraright fascism to America. So it follows that we are following the Latin American model in that the Left has grown militant, and Left demos now often turn riotous and violent just as they do in Latin America.

This sort of thing is so predictable that you can write near mathematical laws of political science predicting it. A nation can only go so far to the extreme right and it can only become unequal to a certain level. Once it passes that level, it has crossed some sort of Rubicon and now in most any nation you automatically get a militant, riotous and violent Left. It’s as close to a law as the sort you can get in mathematics and physics.

In Chile, the Indians are treated horribly and engage in continuous demonstrations which usually turn into riots.

I was following Latin American politics a lot on the Net a few years back, and most demos in Chile seemed to turn into the typical Latin American demonstration -> riot progression. Most demos in Latin America turn riotous from my observation, at least in Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, and even Mexico. The conditions are so insanely unequal down there that any working class demo quickly turns into a riot.

Violence, riots, coups, extremes of Left and Right politics, lack of democracy and extreme instability are typical of the entire region and now we are importing precisely this model to the US.

I am leaving out Argentina, but the Argentine Right was recently calling for a military coup against Kirchner.

In Paraguay, a legislative coup threw out the leftwinger.

A legislative coup just threw out Rouseff, the left president of Brazil.

There have been many coup and quasi-coup attempts in Venezuela. You could well say there has been a continuous coup since 2002.

In Colombia, yes, left demos usually turn violent or riotous. On the other hand, if you are on the Left down there, you can be murdered by the government at any time.

There was a military coup in Honduras, and now anyone on the Left can be killed at any time. Death squads have killed over 1,000 people.

A US coup removed Aristide in Haiti. The new US installed government quickly murdered 3,000 people.

Why the commenter is trying to polish this Latin American turd is beyond me.

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