Few people get to read US imperial declarations in
the original text. Access to the empire's official
texts is mostly via the interpretations and translations
offered in newspapers, magazines and radio or TV.
These translations tend to be unreliable because corporate
media reporter-clerks themselves tend to be treacherous,
lazy, biased and smug. It may be that the safest translation
rule is that any imperial text can be safely assumed
to mean its opposite.
that rule is pretty accurate in most cases, those
who need more precise translation may find this elementary
primer a useful practical tool. For reasons of simplicity
the examples are all taken from US Senate testimony
by Roger Noriega.1. A handy glossary of terms can
be found among the clandestine cemeteries, remains
of massacred villages and the bodies of hundreds of
thousands of victims of torture throughout the length
and breadth of Latin America. Check the tens of millions
of people living on less than US$2 a day for the index.
1 - plutocrat panhandling as high morality
"Our own destiny is uniquely bound to that of
our neighbors to the north and south...........Our
open societies, however, are vulnerable to both internal
and external threats - crime of all kinds and dimensions,
internal conflict and, as September 11th made clear,
dangerous new forms of terrorism."
We cannot be expected to eradicate the narcotics and
arms trades since they are an essential and significant
part of our financial and economic system. They help
keep me, you Senators, and the US government administration
rich and powerful. We need significantly more tax-payers'
money so we can continue to fail to address these
issues we have to fake concern about with a show of
concerted, but mostly irrelevant, activity. Why?....
Oh, so as to make the corrupt plutocracy you Senators
and myself represent even more rich and powerful than
we are already.
"The most encouraging development in the hemisphere
over the last two decades has been the decisive shift
to democratic governance. In 1980, fewer than half
the countries in the hemisphere had freely elected
leaders. .........(now) Only one - Cuba - does not.
Beginning at the 1994 Summit of the Americas, thirty-four
Heads of State and Government have repeatedly endorsed
democracy and free trade as guiding principles."
Despite the regrettable fact that our preferred, murderous,
kleptocrat dictatorships are no longer sustainable
or, strictly speaking, necessary, we continue to project
our power through corrupt local oligarchies and decisive
electoral interventions as for example in Nicaragua
and El Salvador and currently in the Bolivian and
Venezuelan referendums. We need substantial funding
in order to subvert free and fair electoral process
throughout the Americas so as to keep the poor majority
from developing any alternative to what we want. Furthermore,
my colleague US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick
can't make the Americas safe for corporate multinational
business if his "comply or else" trade deals
are subject to due democratic scrutiny. So pay up.
"Democratic, prosperous nations make the best
neighbors. ........ They are likely to work with us
to combat trans-national threats and to advance views
similar to our own in multilateral fora such as the
UN, the OAS, and the international financial institutions."
We need more money to continue buying friends and
bullying opponents so as to get what we want in the
United Nations and the Organization of American States
just like we did on Iraq. Did I say Iraq? I meant
Haiti. Likewise we need to make sure we retain decisive
influence in the World Bank, the International Monetary
Fund and the World Trade Organization. So give us
the money, OK?
2 - tyranny as democracy
"We aim to encourage continued progress throughout
the hemisphere toward effective democracy with broad-based
economic growth, human development and both personal
and national security."
We are determined to continue imposing corporate welfare
via the self-same neo-liberal economic policies that
have failed categorically, remarkably and demonstrably
to alleviate poverty in Latin America over the last
twenty years. The continent suffers more poverty now
than it did in 1990 when we really got down to forcing
through privatization and cutbacks in public services.
This is exactly as it should be because it makes it
easier for us to get what we want. That's worth money....
"While the manifestations of Haiti's ills are
poverty and misery, the root causes are political.
President Aristide's government failed its people
in every way. Now we can make a new beginning in helping
Haiti to build a democracy that respects the rule
of law and protects the human rights of its citizens."
We successfully supported murderous tyrannies in Haiti
from 1916 until 1990 thus ensuring that the people
of Haiti never got any misguided ideas about taking
decisions for themselves. This guy Aristide was a
problem for a while but we successfully undermined
him and coerced him out of power. Now we need a bunch
of money to clean up the mess we made so as to offer
a local alternative to China for US sweat-shop apparel
multinationals and give ourselves a secure base for
our developing intervention in Cuba.
3 - democracy as practical joke
"Just a few months ago, Bolivia was in the headlines.
When Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada was elected president
of Bolivia in August 2002, we looked forward to working
with him to implement, among other things, market-oriented
economic reforms he had previously developed. However,
he was forced to resign this past December by popular
demonstrations against some of those very policies........A
principal objective of our democracy program in Bolivia
is to draw the long-marginalized indigenous population
into political life.....We believe that a stable democracy
is a necessary condition for success in the fight
against illegal drugs."
We screwed up some in Bolivia but expect to keep the
place in line mainly by purchasing local politicians
and the military as we have always done and co-opting
popular political organizations. At the same time
as we're subverting democracy there, we can slip in
a strong military presence with our one-size-fits-all
fictional "war on drugs". Our local helpers
have been able to fit up Colombian rural workers rights
activist Pacho Cortes as a "terrorist",
so the "war on terror" fits in here neatly
too. As a stand-by we can de-stabilize the country
by staging an incident on the border with our miltary
friends in Chile requiring a State of Emergency and
intervention from the OAS. Cool. And cheap too.
"Venezuela remains a cause for considerable concern.........The
United States has a major interest in preserving and
regenerating democracy in Venezuela and facilitating
a peaceful, constitutional solution to the ongoing
political crisis. Foreign assistance resources will
be used to improve the functioning of institutions
that underpin democracy, in particular stronger, more
democratic political parties and democracy-related
NGOs. The absence of such dependable actors has greatly
increased the distance between Chavez and his detractors
and prolonged the crisis, with devastating effects
on the national economy as well."
Popular support for Venezuela's President Chavez is
a real headache. We've got to find a way of getting
the corrupt old oligarchy back into power again -
preferably without an expensive armed intervention.
We're pumping millions of dollars into subverting
the electoral process, buying politicians and local
civil organizations and propping up local opposition
media whose credibility and sales are plummeting.
It's a bummer that the Venezuelan economy is on the
up-and-up but we can still get away with lying about
that for another few months - no one in the US media
will check their facts in any case. So give us time
on this one.....and money....
"In Cuba, the one country in the region that
does not have a freely elected government, our policy
is to encourage a rapid, peaceful transition to democracy
characterized by strong support for human rights and
an open market economy...... We intend to help create
the conditions that will bring to an end the hemisphere's
only totalitarian government and reintegrate the Cuban
people as members of the community of the Americas."
Cuba is the one country in Latin America that's consistently
shown us up for the bumbling, hypocritical, mass-murdering,
racist dunderheads that we are. This is not good for
our self-esteem or for our international standing.
We have to destroy the successful - relative to anywhere
else in Latin America - social, economic and cultural
arrangments Cubans currently enjoy, force at least
60% of the population into poverty - like we have
everywhere else in Latin America - and sell off everything
that belongs to the Cuban people to ourselves and
our friends at pathetic knock-down prices - like we
have everywhere else in Latin America - otherwise
it''ll never get to be a real member of our kind of
neighbourhood - right? That costs money too.
4 - poverty, such a shame (tears rented from the walrus
and the carpenter)
"At the Special Summit of the Americas held in
Monterrey, Mexico, this past January, the democratically
elected Heads of State and Government declared their
commitment to economic growth to reduce poverty.........The
Summit declaration welcomed the progress achieved
to date toward the establishment of a Free Trade Area
of the Americas (FTAA) and reaffirmed the commitment
to complete the FTAA on schedule, that is, by the
January 2005 deadline. The declaration contained numerous
other statements of support for sound macroeconomic
policies, prudent fiscal management, and public policies
that stimulate domestic savings, meet the need for
creation of productive jobs, and contribute to greater
We had an excursion to sunny Mexico last winter where
we stitched up a deal with our cronies from Latin
America to protect the rich, keep wages down, maintain
dividends , encourage capital flight and promote profitable
speculation. We reckon to complete Continent-wide
free (for us) trade-in-your-sovereignty deals at the
same time as we impose conditions we wouldn't accept
for a minute - "sound macroeconomic policies,
prudent fiscal management, and public policies that
stimulate domestic savings, meet the need for creation
of productive jobs, and contribute to greater social
inclusion." - yeah, Alan Greenspan thought that
was funny too.......it all costs money though......
"At present, too many in the hemisphere are trapped
in poverty and suffer from malnutrition. Without attention
to their basic human needs - food, basic sanitation
and quality education and healthcare, they will never
be able to participate in the gains generated by economic
growth and expanded trade. Consequently, we are continuing
to dedicate significant resources to improve nutrition
and healthcare in selected countries and regions."
We couldn't care less about poverty as such but it's
a bad advertisement for us to say so. We'll continue
to spend around 0.1% of our GDP (peanuts, right?)
throwing crumbs in the direction of poverty alleviation
aound the world, even some of it in Latin America
- but remember all that "aid" is good for
US business and it also means we can unload genetically
manipulated foodstuffs on people who are too poor
to be able to say no. And THAT means our agri-business
industries end up holding the levers controlling food
security throughout Latin America. Ditto pharmaceuticals.
A good investment. Fund it.
"In Nicaragua, the second poorest country in
our hemisphere, our programs address fundamental obstacles
to development, including food aid to ameliorate the
impact of rural unemployment. We are also providing
assistance to diversify agricultural production and
link agricultural products to local, regional and
global markets, giving small farmers a stake in the
We continue to obstruct equitable and suistainable
rural development in Nicaragua, as in the rest of
Central America, by focusing on non-traditional exports,
encouraging measures to wipe out self sufficiency
in basic grain production and to promote over-dependency
on agro-chemicals. So far, as in Honduras, we have
managed to encourage a massive demographic shift from
rural to urban areas. This has created a satisfactorily
large pool of urban unskilled labour desperate for
work that foreign investors can soak up as cut-price
labour for the maquiladoras. So domestically we have
a reliable source of cheap tropical food products
all year round and a handy alternative to Haiti, Mexico
or Honduras for cheap maquila labour if those places
ever get funny ideas about permitting labour unions
or paying a living wage.
5 - militarization, good; environmentalism...are you
"Notwithstanding Haiti, Colombia continues to
present the most urgent case for law enforcement and
other assistance in the region. Counternarcotics remains
at the center of U.S. relations with Colombia, which
supplies 90% of the cocaine consumed in the United
States. However, as Colombia's three terrorist organizations
- the FARC, ELN, and AUC - fund their activities with
the proceeds of drug trafficking, a unified response
is necessary. ........The total ACI request for FY
2005 (including Colombia) is $731 million. These funds
are needed to support a unified Andean regional campaign
against the drug trade and narco-terrorism."
We're making no headway in Colombia. President Uribe
is an ok bona fide fascist right up our street, though
we're not sure how long we can keep on pretending
he's helping us in the "war on drugs" since
he depends on drugs kingpins in the army and paramilitaries
to keep the guerillas under control. Never mind for
now, we've called the AUC terrorists - don't take
us too seriously on that one, they're our kind of
terrorists - and issued extradition warrants for Mancuso
and Castaño and some other guys but, hey, we
need them to destabilise Venezuela - trust me. In
any case we're using mercenaries down there so there
are no comebacks - massacres, corruption - no worries.
Anyhow, Colombia's cheaper than Israel right? So OK
"Your letter of invitation asked specifically
whether, in my opinion, there were any critical gaps
in the Administration's foreign assistance request
for the Western Hemisphere. Needless to say, there
are always choices that must be made in putting together
a budget of this kind. Our request level is sufficient
to address the highest priority needs in our hemisphere."
You don't seriously expect me to talk about the environmental
disasters our policies are encouraging throughout
Latin America do you? Desertification through promotion
of unsustainable agricultural economic policies, catastrophic
waste of water resources through encouragement of
inappropriate hydroelectric schemes, massive displacement
of rural and indigenous populations as the direct
and indirect result of energy exploration and exploitation
programs and infrastructure integration plans like
Plan Puebla Panama, devastation of vast areas of agricultural
and forest areas through chemical and biological warfare
as part of the bogus "war on drugs", wiping
out biodiversity with our multinationals' reckless
propagation of transgenic crops ......no, let's not
talk about all that.......
6 - the final wind-up
"The institutions of government, social services,
and the free market economy we enjoy in the United
States were not created overnight. We cannot expect
that other countries in this hemisphere, most of which
have a much shorter or inconsistent experience with
democratic governance, will achieve a similar institutionalization
of rights and freedoms in a few short years. .........As
they become more stable partners in international
endeavors and more open markets for our goods and
services, we will become better friends in the broadest
sense of the word. That is the overall objective we
seek through our assistance program. I ask your support
for full funding of the Administration's FY 2005 budget."
We have no intention of letting the poor majority
in Latin America decide their own destiny any more
than we intend to permit genuine democracy and rule
of law here in the US. You all voted for the PATRIOT
Act didn't you? OK then. Just like here at home we
will make sure the available political arrangments
throughout Latin America serve our greedy destructive
needs now and for the future just as we have always
done since the Declaration of President Monroe.......That'll
be several billions of dollars well spent on our overall
military-industrial corporate welfare - we'll all
do well out of this, believe me.
"Thank you for your attention."
You guys vote through that funding and thanks for
faithfully neglecting your constitutional duty to
subject this farrago of invention and half-truth of
mine to any scrutiny worth the name.
Testimony of Roger F. Noriega, Assistant Secretary
of State, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Department
of State, Before the Committee on Foreign Relations
United State Senate, March 2, 2004
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