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LATIN AMERICA
Neogolpismo decided to impose conservative order
Alejo Álvez
1/14/2016
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Attacks on progressive governments, particularly those run by women, have a precise goal.

Latin America is experiencing difficult times. Its democratic governments, which for more than a decade have been dismantling the neoliberal scaffolding, now have to deal with harassment from the political right, guided by the local and international media and in many cases assisted by small groups of provokers who define themselves as leftists.

After a wave of rumors that discredited the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Venezuela, in October 2015 The WikiLeaks Files, a book that analyzes thousands of cables from US embassies in the region, hit bookstores. The text, written by Alexander Main and Dan Beeton, researchers at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington DC, shows the efforts made by US President George W. Bush (2001-2009, Republican) and Barack Obama (Democrat) to push back the South American progressivism.

The book states that in the last 15 years, the United States tried to destroy democratic governments in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Honduras (which succeeded in 2010), Nicaragua, Paraguay (succeeded in 2012) and Uruguay. The authors say that what Bush and Obama wanted was to reverse the results of the elections held between 1997 and 2008, from which emerged anti-neoliberalism presidents.

However, the leaders of the US two-party system had not thought about the recourse of antipolitics, later imposed by the media to continue doing business and to discredit the fragile democracies of the region. This practice has been denounced by Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa, Bolivian Vice President Alvaro García Linera and  Brazilian diplomat Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães, who since 2011 called “neogolpismo” — a new way of promoting coups— the main enemy of democracy.

This is how Correa, García Linera and Pinheiro define the coup of the XXI century, a trend that accepts the democratic origin of progressive governments but states that they are “legitimate but govern with authoritarianism.” What neogolpistas seek is to restore the conservative order but avoiding the bloody paths of the XX century coups.

Antipolitics
From the antipolitics emerged individuals without political experience and a social commitment, such as ultraconservative evangelical Jimmy Morales, Guatemala’s new president, or Miguel del Sel, Argentine ambassador to Panama appointed by the government of President Mauricio Macri. Both are low level comic actors, and as if that were not enough, Del Sel is grossly sexist and has a strong humor with a xenophobic tone.
Rumors to discredit are longstanding. Some cases, like Argentina’s, date back to 2006, when Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was not yet president and continued permanently since in April 2008, five months after she was first elected.

Other rumors, such as those in Chile and Peru, are more recent. September marked the high point of the campaign. Several regional policy figures see that behind the persistent accusations against Dilma Rousseff (Brazil), Michelle Bachelet (Chile) and Fernández de Kirchner hide the worst of this aberrant misogyny of antipolitics.

On Sept. 16, Chile’s Minister of the Interior, Jorge Burgos, denied the “news” of Bachelet’s alleged resignation. “This type of campaign from the political right and media is undemocratic,” he said in response to Congressman Jose Antonio Kast— the youngest of Chilean Nazi war criminal Michael Kast Schindler’s three sons  — president of the far-right Independent Democratic Union, the party that supported dictator Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990).

Senator Isabel Allende, daughter of ousted president Salvador Allende (1970-1973), called for “an end to discrediting and machismo” and denounced journalism for reporting a story published in August on the website El Mostrador, which she said was the “more despicable, vile and indecent in this series.” In an article, the website claimed that “Bachelet drinks more than she should and lost control of herself due to being drunk and under the influence of drugs.”

Moreover, on Sept. 16, as part of criticisms against Peruvian President Ollanta Humala for corruption allegations regarding his wife, Defense Minister Jakke Valakivi denied rumors in the newspaper Peru 21 about a coup. Days later he said: “The denial would not have been necessary because time showed that this and other statements were not warning about a possible coup but promoting it.”

The role of the press
In Argentina, during the past seven years, Fernández de Kirchner, her children and her officials have been charged with multiple alleged acts of corruption. Noticias magazine exposed her as a psychiatric patient who suffers from bipolar disorder, and in September 2012 went so far as to publish on its cover a hyperrealist drawing in which she looked like she was masturbating. “She looks increasingly free and easy, sensual and even insolent,” wrote the magazine at the bottom of the image.

On Oct. 5, the assembly of the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) released its conclusions on the situation of the press in the Americas from its business perspective. The IAPA said, as it says every year, that like in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Nicaragua and Venezuela, in Argentina “the freedom of expression is seriously affected.” The statement was reproduced in more than 1,300 associated media outlets, including 36 Argentine IAPA partners.

Days later, an Italian court convicted the newspaper Corriere della Sera for “defamation with true malice” for the 2008 publication of a note in which it assures, without proof, that in the midst of a conference of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on hunger in the world, Fernández had a frivolous shopping tour, spending 180,000 euros in jewels and bedding. La Nación, the most important Argentine IAPA partner, did not publish the ruling, although it released the Italian article on its front page.

Venezuela is a longstanding victim of the foreign press. Spanish newspapers — El País, El Mundo and ABC — are leading the “war” against the Bolivarian Revolution. The biggest lie was released on Jan. 24, 2013, six weeks before the death of President Hugo Chávez, when El País published a false picture of a dying Chávez. Although the newspaper had already left him for dead on three occasions, this time it had to apologize because the image came from a 2008 video of a Mexican patient who lived happily in Cuernavaca.

In Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina and Ecuador, legionaries of the “conservative restoration” are supported by small but active Trotskyist parties, opposed to progressive governments for considering them populists. This is what Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa denounced. In Argentina they are called the Workers Party, Socialist Workers Party or Party of the Socialist Workers. These parties were responsible for getting together the picketers that blocked roads and made business strikes visible during the prolonged interaction between the government of Fernández and soybean planters supported by Monsanto.

The usual practice of blocking streets and roads generates discontent that turns against governments. On Jan. 2, Correa denounced this as García Linera had before: “The same as always, the alleged radical left with its permanent mobilization strategy, is already heating the streets what the right can later will reap in the polls”, said the Ecuadorian President.
—Latinamerica Press.


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