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Bush’s True Reagan-Legacy: Meddling in South America, Supporting Torture

Publié le 11 novembre, 2008 | Pas de commentaires

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Yesterday in Washington, President-Elect Obama attempted to discuss with lame-duck President George W. Bush, terms for allowing the US Auto Industry to share in the multibillion dollar federal bailout plan, only to be told that Mr. Bush would only consider offering support if Mr. Obama would engage Democrats in supporting a free-trade agreement with Columbia.

Democrats have resisted signing on to this agreement precisely because of Columbia’s egregious record of human rights abuses, and violence against labor unions and workers. But beyond this ethical imperative not to capitulate to the demands of a Republican government already infamous for supporting covert ops in guerilla-war torn countries, why would Bush insist on this particular caveat when the Big Three – which represent some 3 million American jobs – are at stake? Some economists have said that the survival or failure of the Auto Industry could make the difference between recession and depression. Ford, General Motors and Daimler/Chrysler, names that mean American industry itself, may disappear, in order that Bush – who has reportedly fought hard for this trade agreement – can push through an agreement with a country which supplies 90% of the cocaine available in the US, and despite the $5 billion dollars in anti-narcotics funding from the US in the last ten years, the largest amount of US aid in the hemisphere.

These are the truest echoes of Ronald Reagan’s morally hollow presidency, the continuing GOP legacy of offering legitimacy to the dictatorships of South America, where torture, indiscriminant kidnapping and killing of civilians, and limitless drug money continue almost unchecked. When Reagan supported the Contras, whom the US knew to be funded by drug money, in Nicaragua, then continued to fund them with money covertly raised from arms sales to Iran after Congress had voted to end support, he set a precedent that the Republicans have continued to follow in South America. Panama is also included in Bush’s proposed free-trade agreement, the country which Reagan tried to use as a back-door for more illegal funding to Contra rebels, sending Oliver North to meet with then president Noriega, later convicted on drug-related felony charges.

Mr. Obama’s choice for White House chief of staff, Mr Rahm Emanuel, balked at the idea of linking the essential stimulus package with Bush’s proposed plan: “You don’t link those essential needs to some other trade deal.” But for Bush, as for Reagan before him, the needs of financially crippled Americans do not compare to the potential for lucrative deals with South American countries where the rule of law is flexible at best, where billions of dollars in drug money and a constant demand for arms is on offer.

What does this say about Afghanistan, with its drug-fueled economy? Why are the GOP always forging alliances with countries that require CIA-backed – or led – “resistance”, which later turns out to be nothing less than giving millions into the hands of OUR s.o.b.s?

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