I arrived in El Salvador half-expecting to see soldiers guarding the corridors of the airport with made-in-the-U.S. machine guns, the way they did during my first, hour-long visit to the country on a lay-over on a flight to Nicaragua in 1982. More than once on my flight here this time I thought back to my second, longer visit a few years later. En route to Nicaragua again, I got stuck in San Salvador for nearly a week due to a transport strike called by the FMLN. That time I had a close encounter with the military in which, for a few tense moments, I feared for my life.
Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Good Neighbor
by Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein
(originally posted at www.upsidedownworld.org )
Even in the best of times a coup in Honduras wouldn’t get much coverage in the U.S. since most North Americans couldn’t find the country on a map and, moreover, would think they have no reason to do so. Nevertheless, those in the U.S. who have been alert to the changes in Latin America over the past decade and almost everyone south of the border know that the coup d’etat (or “golpe de estado”) against President Manuel Zelaya has profound implications for the region and, in fact, all of Latin America. While the US press will glance from their intent gaze at reruns and specials on Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett only long enough to report on President Obama’s reaction to the coup, Latin Americans will keep their eyes on the governments of the region as well as the social movements in Honduras as they search for a key to how the whole affair will turn out. As President Rafael Correa said in the Extraordinary Summit of ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas) in Nicaragua on the evening after the early morning coup, “this is not just a coup against the people of Honduras, but one directed against the democracies of the peoples of Latin America.”
The End of History: Part Two
Or, The Victory of American-Style Democracy in Mexico, Nicaragua and Iran
The poor, benighted left and Latin American Solidarity movement in the U.S. throughout the 1980s found it impossible to decipher the highly-sophisticated language of empire in its “B-Movie” phase under the senile actor from Hollywood, Ronald Reagan. Those who were alive and conscious in those years as History approached its End were told that the mercenary wars and official repression of the day in Central America, Afghanistan, Iran and elsewhere were simply aimed at “stopping the spread of Communism” and bringing about “American-Style democracy” (ASD)
The bull, among the Persian Zoroastrians as well as the Huichol people of Mexico, represents the sun which comes to earth and bleeds to give life to the earth. This powerful creature is a symbol, therefore, of divine power which is willing to bleed for the good of humanity and all life. In Hispanic (meaning, Spanish and Spanish (speaking) America) the running of the bulls is an exciting and dangerous festival where the Anglo game of Chicken takes on the bulk of a mighty mammal with horns and mighty power. In some places, like rural Ecuador, it’s usually a game of young men with too much testosterone jumping in a makeshift bullring with a puzzled bull and antagonizing it until it charges. The bull usually has something tied to its back – it might also be just a rope girding the bull -- and the young man daring, stealthy or stupid enough to untie the knot wins a prize. In the stands are hordes of spectators, all secretly hoping the bull will gore someone and they may even witness a death as they eat fried fava beans or peanuts and swill their favorite drinks. The game never stops as one bull follows another and the young men do their best to get its attention for just enough time to be pursued just so far. Virtually no one ever unties the knot and wins a prize since most of the young men who were driven into the ring by testosterone, flee it just as quickly in a rush of adrenaline when the bull charges.
Three executives of the big automakers come to Washington to apply for federal loans, hats in hands. Let's call the federal loan officer Big Sam. Coming to the loan officer's table they have shown humility traveling by car instead of company jets. By arriving in cars their companies have manufactured they show thriftiness and pride in their business. Still, Sam likes to know that they have jets. In the loan business these assets are called collateral.
The Berkeley campus tree sit ended a month or so ago. The long, nonviolent direct action of dozens of individuals ended in a day and was quickly consumed by other news like bank bailouts and the presidential election. I haven't been back to see if anything is left of the grove, but I understand the trees started coming down quickly before anyone could go back up them.
My partner Leah got something in her eye this weekend. The wind was gusting pretty strong. I was in the back yard hanging up laundry. She was going in the backdoor when I heard her call me. Something had flown in her eye.