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- Scapegoat for Corrupt & Inefficient Latin American Leaders
In Latin America, there is a tendency that leaders have to sometimes blame all of the problems of their community on foreign governments.
Now, to be fair, this type of “scapegoating” happens all over the world.
The US is not immune to it.
Though, in reality, it sometimes looks not necessarily just like scapegoating and simply painting an enemy to rally the people against.
In the US, you see the occasional demonization of countries like Iran or North Korea for example.
When I was much younger, it was Iraq being characterized as being part of the “Axis of Evil” as you can see here.
Not that I was old enough to appreciate that moment when it happened….
Nowadays, it seems like the Democrats love shitting all over Russia and the Republicans take more of their time shitting on China.
But just because the politicians love shitting on another country’s government doesn’t mean they don’t necessarily have a point.
In the US, you can argue there are reasonable concerns regarding both Russia and China to be fair.
Similarly, I already know what people are going to say about Latin American leaders doing the same thing…
In that “well, it’s justified because countries like the US or Spain have shit all over Latin America in the past.”
Which, to be fair, that is entirely true!
When discussing issues in Latin America like inequality or poverty rates…
Yes, it is necessary to bring up the effects of colonialism and also US interventions.
Among interventions done by other countries as well.
Having said that, it doesn’t excuse bad behavior by local Latin American leaders or other individual actors from fucking up their own communities.
As I already wrote about here, you have plenty of bad actors down here who don’t need the US to fuck up their own countries.
So this article is about just fine – looking at examples in which local Latin American leaders will try to either scapegoat or negatively reference other countries or groups for other reasons like pandering to specific communities (like indigenous people).
And, to clarify, this type of behavior has been seen by politicians or leaders on both the left and the right in Latin America.
For those who already know what I am talking about, it’s easy to think of some character like Chavez bitching about the US.
But let’s jump into some notable examples that come to mind.
“The Jews and International Communism”
There are two books about Argentine that I recommend you read.
First, “A Lexicon of Terror” by Marguerite Feitlowitz.
Then “Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number” by Jacobo Timerman.
Both books are some of my favorites when it comes to Latin America and have to deal with the Dirty War that Argentine experienced from 1976 to 1983.
In which the Argentine dictatorship was going after dissidents in its country during that time.
And, as you will see in the book, there was seemingly this belief that there was an “international communism” movement conspiring against Argentina at the time.
With the help of the Jews.
During this time, thousands of people disappeared in Argentina.
As I wrote in this article here, I actually met the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo.
They are a group that has marched for decades to bring awareness to their missing children that disappeared during this conflict.
So, as I said before, it’s not necessarily just leftist leaders of Latin America bringing up a “big bad wolf” that they need all of society to unite against (and to serve as a distraction to forget the deeper problems that their leaders have failed to address).
But let’s move on.
Again, check out those books – highly recommended.
Next up, as you can read here, we have the Mexican President AMLO demanding that the King of Spain and the Vatican apologize for their historic abuses against indigenous people.
Now should these folks apologize?
Sure, why not – a simple apology is just two words away “I’m sorry.”
Granted, you can just as easily argue that the people currently living in Spain and the Vatican didn’t have shit to do with it.
If I was Spanish, I’d probably tell the guy to kick rocks.
And, funny enough, that’s what the King of Spain did as you can read more about it here.
But why would AMLO do this?
Well, I think it’s mostly to pander to his base that has some indigenous folks in it and mostly non-indigenous leftists who think this is a good look.
And that’s what it truly is.
A “sorry” for something you didn’t do isn’t going to fix the atrocities committed centuries ago.
Meanwhile, there’s some ironic aspects to this also…
Like how, as you can read here, almost all of AMLO’s heritage is Spanish.
So is he going to apologize also?
And even if he has…
How about apologizing also for all of the current shit he is doing against indigenous communities?
Like militarizing areas around Zapatista communities even more in Chiapas as you can read here…
To doing nothing about atrocities committed against indigenous people getting killed or forcibly relocated from their villages by armed gunmen as you can read here.
To promoting infrastructure projects that’ll fuck over indigenous people like this train project as you can see here…
All around, it seems like AMLO doesn’t give any real fucks about indigenous people.
But is simply pandering to folks by targeting a common enemy – Spain – for shit done centuries ago while he fucks over indigenous people nowadays.
“The US Smells like Sulfur!”
If you smelled like sulfur, wouldn’t you want to take a bath?
Well, apparently we Americans smell like sulfur!
Anyway, Chavez was a very obvious example that I already referenced that often took shots at the US.
To be fair, you can argue that some of the criticisms he threw at us were valid.
Like calling Bush the “devil” as you can see here.
To be fair, the US often did try to undermine the Chavez government.
Still, a lot of blame can just as easily be put on Chavez and later Maduro for having a role in fucking up one of Latin America’s best economies.
Ultimately, their lack of understanding of basic economics had a large role also in my opinion.
As well as their efforts to dismantle democracy in their own country.
Nonetheless, here's a more recent example of Maduro.
“The Enemy of Peace”
Next, we have Evo Morales – former leader of Bolivia.
Here is a video about Evo Morales.
Talking about his more favorable relationship with China while complaining that the US is an “enemy of peace, humans rights and democracy.”
Now, as I said before, the US definitely deserves criticism for its support of regimes like in Saudi Arabia (among many others) that violate humans rights and peace.
Having said that, I find it ironic that, while Evo cares about humans rights and democracy, he sides with China.
At the end of the day, it’s all ideology and economics.
His political party that he represents is more likely to bitch about the US at whatever possibility.
So it’s natural for him.
Meanwhile, economics is important and he needs investment from bigger players in the world.
Harder to get financial support on projects from the US when you take a stand against them…
So go with China!
A country that isn’t necessarily known for having a democracy…
And human rights?
Well, these videos here show that China has a more liberal definition of what “human rights” is.
Which, again, isn’t to say that the US has clean hands.
This isn’t a “pick one side or the other” type of argument.
You can be critical of both.
Reminds me of a similar situation….
Cuba: The Little Fish
It reminds me anyhow of the Cuban situation during the Cold War…
Castro bitching about US imperialism for obvious reasons…
Like the US having supported the Bautista regime before Castro won the Revolution…
To all of the military and intelligence operations against Castro over the following decades…
And obviously the blockade.
But while Castro takes a stand against “big power imperialism” from the US….
He then sides with a country like the Soviet Union that was well known for human rights violations of its own like in this video here.
Where they literally committed genocide against the Ukrainians among many other things that they did.
Which again is like the case with Bolivia….
Being a small country with minimal influence, you can bitch about one super power but you have to take sides with another one that violates the principles you stand for to get the financial help and security you need.
Though the case of Castro with Cuba is arguably a little bit less about scapegoating since the US did take a lot of shots at their country during all these decades.
However, to a degree, you can argue that the policies of Castro have fucked over his own country to a degree.
As we can see in this video here about the “Special Period” of the 90s when the Soviet Union collapsed and Cuba went during a dark financial period when they lost their main sponsor.
As you can read in a book known as “A History of the Cuban Revolution” by Aviva Chomsky, it was during that period that Cuba had to adopt small elements of private industry into their economy to survive.
So, in hindsight, you can argue that the misinformed economic policies of Castro had a hand in hurting his own economy to a degree also.
Along with, more importantly, things outside of their control like the blockade.
So, to be fair, this is less of an example of “scapegoating….”
And more of one in which small countries have to pick sides at times.
Though, arguably, it is still an example of how the US is an easy target of criticism in Latin America by leftist leaders.
Though it’s not just leftist leaders who do this like I said…
Not everyone likes China.
China’s Biological War Against the World
As we saw in the first example, leaders of the right in Latin America tend to take on similar “big bad wolves” that Republicans in the US have.
In this video here, you can see Brazilian President Bolsonaro throwing out the idea that China released Covid to start a “chemical war” or “biological war.”
Which, in part, you can see might stem from a ideological similarity that sees China and what China represents to the right (communism) as a threat that always needs addressing.
And, maybe you can argue, the criticism he made was also thrown out there, in part, as a way to distract from his own handling of the Covid recession that his economy, like many, is facing.
In the coming decades where a new Cold War might happen, I expect more of this to play out whenever a more right wing leader wins office in Latin America.
The left wing ones will take their usual cues to always critique the US or countries in Europe.
While more right wing ones will critique countries like China.
Similar to what we saw in the last Cold War in which Latin leaders were very clearly taking sides there.
More Throwing Shit at the US
To keep things simple, here’s just a few more videos of Latin American leaders from the left taking shots at the US whenever they can.
This first two are from Kirchner of Argentina taking shots at the US and England.
There's another video that you can find here of her talking about how the US could "topple" her government. Unfortunately, Youtube won't let me put the video in this article bu you can click on that link here to see it.
Which, in theory, is true.
Though, at the same time, it also seems like a way to distract her voters from the economic issues she failed to address in her country.
Then, consequently, she lost power as you can see here.
Now here is Daniel Ortega. Of Nicaragua warning the US to not “intervene” in the crisis of his country.
Meanwhile, as you can see here, there has been concerns that Ortega has been fucking up his own country without our involvement needed by attacking democracy and hurting the economy more.
With plenty of protests against him in recent years.
Finally, we have this funny incident here where former Venezuelan President Chavez tells the King of Spain to “shut up” at the Ibero-America Summit in Santiago, Chile in 2007.
Wait – the Ibero-America Summit?
Why wasn’t I invited?
I run the motherfucking website on Iberian America!
Anyway, Spanish PM Zapatero gets into an argument with Chavez.
In which Chavez keeps interrupting what Zapatero is saying…
As Chavez keeps telling the guy that former Spanish PM Aznar is a fascist that tried to overthrow him in a coup.
While Zapatero had claimed that Chavez’s policies were fucking up his own country by scaring away investors from Latin America all the while deep poverty and inequality are issues.
Funny enough, as you can see here, Daniel Ortega took part in the conversation as well.
Now despite whatever fuckery Spain might or might not be involved in these days in Latin America…
It’s arguably a good example again of how leftist leaders in Latin America (or any leader really) look for scapegoats to bitch about while arguably fucking up their own countries and using the scapegoats as political punching bags to distract their voters.
That’s just my opinion anyhow.
But let’s wrap this up now.
First, if it isn’t obvious, one of the main points is how leaders in Latin America engage in this type of behavior as a way to deflect from their own failings.
Second, you can argue that it is also representative of the mentality of a lot of folks down here in Latin America.
Comparatively speaking, I do think that Latinos in Latin America tend to be more sensitive to the idea of foreigners engaging in activities in their countries – for good or for worse.
Check out this documentary about Pablo Escobar here for example (you’ll need to go to Youtube logged into a gmail account to watch it).
In the end of the video, it is revealed how a little uproar began in Colombia when it was learned that “gringos” had been involved in the assassination of Pablo Escobar.
Even though most folks were happy to see Pablo die…
It’s a point to be made that the knowledge that the US had involvement in his killing had upset some folks.
Even if it benefited their country.
Just the other day, I saw someone share this Reddit thread that someone linked to on Twitter that you can see here.
And it brings up the idea of “should the US intervene in Mexico to fight the cartels?”
Here’s an interesting quote here from that thread:
“I'm not Mexican so I can't speak about this topic specifically, but usually US involvement in LatAm in frowned upon considering it always ends poorly for us”
The author of that comment was Uruguayan supposedly.
Either way, the guy has a point.
The reason why the politicians and leaders often look for another country to blame…
Is, in part, because actually there is another country like the US fucking with them….
But also because, even if the US or another country isn’t doing anything, they know it works on their population.
They know plenty of local voters will eat it up because it almost seems engrained into their psychology due to the countless examples of foreigner countries intervening.
Which goes to a final point…
Third, you can argue that there is an argument then to be made here when it comes to US relations to Latin America.
Which is that, if we ever want to get something done, the use of direct and obvious intervention, for various reasons, is usually a bad call.
Take the Pablo Escobar example in that video above.
Instead of sending in US soldiers to kill the guy directly…
It was a better call to simply hand the proper and trusted authorities in Colombia the right tools to take Pablo down.
Let the locals do it with our help.
That way there will be less criticism from the locals about our efforts that could derail or hurt anything we want to do in the region to our benefit.
Venezuela is another example.
It doesn’t make sense for the US to intervene militarily in the country in my opinion because it would draw so much backlash.
Even if we had a legitimate reason and even if it helped Venezuela greatly…
At some point, the future government in power will fuck something up….
Then VICE and all the other journalists will blame the US for it because we helped establish elections to be had to allow whatever new government come to power.
Even if it was the fault of the new government for fucking whatever up…
Like let’s say the new government has to make government spending cuts for whatever reason that is valid…
Pisses off the locals.
The locals protest and some new Leftist leader like Chavez or Evo go marching around yelling “SULFUR!! SULFUR!! SULFUR OF THE YANKEES I CAN SMELL!!!”
And then said leftist leader walks into power and maybe benefits from a commodity boom like Evo….
But fucks the economy up at large by not investing the money properly into building real infrastructure that can make the country more sustainable in the long term instead of just overdependent on hydrocarbons.
So that’s the third point – let the locals down here fuck things up themselves.
We don’t need to help Daniel Ortega fuck his country up – he does it perfectly himself.
Any direct intervention simply helps the corrupt local leader blame everything on us without taking his own responsibility.
To get shit down here from a foreign policy perspective, it has to be led by the locals.
That’s how I see it anyhow.
At any rate, drop any comments below.
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Thanks for reading.