[Marxism] Re: Argentine and Brazilian troops in Haiti

Nestor Gorojovsky nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar
Wed Jun 30 08:36:19 MDT 2004

Respuesta a: [Marxism] Re: Argentine and Brazili
Remitido por: Fred Feldman
Fecha: Miércoles 30 de Junio de 2004 
Hora: 8:53

> I am opposed to Brazil and Argentina moving troops into Haiti, but I
> think we should be alert to the fact that this does not have to be a
> straightup continuation of the US-French occupation which removed
> Aristide and installed his rightist, U.S.-sponsored opponents.  I think
> that differences could arise over the course of the occupation,
> reflecting the growing divisions between the more nationalistic Latin
> American governments and Washington.

God bless you, Fred.  And God help us. And let God remember that She 
is Argentinean(*) (something She forgot almost half a century ago 
never to remember it again, but what is half a century in Her 
Almighty time scale?), and make this guess real.

> Right now the imperialist-installed government is on a drive to crush
> the Lavalas Party of Aristide, including arresting Neptune, the prime
> minister under Aristide.  A wave of corruption trials which deserve no
> credence under this crooked government.
> Will the new occupation forces cover for this operation, or will they
> come into conflict with it?   How will they act toward pro-Aristide
> forces and protests? What will be their attitude to the possible return
> of Aristide to the country?  Will they establish collaboration with the
> armed rightists, stand back, or come into conflict with them over some
> matters?

These are serious questions, and the answer, as Fred says, is not 
prescribed in advance.  In fact, the answer will tell us a lot more 
on our Armed Forces than on our governments.  On this, Fred comments:

> Of course, the Argentine and Brazilian armies are institutions that are
> also prone to get around or away from civil government control.

Not now, not at all, and particularly so in the Arg case.  Much to 
the contrary, if there is a battlefield where the imperialists and 
the Arg establishment have _lost any ground_ are the Armed Forces, 
who very reasonably feel that they have been _used_ by the 
establishment after 1976, and afterwards were blamed for anything 
that happened then.  You can find the full text of a recent speech by 
Gral. Bendini, Commander in Chief of the Arg Army (in Spanish), which 
was delivered on the anniversary of the founder of the Argentinean 
National Oil Company, Gral. Mosconi, on the Reconquista-popular 
archives.  This is an overtly nationalist, industrialist and Latin-
Americanist speech, by the _official_ head of the Army, to an 
audience where there were many former "terrorists", such as Perdía, 
who in his times had been a Montonero "General".

The Argentinean Armed Forces, as an institution, are definitely 
interested in _having a country that can produce a government worth 
that name_ to follow its guidelines, either under civilian (but Menem 
was a civilian) or military command.  Please remember that the worst 
consequence of neoliberal practice has been the ellimination of the 
Argentinean State for any practical purpose.

The problem has little to do with observancy of Government's rules, 
but with observancy by the Arg/Bra govm'ts of imperialists' wishes. 
The Armed Forces will act within the (broad or narrow) path their own 
Govm'ts establish.  It will be interesting to see how much will they 
run against the orders they receive, if they do, and in what 
direction will this movement take place. 

> Conflicts could emerge between the governments and the commanders on the
> spot, who could be closer to Washington.

In fact, I guess that if a conflict arises, it will be exactly the 
other way round.  For example:  Argentinean Army officers who went 
for vacation in Brazil during the Brazilian elections came back with 
Lula T-shirts.  And there is a strong pro-Chávez feeling among young 
officers today.

> It seems to me that alertness on the part of progressive and
> working-class fighters in Argentina and Brazil can affect the situation.

Partly so.  Some are working in this sense.  But it will not be 
through (squalid) mass rallies against FTAA, etc., that this 
influence will be positive, in Arg at least.

> These are governments that want to be seen at home as resisting
> Washington, as solidarizing with Venezuela and Cuba against US pressure.

The Arg government not only "wants to be seen at home as resisting".  
Whatever one can say about Kirchner (and believe me there are lots of 
things one could say on a serious critical standing), he has 
repeatedly demonstrated that, at least on the strictly political, he 
_is_ not "resisting" but simply "not submitting" to Washington's 

These days, there has been a very interesting showdown.  Yesterday, 
the _Clarin_ newspaper and media group (now, partly owned by the same 
Mr. Cisneros who organized the coup against Chávez) published an 
enormous headline: "US worried about piqueteros in Argentina".  There 
is a permanent hammering of the media (which for the time being have 
taken the place of the right-wing political parties after the 
neoliberal experience deprived the latter of any reach among the mass 
of the population) on the "personal safety" issue, and a permanent 
attempt to criminalize the road blockers ("piqueteros") that, BTW, 
receives a good deal of impulse by silly actions by the "hardline" 
piqueteros (one sometimes would even ask if their leaders aren't on 
someone's payroll, but no, Argentinean "progressives" and "leftists" 
are silly enough to do it for free, out of "convictions").  This 
headline was the cherry on top of the ice cream.

The reaction by the Government was excellent.  President Kirchner and 
some ministers (Foreign Relations Minister Bielsa included) are now 
on a trip to China (which, BTW, is very important for us in loosening 
the grip of American imperialists on Argentina). Under orders from 
Kirchner, Bielsa immediately disclosed the "secret source" of the 
_Clarín_ group as being no other than Roger Noriega, a man who is 
"always making bombastic declarations against us exactly when 
Argentina is negotiating with the IMF the terms of our agreements".  
He also expressed the "disgust" of Argentina and he requested that 
these "inadmissible intromissions" stop at once and for ever.  He 
also requested a declaration of the American Embassy on the issue, 
which the Embassy did not emit up to this moment because "the sources 
have not been identified officially as being Noriega".  At the same 
time, Arg Secretary General for the Presidency, Alberto Fernández (a 
man of the closest entourage of Kirchner) openly suggested the 
American Government to look at the problems they had with Iraq not to 
look at the problems Arg Govm't may have with the piqueteros.

A couple of days before the _Clarín_ headline, BTW, a social 
organizer of the La Boca neighborhood in Buenos Aires had been 
murdered in a confuse episode where the local police unit had 
evidently a lot to do.  [BTW: this episode I know very well, because 
not only I live in La Boca, also my political organization is very 
active here and we had links with the murdered organizer, Martín "Oso 
[Bear]" Cisneros.]

Outraged neighbors took by assault the police station, in order to 
ensure the killer would not escape justice with coverage by the 
Police.  The media, again, raised the issue that all these things 
could not be admitted any more.  Kirchner, from faraway China, simply 
retorted that he would not "repress people with this easy-triggered 
police", and had the whole staff of the La Boca police station 
removed (the Buenos Aires City police, a Federal District police, 
depend on the national government, not a local authority).

On the more material ground, things are more complex.  The Kirchner 
regime has NOT confronted frontally the imperialists.  But it looks 
like he is side-stepping them, in a Liddelhartian tactics.  It is 
almost a miracle that with the slim and flimsy social base he can 
summon, Kirchner is carrying on even this little flattering policy.  
I think that Chávez, for example, is very well aware of what is 
happening here, and thus he is giving full support to Kirchner, even 
against Arg  mainstream leftists' wishes.

> The possibility  exists of pressuring them to seek the same image with
> their role in Haiti, or at least of exposing and embarrassing them if
> they don't.

In Argentina, this possibility is not as big as you may imagine, 
Fred.  But yes, it exists, and we shall use it.  I agree with you in 

> the fact that Washington is pulling troops out of Haiti
> doesn't reflect so much confidence that Argentina and Brazil will do the
> job for them, but weakness and vulnerability stemming from the great and
> unexpected resistance they ran into in Iraq.  

although not because 

> They are afraid that US
> troops reconstructing a "new" US-designed Haiti would become not an
> effective terrorizing force but a tempting target for local
> anti-imperialist militants.

Their concern seems to be more that they would have to confront an 
extremely hard environment in the hemispheric relations which would 
ultimately play in favor of the nationalist trends in L. A.

> So I don't think we should assume we know what will happen in Haiti,
> including what the role of Argentina and Brazil will be.

Wise words, though I am not sure if wiser than the closing ones ("And 
the people of the three countries may well have something to say 
about it.")

Let us be optimistic on this issue, but by no means Panglossian.

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 
"Sí, una sola debe ser la patria de los sudamericanos".
Simón Bolívar al gobierno secesionista y disgregador de 
Buenos Aires, 1822
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

More information about the Marxism mailing list