A continent whose people have a rich, recent history of being victims of land-grabbing, environmental plundering and vicious union busting is being fought over with ‘soft power’.
A great crash-course article at McClatchy from Christian Science Montior reporters Sara Miller Llana and Andrew Downie runs down the interests foreign governments are pursuing in South America:
- The second BRIC Summit—a quickly emerging economic alliance between Brazil, Russia, India and China that could completely reshape global finance and monetary policy like no other—recently met in Brazil. A key objective has been brainstorming strategies to dump the toxic U.S. dollar;
- “China’s huge appetite for soy and iron ore” and becoming “Brazil’s No. 1 trading partner in 2009, taking the spot from the U.S., with trade between the two surging from $6.7 billion in 2003 to $36.1 billion last year, according to Brazilian government figures”;
- Russia discussing “deals on nuclear energy, space and transportation, among other things” in Argentina as “Russia boosts arms sales to Venezuela and others in the region”—deals with Venezuela reportedly worth $5bn;
- Iran has received boosted support for its nuclear program as peaceful from Brazil, Venezuela and Bolivia, to name a few;
- Soon after the U.S., with little other than brute force to offer governments, signed a major military deal with Brazil, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is on a “Latin American Tour”. Most likely, pointing proverbial guns sending a ‘we’ve got our eyes on you—all of you’ message.
Rising indigenous resistance have put pressure on governments—most notably to relatively radically reform them in Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador—but Amazonians are in the midst of violent conflicts over land, resource grabs. In Colombia, people in masses are being ‘displaced’ and labor movements are largely repressed by brute force—a country backed more by the U.S. government than any other country in the hemisphere.
Given the major fail of the global markets dominated by paper, the resource-rich South America will be a must-watch region as governments—domestic and foreign—motion to further loot the people by extremely forceful means. That said, grassroots organization is probably also most efficient in that region than anywhere else in the world.