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“Reworking” Latin America: The political elimination of progressive governments

Four decades after the massive repression and coups carried out in South America, history is repeating itself though different methods are being used to destabilize governments: psychological warfare, media campaigns and the encouragement of street violence, public unrest and social disobedience.

 

Carmen Esquivel

 

False accusations and media campaigns are being used against Latin American governments and leaders to force them out of office in what many consider a reworking of the Condor Plan because the objectives are the same albeit using different methods.

The similarly named Operation Condor, a kind of transnational criminal operation, was implemented in Latin America’s southern cone between the 1970s and 1980s by military regimes under the auspices of the United States to eliminate opponents mainly of the left.

But whilst at that time attempts would be made to silence voices using murder, torture and enforced disappearance, nowadays many other methods are being used to put opponents out of action politically. “A new Condor Plan is under way in the region,” warned Ecuadorian ex-President Rafael Correa and he explained that now attempts are being made to discredit former presidents with false allegations of corruption to destroy their reputations and leave them out of the electoral game.

The most recent case is that of the founder of Brazil’s Workers Party (PT), Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, imprisoned by order of a judge of first instance, Sergio Moro, after a court had sentenced him to 12 years and one month in prison for alleged corruption without presenting any evidence or any witnesses capable of incriminating him.

Lula’s arrest led to a wave of condemnation in the region where political leaders announced that the real reason for the prosecution of the former Brazilian president was to prevent him from entering another electoral race for the presidency in October.

Up until now, and in spite of his illegal imprisonment, the PT founder has dominated the opinion polls, with a wide advantage over far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro.

The persecution of Lula constitutes a new phase in the judicial-parliamentary coup mounted by the Brazilian Senate in 2016 against President Dilma Rousseff who they accused of an alleged breach of fiscal rules and duly impeached.

This type of ‘soft’ or ‘gentle’ coup, because military force is not used, had already been used in 2012 in Paraguay against the then-President Fernando Lugo who was removed from office through a so-called express trial instigated by the opposition in Parliament.

Asked about the attack on progressive governments in Latin America, Bolivian President Evo Morales said that the region is facing a second Condor Plan, only now it is being carried out with judicial coups.

“When a left-wing president or government that opposes thieving policies appears on the scene, that is when these kinds of coups emerge,” Evo warned on his Twitter account.

The Bolivian leader himself was the focus in 2015 of a media war, whose objective it was to damage the epicentre of the process of change.

Using a campaign of lies, attempts were made to tarnish the image of Bolivia’s first indigenous head of state, despite the profound changes that had been made in the country since his arrival in office.

President Morales has indicated that OAS Secretary General, Luis Almagro, is behind the plans against progressive and left-wing governments.

The Secretary General of the OAS is using this Pan-American organisation as a platform for permanently attacking Venezuela, promoting sanctions against it, ignoring its electoral process and even encouraging foreign intervention, as evidenced at the last Summit of the Americas, held in Lima.

The reworking in Latin America of methods used in the past to generate chaos and violence and excuses for US intervention, is also a subject that has been broached by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

For some experts, there is similarity between the dirty war waged against the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela and what the El Mercurio newspaper in Chile did between 1970 and 1973 against the democratically elected government of President Salvador Allende. (PL)

(Translated by Nigel Conibear – DipTrans IoLET MCIL – nigelconibear@gmail.com) – Photos Pixabay

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