Citing widespread discontent with governments across Latin America, US Secretary of State, Collin Powell urged for political and economic reforms over the region. At the Council of Americas conference in Washington, a number of US officials criticised countries from Venezuela to Colombia on lack of confidence on their democratic institutions and from Argentina to Brazil for not implementing drastic economic measures to follow IMF advice.
On the other hand, Powell congratulated Mexico, Chile, El Salvador and Uruguay for their economic reforms to introduce neo – liberal policies toward a complete opening of their economies. Exactly as the previous US administration did with Argentina, Peru and Ecuador, only five years ago.
However, the worst complaints from the “Big Daddy” were, once again, for Argentina and Venezuela. The first one punished for declaring default on part of its public debt five months ago and the second one for not following US foreign policy as close as it should.
“What good is democracy if your life is not better?”, expressed Mr. Powell. However, a cautious newspapers reader might say that the answer for this question could be on President Bush actions: then, sweep away with democracy. He only has to remember the frustrated coup in Venezuela and the confessed participation of the White House in it.
As concerning the economic crisis in Argentina, Collin Powell said that flaws in country’s political and institutional system are the reason for the block on new financial aid. Bush’s administration expressed its wish to help Argentina, but only after a deep reform on its structures. However, the answer to this statements did not come from the weakened Argentina, but from Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who expressed to a Sao Paulo’s radio station that the International Credit Institutions do not care about Argentine’s doom.
Again, Washington is looking at Latin America without innocent eyes. At this moment, a fierce anti – Lula campaign has been launched from the most powerful global financial institutions, warning investors not to trust in Brazil. The reason, the almost certain success of the leftist candidate to win the race for the presidency of the eighth largest economy in the world.
The eagle has just started its flight. That is not good news for a region that knows, from its recent history, what can wait from its powerful Northern neighbour.
Hernan Etchaleco PRAVDA. Ru Argentina