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A Clash of Civilisations


Morales supporters celebrate the recent referendum victoryOn September 9, Bolivian government minister Alfredo Rada announced that “a coup against the unity of the country and democracy” had been initiated in the Latin American country.

This statement was made in response to an escalating situation of street violence, intimidation and vandalism by armed gangs. These gangs support the governors of five Bolivian states who refuse to observe the outcome of a recall referendum that president Evo Morales won in August with 67 per cent of the vote.

Those behind the violence are also against the reforms that the Morales government has undertaken since his Movement towards Socialism (MAS) took power in December 2005.

These limited reforms have revolved around moves towards the nationalisation of natural resources, the eradication of illiteracy and the provision of comprehensive health care for all Bolivians.

That the people of Bolivia might actually share in the wealth of Bolivia seems to be unacceptable to the fascist gangs: Bolivia is the poorest country per capita GDP in south America but also possesses some of the continent’s largest gas reserves. It is a country where egregious wealth lives cheek-by-jowl with grinding poverty.

Blame for the continuing coup attempt in Bolivia has been laid squarely at the feet of the US by Morales and has resulted in the expulsions of the US ambassadors to both Bolivia and Venezuela. The Bolivian government has directly accused ambassador Philip Goldberg of meeting with the five rebel governors in order to co-ordinate their attempt at secession from Bolivia.

Last week’s discovery by Venezuelan intelligence of a planned coup in that country also clearly indicates the level of danger and threat that a financially and militarily rocked US imperialism continues to pose at this time.

Speaking in response to the developing situation, Hugo Chavez was firm in his view that: “It's the empire that's behind this. They go around looking for a way to stop our revolution and, with it, to strike all the processes of change that are occurring in our Americas, in the Caribbean, in Central America.”

The provocation emanating from the White House and the Pentagon has been a constant and complicating factor that the Venezuelans and Bolivians have had to deal with throughout the course of their respective revolutionary processes. It has been building over the recent past and the violence in Bolivia, which resulted in the deaths on September 11 of between 30 and 70 pro-government peasants in the Pando region, is a very worrying development.

ALBA has offered an alternative vision for Latin AmericaIf the Venezuelan coup plan had not been frustrated also, then, doubtless, we would have seen more innocent blood spilt in that country too.

These events and the expressions of support and solidarity for Bolivia and Venezuela that have emanated from other Latin American countries as a consequence, including Cuba, Honduras, Ecuador, Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, demonstrate the extent to which relations between the United States and many countries of the southern American continent have deteriorated to a point as low as it has been in many years.

They also demonstrate that the US is intent on making new moves towards greater influence over south American energy sources. As the global crisis of capitalism becomes more pronounced, the behaviour of the US internationally will become more erratic and desperate.

The US military’s 2008 Army Modernization Strategy is quite open about the fact that its future security concerns will be greatly influenced by the reality of having to “compete globally for depleting natural resources and overseas markets”.

What these general developments also clearly show is that Latin America is once again rising to cast off the yoke of its long-standing oppressor and attempting to forge ahead with the shaping of its own destiny.

The Bolivian and Venezuelan revolutions demand the support of all freedom loving peoples. They are examples to all of what can be achieved when a people come together to work to develop a functioning, healthy society that uses its wealth in the interest of the people.

The type of society they are intent on creating is a world away from that which capitalism and imperialism produces. Capitalism is war without end and the daily exploitation of humanity.

As Marx clearly understood, ultimately there is only one choice facing the people that inhabit this earth. It is a choice facing the people of Bolivia, of Venezuela, of the USA, and yes, of Ireland.

It is the choice between socialism and barbarism.


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“If you strike at, imprison, or kill us, out of our prisons or graves we will still evoke a spirit that will thwart you, and perhaps, raise a force that will destroy you! We defy you! Do your worst!”