One of the most fascinating (and underreported) stories of the millenium has been the outbreak of democracy all over Latin America despite the best efforts of George W. Bush.
And a good way for the uninformed (such as I) to keep up with these developments is to visit BoRev.Net, which offers flip but deadly serious “dispatches from the Bolivarian revolution.”
An excerpt from today’s dispatch:
Special Rapporteur Philip Alston just wrapped up a 10-day United Nations investigation into the hundreds (thousands?) of innocent Colombians murdered by the military to meet government kill quotas. The report is out, and it’s devastating. The Uribe administration naturally still claims that most of the dead were a real live guerilla rebels, but duh they’re just lying:
Posted by Jerome Doolittle at June 19, 2009 02:40 PM
‘The evidence that shows victims wearing newly ironed camouflage garments or wearing field boots four sizes bigger than their feet, or left-handed individuals holding a pistol in their right hand … negate even more the suggestion that they were guerrillas killed in combat.’’
The U.N. found that the murders were “more or less systematic,” not the actions of a few bad apples, and that the government has pretty much refused to punish the culprits, choosing instead to harass human rights workers who talk about it publically…
Another good source for the history of Latin America and America's involvement there is the book that everyone should read. Naomi Klein's bestseller "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" outlines many of our "experiments" in Latin America. She also goes into detail about how many of these countries have learned to resist US advice and attempts at leading these countries into restructuring their economies, inevitably with disastrous human consequence. Klein traces the roots of the theory behind our meddling in Latin American affairs to Milton Friedman, whose philosophy was essentially "you must destroy the countries humane infrastructures to save it". Of course we've heard a similar statement to that one in Vietnam before (Klein doesn't use that terminology but I think it fits nicely into part of the Friedman philosophy). Klein's book is researched with care and is meticulously documented. As far as I know no one has been able to make any progress at impeaching her on the facts she has presented in the book. But for anyone seeking more knowledge on the history of US involvement in Latin America and other countries all over the globe, Klein's book is a revelation. However, it may leave you quite depressed as it seems to imply that the experiments are brought home and used in this country more than most of us realize. New Orleans and the surrounding coastal areas is one recent example of how policy makers have used a disaster to "remake" an area and turn it into something that is unrecognizable from it's former self after the process is completed.