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Latin America: Holodomor Made in the US

Nil Nikandrov -
January 29, 2010
Latin America: Holodomor Made in the US
The US readily resorts to famine as a weapon against defiant regimes. The economic blockade against Cuba imposed by Washington in 1962 was an outrageous attempt to starve the nation. The Cuban delegation said at the 62th UN General Assembly: “The economic, and financial, embargo imposed by the United states against Cuba 50 years ago is the most elevated expression of a cruel and inhuman policy, lacking in legality and legitimacy and deliberately designed to create hunger, illnesses and desperation within the Cuban populace”.

The US attempted to realize a complex of covert operations meant to provoke hungry mutinies in Venezuela. After the failure of the 2002 coup intended to overthrow H. Chavez, Washington greenlihgted a multiple-stage operation aimed at inducing shortages of basic foodstuffs in the country. Vegetable oil, maize, corn, eggs, sugar, beef, milk, and coffee could not be found on store shelves while the opposition-controlled media were waging an intimidation campaign.

The Bush administration exerted enormous pressure on the Venezuelan food market's foreign suppliers forcing them to withdraw despite the existence of already signed contracts and the payments that had already been transferred to them. Venezuela's major agricultural companies were also involved in the conspiracy.

The US criticism of the Chavez regime was enriched with a new theme – Washington charged that Chavez was starving his own nation in the name of his socialist project. In a clear fit of wishful thinking, US Secretary of State C. Rice mentioned hungry mutinies in Venezuela, but Washington's plan to trigger famine in the country failed. Chavez issued a clear warning to agricultural companies and retailers that those guilty of deliberately disrupting food supplies would face nationalization. As the result, all the allegedly missing foodstuffs could easily be bought at marketplaces if not in stores even at the highest point of the virtual Holodomor. Bush's hawkish onslaught on international suppliers also produced no result – Chavez's petrodollars outweighed the US threats.

Increasingly, famine is evolving into a recurrent problem in the countries of the continent which have – since the Cold War epoch till nowadays – been packed into the US sphere of vital interests. Currently, populations endure critical food shortages in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Columbia, Peru, and Haiti. Surf the Internet briefly and you will see: famine is spreading vastly over the continent. Occasionally, Western media say that Nicaragua and Ecuador are also starving. The US propaganda avoids mentioning the fact that the two countries survived the shock of neo-liberal economic reforms prior to switching to the “populist” camp, and the governments of D. Ortega and R. Correa are still struggling with the consequences of the ruthless experimentation.

Washington is demonstratively concerned that the governments in a number of Latin American countries ignore the task of ensuring the food security of their nations and overly rely on US assistance. The emergence of the so-called corridors of famine in Latin America, where crop failures and drought hit extensive geographic areas, provides the US with additional pretexts for interventions.

The case of Guatemala, where famine killed at least 500 people recently and President A. Colom had to introduce the emergency rule, is indicative of the trend.

Imagine the emotionally-loaded scene: US Ambassador to Guatemala Stephen McFarland in hospital, visiting Indian children who survived thanks to the US baby-food donations. Here is another episode: McFarland is personally helping to distribute food packages among malnutritioned Guatemalans. Everything fits with the rules of the advertising genre: the sad face of an exhausted Indian gets lit with a smile when he grabs the desired package, and words of gratitude to the US are pronounced. A whole wall of neat bags with the USAID logo and containing beans and rice to be distributed is shown. This type of activity is routine for US Ambassadors in Latin America: currently USAID and the US Department of Agriculture are heavily involved with the Guatemala and Honduras corridors. Guatemala, where land was owned by oligarchic clans and US corporations, undertook a major agrarian reform under President J. Arbenz, but the US branded him a communist and organized an opposition invasion which displaced him. The new regime immediately reversed Arbenz's agrarian reform. The same scenario is currently unfolding in Honduras: US puppet P. Lobo is going to scrap the agriculture modernization plans of the overthrown “populist” M. Zelaya which he planned to implement jointly with the ALBA countries.

The overall result is the survival of rudiments of colonialism in agriculture up to the very early XXI century. Washington resisted attempts to modernize the agrarian sectors in Guatemala and other Central American countries as its profit-yielding alliance with local oligarchic groups has been time tested and cemented during joint offensive against leftist groups. The advent of a new generation of politicians may threaten the unchecked US dominance. Due to the reasons, Washington prefers to make point donations but to impede serious agriculture reforms, which is the traditional short-leash tactic of famine-based blackmail.

At the early phase of his presidency, Guatemala's A. Colom gravitated to the populist cohort of Latin American leaders and even visited Havana to meet R. Castro and to pass the Order of the Quetzal, the top Guatemalan order, to Fidel. However, the limits of Colom's independence were reached at this point. Confronted by Washington with the dilemma – to be ousted as his Honduran peer or to act as the empire wanted him to, he promptly capitulated. As a reward, Washington gave Guatemala $15 mln to ease the burden of the food crisis. Currently Colom is in every respect an exemplary ally of the US, and bases of opposition to the “populist” regimes” disguised as anti-drug centers are being established in Guatemala. Colom's “friendship” with Obama did not lift some 50% of Guatemalans out of total poverty – beans and corn harvest forecasts for 2010 are alarming and the people are on the brink of starvation.

Career CIA officer and part-time Ambassador McFarland can act freely in Guatemala. He had to keep a low profile when he served as the envoy to Venezuela, knowing that Chavez would not tolerate any forms of meddling and dictate. In Guatemala McFarland keeps lecturing – with a thinly veiled sense of superiority - about governance and fighting famine. He says famine, a chronic phenomenon in Guatemala, is also a moral issue and a threat to political and socioeconomic stability, and its time the society and the government mobilize resources to fight it. McFarland advises to pay special attention to pregnant and lactating women and to children who need help even more than other.

Analyzing the problem of famine in Latin America, experts in many cases conclude that the US elite safeguarding the interests of the “golden billion” is putting into practice the Malthusian recipe of getting rid of the “excessive” population. The latter includes the urban lows, peasants without land, Indians, and, of course, Blacks. The instruments of getting rid of them are wars, pandemics, guided natural disasters, and the artificially provoked famine. The US is already implementing massive projects of the kind.