…chile, today and yesterday; its future for tpp…

…looking forward as an incriminating past awaits…

Today, Sunday, 17 November 2013 elections are being held in Chile. Participating in these elections are three people whose names will highlight to the world the role of the US in the region. The names of Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon will be remembered, and not only for Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos – as it was on 11 September 1973 that the government of the democratically-elected President Salvador Allende was overthrown and the President murdered. Thousands would be tortured or killed (desaparecidos), criminality with which General Pinochet’s principal supporter, the US was at least fully aware.

On that episode, a former US General and then Secretary of State, Colin Powell, in 2003 would make this blithe statement in response to a student’s question,

‘…With respect to your earlier comment about Chile in the 1970s and what happened with Mr. Allende, it is not a part of American history that we’re proud of. We now have a more accountable way of handling such matters and we have worked with Chile to help it put in place a responsible democracy…’


That day, 20 Feb 2003, would be the time the former General would be stating categorically to the audience that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and was prepared to use them, and argue, perversely, that the US had used atomic weapons to end World War II. Of course, not many would agree that the ‘US worked with Chile  to help it put in place a responsible democracy’. And that utterance, ‘…it is not a part of American history that we’re proud of…’ would lead only the incurious to conclude that the Secretary of State, ‘the good soldier’, was referring to some US-instigated brawl at which there were just a few bloody noses. What emerges is an unapologetic, arrogant sense of impunity for egregious criminal behaviour, totally unbecoming (or hypocritical) of a country that denounces and publishes annual reports on human rights violations.

An eye witness then, Hugh O’Shaughnessy of The Guardian gives the retrospective of that fateful year, 1973, with Chilean coup: 40 years ago I watched Pinochet crush a democratic dream. Also in The Guardian, Ariel Dorfman condenses the elections and the implications neatly with, Chile elections: three candidates, three fathers and an awful lot of history. The profile of each candidate infuses life into the past, thrusting the US and its foreign policy back into the revealing and unflattering spotlight.

In what would seem bitter irony, Prof William K Black sketches out a role for Chile to save the US from itself, from the machinations of the corporations and the US government in the inimical Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In fact, as lead negotiator for Chile, Rodrigo Contreras had struck the first blow for citizens when he had resigned his position out of concern for the direction of the negotiations. As Prof Black sees it in his, Will the Chilean People Save the U.S. by Electing Michelle Bachelet?,

… President Obama has continued and made worse the effort of President Bush to betray our nation, our democracy, and our people through the secret, draft Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.  In this first column on TPP I explain that while there is no realistic chance of convincing Obama to repudiate the TPP, there is a chance that the people of Chile will save our democracy and our national sovereignty…

In other words, with her very likely second-time around as President of Chile, Dr Bachelet can save not only Chile, but also the US and other Pacific countries from the assault on their sovereignty by colluding transnational corporations. Dr Bachelet, as Prof Black states, can, by rejecting and officially making public the draft TPP, also highlight the exclusion from consideration treatment of the disease, Chagas, an exclusion sought explicitly by the US ‘team’ and endorsed by its collaborating allies, Peru, Mexico, and, up to now, Chile.   On Chagas, Prof Black observes,

…The combination of indifference to the victims of Chagas disease and depravity of trying to prevent governments making available low or no-cost medicines to the victims – an action that will lead to many more victims (including tens of thousands of American victims) is so obscene that it brings to mind what lawyers consider the most perfect and deserved legal insult.

Clearly, he is not amused. And WikiLeaks, with its leak of the draft chapter on Intellectual Property (IP) rights, substantiates long-held suspicions and justifies the need for outrage and action against the conspiracy against human rights and human dignity, and against the independence of sovereign nation-states. The TPP is being designed in secret for the exclusive benefit of transnational corporations.

And for the US the beleaguered middle- and low-income groups who are still paying the high cost of the financial crisis (and war addiction) will experience the consequences, if TPP is passed, even more so than those in many other countries — still no consolation to any of these groups.

Again, two articles from The Guardian, a blog post at new economic perspectives, and an excerpt on IP rights from WikiLeaks provide sufficient evidence of the agenda of establishment media that steers clear of such untidy issues, and the increasing irrelevance of those media. And so much for those great expectations of the first ‘post-racial’ President of the US, as it has become apparent that it is a president acquiescent to the requests of corporate (and military) special interests, a corporate Presidency, populist facade laid bare.

The new day is dawning, no false dawn…

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