Sunday, December 16, 2007

Aren't Fascists Cool?

...apparently the "liberal" New York Times thinks so.

Members of Union Juvenil Crucenista enforce a general strike in Santa Cruz
(Photo Source-Santa Cruz's Awesomist Lesbian Blogger)

Yesterday the NY Times published on its third page a full page article, "Bolivians Now Hear Ominous Tones in Call to Arms" about Bolivia and conflict over the new Constitution and regional autonomy. Awesome opportunity to enlighten Americans about this fascinating and exotic country, Bolivia, and its current popular politics, ...right. Except the NY Times sent their very own laziest Latin America foreign correspondent Simon Romero, based in Caracas where he normally spends time signing off libelous anti-Chavez propaganda after Martinis to get the inside scoop in Santa Cruz, Bolivia on all this autonomy talk that's floating around.

Simon Romero, NYTimes

The result as you would expect is a misrepresentation of current events and their political implications. Somehow Romero manages to interview the resurgent Bolivian Socialist Falange, labeling them a "right-wing group", ahem, actually you meant fascist!, and the Union Juvenil Crucenista staging a "hunger strike" in Santa Cruz's central plaza for departmental autonomy and to protest the constitution's approval without noticing their violent tactics all around him- like when these pacifist "hunger strikers" somehow found the physical strength to beat the shit out of an apolitical ex-miner sullying their plaza by being too brown. Instead Romero entertains these delusional racist sentiments through the "diversity" of the hand full of brainwashed and uncle tom indigenous participants, not representative of the actual indigenous organizations and leaders banded together in the eastern lowland indigenous confederation CIDOB, who were actually staging a counter-protest to departmental autonomy and for indigenous autonomy the day Romero filed his report with the Times! Opps, just happen to have missed that.

Of course, the article justifies these rightist fanatics for their opposition to a constitution that gives more power to the president Evo Morales (huh? Has he read the fucking text, NO!) and was "rushed" without opposition presence in Oruro because of disturbances by "street protests" in Sucre- oh, you mean fascist student youth (similar to those in Valenzuela, hmm, what's the connection?) assaulting assembly delegates and attacking police guarding the assembly with Molotov cocktails and small arms with the support of the city's conservative business and civic leaders. Instead, Santa Cruz has its illegitimate "Autonomy Statute" passed by the "Provisional Autonomy Assembly". When the fuck were they elected by popular vote? oh, that would be never.

Naturally the article does not mention the massive pro-constitution marches simultaneously taking place in La Paz or interview anyone from the MAS government. Instead, balance is provided by an interview with the naive American! Jim Shultz of the Democracy Center NGO who happens to think Evo Morales should put through progressive reforms without "empowering his political movement". Yeah, maybe if we just beg, ask real hard, be nice, and compromise our core positions the ruling capitalist elite will just roll over and give the people what they want. Oh I forgot, that's the Democratic party's strategy in the US, it's working well, I swear.

To Romero's credit, he at least mentions the issue of control over natural gas exploitation, but subsumes its class and racial implications in the western hemisphere's most indigenous and second poorest country in favor of memories of historical regional divisions, parroting Bolivian rightist and corporate press discourse. The one bit of sane insight into the complexity that is Bolivia is provided by the only pro-government voice at the end of the piece, an "indigenous land activist" (the issue of land ownership is not mentioned once previously throughout the entire article) in stating, "The elite would prefer us to be in reservations or on wall paintings, as in the United States. We are not about to let that happen."

1 comment:

Pf said...

I just discovered this blog through a friend. Its great to see people writing about what is really happening here in Bolivia.

This is an excellent piece critiquing the truly appalling coverage of Bolivia in the international press and the mis-representation of the situation by some political anyalists. By making fascism a respectable "right wing" movement they are given a voice to do whatever they want to do. And by failing to mention the pro-constitution rally in La Paz, the NY Times has once again shown that balanced and accurate coverage of a situation is far beyond their reach.

¡Abajo Fascismo!