Centre for Research on GlobalisationCentre de recherche sur la mondialisation
With the news that the American government has insisted that the Oslo-born Palestinian Authority now proceed with the democratic electoral process, restructure its executive, judicial and security systems to pass U.S./Israeli muster (in order to be supported in their drive for nationhood), one is forced to examine how the U.S. has behaved in other aspects of the international arena, and if the principles of "democracy", "human rights", and an absence of corruption in government were guiding American foreign relations, or something else was at stake.
Let us examine therefore, the U.S. role in the events occuring in her neighbor to the South, the Latin American nation of Peru. If we were to look at Peru's last two decades, would we see that the US has been on the side of "democracy", "human rights", or against state corruption?
During the Fujimori years, the President engaged in many controversial, and questionable acts, but he is perhaps best-known, at least in Peruvian eyes, for what they have termed the "autogolpe" (or self-coup) of April 5, 1992, when Alberto Fujimori suspended the Constitution, and dissolved the Peruvian Congress. When Fujimori did this, it was in the name of fighting "terrorism", the name the government and its media assigned to the indigenous Indian-led insurgency emblemized by Sendero Luminoso ("Shining Path"). At the time, the bourgeois press lauded Fujimori, and American corporate, political and military leaders sang his praises.
Today, the President (who is now a fugitive from Peruvian justice), his top advisor, Vladimiro Montesinos, and some 50 other top government and military leaders from the Fujimori regime, are referred to by present government leaders as a "mafia", who used the Western financial trend towards "privatization" and "globalism" to enrich themselves, and to impoverish the Peruvian working and middle classes.
Peruvian government investigator Oscar Ugarteche, speaking in an interview published in the NACLA Report, outlined the target of his investigation:
"Fujimori and Montesinos were an integral part of a mafia which acted together to commit crimes; they protected themselves by passing unconstitutional laws; this was covered over with the language of modernization favored by international agencies and which served to dismantle a fragile state for the benefit of just a few economic actors. We're also investigating the possibility that a criminal mafia was created and that what we had was a 'narcostate,' but it's premature to say that definitively." [NACLA Report, (Jan/Feb'02)]
Ugarteche claims that over $1.8 billion of that privatization money was funneled back to Montesinos, as well as the former economics minister, and various generals, as part of a vast kickback scheme. Peru has set up the Investigative Commission on Economic Crimes to look into the scandal.
But what about the role of the US? Does Ugarteche think the Americans knew about such widespread corruption?:
"North American officials must have known about the corruption that was happening because we Peruvians knew about it. We knew that the April 5, 1992 coup [...] was linked to drug trafficking and arms trafficking. We all knew about Montesinos' past links with this kind of thing. We all knew besides about his relations with the CIA since 1974. That's to say that if the State Department didn't know about it, it's because they didn't ask the CIA about it the moment the coup happened. This gives the impression that they did know about it and it didn't matter to them because Fujimori and Montesinos were going to stop inflation and terrorism and because they were, in the words of a U.S. president speaking of a dictator of the 1930s, 'our sons of bitches' -- as were Manuel Noreiga, Saddam Hussein and so many others who eventually ended up as enemies of the United States." [NACLA Report, (Jan/Feb'02), pp. 42-43]
In the name of "fighting terrorism", and in the interests of "global modernization", the nation of Peru was dealt a severe blow, not from the "terrorists", but from the government itself. The cancer of corruption has tainted every sector of the state, from the very highest levels. Tens of thousands of innocent people were cast into the nation's dungeons by hooded judges, military tribunals, and a suspension of the nation's Constitution (with the approval of many in the merchant, and media class!). Doubtless, many thousands of innocents remain there today.
The very media that once lauded Fujimori's "bold" reforms now denounces him as part of a "mafia" that ravished the nation.
And during that dark, tortured period in the life of a nation, where did the U.S. stand? In defense of democracy, for the rule of law, for the human rights of all Peruvians -- even against its own government? Or in defense of a dictator?
This government's approval and applause during Fujimori's ascent should give one pause as it presently poses as the defender of human rights, open government, and democracy when it comes to Palestine. Indeed, in light of the harrowing simularities, it should give us all pause.
Copyright Mumia Abu-Jamal. All rights reserved. © 2002. For fair use only
The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/ABU207A.html