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John Perkins: Rafael Correa is in danger

From the man who wrote Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, which among other things treats of his own experiences in Ecuador, a warning to the current president of that country: Watch your back! The jackals are circling!

Video in Spanish. Story from Aporrea:

John Perkins, former economist for the World Bank, revealed that during his time in office, he had to persuade and corrupt politicians so that their countries would hand over lucrative projects to US-based businesses. He also confirmed that the former president of Ecuador, Jaime Roldos, and that of Panama, Omar Torrijos, were assassinated and did not die in accidental plane crashes. He also warned that the life of President Rafael Correa is in danger.

"We economic hit men would arrive in country, saying 'Great! You can't pay your debt', so now they had to do us a favor, namely selling their petroleum to our companies at a low price, or vote with us in the United Nations, or let us put a US military base in their country, such as Manta in Ecuador, and that's how we built this global empire, the first in the world," said Perkins.

Perkins explained that when he or his colleagues could not complete their mission, the so-called "jackals", or assassins, would spring into action. Examples of this, he said, were Jaime Roldos of Ecuador and Omar Torrijos of Panama.

"I knew that if I failed, the 'jackals' would step in to assassinate, and that's what happened," Perkins told an interviewer for the news program "Contextos", on Telemundo.

[...]

He also assured that the same rules apply today, which is why he considers that the life of President Rafael Correa, a progressive, is in danger.

"I'm very afraid of what could happen to Rafael Correa. I believe his life is in peril," Perkins said.

As to why the life of Rafael Correa is in danger and not that of Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, Perkins said: "In the United States, I believe, they are very afraid of Hugo Chavez, because Venezuela has so much to provide and we will be needing more and more of it in the US, and Venezuela is very important for us. For this reason we have to tread softly and be careful of Hugo Chavez. By contrast, I believe Ecuador is not as important, because it doesn't have as much petroleum, and a president like Rafael Correa could become an example."

Translation mine.

Anyone who's been following events in either country could tell you that the US hasn't been exactly shy about trying to get Chavecito out of power one way or another. There have, indeed, been attempts on his life; the coup of '02 was the biggest, and the most spectacular flop, since the soldiers assigned to execute him refused to shoot. He was just on the verge of being spirited out of the country (where, no doubt, a foreign assassin would have had less trouble finishing him off) when the people rose up and rebelled, demanding their elected president back, and thoroughly rejecting the US-backed businessman who had declared himself president (dictator, really--let's be painfully honest.)

But Perkins does have a good point here: Rafael Correa presides over a country which, while oil-rich, is not nearly as much so as Venezuela. He's made loud noises about his opposition to US hegemony and neoliberal economics; he plans to close the US military base at Manta, the only one in South America, which has served as an operational headquarters for the domination of the entire continent. And the assassination of Correa could well be intended as an example to the people of Ecuador from the US State Department: you vote our way, or this is what you can expect from now on. Your collective will counts for nothing. Our business interests and military installations are everything.

And right now, Correa is in a delicate spot: He's just completed his first year in office, and has high approval ratings. The people have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a constitutional assembly which will rewrite the currently very corrupted, outer-directed magna carta of Ecuador. And while it is in session, the Constituent Assembly will supplant the Ecuadorian congress, which is still dominated by the old guard and vehemently opposed to Correa and all his progressive plans. (Yes, the old joke/pun applies here: If pro is the opposite of con, what's the opposite of progress? Congress!)

So, if Correa were assassinated, the hypothesis goes, the process would be decapitated, and the unruly Ecuadorians brought to heel, and their country driven as a wedge against the progressive wave that's currently sweeping Latin America, where one country after another has been busily voting in left-wing popular governments, and where the State Dept.'s grand plans, so carefully laid from the return of Guatemala to banana republicanism (in 1954) up to the present, are now in peril. Seen through the State Dept.'s eyes, it's as though all the Dirty Wars in the Southern Cone had been for naught. Operation Condor has had its wings clipped, and with the return of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, it won't be long before Central America starts looking around, either.

Already the unmistakable signs are everywhere: the fastest-growing economies are those of the most politically progressive (read: IMF-resistant) countries in South America, particularly Venezuela and Argentina. Bolivia, once the most cocaine-addicted country (economically speaking), is now in rehab thanks to its progressive ex-cocalero leader, Evo Morales; its place has been taken by Ecuador's neighbors, Colombia and Peru, who both, tellingly, are under the thumb of tame, free-trade caudillos, not dictators exactly, but certainly tyrannical and, in the case of Alvaro Uribe, well connected to both right-wing paramilitaries and the drug trade despite all his tweetlings about law and order.

In short: Anyplace in Latin America where a progressive leader is seeking to place the economy in service to the people, rather than the other way around, is now booming. There could be no greater indictment of the failures of the policies John Perkins and his fellow economic hit men used to promote.

Which is why the push is now on to abort Ecuador's attempts to join the ranks of the rehabilitated. So far, Correa is still relatively alone out there, or so the State Dept. thinks. He doesn't have an entire congress behind him (the vast popular support he enjoys obviously doesn't count. Which tells you something about where the State Dept.'s collective coco is at.) The attempts on Chavez have failed, and will continue to do so because the population of Venezuela is now educated and aware. They are practically 100% literate, and insatiably hungry for information. Their president doesn't miss a chance to sound the alarm. And he has the national assembly on side, as well as a solid majority of Venezuelans. So the State Dept. is forced to switch to Ecuador--by far the lesser prize, oil-wise, but still plenty lucrative. Ecuador has not yet arrived at the level where Venezuela currently is, and there are powerful business interests hoping it never will.

And, as anyone who's ever seen the movie Missing can tell you, the State Dept. will do anything to protect US business interests abroad, right up to and including the sacrifice of American private citizens. Which is why I hope John Perkins is also watching his back.