Latin America

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Brazil Rainforest

Links on Latin America

ABC Color independent Paraguay news
Archivos Virtuales papers of Latino and Latin American artists
Bienvendio a Chile (University of Chile)
Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments, from the CIA
CHILE notes and quotes
Chile -- Progress Stalled Setbacks in Freedom of Expression Reform
Colección Cisneros Latin American art from 17th century to the present
Copesa (Red Universitaria Nacional, Chile)
Country Background Notes U.S. State Department
Country Data Profiles World Bank
Country, Economy, and Regional Information Australian Dept. of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Country Studies/Area Handbooks Library of Congress
CUBA page of links
Derechos excellent source to online information about human rights in Latin America
Environmental History of Latin America Online bibliography of English, Spanish, and Portuguese language books, articles, videos, and Web sites about the environmental history of Latin America
Handbook of Latin American Studies (HLAS Online) --Library of Congress
Historical Text Archive particularly good collection on Colonial Latin America
Historical Text Archive: Latin America articles, links
Inca Mummies National Geographic special
Independent States in the World U.S. State Department; includes dependencies, spellings, and country background notes
InfoNatura: Birds and Mammals of Latin American and Caribbean Countries
Inside Chiquibul photographing Central America's Longest cave - from the National Geographic
International Relations and Pacific Studies Library (University of California San Diego)
Lanic Reference Latin American References in English
Latin American Network Information Center a veritable library of links to sites related to Latin America. It includes the Web sites of government institutions, statistical data, bibliographies, and informative articles. Searches can be made by country or by subject
Latin Americanist Research Resources Pilot Project (Association of Research Libraries)
Library of Congress Hispanic Reading Room site contains digital information on Iberia and Latin America, including country studies prepared by library staff and the online edition of the Handbook of Latin American Studies, an annual bibliography of monographs and scholarly articles about Latin America that has been published since 1939
MesoAmerican Ballgame: The Sport of Life and Death played from 1500 BC to 1519 AD - requires Flash 5+
Mexico Web Guide (Mexico City)
NACLA Report on the Americas for 30 years NACLA has been the best source for alternative information and analysis on Latin America, the Caribbean, and US foreign policy in the region
Organization of American States includes all Latin American countries except Cuba, has useful information concerning member countries and its own organization and procedures
PARAGUAY page of links
PARLINE Database country and region parliaments
Peru Cultural Tours, Puchka
PORTUGUESE page of links
Publishers' Catalogs Home Page (Saskatoon, Canada)
Publishers - WWW Virtual Library (Oxford University)
La Republica (Lima, Peru)
SPANISH page of links
Sunsite Chile (University of Chile)
Tours: San Miguel de Allende
UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) includes press releases, interviews, speeches, op-ed pieces, statements of the Secretary-General, and nearly all its publications, in both English and Spanish
Upside Down World news from Latin America
VENEZUELA notes and quotes
Virtual Museum of Arts from Uruguay
Washington Office on Latin America
Zapatistas Communiques contains the communiques of the Subcomandante Marcos, leader of the Zapatistas, and photographs

Other Collections of Links

Latin American Network Information Center (UT-LANIC)

Info on Latin America

"Bolivia, the poorest country in South America, is the center of a three-year-old indigenous insurrection that has twice routed multi-national corporations and nearly achieved the rarest of political successes, election of an openly Indian president in the Americas...

"What began with the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas in 1994 has surfaced in Ecuador, Guatemala and especially Bolivia...

"...a nationwide protest of Indians, workers and campesinos against the gas giveaway, against neoliberalism and against President "Goni" (Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada), the white mining executive and University of Chicago-trained free-market economist who had been privatizing the Bolivian economy since the mid-1980s...

"...frightening for U.S. officials and the tiny Bolivian upper class in 2002 was the presidential campaign of Senator Evo Morales, a Quechua-speaking socialist leader... finished just one point behind Goni... If the presidential runoff hadn't been decided by the conservative legislature, rather than by popular vote, Morales would most likely be president today. With the exception of Mexico's Benito Juarez in the mid-nineteenth century, it is difficult to recall an elected indigenous-identified president in the Americas over the past two centuries.

"The U.S. military is sounding the alarm... head of the U.S Southern Command, warned that "if radicals continue to hijack the indigenous movement, we could find ourselves faced with a narco-state that supports the uncontrolled cultivation of coca"...the Southern Command is rapidly establishing a major military base of operations in Colombia... the U.S. Embassy and investors worrried about greater democratization" (Tom Hayden. "Bolivia's Indian Revolt." The Nation, June 21, 2004: 18-22).

"By design or circumstance, the Pentagon's "war on terrorism" seems to follow the investments of major U.S. oil companies around the globe. Iraq dominates the headlines now; two years ago it was Afghanistan. But the same pattern also reaches from South American to Africa's Sahel, from the jungles of Southeast Asia to the high deserts of Central Asia. U.S. military operations have escalated dramatically in all these regions since the 9/11 attacks. And while the intended targets may be "terrorist networks" linked to al-Qaeda, indigenous people resisting the industrial pillagge of their lands more often bear the brunt of the militarization.


"The ongoing war in Colombia--recognized by the United Nations as the world's greatest humanitarian disaster after congo and Darfur--has largely been pushed from the headlines by the crisis in Iraq. But Congress and the Pentagon are paying close attention to this oil-rich South American nation.

"At the close of October, Congress approved doubleing the Pentagon's troop presence in Colombia to 800 and raised the cap on the number of U.S. civilian contract agents--pilots, intelligence analysts, security personnel--from 400 to 600. The little-noticed measure came as part of the 2005 Department of Defense authorization act and was a defeat for human rights groups, which had been pushing for a lower cap. The new 800/600 cap is exactly what the White House asked for.

"The vote was closely followed by a national wave of protest throughout the war-torn South American nation, as some 1.4 million public-sector workers walked off their jobs and took to the streets for a one-day strike. Organized by major trade unions as well as civil organizations, the October 12 strike demanded an end both to President Alvaro Uribe's push to join George W. Bush's Free Trade Area of the Americas and to the rights abuses and atrocities associated with the government's counter-guerrilla war--which the United States has funded to the tune of $3.3 billion since Plan Colombia was passed in 2000.

"The Bush administration has expanded the "Plan Colombia" program... also includes military aid packages for Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia...


"Oxy is also building a new pipeline over the Andes to get oil from Ecuador's Amazon rainforest to Pacific ports. Charging land grabs and pollution, local Indians, peasants and ecologists have repeatedly blockaded construction on the pipeline route with their bodies. Their protests have been violently broken up by security forces. In June 2002, the entire region was immobilized by a general strike protesting the pipeline. The U.S. military is currently expanding the airfield at Manta, Ecuador, near where the pipeline is slated to meet the sea, ostensibly as a staging ground for surveillance operations in the Colombia war.


"In Peru, Hunt Oil and Halliburton... have launched a massive natural gas project at Camisea in the Amazon rainforest. The gas is to be piped over the Andes to the Pacific and exported to energy-hungry California. Last year, local peasants blocked roads leading to the Camisea site for weeks, in protest of the project's ecological impacts. In October 2003, the blockades were violently broken by Peruvian National Police troops using helicopters and tear gas.


"Bolivia was rocked by a wave of unrest now known as "Black October" or "the Gas War." At issue was President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada's approval of a plan by a consortium led by Sempra Energy of California and including Shell Oil to build a pipeline linking Bolivia's natural gas fields to a terminal on the Chilean coast for export to California. The security forces responded to peasant roadblocks with violence, leaving at least 80 dead--and international fears of a coup d'etat--before Sanchez de Lozada fled to Miami on October 17. His vice president, Carlos Mesa, assumed power and pledged to hold a popular referendum on the pipeline project. Sanchez de Lozada now faces charges in Bolivia of murder, human rights violations and genocide.

"...peasants and Indians have continued to protest and periodically block roads and gas installations with their bodies to press the issue... Bolivia's internal gas pipeline network has been partially privatized to none other than Enron, the failed Texas energy giant...


"...few have noticed that the Pentagon has established a presence just across the border in Chad--not to respond to the genocide but to chase "terrorist networks." Soldiers from the U.S. Army's 10th Special Forces Group are also training troops in Mali, Mauritania, and Niger under the program, aimed at halting infiltration...

"The new U.S. military presence comes just as ExxonMobil has targeted Chad for a major new thrust of oil development. New oilfields have opened in Chad's Doha Basin, and a World Bank-funded 600-mile pipeline was completed in 2003, linking Chad to the Atlantic and Western oil markets.


"U.S. troops have already been involved in fighting with Islamic guerrillas in the Philippines. Now Bush is seeking to re-establish military aid to In'esia, suspended due to human rights violations in 1999.

"Exxon faces litigation in U.S. courts for grave human rights violations carried out in the conflicted In'esian province of Aceh by In'esian military forces in the company's direct pay for "protection" of its oil facilities. The White House now warns that al-Qaeda is seeking links to Aceh's separatist guerrillas. But the Aceh separatists--who say they have actually resisted al-Qaeda's designs in the region--want their independence precisely because Jakarta allows the breakneck corporate exploitation of their land...

"Unocal has also announced interest in developing new offshore gas finds in the Philippines--where U.S. military involvement is rapidly escalating. Unocal's interest is off Mindoro Island, while U.S. forces have already been in combat with the (supposedly al-Qaeda-linked) guerrillas of Abu Sayyaf in Mindanao, the major Muslim-majority island just 200 miles south.


"After Afghanistan, the largest U.S. troop presence in Central Asia is Uzbekistan... then Azerbaijan and Turkey" (Bill Weinberg. "Forgotten Oil Wars of the "War on Terrorism."" Nonviolent Activist, Winter 2005: 6-8).

"... the entire [Latin American] region [is] primed for social change, a new breed of populists and social democrats is coming to power. Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, in addition to Venezuela, have leftist governments of some sort, while Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru will hold presidential elections in 2006...

"...Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution... Despite Chavez's often radical discourse, the government has not engaged in mass expropriations of private fortunes, even agricultural ones, nor plowed huge sums into new collectively owned forms of production... What the government has 'e is spend billions on new social programs... As a result, 1.3 million people have learned to read, millions have received medical care and an estimated 35-40 percent of the population now shops at subsidized, government-owned supermarkets. Elementary school enrollment has increased by more than a million as school have started offering free food to students. The government has created several banks aimed at sall businesses and cooperatives, redeployed part of the military to do public works and is building several new subway systems around the country. To boost agricultural production in a country that imports 80 percent of what it consumes, Chavez has created a land-reform program that rewards private farmers who increase productivity and punishes those who do not with the threat of confiscation...

"But for the moment, the Venezuelan battle against poverty is possible only because oil prices have been at record highs for several years, and the state owns most of the petroleum industry. All of Venezuela's oil and mining and most of its basic industry were nationalized in the mid-1970s. On average, oil sales make up 30 percent of Venezuelan GDP, provide half of state income and make up 80 p[ercent of all Venezuelan exports...

"...the wealthier classes [are] driven apoplectic with rage by the fact that their president looks like a construction worker or cab driver.

"For six years Chavez and his supporters have battled this opposition, an enemy that Chavez has nicknamed los escuálidos, or "the weaklings." But the opposition has not always been so weak. It includes the privately owned mass media, which have been virulently and propagandistically hostile to the government, devoting days at a time to commercial-free attacks on it as "totalitarian" and "Castro communist"" (Christian Parenti. "Hugo Chavez and Petro Populism." The Nation, April 11, 2005: 15-21).

"In using oil wealth to help the poor, Venezuela's leader is a shining example to Latin America...

"...the Bolivarian revolution of President Hugo Chavez...

"Something amazing has been taking place in Latin America in recent years that deserves wider attention. The chrysalis of the Venezuelan revolution led by Chavez, often derided as the incoherent vision of an authoritarian leader, has finally emerged as a resplendent butterfly whose example will radiate for decades to come...

"The Chavez government... has forged ahead with various spectacular social projects, assisted by the huge jump in oil prices, from $10 to $50 a barrel over the past six years. Instead of gushing into the coffers of the already wealthy, the oil pipelines have been picked up and directed into the shanty towns, funding health, education and cheap food. Foreign leaders from Spain and Brazil, Chile and Cuba have come on pilgrimage to Caracas to establish links with the man now perceived as the leader of new emerging forces in Latin America, with popularity ratings to match. This extensive external support has stymied the plans of the US government to rally the countries of Latin America against Venezuela. They are not listening, and Washington is left without a policy.

"Chaves, himself, a youthful former army colonel of 51, is now perceived in Latin America as the most original political figure to have emerged since Fidel Castro broke on to the scene nearely 50 years ago. With huge charisma, he has an infinite capacity to relate to the poor population of the continent. A largely self-educated intellectual, the ideology of his Bolivarian revolution is based on a handful of exemplary figures from the 19th century, most notably Simón Bolivar, the man who liberated most of South America from Spanish rule. Chavez offers a cultural as well as a political alternative to the prevailing US-inspired model that dominates Latin America.

"So, what does his Bolivarian revolution consist of? He is friendly with Castro yet he is no out-of-fashion state socialist. Capitalism is alive and well in Venezuela--and secure. Chavez seeks to curb the excesses of what he terms "savage neoliberalism," and he wants the state to play an enabling role in the economy, but he has no desire to crush small businesses, as has happened in Cuba. International oil companies have fallen over themselves to provide fresh investment, even after the government increased the royalties that they have to pay. Venezuela remains a golden goose that cannot be ignored.

"What is undoubtedly old-fashioned about Chavez is his ability to talk about race and class, subjects that have long been taboo, and to discuss them in the context of poverty. In much of Latin America, particularly in the coutries of the Andes, the long-suppressed native peoples have begun to organise and make political demands for the first time since the 18th century, and Chavez is the first president in the continent to have picked up their banner and made it his own" (Richard Gott. "Chávez shows how to lead." Guardian Weekly, June 3, 2005: 5).

"The social movements--a host of mostly indigenous organizations representing Aymara and Quechua peasants, miners, teachers, urban community organizations, coca growers and the oldest national labor federation--are demanding nationalization of the country's massive natural gas reserves, now estimated to be the second-largest in the hemisphere... Their other plank is a constituent assembly to reformulate Bolivia's political system and give greater power to the majority indigenous population.

Throughout South America, center-left governments are taking power, with Uruguay and Ecuador being the latest to join the trend. Bolivia, home to some of the most well-organized and radical popular movements on the continent, could be next...

"Meanwhile, the right is also mobilizing. European-descended elites in the gas-rich lowland provinces of Santa Cruz and Tarija are agitating for autonomy or possible secession. The major oil companies operating in Bolivia are all threatening disinvestment if the industry is restructured. There are also rumors of a possible military coup" (Christian Parenti. "Bolivia's Battle of Wills." The Nation, July 4, 2005: 13-18).

"In one election after the next, Latin America's left, in its various forms, is completely reshaping the continent's political landscape, and it may only be the start of a trend.

"The left is already in power in the two largest countries--Brazil and Argentina--and its representatives have won recent election in Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica and Haiti...

"But there is no reason the believe Latin America's mainstream leftwing parties have a desire for conflict with Washington. "Chavez is the only exception," says Olivier Dabène, a lecturer at the Institute of Political Science in Paris. He adds: "Latin America wants neither confrontation nor dependance, just to be a partner in an adult relationship" (Paulo A Paranagua. "Latin America tips to the left." Guardian Weekly, April 21, 2006: 2).


Email Professor Colby Glass, MAc, MLIS, PhDc, Prof. Emeritus