South America: Toward an alternative future by Noam Chomsky
Last month a coincidence of birth and death signaled a transition for South America and indeed for the world. The former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet died even as leaders of South American nations concluded a two-day summit meeting in Cochabamba, Bolivia, hosted by President Evo Morales, at which the participants and the agenda represented the antithesis of Pinochet and his era. In the Cochabamba Declaration, the presidents and envoys of 12 countries agreed to study the idea of forming a continent-wide community similar to the European Union. The declaration marks another stage toward regional integration in South America, 500 years after the European conquests. The subcontinent, from Venezuela to Argentina, may yet present an example to the world on how to create an alternative future from a legacy of empire and terror.
The United States has long dominated the region by two major methods: violence and economic strangulation. Quite generally, international affairs have more than a slight resemblance to the Mafia. The Godfather does not take it lightly when he is crossed, even by a small storekeeper.
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