The agonies of developed capitalism

Last Monday the 9th, like all the others, was a marvelous day in terms of the contradictions of developed capitalism in the midst of its incurable crisis.

That day, the British news agency Reuters, in no way suspected of being anti-capitalist, reported: Latin American economies, for years powered to strong growth by an extended boom for the raw materials they produce, are seen growing substantially less this year, hit by strong slowdowns and even recessions in some of its key economies. “The IADB does not issue its own growth projections,” said Lora – an economist at the International American Development Bank – but he noted, “Nobody is expecting the region to grow more than 1 percent this year, and if you look at the latest projections, they are looking at falls in all the big Latin American economies.” And the region, hurt by tumbling demand for the commodities it produces, will not likely see a quick recovery,” he affirmed.
Latin America will suffer the pinch of global economic crisis for at least the next four years,” he pointed out.

“The crisis will not be a matter of one or two years, for some countries in Latin America, it could last a lot longer,” Lora said, citing an IADB opinion poll of leaders showing that most of them expect per capita income in the region’s nations to be either flat or negative over the next four years.

That same day, the Spanish agency EFE informed:

“The production of cocaine has spread to several Latin American countries and has unleashed a tidal wave of violence and population shifts that has resulted in calls for a war approach to drug trafficking, as reported in the British daily The Guardian today.
“That industry, which generates benefits of billions of dollars, has forced many farmers to abandon their lands, has given rise to wars among gangs and has corrupted state institutions,” the newspaper states.

”In Mexico alone, 6,000 people died last year on account of that kind of activity and the violence is migrating northward, toward the United States itself.

”At the same time, a new drug trafficking highway between South America and West Africa has sprung up so rapidly that the corridor – at 10 degrees latitude – which links the two continents, has been baptized ‘Interstate 10.’

“Almost everyone interviewed by the newspaper agrees that the insatiable demand for cocaine in Europe and North America has frustrated efforts, headed by the U.S., to strangle the offer and has caused great damage to Latin America.

“’We believe that the war on drugs has been a failure because none of the objectives have been met,’ Cesar Gaviria, former president of Colombia and co-president of the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, told the newspaper.

“According to Gaviria, ‘prohibitionist policies based on eradication, prohibition and criminalization have not yielded the hoped-for results. Today we are further away than ever from the goal of wiping out drugs.’

“The U.S. strategy in Colombia and Peru, consisting of combating the raw material, has not worked, Col. René Sanabria, Bolivian anti-narcotics police chief, has acknowledged.

“A report from the U.S. Brookings Institution and an independent study by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, supported by 500 of his colleagues, have added their voices to those calling for a change of approach.”

For its part, the AFP news agency cables:

“President Felipe Calderón of Mexico called on the United States this Monday to assume ‘with action’ its share of the responsibility in combating drugs, a responsibility above all concentrated on the shared border.

“’On behalf of the hundreds of Mexican policemen who have died, it is fundamental that the United States assumes with deeds its part of the responsibility in combating drug trafficking,’ said Calderón at a press conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is on an official visit to Mexico.

“Moreover, Calderon asked Washington to share information about the activities of Mexican drug traffickers in the United States, the largest consumer market for cocaine in the world and mainly supplied by cartels belonging to its southern neighbor.

“’If the U.S. intelligence units or its special police or military agencies possess information about Mexican criminals in the United States, we want that information,’ Calderon told journalists after meeting with Sarkozy in the National Palace.

“The Mexican government has unleashed a federal operation involving 36,000 soldiers to combat the drug cartels, involved in a war over the transfer of drugs to the United States, which has left some 5,300 people dead in 2008.”

That same day, Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, declared that she was a firm supporter of increasing the amount of ethanol in fuel by up to 15% in order to reduce the country’s dependence on oil imports.

It is well known that ethanol in the United States is produced from the grain that holds an extremely important place in human development.

These fresh news items, published by the agencies last Monday, reveal the total credibility of Atilio Boron’s conclusions in the summary in Granma daily that same day.

Fidel Castro Ruz
March 11, 2009
1:42 p.m.