Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The largest threat to world stability

The largest threat to world stability

Michael Rowan
Special for El Universal

The rebellion against modern times in Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia - Peru
and Ecuador are likely to follow soon - is not about capitalism or
socialism. It is a rebellion against centuries of submission to conquest
represented since World War II by the predominance of the United States,
which has become more pronounced upon the collapse of the USSR. The poor
of the Andes - half its population - are rebelling against modernity
itself: knowledge, science, technology, finance, law, development, and
democracy. Ironically, they are using democracy as the tool to do so.

The rebellion began a century ago in Haiti with the uprooting of French
domination and culture. It was kept alive by Fidel Castro in Cuba, which
dropped out of modern times in 1959. Hugo Chavez has unraveled modern
institutions in Venezuela by using its oil wealth, and is now
aggressively exporting the idea that modern times are evil, rich,
powerful and white to Latin America. Evo Morales won Bolivia's
presidency on the grounds that the "humiliation, scorn, derision, hate
and disdain for the indigenous people" must come to an end. With the
same message, Ollanta Humala is running first for the presidency of
Peru, Ecuador may follow, and President Nestor Kirchner is riding the
same wave in Argentina.

Both capitalism and socialism are modern, if opposite, economic
ideologies for development. Presidents Lula da Silva of Brazil and
Michelle Bachelet of Chile are socialists, and should not be confused
with a rebellion against modern times. The same goes for Mexico and
Colombia. Yet all of Latin America is vulnerable to the rebellion
against modern times because poverty wracks half its population, with no
development solution in sight.

Wherever the rebellion against modern times has been engaged, it has
succeeded at destroying modern institutions. The failures of Haiti,
Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia are failures in modern terms. But in terms
of rebellion against historical submission, imperialism, and colonialism
- which are equated with modern times - these failures are considered
grand achievements. The future of Latin America looks ominously like the
present of Africa, and is the largest threat to world stability in
existence today.

Michael Rowan's column is published every Tuesday

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