Noam Chomsky and Latin America

Social Insight — POSTED BY fredarmesto on June 7, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Noam Chomsky speaks about the future and predicts difficult situations for China and India. On the other hand he analyzes the appearance of progressiveness in Latin America as very important. For the first time in 500 years, LA is moving towards a degree of independence and a kind of integration and also is beginning to face some of its massive internal problems.

The following lines are excerpts from Democracy Now´s interview made by Amy Goodman.

AMY GOODMAN: Where do you see American empire in ten, twenty, thirty years?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Prediction in human affairs is very low—has very little success, too many complications. The United States, I think, will come out of the economic crisis, very likely, as the dominant superpower. There’s a lot of talk about China and India, and it’s real, they’re changing, but they’re just not in the same league. I mean, both China and India have enormous internal problems that the West doesn’t face.

You get kind of a picture of this by looking at the Human Development Index of the United Nations. The last time I looked, India was about 125th or something. And I think China was about eightieth. And China would be worse, I think, if it wasn’t such a closed society. In India, you sort of get better data, so you can see what’s happening. China is kind of closed. You don’t see what’s going on in the peasant areas, which are in turmoil, you know. They have environmental problems. They have huge—hundreds of millions of people are kind of like at the edge of starvation.

We don’t have—you know, we have problems, but not those problems. And even the industrial growth, which is there—you know, for part of the population, there’s been improvement. But when you take, say, India, where we know more, in the areas where high-tech industries developed—and it’s pretty impressive. I’ve visited some of the labs in Hyderabad. You know, it’s as good or better than MIT. But right nearby, the rate of peasant suicides is going up, very sharply, in fact. And it’s the same source. It’s the neoliberal policies, which privilege a certain sector of the population and a certain—and let the rest take care of themselves.

AMY GOODMAN: And yet, the rise of progressives in Latin America?

NOAM CHOMSKY: That’s important. I mean, Latin America, for the first time in 500 years, is moving towards a degree of independence and a kind of integration, which is a prerequisite for independence, and also at least is beginning to face some of its massive internal problems. I mean, Latin America has probably the worst inequality in the world. There’s a wealthy sector, small wealthy sector, which is extremely rich, but they have—their tradition is that they have no responsibility to the country, so they send their capital to Zurich. You know, they have their second homes in the Riviera, and their children study in Oxford or whatever. This is beginning to be faced in different ways, but it’s sort of happening all over the continent. And they are beginning to integrate. The United States obviously doesn’t like it. In fact, it’s barely reported most of the time.

So there was a very interesting case last September, when President Morales in Bolivia—Bolivia is, in my opinion at least, probably the most democratic country in the world. Nobody says that, but if you look at what happened in the last couple of years, there were huge, popular, mass organizations of the most repressed population in the hemisphere, the indigenous population, which for the first time ever has entered the political arena significantly and were able to elect a president from their own ranks and one who doesn’t give instructions to his army, but who’s following policies that were largely produced by the population. So he’s their representative, in a sense in which democracy is supposed to work.

And they know the issues. It’s not like our elections. They know the issues. They’re serious issues: control over resources, economic justice, cultural rights, and so on. You can say they’re right or wrong, but at least it’s functioning.

Now, the elites that have traditionally ruled the country, of course, don’t like it. And they’re threatening virtual secession. And, of course, the United States is backing them, as the media are. And it got to the point last summer, I suppose, where it led to real violence.

Well, there was a meeting of UNASUR, the Union of South American Republics—that’s all of South America—a meeting in Chile, Santiago, Chile. And it came out with a declaration, important declaration, in which it supported President Morales and opposed the—condemned the violence being led by the quasi-secessionist forces. And Morales responded, thanking them for their gesture of support, but also saying, correctly, that this is the first time in 500 years that South America is beginning to take its affairs in its own hands without the intervention of foreign powers, primarily the US. Well, that was so important that I don’t think it was even reported here. I mean, the meeting was known, so you see vague references to it. But it’s an indication of developments that are taking place in various ways.

See Full interview.

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