Envío Digital
Central American University - UCA  
  Number 261 | Abril 2003



Thrown into a Worldwide Consciousness-Building Workshop

“If the nation is small...one dreams it big,” wrote 19th century Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío. “If the nation is small...one hocks it for a song, ”Bolaños and his government seem to be telling us. Nicaragua, like the rest of the world, is learning a lot at this crucial moment in human history. First reflections from Nicaragua, after 17 days of war in Iraq.

Nitlápan-Envío team

By so arrogantly closing the option of peace and international legality and instead waging a “preemptive” war against Iraq, which is really a war against the world, the United States has unwittingly generated a consciousness-building workshop of worldwide proportions. All peoples of the planet have joined this workshop at varying rhythms, bringing together a whole range of ideological nuances and diverse “teachers” and experiences. All voices are heard, thousands of lessons are instantly available to unprecedented numbers of people, forgotten courses are updated and the participants are studying, memorizing and sharing. This is no longer about the soldiers of one country, but about planetary citizens united around a single event as never before in history. We are living the horror of a war of global pretensions and rejecting and resisting it on behalf of an aspiration for a peace that we also dream will be global. While busily ensnared in its own exhausting provincial fights, Nicaragua has suddenly found itself thrust into this worldwide consciousness-building workshop.

We showed up late

We didn’t get there first, but we got there. Until Bush gave his arrogant ultimatum and 48 hours later declared war, people in Nicaragua only worried about the conflict in Iraq in terms of petroleum prices and eventual fuel supply problems. Nicaragua has enormous energy potential in its extensive water sources, burning sun, steaming volcanoes and the implacable winds that batter us for several months a year; there is even potential in the tons of garbage we let accumulate unprocessed in our dumps. Yet the country absurdly depends on imported petroleum for 85% of its energy needs, contributing to global warming in the process.

Unlike other Central American neighbors who had already made emergency plans around possible oil supply problems, Nicaragua’s government said nothing and made no plans because “it has reserves for two months,” not just the normal 45 days. And since the United States said the war would be quick, Nicaragua’s officials believed it and repeated it. “If there are problems,” said President Bolaños only days before the war was launched, “the market has to resolve them, through price rises; and if they go too high, we’ll bring out the bicycles and horses.” The cold passivity of this “humor,” which smacked of Marie Antoinette’s “let them eat cake,” is typical of a man who is making a habit of calling for sacrifices in which he seems unwilling to participate.
When a “special commission” was finally named to establish emergency measures in case of scarcity and skyrocketing prices, neither Bolaños nor his team thought to reduce their own fuel assignments starting now. It is a shame, because such a good example would have reaped political dividends and set a standard of conduct that might have inspired some thrift consciousness in others. The war began and not one single high official renounced anything. Most of the 92 legislators seemed similarly disinclined to cut their quota of 200 gallons of gas a month each, paid by the state, on top of the 500 gallons for driving them all to and from the National Assembly, giving more consideration to cutting their work hours—to save electricity, they explained.

People quickly grasped that this faraway war would affect everyone’s pocketbook, making peace seem even more attractive. This illegal and immoral war will have serious economic effects on Nicaragua, the most palpable of which has already occurred. Purely speculative price rises for petroleum products increased transport costs all over the country before the war had started. Even assuming Bush gains control of the wells in Iraq, the world’s second largest producer, and oil prices drop, these higher transportation rates in Nicaragua will surely not.
The price hike has reduced the already bare-bones buying power of the poor majority, and in turn hurt production. This chain reaction augurs inflation rates far higher than the government predicted in its agreements with the IMF. Some economists are now forecasting that the Gross Domestic Product will grow by no more than 1% this year (the original calculation was 3%) and that year-end inflation will reach 10%, 4 points higher than anticipated.

Engines idling; no take-off

With the already grave national economic recession worsening, it is difficult to imagine that the additional income the government is so anxiously seeking to get the economy off the ground will actually arrive, given the international context. The even more pessimistic picture is that the aid already negotiated could be cut in line with the new situation.

It is also hard to envision any improvement in prices for Nicaragua’s export products. The nontraditional agricultural exports are now subjected to more rigorous recording and inspection in the United States—their main destination—thanks to the new law against bio-terrorism. And, of course, tourism will drop off everywhere, not just in Nicaragua where it is seen as one of the country’s competitive advantages. In these conditions, creating new jobs becomes exceedingly tough, and the promise of jobs is the main reason people voted for Bolaños. It is also what the country most needs to keep its head above water in the current social crisis.
To prevent excessive pessimism, the International Monetary Fund declared that it would be willing to “review” its Nicaragua program with the government “if the world economic setting changes substantially.” Meantime, “substantial” changes could occur in Nicaragua even in a less extreme world setting. The Bolaños government’s failure to jumpstart the economy in the first year of its administration was the most incessant and convincing argument the pro-Alemán forces employed to disqualify the government and improve their own image. It is foreseeable that the economy will not turn around in Bolaños’ second year either, which will palpably buttress the Alemán crowd’s argument and their party structures. Regardless of the cause, the government’s failures will also feed the FSLN’s electoral calculations. It is already rumored that the government is trying to figure out how to avoid holding next year’s municipal elections.

If the war against Iraq does drag out, the world economy could sink further into recession, raising oil prices, reducing consumption and spreading all kinds of uncertainties in an increasingly interconnected world. This war is not aimed at revitalizing the US economy, to which Nicaragua’s is so tightly bound, but at benefiting the upper echelons of economic-political-military-petroleum power that surround President Bush.

In this landscape, we could see the unraveling of the Bolaños government’s much-vaunted “development” concept, which, eschewing small and medium producers linked to the national market, places all its hope in foreign investment and exports to the United States. The war in Iraq, with its many unprecedented worldwide repercussions, will reveal the fragility of an unprincipled economic strategy shaped around the fatalistic idea that we were born to be dependent, that Nicaragua can never get itself out of its hole but must be hauled out by others.

Nothing new about the New Era!

The war has also proven how very old President Bolaños’ New Era is in the foreign policy field. Both its economic and political strategies are based on an eternal uncritical bedazzlement with US might. Never more than now, the United States appears to most of the world “so quarrelsome and brutal,” as Cuba’s José Martí described it over a century ago when he witnessed the start of the unbridled imperialist expansion that has now taken the United States all the way to Iraq. In turn, the bedazzlement so traditional among Nicaragua’s powerful classes has never before seemed so obscene and risky.

Bolaños’ heart beats in English, independent of his Nica slang and folksy sayings. The same is true of many of his top officials, minus the folksiness, as well as those governing the other Central American’s countries, although Bolaños’ loyalty tends to be more solid. The United States has touted him to the region, the continent and the rest of the world as an “anti-corruption hero,” thus anointing him the “region’s leader” when it comes to Bush government priorities within its planetary domination strategy: regional demilitarization and the fight against corruption and terrorism. Those same tasks are also in Nicaragua’s interests, but Bolaños would do well to consult with his own national constituency and announce them only after reaching consensus. Otherwise he will be seen as little more than “his master’s voice.”
The Bolaños government had already shown many signs of obsequiousness even before the war, but it has plumbed the depths at this terrible moment for humanity. The fatal day that Bush gave the attack order, flouting international legality, State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher unveiled a list of 30 countries that had agreed to join the coalition “for Iraq’s immediate disarmament.” Another 15, he mysteriously added, did not want to be identified publicly for reasons he left unstated. Only three Latin American countries—Colombia, El Salvador and Nicaragua—appeared openly on the list, but within days, Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama had signed on, leaving only Guatemala absent from the Central American roster. Even Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo justified the war, but remained off the list due to personal problems with the United States, which had “decertified” his country for his alleged drug-trafficking links.

Although Bolaños denied from the outset that he had “signed any declaration on issues of war,” he expressed “total and unconditional” support for the US decision in all subsequent declarations, seemingly unruffled by its violation of international law. To justify his support, he employed carbon copies of the US arguments in declaring it, the very ones rejected by a majority of the world’s governments and by so many people from all nations. For its part, the Foreign Ministry issued a confusing communiqué that jumbled up the arguments and players, offering not only political backing but also what it called “post-conflict humanitarian aid” to the “Coalition of Nations.”

Witnesses to an indignity

It is very likely that Bolaños offered Nicaragua’s “moral” support to the Bush gang’s war after receiving a simple telephone call from Washington asking him to add Nicaragua’s name to the infamous list. After ignoring the United Nations, the United States needed to present itself as heading up a “coalition” so it engaged in some last-minute “telephone diplomacy.” Surely flattered rather than offended, Bolaños needed no second invitation.
Bolaños and the other Central American governments also had economic reasons for the “moral” support they gave to Bush’s demented war. On April 10, they were all scheduled to meet with Bush to push forward the Central American Free Trade Agreement with the US. Bolaños is hoping Nicaragua will get some of the extra aid—for “social compensation”—that could be included in the agreement. An even stronger motive is that Bolaños expects US Treasury Department backing for a project to buy back its domestic debt, the greatest drag on Nicaragua’s battered economy.

The Nicaraguan government’s political endorsement of Bush’s war shook all sectors of the country out of their pre-war lethargy. The majority started questioning Bolaños’ position with postures that ranged from distancing themselves from his support to harsh and unequivocal criticisms, judging the endorsement as unnecessary and undignified.

Emigrants...to Iraq

This war has taught us more about what a country whose nationals are emigrating in droves, expelled by unemployment and poverty, can expect from the New Era. The President went beyond just moral backing for an immoral war. Once American missiles had begun to wrack up their carnage, he announced with a smile that when the conflict was over, there would be “a great opportunity” for Nicas to work in Iraq on “humanitarian tasks.” He called on doctors, nurses, computer technicians and mine-detection experts to consider this possibility, certain that “hundreds, thousands will sign up.”
In the sea of unemployment in which Nicaragua has been flailing for years, the announcement triggered ingenuous expectations. Within two weeks over 300 people had signed up on some makeshift list, while others called the idea “senile nonsense,” “absolute madness,” a “brainless idea,” “ridiculous,” “shameful,” “the abject attitude of a servile peon, a concubine of the empire.” The adjectives were so harsh and so plentiful that they deserved a declaration from Bolaños, and they got it. “Those who criticize me,” he weakly shot back, “are just jealous because they didn’t think of it.”
The Nicaraguan Army gently reminded him that 40% of the mines sown in Nicaragua during the war of the eighties are still awaiting deactivation by our sappers. Various other sectors chimed in that many Nicaraguan rural zones have a shortage of health care personnel. Meanwhile, the legislators reminded him that any such decisions would have to go through them. But in a surprising contrast from a governing party that just last month declared itself in the opposition, Alemán’s Liberals called the war “necessary and useful” and closed ranks with the previously hated pro-Bolaños minority in the party to support Nicaragua’s alignment in the coalition.

The tensions created by Nicaragua’s appearance on the list of allies, and by the lists of people seeking in Iraq what Nicaragua has so palpably failed to offer, sparked new feuds and opened new lines of polarization. The kindest thing that can be said of Bolaños’ proposal was that it was excessively irresponsible and insensitive in both essence and form. What will Iraq be after this war? A country of rubble and of cancer and congenital malformations caused by missiles tipped with depleted uranium, in which the United States, having sown the seeds of uncontrolled violence, will harvest control of the oil fields? Is that where the President wants to send the people for whom he could not create the promised jobs before and who will surely have even fewer opportunities once the war is over? How can he propose such a thing so calmly, without even mentioning the horror and pain caused by the war that will precede the perverse exodus of his compatriots? Is that ethical? Is it even human?

Are we a nation?

At this moment in history, when the globalizing avalanche is sweeping away nations in its path, there is strong consensus that Nicaragua has not yet even become a real nation. Is it at least a country or is it just a place? Is this place in the process of becoming a nation or of coming apart, of becoming an ever-smaller space in which the destiny of the majority will be limited to surviving by tolerating virtually anything the ruling minority does?
An important part of national identity is forged by a country’s foreign policy. During the nearly half-century of the Somoza family dynasty, Nicaragua’s foreign policy was to do the US bidding, and in return Anastasio Somoza García and then his sons were set up as “regional leaders” on behalf of that bidding. In recent years, Nicaragua and the other Central American countries have acted as the paid pawns of Taiwanese diplomacy, considered among the world’s most corrupt by Transparency International. President Bolaños’ foreign policy is a mixture of conformity and incompetence, the “easy route entailing only unconditional endorsement of the scandalous “reason of force.” This newly anointed “regional leader” for US interests has engaged in a very select “struggle against corruption” and a “development” project that amnesties bankers and big business without seeking equity.

Popularity plummeting
down the slippery slope

If Enrique Bolaños needed to accelerate his downward popularity slide, his decision to side with those endorsing a war repudiated by world public opinion and his display of insensitivity toward all the effects of that war did the trick. Days before the first bombs were dropped on Baghdad, a national poll by CID Gallup (February 27–March 5) detected that things were not going well for the President. Twice as many people (48%) now think the country is on the wrong road than was the case in August of last year, while his personal popularity has fallen 21 points (from 79% favorable opinion to 58%) since last November, when he had even topped the perennial favorite, former President Violeta Chamorro. In response, Bolaños asked the population to “have faith in my administration.” He shrugged off the importance of such a precipitous drop, stating that the survey had been done by telephone and those who had answered were surely only “the servants.”
Nicaragua’s government officials, all of whom publicly flaunt their Catholic faith and respect for the papal doctrine and messages, especially if related to family unity and defense of life starting at conception, were notably silent in response to Pope John Paul II’s desperate calls for peace. He has worked so hard to stop this war from ripping families asunder and killing so many already conceived lives, and has reiterated that it is “a defeat for humanity,” thus stripping Bush’s decision of any moral justification. The Vatican warned forcefully that those who made it “will answer to God, to their conscience and to history.” Bolaños, too, will have some atoning to do.

A beaten-down country

In the consciousness-building workshop that the war in Iraq is generating, we are learning the effects that Nicaragua’s recent history, the polarized and provincial society we have forged and the grinding poverty we are suffering has had on our capacity for social mobilization. There has been no shortage of pronouncements from social organizations, groups, NGOs and even parties condemning the war, but Nicaragua has had no major demonstrations. In this regard it has been much more like the rest of Central America than other parts of South America, which held huge “preventive resistance” protests hoping to avoid war and demonstrations of “active rejection” once it was declared.
The social ennui in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua is explained by the sheer scale of the daily fight for survival; the increasing de-structuring of our societies; the trauma resulting from our own long, destructive, US-financed wars; skepticism of political leaders; and the inability of authentic social leaders to motivate their people. This does not mean, however, that the majority of the population is not following all the events with interest, concern and pained solidarity with the victims. An initial pulse-taking by the daily newspaper El Nuevo Diario showed 82% rejecting the war and 76% repudiating Bolaños’ alignment with Bush.

A polarized country

The repudiation of this war and the clamor for peace around the world pulls together various reasons and causes in a single cry of civic indignation. The way the people in each country react reflects their culture. In Nicaragua’s case, opinions are being divided into opposite camps as a result of the political polarization that rent the country asunder over a quarter of a century ago and from which it has yet to emerge, plus ignorance of the geopolitical keys of this conflict. The war is facilely portrayed as a toe-off between Bush and Hussein in which one must take sides, and the struggle for peace is identified with veiled backing for Hussein and terrorism, both of which are identified with Sandinismo.
This chain of gross simplifications is being woven by many sectors; not only people in the street, but also important rightwing columnists who exhibit their ignorance in the media, including the news daily La Prensa, which otherwise exhibits a veneer of professionalism. The FSLN has also contributed to the polarization. The war created a dilemma for the party: having banked on Bolaños’ economic project, the international setting is now pushing it back rather simplistically toward its ideological roots.
Overall, however, the people who are generating the most lucid and professional arguments tend to be those who oppose the war. They have unmasked its intentions and firmly rejected the Bolaños government’s position.

Lessons about representation

The government’s position and the FSLN’s current limits in trying to represent the sectors committed to peace in Nicaragua have taught us some lessons about representation in a supposedly representative democracy. They are similar to the lessons being learned by opponents of the war within the United States itself.
The first small, but authentic anti-war demonstrations in Managua were called by various social organizations, under white flags rather than party banners. Any journey begins with the first step. The participants were young Nicaraguans, international residents, many of them nationalized, and sectors of organized civil society. Once the war was underway, there were other initiatives, some cultural, some religious. Soon, FSLN leaders and structures woke up to the possibilities of such a propitious moment to dust off their anti-imperialism and the criticisms of the United States they have been keeping under wraps or only exhibit ad hoc. They began to call their own street demonstrations.
Perhaps nowhere else in the world has there been such a picturesque but poorly attended demonstration as the first one called by FSLN leader Tomás Borge. On March 25, a “peace caravan” of chauffeur-driven SUVs with their smoked-glass windows rolled up tight to preserve the air conditioned comfort ferried several Sandinista legislators through the streets of the capital. Other less aristocratic people followed in simpler vehicles waving red and black banners. At the rally site, an impassioned Borge predicted that Saddam Hussein would die heroically as Chile’s Salvador Allende did, in a violent US-led coup. He added that “we are sure Saddam will never surrender, just as we would never have surrendered had the gringos invaded us.” It was the syndrome of lost power expressed with the same grandiloquent rhetoric put to the lie every day by reality. If the FSLN kidnaps the peace movement in Nicaragua, not only will this rhetoric impose itself on reflection but Nicaragua will lose yet another opportunity to progress.
Only making things worse, Daniel Ortega sent a personal letter to Saddam Hussein, with whom he co-fraternized in the eighties. After condemning the war, he expressed the “firmest demonstrations of solidarity from the Sandinista National Liberation Front and the people of Nicaragua.” That Ortega usurped representation of Nicaragua to greet Hussein irritated people just as much as Bolaños’ political backing for Bush’s war in their country’s name. Both positions deepened the polarization.

One of the unique qualities of the peace movement demonstrating in the world’s streets and demanding respect for the life of the Iraqi people, its resources and its culture is its self-convocation. It has not been called by political parties, even though parties and their leaders have joined it. The acute crisis of representative democracy, which is making those who are supposedly represented feel ever more distanced from their representatives, is also being expressed throughout the world in this emerging new “public opinion superpower.”

Glimpses into the Arab world

After dedicating very little space to the preparations for war, Nicaragua’s media, like those everywhere else in the world, have provided continuous information on the unfolding events since the war began, taken directly from the major international sources. After two weeks of war, ideological polarization appeared to give way as the pain of the civilian victims began to appear increasingly in international photos and cables.
Within days, what was happening in a country that most Nicaraguans would be unable to find on a map, a place so far from the collective imagination, had captured everyone’s attention. The war itself, transmitted in “real time,” together with the commentaries shared in bars, schools, offices and streets, is the most active vehicle for conscienticizing Nicaraguans. It has been a daily class in geography, politics, economics, culture and especially ethics.
What has been so constructively and respectfully learned about Islam, its values and its principles through the extremely successful Brazilian TV fiction series, “The Clone,” running in Nicaragua since January, has also played a role in the surprising mix of this “workshop on humanity.”

Fear and loathing

This war is sparking very mixed feelings in Nicaragua, as it surely is in the rest of Central America and all other countries that have experienced wars on their own soil in the lifetime of a large part of their population. Half of Nicaragua’s population is following the media coverage with anxiety—even with Shock and Awe—because they are old enough to remember only too vividly what their own country lived through in the eighties.

Some people quickly switch channels when the war update comes on because they cannot take the scenes of gigantic explosions, endless rows of tanks, pushy uniformed men with automatic rifles ordering terrified civilians about, the screams for the dead, the wounded and mutilated bodies. Thousands upon thousands of Nicaraguans saw similar scenes in 1978-79 when Somoza, clinging to power during the popular insurrection, bombed civilian neighborhoods in the major cities and sent the National Guard to kill people’s sons on the mere suspicion that any adolescent was a Sandinista “muchacho.” That was followed by the decade-long war that Reagan and Bush Sr. callously called “low intensity,” indifferent to the fact that it killed over 50,000 Nicaraguans—almost the same number as Americans who died in Vietnam, but in a population a fiftieth the size. The difference between Iraq and Nicaragua is certainly one of intensity, but blood and tears smell the same in any war, and since they saw their own country’s war in the flesh, not via satellite, Nicaraguans are reliving all those unprocessed memories.
We have to learn to deal with the fear triggered by the hegemonic super-power’s expansionist fever when it engages in unstoppable destruction to discourage any dissidence or criticism, any different project that challenges its hegemony. Nicaragua has been a fearful society ever since its own war. That original fear escalated exponentially when this same superpower invaded the tiny nearby island of Grenada in 1983 and Panama in 1989, also flattening entire neighborhoods—of the poor, of course. It is once again being fed not only by the vivid memories of war but also by the complete lack of principles of those who daily seek to induce attitudes of indigence, powerlessness, conformity and lack of dignity in the collectivity.
The opinion of former foreign minister Emilio Alvarez Montalván, when commenting on the reasons for our alignment with the United States serves as one example of this. “This is a poor country, incapable of having much autonomy,” he explained. “We must be realistic. We live off loans and gifts, so realpolitik inclines us to maintain good relations with the country or institutions that help us.”


We are also learning to deal with schizophrenic feelings that swing between the pain for so many innocent Iraqi victims and the pain for our own compatriots in the front lines who could be victims of Iraqi fire. It is estimated that some 15,000 Central Americans living in the United States were sent to the Persian Gulf as cannon fodder.
The first Marine to fall in this war was a Guatemalan, who in his early years was a street child, one more of those thousands upon thousands in our region whose lives are at risk from hunger rather than bombs. It is not known exactly how many Nicaraguans serving in the US Army have been sent to the front lines to die and kill in this ignominious adventure in which George W. Bush has involved the world for reasons of geopolitics and oil.
The media frequently carry biographies of young Nicaraguans now in the Persian Gulf, many having fled the Nicaraguan draft in the eighties only to end up in another war. Some joined the gringo armed forces to legalize their status and get “la migra” off their back; others to obtain citizenship, get a scholarship, crown a university career, thank the country for the opportunities it gave them: and yet others to learn a skill, as the ads promise. All appear in the newspapers proudly dressed in their military uniforms.
They include one of singer-song-writer Carlos Mejía Godoy’s sons, who was only two months away from completing his 8-year stint in the Army reserves in exchange for a US university scholarship; two grandsons of Camilo Zapata, creator of Son Nica; and two sons of Rodolfo Tapia Molina, one of the country’s most prestigious veteran journalists. The hundreds, even thousands of relatives of these boys now find themselves following the avatars of this unjust war with their soul torn in two.
In a society as polarized as Nicaragua’s, the presence of compatriots in the battlefields also divides opinions. While the United States speaks of interests, Nicaraguan mothers speak of feelings. And while Carlos Mejía Godoy declares, “As a citizen of this planet… a human being, an artist, a subject and actor of my time and father of a young man who has the right to life, I protest this new outrage committed by criminal and genocidal US policy,” other parents claim pride in having sons “who defend us from terrorism and are protecting world freedom and democracy.”

Our place in the world

The “National Security Strategy of the United States of America” was published in September 2002, half a year before this war was launched. It is a warning to the world that the Bush administration will protect its economic, political and military preeminence at any price; using its incomparable military, political and economic power to defend its interests, wealth, privileges, power and life style, prevent any sign of threat and reject any international power-balancing system. The war itself advises that the US government is promoting a vision of global order in which power will not be controlled by democratic processes or international law, because both are beginning to be viewed as radically “anti-American.” It is visibly seeking to make the world economically, socially and culturally uniform, subjugating any socio-diversity that dares compete with it, question it or organize to construct another possible world.

As part of this strategy, the United States has implemented a plan to establish a “new concept of sovereignty” and “regionalize” the fight against drug and arms trafficking, money laundering and the falsification of documents in Central America, especially in what they call our “ungoverned territories.” General James T. Hill, head of US Southern Command, unveiled the plan to the military chiefs of Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, explaining that the United States identifies these “territories” as uninhabited border areas, rivers and seaboards, unpopulated wooded areas, etc. Along the same lines, the Organization of American States sent all of its member countries an initiative titled “Sub-Regional Normative Framework for the Prevention of and Fight Against Terrorism,” whose objective is to harmonize the legislation of the five Central American countries, Panama and the Dominican Republic. The Nicaraguan legislative commission responsible for such issues rejected the proposal, as did Major General Omar Hallesleven, head of Nicaragua’s Army Chiefs of Staff, noting that the initiative contains “incongruities, weaknesses and contradictions with the Constitution of Nicaragua.” Hallesleven proposed that Nicaragua draft its own legal framework, in accord with its own laws, clearly defining the term “terrorism.”
This is the murky, uncertain and worrying global and regional panorama in which Nicaragua will negotiate a “free trade” agreement with the United States and insert itself into the Free Trade Area of the Americas—another form of economic “war” arrogantly imposed out of hegemonic interests. The war in Iraq and Bolaños’ foreign policy response to this crisis are beginning to show what our place in the world will be.

Carlos Fuentes: “From the Heart”

Mexican author Carlos Fuentes, one of Latin America’s most brilliant intellectuals, has added his voice to those of many colleagues around the world who are speaking out against the war in Iraq. “The two Bush family governments have represented ‘petro-power’. There is a very close relationship between money and politics in this terrible war. What President Bush has initiated is nothing short of terrible. It profoundly wounds all of humanity. The end of international order will have apocalyptic consequences. All of this must be opposed from the Right, the Left and the center, but above all, from the heart.”

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