mardi, avril 04, 2006

Actualité - 11 pays de l'Amérique du Sud mobilisés pour contrer les tentatives impérialistes américaines

Franc-Parler salue l'initiative des 11 pays d'Amérique du Sud qui refusent de se plier aux politiques d'aliénation et d'assimilation intentées par le gouvernement américain. Un rapport paru dans le cadre de la rencontre entre le Canada, les États-Unis et le Mexique à Cancun souligne le rejet des mesures d'annexion cachées derrière les différents accords de "partenariat" entre pays pour assouvir l'économie américaine. À la veille du cinquième anniversaire du Sommet des peuples de l'Amérique, le 21 avril prochain, il est essentiel de saluer la détermination des nations à affirmer leur souveraineté et leur autodétermination.

Washington, Apr 3 (Granma) - While anti-U.S. sentiment has deep roots in Latin America, particularly among populist and left-wing parties that are winning elections there, specific policies pursued by the administration of Pres. George W. Bush and the Republican-led Congress are fueling the growing alienation from Washington, according to a new report.

An analysis of recent public opinion polls, statements by elected leaders, and newspaper editorials and cartoons, the 20-page study details U.S. actions -- from detainee abuse in the "global war on terror" to U.S. aid and immigration policies -- that have stoked anti-U.S. sentiment.

"Tarnished Image: Latin America Perceives the United States", released this week by the Latin America Working Group Educational Fund (LAWGEF), also cites the serious damage done by a U.S. law that bans certain kinds of military and economic aid for countries that refuse to sign a treaty pledging that they would not turn over U.S. citizens to the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

So far a dozen Latin American and Caribbean nations have turned down the aid rather than accept U.S. demands to exempt its citizens from ICC jurisdiction, according to the report, which notes that the new court is a particularly popular cause in Latin America where accountability for serious abuses of human rights of the kind the ICC was set up to prosecute has proven so difficult to achieve.

The new report, which was released during Thursday's summit meeting of Bush, Mexican President Vicente Fox, and Canada's new prime minister, Stephen Harper, comes amid growing concern here about relations between Washington and Latin America sparked in major part by the electoral success -- both recent and imminent -- of leftist candidates throughout the continent.

That Washington's image in Latin America has been badly tarnished is confirmed by recent surveys. Aside from the Arab and Islamic worlds, where Washington's standing has fallen sharply, particularly since the Iraq invasion, the U.S. -- and Bush, in particular -- gets the least positive ratings in Latin American countries.

In a December 2004 BBC Globescan poll of 21 countries, the four Latin American countries surveyed were among the 11 that felt most negatively towards Washington's influence in the world. The most negative of all 21, in fact, was Argentina, where 65 percent of respondents said U.S. influence was "mainly negative" (against 19 percent who said it was "mainly positive"). Majorities in Mexico and Brazil also assessed Washington's influence as negative, as did a 50 percent plurality in Chile.

Larger majorities in all four countries said Bush's 2004 re-election made them feel less optimistic about prospects for global peace and security, while significant majorities in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Uruguay and pluralities in Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic said that his foreign policy made them feel "worse" about the United States.

In a January 2005 Zogby study of more than 500 Latin American elite opinion-makers, only six percent said Bush's policies were better than those of his predecessors, while half claimed they were worse for the region, rising to two-thirds in Mexico.

While some analysts have argued that the rise in anti-U.S. sentiment, most vividly on display during the protests last November at the Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata, Argentina, is a byproduct of this "turn to the left", the report insists that it is a "reaction to specific U.S. policies in Latin America and broader concerns about the use of U.S. political and economic power in the world today".

Indeed, most of the center-left leaders who have come to power in Latin America in recent years have tried to work cooperatively with Washington and avoid antagonizing it, the report notes. But the Bush administration has generally failed to respond, insisting instead on policies that alienate their populations -- a pattern that has become more damaging to long-term U.S. interests, as Latin America expands its economic ties with extra-continental powers, including Europe and China.

Tactics in the "global war on terror" -- particularly the treatment of detainees -- have been particularly damaging, according to the report, which noted that the issue has gotten heavy coverage in Latin America media. It excerpted several outraged commentaries by Latin American newspapers, such as Colombia's El Tiempo, that have historically defended the United States.

"U.S. disrespect for international law -- indelibly imprinted in the world's imagination through the Abu Ghraib photographs -- has done great harm to United States' never-stellar reputation in Latin America," LAWGEF director Lisa Haugaard told IPS, adding that it had also undermined U.S. credibility on human rights-related issues with the region's military and security forces.

Disaffection with Bush's human rights policies has been made particularly stark by the controversy surrounding the ICC, according to the report, which notes that Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela have preferred to forgo millions of dollars in aid rather than bow to U.S. demands that they sign "Article 98" agreements exempting U.S. citizens from ICC jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, Washington's international economic stance has also harmed its image in Latin America, according to the study, which notes that its "unreflective, unbudging support" for neo-liberal policies and U.S.-style trade agreements that "have failed to deliver equitable development" has fueled the success of left-wing and populist candidates.

The administration's aid policies have also harmed Washington's image, the study argued, noting that while military assistance to the region has risen steadily since Bush took office in 2001, economic aid has stagnated. (IPS).

(Granma - 3 avril)

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