Juan Gabriel Tokatlian https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/1241/all/article/editorial-tags/www.cfr.org cached version 18/04/2018 14:45:19 en Tillerson en América Latina: vuelve Monroe https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/tillerson-en-am-rica-latina-vuelve-monroe <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Según la Doctrina Monroe, todo intento por parte de potencias extranjeras para extender su sistema a cualquier nación del hemisferio debe considerarse como peligroso para Estados Unidos. <em><strong><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/with-tillerson-in-latin-america-monroe-is-back">English</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-34834921_1.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-34834921_1.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>El presidente de Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos escucha al secretario de Estado de los Estados Unidos, Rex Tillerson, durante una conferencia de prensa tras una reunión en Bogotá, Colombia, el martes 6 de febrero de 2018. Foto de Daniel Garzon Herazo / NurPhoto / Sipa USA. PA images. Todos los derechos reservados.</span></span></span></p><p>Paradójicamente, lo más relevante del reciente periplo del Secretario de Estado, Rex Tillerson, por América Latina no ocurrió en la región, sino en Estados Unidos.</p><p>Al anunciarse su visita a México, Argentina, Perú, Colombia y Jamaica ya se conocía el énfasis de su agenda política: la grave situación socio-económica y político-institucional en Venezuela y la búsqueda de un esquema de tratamiento que combinara una mayor presión diplomática de varios países hacia Caracas con la amenaza de sanciones materiales estadounidenses. </p><p>También, como suele ocurrir con los viajes de presidentes y cancilleres estadounidenses, su propósito era procurar más mercados abiertos para las exportaciones de Estados Unidos a la región y bajar los reclamos por las dificultades de acceso de las mercancías de la región a Estados Unidos. </p><p>Como lo muestra la historia, toda gran potencia promueve el aperturismo hacia afuera y el proteccionismo hacia adentro. En épocas de declive hegemónico, las superpotencias elevan el nivel de protección interno, mientras los poderes ascendentes—tal el caso de China ahora—promueven el libre comercio. Con independencia de ciertas especificidades temáticas, como la cuestión de las drogas en Colombia, Perú y México, en el periplo de Tillerson&nbsp; no pareció observarse nada realmente novedoso o promisorio.</p> <p>A mi entender, lo realmente interesante ocurrió en Austin donde, antes de emprender su viaje, el Secretario de Estado brindó una alocución sobre América Latina en la Universidad de Texas. Es difícil encontrar una pieza oratoria en las relaciones interamericanas contemporáneas en las que un Canciller estadounidense recurra más frontal y cándidamente a la Doctrina Monroe y su manifestación en Latinoamérica.</p> <p>En el mensaje original del Presidente James Monroe al Congreso estadounidense en 1823, en referencia a los asuntos interamericanos, el referente fundamental era Europa. Monroe expresó que Estados Unidos iba a “considerar todo intento de su parte (Europa) para extender su sistema a cualquier nación de este hemisferio, como peligroso para nuestra (la de Estados Unidos) paz y seguridad”. </p><p>Tillerson en Austin identificó dos contra-partes amenazantes para los intereses estadounidenses en América Latina. Por un lado, mencionó a Rusia, cuya “creciente presencia en la región es alarmante”. Por el otro, subrayó a China, cuya proyección en el área “tiene una apariencia atractiva”, pero en realidad conduce a una “dependencia de largo plazo”. En consecuencia, según el Secretario de Estado, “nuestra región debe ser diligente contra poderes lejanos que no reflejan los valores que nosotros compartimos”.</p> <p>Adicionalmente, Tillerson intentó brindar un panorama histórico de los vínculos entre Estados Unidos y América Latina. Para ello utilizó ejemplos típicos del monroísmo. </p><p>Por una parte, invocó la primera conferencia interamericana de 1889 en Washington donde se dio inicio a los cónclaves panamericanos para afirmar la influencia de Estados Unidos en el continente y evitar la injerencia en el área de otros actores extra-regionales. Es evidente que desde la mirada latinoamericana hubo, en distintas coyunturas, expresiones que buscaron limitar y hasta revertir el panamericanismo.</p> <p>Por otra, evocó que Teddy Roosevelt fue el primer presidente estadounidense en ejercicio que hizo un viaje al exterior: Panamá en noviembre de 1906. Por supuesto que la memoria de la región respecto a Teddy Roosevelt es distinta: se lo recuerda por su papel en la separación de Panamá de Colombia en noviembre de 1903 y por el llamado “Corolario Roosevelt”—una variante de la Doctrina Monroe--formulado en 1904 y que se convirtió en la guía para racionalizar el intervencionismo estadounidense en la región para proteger sus intereses económicos y asegurar su predominio político (República Dominicana y Panamá en 1904, Cuba en 1906, Honduras en 1907, Nicaragua en 1910, Honduras en 1911, Honduras, Panamá, Nicaragua y Cuba en 1912, Haití y República Dominicana en 1914, y sucesivas).</p> <p>La nostalgia de Tillerson por Monroe fue tal que ante la pregunta del moderador del evento, el historiador William Inboden, sobre su valoración de la Doctrina Monroe, que en 2023 cumplirá 200 años, el Secretario dijo: “pienso claramente que ha sido un éxito…Fue un importante compromiso en su momento y creo que con los años ha continuado enmarcando la relación (entre Estados Unidos y América Latina)”.</p> <p>El Secretario fue inadvertidamente franco: la estrategia “Estados Unidos primero” del Presidente Donald Trump es, respecto a América Latina, probablemente el último intento de restaurar una doctrina obsoleta para lo que ya es y será el siglo XXI.</p><p>_____</p><p><em>Una versión de este artículo fue publicada previamente en Página 12. Vea el original <a href="https://www.pagina12.com.ar/95291-tillerson-y-la-nostalgia-monroista">aquí</a></em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/silvina-romano/la-estrategia-de-seguridad-y-el-inter-s-nacional-de-estados-unidos-">Migración, drogas, energía y tecnología: estos son los intereses de Trump en América Latina</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/guadalupe-de-la-torre/m-xico-cuando-trump-no-hace-sino-empeorar-las-cosas">México: cuando Trump no hace sino empeorar las cosas</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/francesc-badia-i-dalmases/donald-trump-el-hombre-equivocado">Donald Trump: el hombre equivocado</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> United States </div> <div class="field-item even"> Mexico </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Argentina </div> <div class="field-item even"> Peru </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Colombia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Colombia Peru Argentina Mexico United States Democracy and government Economics International politics latin america Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Wed, 14 Feb 2018 10:01:09 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 116119 at https://www.opendemocracy.net With Tillerson in Latin America, Monroe is back https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/with-tillerson-in-latin-america-monroe-is-back <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>According to the Monroe Doctrine, “any attempt by a foreign power to extend its system to any nation in the hemisphere must be considered as dangerous” by the United States. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/tillerson-en-am-rica-latina-vuelve-monroe">Español</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-34834921.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-34834921.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, left, listens to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a press conference after a meeting in Bogota, Colombia, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018. Photo by Daniel Garzon Herazo/NurPhoto/Sipa USA. PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>Paradoxically, the most relevant feature about the recent journey of the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, to Latin America did not happen in the region, but in the United States. </p><p>When his visit to Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Colombia and Jamaica was announced, the prominent points in his political agenda were already known: the very grave socio-economic and political-institutional situation in Venezuela and the search for a treatment combining stronger diplomatic pressure on Caracas from several countries of the region and the threat of US sanctions. </p><p>Also, as is often the case with the trips of US presidents and secretaries of State, his aim was to seek more open markets for US exports to the region and to soften the claims arising from the difficulties that products from Latin America experience in accessing the United States. </p><p>As history shows, all great powers promote outward openness and inward protectionism. In times of hegemonic decline, superpowers raise the level of internal protection, while powers on the rise - such as, currently, China - promote free trade. Besides some specific issues, such as the question of drugs in Colombia, Peru and Mexico, apparently nothing new or promising was worthy of note during Tillerson's tour.</p> <p>In my view, the really interesting novelty happened before he embarked on his trip, in Austin, where the Secretary of State gave an address on Latin America at the University of Texas. One would be hard-pressed to find a piece of oratory on contemporary inter-American relations in which a sitting US Secretary of State would rely more heavily and candidly on the Monroe Doctrine and its deployment in Latin America.</p> <p>In his original message to the US Congress in 1823 and when mentioning inter-American affairs, President James Monroe had fundamentally Europe in mind. Monroe said that the United States would "consider any attempt on its part (Europe) to extend its system to any portion in this hemisphere, as dangerous to our (the United States’) peace and security". Tillerson, in Austin, identified two counter-parts threatening US interests in Latin America. </p><p>On the one hand, he referred to Russia, whose "growing presence in the region is alarming." On the other, he spotlighted China, the projection of which in the region "offers the appearance of an attractive path", but leads in fact to "long-term dependency." Consequently, according to him, "our region must be diligent to guard against faraway powers that do not reflect the fundamental values shared in the region."</p> <p>In addition, Tillerson tried to provide an overview of the historical links between the United States and Latin America. For this he used some typical examples of Monroism. On the one hand, he evoked the first inter-American conference in Washington, in 1889, where Pan-American conclaves to affirm the influence of the United States on the continent and to avoid interference in the area by other extra-regional actors got started. </p><p>It is obvious that, from a Latin American perspective, several political expressions have sought, in different circumstances, to limit and even reverse Pan-Americanism.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">President Donald Trump's "America First" strategy is probably, concerning Latin America, the last attempt to restore an obsolete doctrine for the 21st century.</p> <p>On the other hand, he recalled that Teddy Roosevelt was the first sitting US President to travel abroad: he went to Panama in November 1906. The memory of the region about Teddy Roosevelt is, of course, quite different: he is remembered for his role in the separation of Panama from Colombia in November 1903, and for the so-called "Roosevelt Corollary" - a variant of the Monroe Doctrine – which he formulated in 1904 and became the rationale for American interventionism in the region to protect US economic interests and ensure its political dominance (Dominican Republic and Panama in 1904, Cuba in 1906, Honduras in 1907, Nicaragua in 1910, Honduras in 1911, Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua and Cuba in 1912, Haiti and the Dominican Republic in 1914, and so on).</p> <p>Tillerson’s nostalgia for Monroe was such that answering the question put by the moderator of the event, historian William Inboden, about his assessment of the Monroe Doctrine - which will be 200 years old in 2023 -, the Secretary of State said: "I think it clearly has been a success ... It was an important commitment at the time and I believe that, over the years that has continued to frame the relationship (between the United States and Latin America)."</p> <p>Inadvertently, the Secretary of State was quite candid: President Donald Trump's "America First" strategy is probably, concerning Latin America, the last attempt to restore an obsolete doctrine for the 21st century.&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/silvina-romano/us-security-strategy-and-national-interest-in-latin-america">Trump&#039;s only interests in Latin America are migration, drugs, energy and technology</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/guadalupe-de-la-torre/mexico-when-trump-only-makes-things-worse">Mexico: when Trump only makes things worse</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/francesc-badia-i-dalmases/donald-trump-wrong-man">Donald Trump: the wrong man</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> United States </div> <div class="field-item even"> Mexico </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Argentina </div> <div class="field-item even"> Colombia </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Peru </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta Peru Colombia Argentina Mexico United States Democracy and government Economics International politics latin america Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Wed, 14 Feb 2018 09:38:46 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 116118 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Venezuela as a Latin American challenge https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/venezuela-as-latin-american-challenge <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Venezuela is facing today the most painful and far-reaching crisis in America. Many interests are at stake. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/am-rica-latina-frente-venezuela">Español</a></em></strong><strong></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Venezuela_1.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Venezuela_1.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Photo courtesy of Nueva Sociedad. All rights reserved. </span></span></span><strong>This article is published as part of the partnership between Nueva Sociedad and democraciaAbierta. You can read the original article </strong><strong><a href="http://nuso.org/articulo/america-latina-frente-venezuela/">here</a>.</strong></p><p>The Bolivarian Revolution led by Hugo Chávez did not promise a liberal democracy. Its purpose was to establish a majoritarian democracy that would have led to a participatory democracy. In a popular and anti-elitist turn, it was taking up what Laureano Vallenilla Lanz, a Venezuelan journalist and politician, described in his 1919 book&nbsp;<em>Cesarismo Democrático</em>. Facing what he considered a disabled populace, Vallenilla defended the country’s need for an ideal, charismatic&nbsp;<em>caudillo</em>&nbsp;who should concentrate power and guarantee order. Or, to put it from another angle, and in Antonio Gramsci's terms, in the face of the very severe instability derived from the 1989&nbsp;<em>Caracazo</em>, Chávez appeared to many as the very expression of "progressive Caesarism."</p><p>Under Nicolás Maduro's administration, the uncertain aspiration for a majoritarian democracy led by a "good Caesar" turned into a "regressive Caesarism" and became an ochlocracy led by a "bad Caesar". According to Polybius (2nd century BC), an ochlocracy distorts democracy with its resort to demagoguery and illegality. In a more modern interpretation, what happens in an ochlocracy, rather than strengthening an organized people and the popular power, is that the masses are manipulated through different means as a tool and as the support base for the survival of the dominant group at the top of the government. As a result there is a setback in terms of some basic components of democracy - such as the protection of human rights - and authoritarian practices arise. In Venezuela, this has happened in the midst of an overwhelming economic crisis that is sweeping away the achievements that benefited the popular sectors, exacerbating social confrontation, and reinforcing an oil-based economy.</p><p>However, beyond this or that definition of the nature of the current regime, what the international community must deal with is the real, existing Venezuela and not that which its critics from different political perspectives are challenging, that which those who advocate a liberal democracy wish it to be, or that which is being defended by the supporters of "21st century Socialism”.</p><p>What this realism demands, from the outset, is an answer to the question: what the Maduro government does is the result of strong cohesion on the part of "Chavism" which is planning to perpetuate itself in power, in the midst of a context where there is a unified and legitimate opposition that is gaining momentum and there are disturbing fissures emerging in the armed forces? If the answer is yes, then there is not much that Latin America and the international community can do to stop a devastating train crash. If, on the contrary, what underlies the situation is the existence of intense struggles at the top, the belief in some official sectors that the continuity of the current government is unsustainable, the existence of conscious voices in the opposition who understand that it is imperative to gather support peacefully, and worries on the part of the military about the consequences that a deeply divided country would have, then, indeed, there is a small - very small - window of opportunity for the region to provide a political solution that would only be possible to the extent that Venezuelans themselves would make it so.</p><p>But if this were at all feasible, Latin America should overcome four obvious difficulties. First, leaders should prevent their own ideological preferences from hindering the positioning of each country: lucid and cautious minds are needed. Second, the Venezuela case cannot be merely functional to the internal electoral and/or political dynamics of each nation: a balance between internal motivations and external responsibilities is required. Third, it is dysfunctional for the region as a whole, in this juncture and beyond, to erode, by action or omission, forums such as the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), among others. And fourth, it is strategically counterproductive to isolate Venezuela, and to isolate the region from Venezuela, thus inadvertently contributing to the acceptance of a leading role by the United States. Washington, through more sanctions and threats, would create greater instability in the area: the whole of Latin America is in too delicate a situation to be playing with fire.</p><p>Were these obstacles to be overcome, two fundamental issues must be addressed. On the one hand, although change in Venezuela is essential, Latin America should not precipitate it. The idea of an immediate transition could even be dangerous. The election for governors is due in October and the presidential election in December next year. Efforts must be made to bring this latter date forward. On the other hand, if progress were made in finding a way out of the crisis, it should be acknowledged that the economic situation will not be resolved quickly or easily and, therefore, that Latin America will have to seriously commit itself to Venezuela’s future. We should accompany an eventual Venezuelan transition, so that it does not end up in more frustration; something that would exacerbate existing contradictions – expressing in essence the exhaustion of an oil rent-bound social, economic and political model.</p><p>Latin America already experienced – in the 1960s and for several decades - what happened after the Cuban Revolution. Yielding to Washington’s policy of isolating and punishing Havana and the absence of a minimal pragmatic regional agreement to avoid burning bridges with Fidel Castro had very unfortunate consequences for the region. The “continentalization” of the Cold War contributed to aggravate domestic cleavages in each country, and this combination was detrimental to the welfare, stability and autonomy of Latin American nations - an experience that should have taught us some lessons.</p><p>Concomitantly, there are regional interests at stake in Venezuela. Today, the country is facing the most painful and far-reaching crisis in America. The degradation of the current situation would be a catastrophic development for all Venezuelans and one that could have harmful effects for Latin America. At present, the international community knows how much the economy has deteriorated, how deep and intense the political polarization is, and how ineffective the good offices from abroad have been. Basically, the country is trapped in an unstable and negative situation. In this context, diplomatic inaction and aggressive rhetoric only guarantee a poorer defense of the national interests of the neighboring countries and of the more distant ones as well. Preserving Latin America as a zone of peace is an unavoidable must for the region.</p><p>Finally, in the case of Venezuela, it is essential to avoid what I call the "Bubulina effect". There is a character in the film&nbsp;<em>Zorba the Greek</em>, Madame Hortense (played by Lila Kedrova, who won a Hollywood Academy Award for best actress in a supporting role in 1964), who lived in a self-styled Ritz Hotel, a place that could have had some splendor in the past but was gradually deteriorating. She was known in the village as Bubulina. A good part of the villagers - in the island of Crete - was waiting for Bubulina’s death to loot the premises. And this is indeed what happens when someone shouts that she has passed away. I am using metaphorically this image to suggest that the worst thing that could happen at this hour would be for a good part of the governments of the region - and even beyond the region – to try and exploit the Venezuelan crisis: some of them, for a variety of internal reasons; others, in order to get closer to Washington, assuming that they would gain advantages of some kind; others, on the basis of strategic calculations regarding the country's oil wealth.</p><p>This is the time for the region to rethink what it wants and what it can do to prevent Venezuela from sliding into an abyss of unpredictable domestic and regional costs.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/andr-s-felipe-parra/criticizing-venezuela-from-left">Criticizing Venezuela from the Left</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/is-crisis-in-venezuela-still-negotiable">Is the crisis in Venezuela still negotiable?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/tom-s-straka/is-venezuela-in-time-to-avoid-exploding">Is Venezuela in time to avoid exploding?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta Venezuela Crisis Latin America Nicolas Maduro Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Wed, 06 Sep 2017 09:06:30 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 113209 at https://www.opendemocracy.net América Latina frente a Venezuela https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/am-rica-latina-frente-venezuela <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Venezuela se enfrenta hoy a la crisis más dolorosa y de mayor alcance de América. Algo está claro: hay muchos intereses en juego.&nbsp;<strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/venezuela-as-latin-american-challenge">English</a></em></strong><strong></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Venezuela_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Venezuela_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Foto cortesía de Nueva Sociedad. Todos los derechos reservados. </span></span></span></p><p><strong>Este artículo es producto de la alianza entre Nueva Sociedad y DemocraciaAbierta. Lea el contenido original&nbsp;</strong><strong><a href="http://nuso.org/articulo/america-latina-frente-venezuela/">aquí</a></strong><strong>.</strong></p><p>La Revolución Bolivariana que comandó Hugo Chávez no prometió una democracia liberal. Su propósito era establecer una democracia mayoritaria que desembocara en una democracia participativa. Se retomaba, aunque en clave popular y antielite, lo que en 1919 publicó el periodista y político venezolano, Laureano Vallenilla Lanz, en su libro&nbsp;<em>Cesarismo democrático</em>. Ante lo que concebía como la existencia de un pueblo incapacitado, Vallenilla reivindicaba para el país el ideal del caudillo carismático y gendarme que concentrase poder y garantizase orden. O puesto en otra clave, y en términos de Antonio Gramsci, ante la muy aguda inestabilidad derivada del «Caracazo» de 1989, Chávez aparecía para muchos como la expresión de un «cesarismo progresista».</p> <p>A partir de la gestión de Nicolás Maduro, la incierta aspiración de una democracia mayoritaria encabezada por un «buen César» se transformó en un «cesarismo regresivo» y en una oclocracia liderada por un «mal César». Según Polibio (siglo II a.C.), la oclocracia desvirtuaba la democracia con su recurso a la demagogia y la ilegalidad. En una interpretación más moderna, en una oclocracia antes que fortalecer un pueblo organizado y el poder popular, se instrumentaliza a las masas por diferentes medios y se afirma una estrecha base de apoyo para lograr la supervivencia de un grupo en la cima del gobierno. Ahí se produce un retroceso: componentes básicos de toda democracia como la protección de los derechos humanos se degradan y surgen dispositivos autoritarios. En Venezuela esto se da en medio de una monumental crisis económica que arrasa con los avances que beneficiaron a los sectores populares, agudiza la confrontación social y refuerza una economía sustentada en el petróleo.</p><p class="mag-quote-right">La Revolución Bolivariana que comandó Hugo Chávez no prometió una democracia liberal.</p> <p>Pero más allá de tal o cual definición politológica que precise la naturaleza del régimen actual, la comunidad internacional debe lidiar con la Venezuela realmente existente y no con la que impugnan sus críticos de distintas orillas políticas, la que desean los que abogan por una democracia liberal, o la que defienden los amigos del «socialismo del siglo XXI».</p> <p>Tal realismo demanda, de entrada, la respuesta a una pregunta: lo que hace el gobierno de Maduro ¿es el resultado de una gran cohesión del «chavismo» y su plan de perpetuación en el poder, lo cual se produce en medio del avance de fuerzas opositores unificadas y legitimadas y ante el surgimiento de inquietantes fisuras en la fuerza armada? Si la respuesta es que sí, entonces no es mucho lo que pueden hacer América Latina y la comunidad internacional, para frenar un choque de trenes ruinoso. Si, por el contrario, lo que subyace es la existencia de pugnas intensas en la cúpula dirigente, la creencia de ciertos sectores oficiales de que no es viable la perennidad del gobierno, la presencia de conscientes voces opositoras que comprenden que es imperativo acumular respaldos de manera pacífica y el temor de los militares de las consecuencias de una profunda división en el país, entonces si habría una pequeña –muy pequeña– ventana de oportunidad para que la región aportara una solución política que siempre será posible por lo que hagan los propios venezolanos.</p> <p>Pero si fuera esto factible, América Latina debe superar cuatro dificultades evidentes. Primero, los mandatarios deben evitar que sus preferencias ideológicas obstaculicen el posicionamiento de cada país: se necesitan mentes lúcidas y prudentes. Segundo, el caso Venezuela no puede ser solo funcional a la dinámica interna –electoral y/o política– de cada nación: se requiere un balance entre motivaciones internas y responsabilidades externas. Tercero, es disfuncional para la región en su conjunto, y más allá de esta coyuntura, erosionar, por acción u omisión, los foros como la Unión de Naciones Suramericanas (Unasur), la Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños (CELAC), entre otros. Y cuarto, es estratégicamente contraproducente el aislar y aislarse de Venezuela, contribuyendo inadvertidamente a que Estados Unidos asuma un papel protagónico que será, con más sanciones y amenazas, el preámbulo de mayor inestabilidad en el área: toda América Latina está en una situación demasiado delicada como para jugar con fuego.</p> <p>Si se lograsen superar los obstáculos mencionados, dos cuestiones son fundamentales. Por un lado, aunque es esencial un cambio, Latinoamérica no debiera precipitarlo. La idea de una transición inmediata puede ser incluso peligrosa. En octubre próximo habrá elección para gobernadores y la presidencial en 2018 será en diciembre. Se debería procurar que esa fecha fuese efectivamente anticipada. Por otro lado, si se avanzara en una salida a la crisis hay que reconocer que la situación económica no se resolverá rápida ni fácilmente y, por lo tanto, habrá que comprometerse en serio con el futuro venezolano. La eventual transición venezolana debiera acompañarse para que no resulte en una frustración que, a su turno, reagudice las contradicciones imperantes; contradicciones que en el fondo expresan el agotamiento de un modelo social, económico y político anclado en el rentismo petrolero.</p><p class="mag-quote-left">Preservar América Latina como zona de paz es una autoexigencia ineludible para la región.</p> <p>América Latina ya ha conocido en los años sesenta, y por décadas, lo que sucedió después de la Revolución Cubana. La mezcla de plegamiento a Washington en su política de cercamiento, aislamiento y punición de La Habana y la ausencia de una mínima concertación regional pragmática para evitar cortar puentes con Fidel Castro tuvo consecuencias lamentables para la región. Se «continentalizó» definitivamente la Guerra Fría y se contribuyó a exacerbar clivajes domésticos en cada país como reflejo de ello; esa combinación fue nefasta para el bienestar, la estabilidad y la autonomía de las naciones latinoamericanas. Sin duda, aquella experiencia debe haber dejado algunas lecciones.</p> <p>En forma concomitante, en Venezuela hay intereses regionales en juego. Venezuela se enfrenta hoy a la crisis más dolorosa y de mayor alcance de América. La degradación de la situación actual sería catastrófica para todos los venezolanos y podría tener efectos nefastos para América Latina. En estos momentos, la comunidad internacional sabe cuánto se ha deteriorado la economía, cuán profunda e intensa es la polarización política y cuán ineficaces han sido las contribuciones puntuales de buenos oficios desde el exterior. Básicamente, el país se encuentra atrapado en una situación inestable y de signo negativo. En ese contexto, la parálisis diplomática y la retórica agresiva solo garantizan una menor defensa de los propios intereses nacionales de los países vecinos y de los más distantes también. Preservar América Latina como zona de paz es una autoexigencia ineludible para la región.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Lo peor que puede suceder en esta hora es que buena parte de los gobiernos del continente –e incluso, extraregionales– procuren usufructuar la grave crisis venezolana.&nbsp;</p> <p>Finalmente, en el caso de Venezuela es primordial evitar lo que llamo el «efecto Bubulina». En la película Zorba el Griego había un personaje, Madame Hortense (que interpretó Lila Kedrova y por la cual recibió en 1964 el Oscar a mejor actriz secundaria), que habitaba el autodenominado Hotel Ritz que pudo haber tenido cierto esplendor pero que se fue deteriorando paulatinamente. A ella se la conocía en el pueblo como la «Bubulina». Buena parte de los aldeanos –en este caso de Creta– estaba a la espera de la muerte de la Bubulina para saquear el hotel. Y en efecto, eso ocurre cuando alguien grita que ella falleció. Uso metafóricamente esa imagen para sugerir que lo peor que puede suceder en esta hora es que buena parte de los gobiernos del continente –e incluso, extraregionales– procuren usufructuar la grave crisis venezolana; unos para propósitos internos de diversa índole, otros para acercarse más a Washington suponiendo que obtendrán ventajas de algún tipo; otros en función de cálculos estratégicos respecto a la riqueza petrolera del país, etc.</p> <p>Este es el momento de que la región repiense qué quiere y puede hacer para que Venezuela no se deslice hacia un abismo de imprevisibles costos internos y regionales.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/andr-s-felipe-parra/criticar-venezuela-desde-la-izquierda">Criticar a Venezuela desde la izquierda</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/marcelo-pereira/las-izquierdas-latinoamericanas-y-la-cuesti-n-de-venezuela">Las izquierdas latinoamericanas y la cuestión de Venezuela</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/tom-s-straka/est-tiempo-venezuela-de-evitar-la-explosi-n">¿Está a tiempo Venezuela de evitar la explosión?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Venezuela </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Venezuela my america: letters to americans Nicolas Maduro América Latina Crisis política Venezuela Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Wed, 06 Sep 2017 09:01:09 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 113208 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Warriors (of different sort) first https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/warriors-of-different-sort-first <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>It is not that Washington should be more alert about what happens in the world; it is the world that should be concerned with what is going on in the United States.&nbsp;<strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/guerreros-primero-en-la-am-rica-de-trump">Español</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-30022962_0.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-30022962_0.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>U.S President Donald Trump walks past soldiers during a visit to U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base February 6, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. Sgt. Alan Belser/Zuma Press/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>The first quarter of President Donald Trump’s mandate has shown that “America First” motto is, in reality, “Warriors First”. Since January 2017 the United States emphasis on military muscle, country-censuring, and pugnacious posturing –an emphasis that was already evident since the end of the Cold War and even more after September 11— has been accentuated. Trump is not an isolationist but a President willing to deploy its own version of primacy in times of eroding US hegemony. If primacy can be summarized as a grand strategy by which Washington does not tolerate, and must prevent, the rise of a serious challenger to US preponderance, then President George W. Bush played it vehemently, President Barack Obama tried to somehow calibrate it, and President Trump opted for an arrogant and aggressive version. Several indications point in that direction.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">The first quarter of President Donald Trump’s mandate has shown that “America First” motto is, in reality, “Warriors First”.</p> <p>First, the military presence is notorious in the cabinet. They are central figures in the Department of Defense (General Mattis) and the Department of Homeland Security (General Kelly), and at the National Security Council (General McMaster). Persons linked to, and involved with, the defense industry and lobbying hold relevant positions: among others, Heather Wilson (Department of Defense), Ben Cassidy (Department of Homeland Security) and Keith Kellogg (National Security Council). Hardliners of different class are key officials in the administration: anti-marriage equality, against transgender rights and planned parenthood, and pro-defunding HIV/AIDS programs Mike Pence (Vice-President), global warming denier Scott Pruitt (Environmental Protection Agency); climate change denier Mike Catanzaro (National Economic Council); pro-drug war and anti-immigration Jeff Sessions (Attorney General); supporter of immigration restrictions Julie Kirchner (Citizen and Immigration Services ombudswoman); staunch trade critic Peter Navarro (National Trade Council); and torture and abuse defender Mike Pompeo (CIA).</p> <p>Second, the administration has decided to increase the defense budget by US $ 54 billion while cutting in items like education, health, environment, as well as international non-military assistance. In addition, and according to the network of civil society experts Forum for Arms Trade, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, with the blessing of the Department of State, notified Congress a record of arms sales in the first four months of a government: US$ 9257.7 millions. Further more, President Trump signed a US$ 110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia’s autocratic regime of King King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">The administration has decided to increase the defense budget by US $ 54 billion while cutting in items like education, health, environment, as well as international non-military assistance.&nbsp;</p> <p>Third, the Trump administration is very probably the least attentive on international human rights and democratic issues since the end of the Second World War. Human rights defense and promotion are neither vital nor secondary interests in US foreign policy. It is not a question of pure realpolitik or utter open amorality; it may be the result of a more complex and contradictory process that has to do with the gradual deterioration of US democracy at home and its projection abroad.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-30859290.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-30859290.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>People protest on Friday, April 7, 2017 against the Trump Administration's military involvement in Syria. Erik McGregor/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>Fourth, and with no significant strategic purpose nor military impact, the Republican administration launched 59 Tomahawks missiles on Syria and the so-called "mother of all bombs" (MOAB in its acronym) over Afghanistan. Interestingly enough, new right-wing crusaders, old neoconservatives, and traditional liberals seem to agree on the utility of force <em>per se</em>, without any long-term military or political value.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">The Trump administration is very probably the least attentive on international human rights and democratic issues since the end of the Second World War.</p> <p>Fifth, Islamophobic language, warmongering rhetoric vis-à-vis Iran, leaks regarding a potential, unilateral military action against North Korea, Mexico-bashing, open criticisms of European allies such as Germany, ominous warnings for NATO, threats to terminate trade deal with South Korea, ambiguity with regards to post-conflict aid to, and support for, Colombia are, for example, regular comments and attitudes, both private and public, among high ranking government officials and the President himself as if bombastic, belligerent brinkmanship has become Washington preferred style of dealing with foes and friends alike.</p> <p>Sixth, the Trump administration looks obsessive to be tough: tough on trade, tough on ISIS, tough on borders, tough on crime, tough on foreigners, tough on war, tough on enemies, tough on Cuba, tough on partners, tough on the environment, tough on China. But these fixations are not signaling the capacity to sustain and advance a realistic grand strategy; they are the symbol of material weakness, political disorientation, and misguided willingness.</p> <p>Thus, in the end “Warriors first” is just a recipe for crisis, both domestic and international. Thus, and paradoxically, it is not that Washington should be more alert about what happens in the world; it is the world that should be concerned with what is going on in the United States.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/francis-fukuyama-natalia-koulinka/donald-trump-and-return-of-class-interview-with-francis-fukuyama">Donald Trump and the return of class: an interview with Francis Fukuyama</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/manuel-nunes-ramires-serrano/road-from-democracy-to-kakistocracy-and-back">The road from democracy to kakistocracy – and back</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/nafeez-mosaddeq-ahmed/donald-trump-is-going-to-keep-wrecking-afghanistan">Donald Trump is going to keep wrecking Afghanistan</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/john-weeks/donald-trump-and-shape-of-things-to-come">Donald Trump and the shape of things to come</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> United States </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta United States Civil society Democracy and government Ideas International politics Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Tue, 20 Jun 2017 10:23:49 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 111773 at https://www.opendemocracy.net “Guerreros primero” en la América de Trump https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/guerreros-primero-en-la-am-rica-de-trump <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>No es que Washington deba estar más pendiente de lo que sucede en el mundo; es el mundo el que debería estar preocupado por lo que está pasando en los Estados Unidos.<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/warriors-of-different-sort-first"> <strong><em>English</em></strong></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-30022962.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-30022962.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Donald Trump pasa revista a los soldados americanos durante una visita al Comando Central estadounidense en la base de la Fuerza Aérea MacDill en Tampa, Florida. Sgt. Alan Belser / Zuma Press / PA Imágenes. Todos los derechos reservados.</span></span></span></p><p>El primer trimestre del mandato del Presidente Donald Trump ha venido a demostrar que el lema "América Primero" era, en realidad, "Guerreros Primero". Desde enero de 2017, se ha incrementado el énfasis que los Estados Unidos han puesto en mostrar músculo militar, censurar países y posicionarse belicosamente –un énfasis que ya era evidente desde el final de la Guerra Fría, y más aún después del 11 de septiembre. Trump no es un aislacionista, sino un Presidente dispuesto a desplegar su propia versión de la supremacía americana, en tiempos de erosión de la hegemonía mundial estadounidense. Si la supremacía puede resumirse como una estrategia global en virtud de la cual Washington no tolera, y debe evitar, el ascenso de cualquiera que aspire seriamente a desafiar la preponderancia estadounidense, entonces George W. Bush la practicó con vehemencia, Barack Obama trató en cierta medida de calibrarla, y Trump optó por una versión arrogante y agresiva de la misma. Existen varios indicios que apuntan en esa dirección.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Trump no es un aislacionista, sino un Presidente dispuesto a desplegar su propia versión de la supremacía americana, en tiempos de erosión de la hegemonía mundial estadounidense.</p> <p>En primer lugar, la presencia militar en el gobierno Trump es manifiesta. Se trata de nombramientos de figuras centrales en el Departamento de Defensa (el general Mattis), en el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (el general Kelly), y en el Consejo de Seguridad Nacional (el general McMaster). También ocupan cargos relevantes personas vinculadas con la industria de defensa y los grupos de presión: Heather Wilson (Departamento de Defensa), Ben Cassidy (Departamento de Seguridad Nacional) y Keith Kellogg (Consejo de Seguridad Nacional). Diversos miembros de la línea dura son ahora funcionarios clave en la administración, como los que están contra el matrimonio-igualitario, contra los derechos de los transgénero y contra la planificación familiar, y los que están a favor de dejar de financiar programas de lucha contra el VIH / SIDA. Mike Pence es ahora el vicepresidente; Scott Pruitt, un negacionista del calentamiento global ,ha sido nombrado a la Agencia de Protección Ambiental; el negacionista del cambio clim a prisionerosal de Comercio); yl pro-gnanciar desafiarático Mike Catanzaro, dirige ahora el Consejo Económico Nacional; Jeff Sessions , que defiende la guerra contra las drogas y la política anti-inmigración, es ahora Procurador General; la partidaria de restricciones migratorias Julie Kirchner ha sido nombrada ombudswoman de los Servicios de Ciudadanía e Inmigración; el agresivo crítico del comercio Peter Navarro dirige ahora el Consejo Nacional de Comercio); y el defensor de la tortura y del abuso a prisioneros Mike Pompeo es el director de la CIA.</p> <p>En segundo lugar, la administración ha decidido aumentar el presupuesto de defensa en 54.000 millones de dólares, mientras recorta capítulos como educación, salud, medio ambiente y cooperación internacional no militar. Además, y según la red de expertos de la sociedad civil <em>Forum for Arms Trade</em>, la Agencia de Cooperación de Seguridad de Defensa, con la bendición del Departamento de Estado, notificó al Congreso una cifra de ventas de armas récord para cualquier gobierno: 9.257,7 millones de dólares en los primeros cuatro meses. Más aún, el presidente Trump firmó un acuerdo de venta de armas con el régimen autocrático del Rey Rey Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud &nbsp;de Arabia Saudita por un valor de 110.000 millones de dólares.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">La administración ha decidido aumentar el presupuesto de defensa en 54.000 millones de dólares, mientras recorta capítulos como educación, salud, medio ambiente y cooperación internacional no militar.</p> <p>En tercer lugar, la administración Trump es, muy probablemente, la menos atenta a cuestiones de derechos humanos y de democracia internacional desde el final de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. La defensa y promoción de los derechos humanos no representa intereses vitales, ni siquiera secundarios, para la política exterior estadounidense. No se trata de una realpolitik estricta, o de una amoralidad absoluta, sino que puede que sea el resultado de un proceso más complejo y contradictorio, que tiene que ver con el deterioro gradual de la democracia estadounidense, tanto en su nivel doméstico como en su proyección exterior.</p> <p>Cuarto, y sin que responda a ningún propósito estratégico o impacto militar significativo, la administración republicana lanzó 59 misiles Tomahawk sobre Siria, y también hizo estallar la llamada "madre de todas las bombas" (MOAB en sus siglas en inglés) sobre Afganistán. Curiosamente, tanto nuevos cruzados de derechas como viejos neoconservadores y liberales tradicionales parecen estar de acuerdo en la utilidad de la fuerza por sí misma, sin ningún tipo de valor político o militar a largo plazo.</p> <p>En quinto lugar, el lenguaje islamofóbico, la retórica belicista frente a Irán, las filtraciones vinculadas a una posible acción militar unilateral contra Corea del Norte, las críticas a aliados europeos como Alemania, las advertencias ominosas a la OTAN, las amenazas de acabar con el tratado de comercio con Corea del Sur, la ambigüedad con respecto a la ayuda post-conflicto y al apoyo a Colombia son ahora, por ejemplo, comentarios y actitudes habituales, tanto en privado como en público, entre altos funcionarios gubernamentales y el propio Presidente, como si &nbsp;proyectar un Washington explosivo y beligerante haya sido el estilo preferido para tratar con amigos y enemigos por igual.</p> <p>En sexto lugar, la administración Trump parece obsesionada en parecer dura: dura con el comercio, dura con ISIS, dura con las fronteras, dura con el crimen, dura con los extranjeros, dura con la guerra, dura con los enemigos, dura con Cuba, dura con los aliados, dura con el medioambiente, dura con China. Pero estas fijaciones se están mostrando incapaces de sostener y hacer avanzar una estrategia global realista para los Estados Unidos: son el símbolo de su debilidad material, su desorientación política y su empeño equivocado.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">La administración Trump parece obsesionada en parecer dura: dura con el comercio, dura con ISIS, dura con las fronteras, dura con el crimen, dura con los extranjeros, dura con la guerra, dura con los enemigos, dura con Cuba, dura con los aliados, dura con el medioambiente, dura con China.</p> <p>A fin de cuentas, "Guerreros primero" es, simplemente, una receta para las crisis, tanto nacionales como internacionales. Y así, paradójicamente, no es que Washington deba estar más pendiente de lo que sucede en el mundo; es el mundo el que debería estar preocupado por lo que está pasando en los Estados Unidos.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/samuel-moyn/trump-y-los-l-mites-de-los-derechos-humanos">Trump y los límites de los derechos humanos</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/manuel-nunes-ramires-serrano/de-la-democracia-la-kakistocracia-ida-y-vuelta">De la democracia a la kakistocracia – ida y vuelta</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> United States </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta United States Civil society Democracy and government Ideas International politics Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Tue, 20 Jun 2017 10:19:59 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 111772 at https://www.opendemocracy.net É a crise na Venezuela negociável? https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/crise-na-venezuela-negoci-vel <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>A tempestade ainda pode ser evitada. Existe ainda uma pequena janela de oportunidade para resolver a crise venezuelana através de meios políticos e negociados. O tempo é o elemento chave. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/is-crisis-in-venezuela-still-negotiable">English </a><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/la-crisis-en-venezuela-es-negociable">Español </a></em></strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/la-crisis-en-venezuela-es-negociable">&nbsp;</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-30994841_1.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-30994841_1.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Manifestantes durante uma marcha contra o presidente venezuelano, Nicolás Maduro, em Caracas, 19 de abril de 2017. NurPhoto / SIPA EUA / PA Images. Todos os direitos reservados.</span></span></span></p><p>Sem nenhuma dúvida, a Venezuela enfrenta-se hoje à crise mais dolorosa e de maior alcance das Américas. O deteriorar da situação actual seria catastrófico para todos os venezuelanos e poderia ter efeitos nefastos para a América Latina (especialmente para a Colômbia), para as Caraíbas (para Cuba em particular) e inclusive para os Estados Unidos (por exemplo, em relação ao fluxo refugiados e abastecimento de petróleo). Nestes momentos, a comunidade internacional sabe o quanto se deteriorou a economia, quão profunda e intensa é a polarização política e quão ineficazes foram os contributos esporádicos vindos do exterior. Basicamente, o país encontra-se encurralado numa situação instável e negativa. A maioria dos indicadores socioeconómicos são desfavoráveis e o estado de agitação social e a erosão institucional são generalizados; contudo, as forças políticas parecem estar igualadas, pelo que o confronto fica por agora num empate, e não há divisão no seio da Força Armada Nacional Bolivariana. Esta situação peculiar poderia abrir as portas para uma solução negociada. É crucial evitar uma implosão nacional e o consequente pesadelo regional. É preferível a precariedade à desordem, porque a precariedade pode resolver-se, enquanto que a desordem pode acabar no caos. </p> <p>Comecemos pelo final e retrocedamos: no principio de 2018 devem celebrar-se eleições gerais, um candidato da oposição ganhá-las-á e o chavismo terá que aceitar o resultado. Três acordos subjacentes são cruciais: a ideia de que qualquer pessoa possa perpetuar-se no poder é inaceitável, agora e no futuro; o governo entrante deverá evitar as represálias políticas e a perseguição dos integrantes do governo de Nicolás Maduro; e o chavismo deve actuar dentro do sistema como um partido de esquerda normal e não como uma força política anti-sistémica e inclinada para a violência. </p> <p>Como se pode conseguir isto? Devem clarificar-se oito elementos principais.</p> <p>Em primeiro lugar, a pedra angular de qualquer compromisso de boa-fé entre o governo e a oposição dever ser a preservação da democracia, a protecção dos direitos humanos e a priorização duma transição pacífica. Trata-se de um pacto que só pode ser estabelecido pelos venezuelanos – ninguém de fora pode obrigá-los. </p> <p>Em segundo lugar, devem celebrar-se eleições regionais em 2017, sob a supervisão e monitoramento de actores internacionais legitimados. É muito provável que as forças da oposição obtenham avanços significativos nestas eleições e que o governo consiga manter alguns bastiões. </p> <p>Em terceiro lugar, é fundamental manter a unidade das forças armadas e que ninguém, dentro ou fora do país, se dedique a pedir golpes de estado. Por outra parte, para os militares venezuelanos representa um risco maiúsculo permitir que as milícias civis, criadas em 2007, agora fortemente armadas, se convertam numa espécie de ferozes <em>tonton macoutes</em> ao estilo haitiano. </p> <p>Em quarto lugar, é essencial a coesão continental. O Mercado Comum do Sul (MERCOSUR); a União de Nações Sul-Americanas (UNASUR); a Comunidade de Estados da América Latina e das Caraíbas (CELAC); e a Organização de Estados Americanos (OEA), devem pôr-se de acordo em relação aos princípios e iniciativas chaves na crise venezuelana, e os actores chave (Estados Unidos, Cuba, Colômbia, Brasil e Argentina, entre outros) devem esforçar-se por influenciar e conduzir os diferentes actores políticos na Venezuela a uma solução não violenta. </p> <p>Em quinto lugar, a reconstrução económica do país levará anos, mas, entretanto, para aliviar a dramática situação económica dos sectores mais pobres e vulneráveis da população, a contribuição de alguns bancos multilaterais poderia ser muito positiva. O governo de Maduro deveria pensar em, por exemplo, recorrer ao Banco de Desenvolvimento da América Latina (CAF), ao Banco Interamericano de Desenvolvimento e ao Banco Mundial para pedir empréstimos de emergência para evitar que a Venezuela se afunde numa devastadora recessão económica. </p> <p>Em sexto lugar, o governo deve começar imediatamente a dar sinais, tais como a libertação de personagens políticos e o respeito às manifestações não violenta, entre outros. </p> <p>Em sétimo lugar, os diferentes grupos da oposição, que em realidade estão divididos e carecem duma estratégia coerente a longo prazo, devem actuar com responsabilidade e racionalidade no que toca às suas exigências e acções. </p> <p>E, em oitavo lugar, há duas questões que poderiam gerar um compromisso de mínimos entre um governo denilitado e umas forças da oposição ivididas: reconstruir a industria petrolífera e lutar contra o crime organizado. Porque a deterioração do negocio petrolífero e o avanço da criminalidade tem consequências negativas para todos na Venezuela, hoje e no futuro. </p> <p>A tempestade ainda pode ser evitada. Existe uma pequena janela de oportunidade para resolver a crise venezuelana através de meios políticos e através da negociação. O tempo é um elemento chave. As alternativas realistas e não violentas precisam sempre de boa vontade por parte dos actores principais. O realismo não supõe inacção esperando que aconteça o pior.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta Civil society Democracy and government Ideas Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:28:25 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 110392 at https://www.opendemocracy.net La crisis en Venezuela, ¿es negociable? https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/la-crisis-en-venezuela-es-negociable <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>La tormenta todavía puede evitarse. Hay aún una pequeña ventana de oportunidad para resolver la crisis venezolana por medios políticos y negociados. El tiempo es el factor clave. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/is-crisis-in-venezuela-still-negotiable">English</a> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/crise-na-venezuela-negoci-vel">Português</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-30994841_0.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-30994841_0.png" alt="Manifestantes en una marcha contra el presidente venezolano Nicolás Maduro, en Caracas el 19 de abril de 2017. NurPhoto / SIPA U" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Manifestantes en una marcha contra el presidente venezolano Nicolás Maduro, en Caracas el 19 de abril de 2017. NurPhoto / SIPA USA / PA Images. Todos los derechos reservados.</span></span></span></p><p>Sin lugar a dudas, Venezuela se enfrenta hoy a la crisis más dolorosa y de mayor alcance de las Américas. La degradación de la situación actual sería catastrófica para todos los venezolanos y podría tener efectos nefastos para América Latina (especialmente Colombia), el Caribe (Cuba en particular) e incluso Estados Unidos (por ejemplo, en términos de refugiados y de suministro de petróleo). En estos momentos, la comunidad internacional sabe cuánto se ha deteriorado la economía, cuán profunda e intensa es la polarización política y cuán ineficaces han sido las contribuciones puntuales desde el exterior. Básicamente, el país se encuentra atrapado en una situación inestable y de signo negativo. La mayoría de los indicadores socioeconómicos son desfavorables y el estado de agitación social y la erosión institucional son generalizados; sin embargo, las fuerzas políticas parecen estar igualadas, con lo que la confrontación queda de momento en tablas, y no hay división en el seno de la Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana. Esta situación peculiar podría allanar el camino hacia una solución negociada. Es crucial evitar una implosión nacional y la consiguiente pesadilla regional. Es preferible la precariedad al desorden, porque la precariedad puede resolverse y el desorden puede acabar en caos.</p> <p>Empecemos por el final y retrocedamos: a principios de 2018 deben celebrarse elecciones generales, un candidato de la oposición las ganará y el chavismo tendrá que aceptar el resultado. Tres acuerdos subyacentes son cruciales: la idea de que cualquier persona pueda perpetuarse en el poder es inaceptable, ahora y en el futuro; el gobierno entrante debe evitar las represalias políticas y la persecución de los integrantes del gobierno saliente de Nicolás Maduro; y el chavismo debe actuar dentro del sistema como un partido de izquierda normal y no como una fuerza política anti-sistémica y proclive a la violencia.</p> <p>¿Cómo puede conseguirse esto? Deben clarificarse ocho elementos principales.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Es preferible la precariedad al desorden, porque la precariedad puede resolverse y el desorden puede acabar en caos.</p> <p>&nbsp;En primer lugar, la piedra angular de cualquier compromiso de buena fe entre el gobierno y la oposición debe ser la preservación de la democracia, la protección de los derechos humanos y la priorización de una transición pacífica. Se trata de un pacto que sólo pueden establecer los venezolanos y nadie desde fuera puede obligarles a ello.</p> <p>En segundo lugar, deben celebrarse elecciones regionales en 2017, bajo supervisión y monitoreo de actores internacionales legitimados. Es muy probable que las fuerzas de la oposición logren avances significativos en estas elecciones y que el gobierno logre mantener algunos bastiones.</p> <p>En tercer lugar, es fundamental mantener la unidad de las fuerzas armadas y que nadie, dentro o fuera del país, se dedique a pedir golpes de estado. Por otra parte, para los militares venezolanos representa un riesgo mayúsculo permitir que las milicias civiles, creadas en 2007, ahora fuertemente armadas, se conviertan en una especie de feroces <em>tonton macoutes</em> al estilo haitiano.</p> <p>En cuarto lugar, es esencial la cohesión continental. MERCOSUR, el Mercado Común del Sur; UNASUR, la Unión de Naciones Suramericanas; CELAC, la Comunidad de Estados de América Latina y el Caribe; y la OEA, la Organización de Estados Americanos, deben acordar principios e iniciativas clave con respecto a la crisis venezolana, y los actores clave (Estados Unidos, Cuba, Colombia, Brasil y Argentina, entre otros) deben esforzarse por influir y conducir a los distintos actores políticos en Venezuela hacia una solución no violenta.</p> <p>En quinto lugar, la reconstrucción económica del país tomará años pero, mientras, para aliviar la dramática situación económica de los sectores más pobres y vulnerables de la población, la contribución de algunos bancos multilaterales podría ser muy positiva. El gobierno de Maduro debería considerar acudir por ejemplo al Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina (CAF), al Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo y al Banco Mundial a pedir créditos de emergencia para evitar que Venezuela se hunda en una devastadora recesión crónica.</p> <p>En sexto lugar, el gobierno debe empezar inmediatamente a dar señales como la puesta en libertad de personajes políticos y el respeto a las protestas no violentas, entre otras.</p> <p>En séptimo lugar, los diferentes grupos de la oposición, que en realidad están divididos y carecen de una estrategia coherente a largo plazo, deben actuar con responsabilidad y racionalidad en sus demandas y acciones.</p> <p>Y en octavo lugar, hay dos cuestiones que podrían generar un compromiso de mínimos entre un gobierno debilitado y unas fuerzas de oposición divididas: reconstruir la industria petrolera y luchar contra el crimen organizado. Porque el empeoramiento del negocio petrolero y el avance de la criminalidad tiene consecuencias negativas para todos en Venezuela, hoy y en el futuro.</p> <p>La tormenta todavía puede evitarse. Hay todavía una pequeña ventana de oportunidad para resolver la crisis venezolana por medios políticos y negociados. El tiempo es el factor clave. Las alternativas realistas y no violentas precisan siempre de la voluntad de los actores principales. El realismo no implica falta de acción esperando a que ocurra lo peor.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/cecile-rossi/venezuelas-silenced-voices">Venezuela&#039;s silenced voices</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/phil-gunson/duro-aterrizaje-en-venezuela">Duro aterrizaje en Venezuela </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Venezuela </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Venezuela Civil society Democracy and government Ideas Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:25:37 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 110391 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Is the crisis in Venezuela still negotiable? https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/is-crisis-in-venezuela-still-negotiable <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Turmoil can still be avoided. There is still a small window of opportunity to resolve the Venezuelan crisis by political, negotiated means. Time is key. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/la-crisis-en-venezuela-es-negociable">Español</a> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/crise-na-venezuela-negoci-vel">Português</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-30994841.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-30994841.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Demonstrators during a march against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on April 19, 2017. NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>Without a doubt, today Venezuela is facing the most painful and far-reaching crisis in the Americas. The degradation of the current scenario will be catastrophic for all Venezuelans and may have harmful spill-over effects for Latin America (especially, Colombia), the Caribbean (Cuba, in particular), and even the United States (for example, in terms of refugees and oil provision). By now, the international community knows how much the economy has deteriorated, how deep and strong political polarization is, and how ineffective the isolated external involvement has been. In essence, the country is caught in an unstable negative situation. Most socio-economic indicators are unfavourable and the degree of social unrest and institutional erosion is pervasive; however, there is an apparent political standoff and no open division within the <em>Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana</em>. This peculiar condition may thus pave the way for a negotiated solution. It is crucial to avoid a national implosion and a regional nightmare. Odd as it may seem, precariousness is better than disarray. Fragility can be fixed; disorder can result in chaos. </p> <p>Let us start with the end game, and then move backwards: by early 2018 there should be a general election, an opposition candidate is going to win and Chavism--the political movement associated with former President Hugo Chávez--will have to accept the result. Three underlying agreements are crucial: the idea that anybody can perpetuate him or herself in power is unacceptable, now and in the future; the incoming administration must avoid political retaliation and social persecution of the outgoing government of Nicolás Maduro; and Chavism must operate as an ordinary left-wing party within the system and not as an anti-systemic, violent-prone political force.</p> <p>How can this outcome be achieved? Eight major elements need to be clarified. First, the cornerstone of any good-faith commitment between the government and the opposition must be the preservation of democracy, the protection of human rights, and prioritizing peaceful transition. This is a pledge that can be only established among Venezuelans--for, in the end, no foreign party can compel its Venezuelan counterparts. Second, regional elections must be held in 2017, under supervision and monitoring by legitimate international actors. It is very likely that opposition forces will achieve significant gains and that the government will manage to secure some strongholds. Third, it is fundamental to maintain the unity of the armed forces and that no one, inside or outside the country, calls for a coup d'état. In addition, it is major risk for the Venezuelan military to allow the civilian militia, created in 2007, to now become heavily armed and transform itself into a sort of vicious, Haitian-style “<em>tonton macoutes</em>”.</p> <p>Fourth, continent-wide cohesion is crucial. MERCOSUR, the Southern Common Market; UNASUR, the Union of South American Nations; CELAC, the Latin American and Caribbean Community of States; and the OAS, the Organization of American States, should agree on key guiding principles and initiatives vis-à-vis the Venezuelan crisis, and key actors (the United States, Cuba, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, among others) should strive to influence and lead the different actors in Venezuela towards a non-violent, political solution. Fifth, the economic reconstruction of the country will take several years but, in the meantime, with the aim of alleviating the dramatic economic situation of the poorest and more vulnerable sectors of the population, the contribution of some multilateral banks can be very relevant. For example, the Maduro government must consider approaching the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), the Inter-American Development Bank, and the World Bank and ask for emergency credits to avoid having Venezuela sink into a devastating, chronic recession.</p> <p>Sixth, step-by-step signals by the government must begin immediately with actions such as the release of political figures and the respect for non-violent protests, among others. Seventh, the different opposition groups, which in fact are split and lack a coherent, long-term strategy, should act with responsibility and rationality in their demands and actions. And eight, there are two questions that can generate a minimum compromise between a weakened government and a divided opposition: reconstruct the oil industry and fight organized crime. The worsening of the petroleum business and the advance of criminality has negative consequences for everyone in Venezuela, today and in the future.</p> <p>Turmoil can still be avoided. There is still a small window of opportunity to resolve the Venezuelan crisis by political, negotiated means. Time is key. Realistic, non-violent alternatives always need willingness on the part of fundamental actors. Realism does not imply inaction waiting for the worst to happen.&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/phil-gunson/venezuela-s-hard-landing">Venezuela’s hard landing</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/cecile-rossi/venezuelas-silenced-voices">Venezuela&#039;s silenced voices</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta Civil society Democracy and government Ideas Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:23:01 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 110389 at https://www.opendemocracy.net United States and Latin America: between uncertainty and concern https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/united-states-and-latin-america-between-uncertainty-and-con <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <P>Donald Trump and some of his advisors&nbsp;are generating more than uneasiness. provoking the sense that the United States may become a real source of concern in Latin America<EM><STRONG><A href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/estados-unidos-incertidumbre-e-inquietud-en-am-rica-latina">. Español</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <P><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-29141506.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-29141506.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="278" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A Border Patrol vehicle drives by in Tecate, Calif., seen through a hole. Nov. 9, 2016 photo. Gregory Bull AP/Press Association Images.</span></span></span>&nbsp;The United States has chosen a President whose key articulating principle is “America First”. Donald Trump’s underlying grand strategy is not a call for a reconfigured isolationism; it is an appeal to aggressive primacy. Nothing from his campaign assertions signaled a retreat from world politics or restraint in terms of foreign policy. His promises were for the greater and massive funds for defense, an overwhelming emphasis on terrorism and security issues, the abandonment of human rights promotion, positive messages for strongmen and reactionary parties abroad, sanctions-oriented and retaliatory-focused economic diplomacy, unilateralism as a guiding conduct vis-à-vis global affairs, dislike for multilateral forums, and no interest for international legality.&nbsp;</p> <P>Initially his mandate generates more than anxiety; it is a cause of serious concern for many in Latin America. Several points support this assumption. First, open hostility towards Mexico is a cause for alarm in the region. The extension of the wall at the border between both countries as a means of complete frontier closure, the announcement of huge deportations of Mexicans, the accusations against Mexicans in the United States as criminals and violators, the menace of killing NAFTA, among others, are crude examples of coercive diplomacy against a non-threatening country that has been a good neighbor of the United States. Last July, Joseph Schmitz, former executive with the controversial private security contractor Blackwater and current Foreign Policy and National Security Advisor to Trump, said in reference to him and Latin America that Donald Trump wanted “to be honest and fair with our allies and honest and tough with our enemies”. Is Mexico an enemy then?</p> <P>Second, on Cuba, as presidential candidate Trump asserted that “we are keeping [Guantanamo] open”, and that he would reverse President Barack Obama’s deal with Cuba, instead imposing a non-specified “stronger” agreement. According to the July 2016 Republican Party platform, Obama’s arrangement with Cuba “was a shameful accommodation to the demands of its tyrants”. The very gradual normalization of relations between Washington and Havana during the democratic administration may not have only reached a stalemate, but could even be reversed in the near future because of the obsolete ideological motives of hardliners in the White House and Congress: if the unnecessary Cold War in the continent is prolonged, the United States is the one to be blamed now.</p> <P>Third, the lack of any positive signals from Trump and his advisors on the new peace accord between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas, or the opening of a dialogue between the Venezuelan government and the opposition, is surprising and disturbing. Would the incoming administration prefer the perpetuation of the situation in the two hotspots on the Andean ridge? Is the Florida vote—where some 1.6 million Cuban-Americans, Colombian-Americans, and Venezuelan-Americans live - still so significant as to impede the Republicans to openly support stability instead of conflict in Colombia and Venezuela?</p> <P>Fourth, the overriding centrality given to terrorism by Donald Trump and his team will probably extend beyond the United States, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Even though since 9/11 Latin America was the only region in the world that did not witness a lethal attack by any radical fundamentalist group, the question of terrorism seems to be high on the agenda. Whalid Phares, the ex-Lebanese far-right Christian militia ideologue and Foreign Policy Advisor to Trump, remarked in an interview with an Argentine newspaper that “terrorism” should be the first priority in future US-Argentine relations. Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, former DIA officer and key Defense Advisor to Trump, has been reinforcing the idea of a link between terrorism and Latin America by affirming, without providing much detail, that countries that back Islamic terrorism are “cutting deals” with Mexican cartels in order to enter the United States. Again a major threat environment around Mexico, in particular, and Latin American in general, allegedly places terrorism in the region as a significant challenge to the United States.</p> <P>Fifth, on the drug issue, Donald Trump moved from pro-legalization in the early 1990s to a conventional warrior during the campaign. He was specifically against the legalization of recreational marihuana and advocated tougher border and law enforcement policies in relation to Mexico externally and the so called “sanctuary cities” inside the United States. While Latin America, after decades of ferocious suffering, is attempting to reform a highly prohibitionist drug strategy, the United States, under Trump, seems to be encouraging the return to the logic of the “war on drugs” - at home and abroad. In the region we already know that the war discourse is American and the war deaths are Latin Americans.</p> <P>To sum up, the manifesto of Donald Trump and some of his advisors is generating more than uneasiness. In reality, they are not only endangering, in advance, relations within the Americas, but also provoking the sense that the United States may become a real source of concern in Latin America.</p> <P>&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/michael-edwards-francesc-badia-i-dalmases-thomas-rowley-natalia-antonova/trump-wins">Trump wins, what now?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta Democracy and government latin america Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Fri, 18 Nov 2016 09:21:45 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 106917 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Estados Unidos: incertidumbre e inquietud en América Latina https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/estados-unidos-incertidumbre-e-inquietud-en-am-rica-latina <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Donald Trump y algunos de sus asesores están generando mucho más que incomodidades. Alimentan la sensación de que los Estados Unidos pueden convertirse muy pronto en una fuente de preocupación real. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/united-states-and-latin-america-between-uncertainty-and-con">English</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-29141506_1.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-29141506_1.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="278" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Una patrulla fronteriza vista a través de un agujero en la valla en Tecate, California. Gregory Bull AP/Press Association Images. Todos los derechos reservados.</span></span></span>&nbsp;</p> <p>Los Estados Unidos han escogido un presidente cuyo argumento fundamental se expresa en su “America First” (América, en primer lugar). La estrategia global que está detrás de Donald Trump no es una apelación a un aislacionismo reconfigurado, sino más bien una llamada a ejercer de manera agresiva la supremacía. Nada de lo que dijo en sus discursos de campaña significa un repliegue de la política mundial, ni tampoco una política exterior de perfil bajo. Trump prometió lo siguiente: muchísimos más fondos para la defensa; énfasis marcado en temas de seguridad y terrorismo; abandono de la promoción de los derechos humanos; mensajes de apoyo a los hombres fuertes y a los partidos reaccionarios en el extranjero; una diplomacia económica enfocada a sanciones y a represalias; unilateralismo como pauta de comportamiento en asuntos globales; desdén elocuente frente a los foros multilaterales, y falta de interés en la legalidad internacional. &nbsp;</p> <p>De entrada, su mandato ya ha generado más como medio para ontera entre los dos pa globales; o guhombres fuertes &nbsp;de una ansiedad: representa una fuente de seria preocupación para muchos en América Latina. Varios puntos corroboran esta afirmación. </p> <p>En primer lugar, la abierta hostilidad con México causa alarma en toda la región. A la prolongación del muro a lo largo de toda la línea que separa los dos países, como medio para cerrar definitivamente la frontera, se le unen el anuncio de deportaciones masivas de mexicanos; las acusaciones de que los mexicanos que viven en los Estados Unidos son criminales y violadores; y el fin del NAFTA, entre otras cosas. Son crudos ejemplos de una diplomacia coercitiva, pensada contra un país que ha sido un buen vecino y que no amenaza a los Estados Unidos. En Julio pasado, Joseph Schmitz, quien fue ejecutivo de la oscura compañía de seguridad privada Blackwater y es actualmente asesor de Política Exterior y de Seguridad Nacional del nuevo Presidente dijo, refiriéndose a Trump y a Latinoamérica, que éste quería ser “honesto y justo con nuestros aliados, y honesto y duro con nuestros enemigos”. Por consiguiente: ¿es México un enemigo? </p> <p>En segundo lugar, hablando sobre Cuba, y ya como candidato presidencial, Trump afirmó que “mantendremos (Guantánamo) abierto”, y que desharía el acuerdo alcanzado por Barak Obama e impondría un acuerdo “más fuerte”, sin especificar lo que eso significa. Según la posición de la Plataforma del Partido Republicano, en Julio de 2016, el acuerdo alcanzado por Obama con Cuba “fue una manera de plegarse vergonzosamente a las demandas de los tiranos”. La normalización, lenta y gradual, de las relaciones entre Washington y la Habana durante la administración demócrata no solo puede verse bloqueada, sino incluso puede verse revertida en el futuro próximo, debido a obsoletas posiciones ideológicas de políticos del ala dura, tanto en la Casa Blanca como en el Congreso. Si la innecesaria Guerra Fría en el continente se prolonga, será por culpa de los Estados Unidos.</p> <p>En tercer lugar, la ausencia de señales positivas por parte de Trump o de sus asesores ante el nuevo acuerdo de paz entre el gobierno colombiano y la guerrilla de las FARC, o ante la apertura del diálogo entre en gobierno de Venezuela y la oposición es, a la vez, sorprendente. ¿Puede la administración entrante preferir que se perpetúen los dos puntos calientes de la región andina? ¿Es el voto de Florida –donde viven 1,6 millones de cubano-americanos, colombiano-americanos y venezolano-americanos-- todavía tan significativo como&nbsp; para impedir que los Republicanos no apoyen abiertamente la estabilidad, en vez del conflicto, en Colombia y Venezuela?</p> <p>En cuarto lugar, la absoluta centralidad otorgada al terrorismo por Donald Trump y su equipo se extenderá probablemente más allá de los Estados Unidos, Europa, Asia, el Norte de África y Oriente Medio. A pesar de que, tras el 11S, América Latina fue la única región del mundo que no sufrió ningún ataque letal por parte de algún grupo fundamentalista radical, el terrorismo parece estar muy arriba en la agenda del mandatario electo. Whalid Phares, ex ideólogo de una milicia cristiana de extrema derecha en el Líbano y actual asesor de política exterior de Trump, indicó en una entrevista con un periódico argentino que el “terrorismo” sería la primera prioridad en las relaciones entre los Estados Unidos y la Argentina. El general retirado Michael Flynn, ex director de la Agencia de Inteligencia de la Defensa y hoy asesor clave de Trump en materia de cuestiones de defensa, ha venido reforzando la idea de la existencia de un vínculo entre el terrorismo y América Latina al afirmar, sin proporcionar más detalles, que los países que apoyan el terrorismo islámico están “cerrando tratos” con cárteles mexicanos para conseguir entrar en los Estados Unidos. Una vez más, esto genera una atmósfera amenazante sobre México, en particular, y sobre América Latina en general, que coloca supuestamente al terrorismo como un reto importante para los Estados Unidos en la región.</p> <p>En quinto lugar, en el asunto de las drogas, Donald Trump se ha movido desde estar a favor de la legalización a principios de los años 90, a presentarse durante la campaña convencionalmente a favor de la “guerra contra las drogas”. Estuvo específicamente en contra de la legalización del uso recreativo de la marihuana, y defendió políticas más duras en la frontera y de persecución punitiva en relación a México, en el exterior, y hacia las llamadas “ciudades santuario”, en el interior de los Estados Unidos. Al mismo tiempo que América Latina, tras décadas de durísimo padecimiento, está intentando reformar lo que es una estrategia muy prohibicionista frente a las drogas, los Estados Unidos, bajo Donald Trump, parecen favorecer el regreso a la lógica de la “guerra contra las drogas”, tanto en casa como en el extranjero. En la región, ya sabemos que el discurso de la guerra es estadounidense, pero los muertos son latinoamericanos.</p> <p>En resumidas cuentas, las proclamas de Donald Trump y de&nbsp; algunos de sus asesores están generando en la región mucho más que duda e incomodidad. En realidad, no solo están poniendo en peligro anticipadamente las relaciones dentro de las Américas, sino que están también alimentando la sensación de que los Estados Unidos pueden convertirse muy pronto en una fuente de preocupación real.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/francesc-badia-i-dalmases/trump-gana-y-ahora-qu">Trump gana. ¿Y ahora qué?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Democracy and government Selección del Editor latin america Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Fri, 18 Nov 2016 09:17:22 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 106916 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Colombia and the plebiscite: the peace that wasn’t https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/colombia-and-plebiscite-peace-that-wasn-t <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Peace in Colombia is now entering an unpredictable labyrinth.<em><strong><a href="http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1943825-el-mundo-tiene-que-renovar-el-compromiso-ante-la-paz-que-no-fue"> Español</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-28845406.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-28845406.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>In Bogota, Colombia, thousands attend 'March for Peace' following referendum's 'NO' result. Wednesday, 5 October, 2016. </span></span></span></p><p>After 52 years, four months and five days of an armed conflict that has left more than 8 million victims, Colombians rejected in a plebiscite (50.2% vs. 49.7%) the commitment to peace agreed by the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).</p><p>How are we to understand such a paradoxical and unexpected result? I will try to outline some hypotheses. First, the Colombian political system is currently experiencing serious representation problems, as shown in the recurring low levels of participation. Just 37.4% of the 34.899.945 Colombians eligible to vote went to the polls on October, 2nd - only 13.066.047 people did vote. There were fewer voters than in the first rounds of the presidential elections in 2010 (14.781.020) and in 2014 (13.209.561). And the percentage of those not voting at the referendum (63.6%) was the second highest since the first round of the presidential elections (66.3%) of 1994. It is important to acknowledge that only a segment of the Establishment—a relatively more modern one—has been opened to dialogue and negotiation with a severely weakened but not completely defeated insurgency. The most traditional and conservative sector of the Establishment expected and favored the rendition of the FARC.</p> <p>Second, the electorate faced enormous difficulties to know and understand in any depth the content of what was being voted. The document backing the signing of the peace between the Colombian government and the M-19 guerrillas in March 1990 was four pages long. The text signed with the FARC has 297 pages. The former was an agreement. The latter is a treaty. Comparative literature on plebiscitary campaigns indicates that the key to obtain a favourable vote of the population is to have sufficient time to educate the voters, to communicate in a coherent way, to encourage citizen involvement and to reach the undecided. None of this happened this time, despite the fact that it was essential - considering the complexity and the ambition of the text - that the vast majority of Colombians comprehend and assimilate why they should vote yes.</p> <p>Third, the deployment of relatively scarce resources, the campaign style and the strong rhetorical arguments of the supporters of the “no” vote should be acknowledged. The government-FARC commitment is precise and comprehensive, but its opponents managed to oversimplify and shrink it. The key strategy of the “no” promoters was to avoid explaining the agreement and to stress the question of indignation. The idea was not to debate rational pros and cons arguments but the accentuate passionate sentiments such as resentment against the FARC and anger against the government.&nbsp;</p> <p>On agricultural matters, for example, the agreement proposes the drawing up of a rural land census (the last dates back to 1954), the creation of a three-million hectares land fund to be allocated to peasants for free, the establishment of a massive program to regularize property (totaling seven million hectares) aimed at small and medium producers, and the reduction of rural poverty by 50% in the next 10 years. On political matters, the agreement states that the FARC is to abandon its project of seizing power by the force of arms and to become a political movement, once full disarmament is completed. One of the incentives to access legality is the granting of a minimum of five senators and five representatives (MPs) to the FARC, from 2028 till 2026, out of a Congress composed of 102 senators and 166 representatives. On drug trafficking, the FARC commits itself to putting an end to “any relationship which may have been forged with this phenomenon during the rebellion”. And on justice, the agreement includes a truth commission, a unit to identify missing persons, and a special jurisdiction for peace and repair within the framework of a transitional legal system, fully backed by the International Criminal Court.</p> <p>The opponents of the agreement focused their attacks on their allegation that the FARC would remain linked to the drug business and would also enjoy total impunity. In addition references were made with respect to the political benefits for the guerrillas and the defense of private property. Neither one nor the other follows from what was signed. Opponents, however, especially former President Álvaro Uribe, used a direct and simple language that the advocates of the “yes” vote could not counteract with the same synthetic precision. Instead of appearing as defending arguments that perpetuate polarization and confrontation, opponents managed to convey the idea that their purpose was to improve what had been signed and to ensure peace for the future. In the end, a well-mobilized minority was able to defeat the dreams of peace of another minority while a large majority remained indifferent: the total “no” vote represented only 18.4% of the eligible voters.</p> <p>Fourth, errors made by President Santos and his low popularity should also be considered. Santos took the risky option of submitting the agreement to a plebiscite, although recent comparative experience was not very encouraging. Guatemala reached a peace agreement in 1996, but the referendum held in 1999, which could have opened the way to major constitutional reforms, was rejected by 91.8% of the voters, and voter turnout was just 18.6%. Also in 1999, a hasty referendum in East Timor, which was voted positively, prompted a brutal reaction from the Indonesian government, resulting in thousands of casualties and refugees. In 2004, the referendum for the reunification of Cyprus was rejected by 75.8% of the Greek Cypriots, with 89.1% voter turnout. Santos had no political, domestic or international obligation to call a plebiscite, but he did because of the legal commitment he decided to sponsor prior to the end of the negotiations. When the time came to vote Colombians severely question his public policies on fighting corruption, security, employment and health. The conjunction between a president with low approval ratings and the persistent rejection of the FARC by a substantial part of the population contributed to weakening support for the plebiscite. It is worth recognizing that plebiscites are both “issue” oriented and “contextually” implemented. The issue at stake is crucial but the context is many times more fundamental. A combination of a very intricate peace agreement and a negative conjuncture for the political leadership is a recipe for disaster.</p> <p>In short, peace in Colombia is now entering an unpredictable labyrinth. Perhaps this is the right time for international commitment, which showed itself so forcefully in the initial phase of the peace talks and the signing of the agreement in Cartagena, to be renewed decisively. Maybe that only a mixture of active mass mobilization from bellow and strong external support from outside can revitalize the peace process.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/annette-idler/colombia-just-voted-no-on-its-plebiscite-for-peace-here-s-why-and-wh">Colombia just voted no on its plebiscite for peace. Here’s why and what it means.</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/francesc-badia-i-dalmases/colombia-healing-rift">Colombia, healing the rift</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Colombia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Colombia latin america Funding and the Licence Fee Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Thu, 06 Oct 2016 19:19:02 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 105815 at https://www.opendemocracy.net La peligrosa estratagema de Macri https://www.opendemocracy.net/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/la-peligrosa-estratagema-de-macri <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <P>No es hora de abrir la Caja de Pandora de la “guerra contra las drogas” en la Argentina. Es crucial que Estados Unidos evite enviar cualquier señal favorable a una estrategia como ésta.<STRONG><EM> <A href="https://opendemocracy.net/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/president-macri-s-perilous-gambit">English</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <P><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-25926775_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-25926775_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="295" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>El presidente Barcak Obama y la primera dama, Michelle Obama, bailan con tanguistas profesionales en la cena de Estado que el presidente Mauricio Marci les ofreció en Buenos aires, en Marzo 2016. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)</span></span></span></p> <P>Los Estados Unidos y Argentina comparten algunas características. Una de las más significativas es que en temas de defensa y seguridad, desde la vuelta a la democracia en 1983, la Argentina ha adoptado un sistema muy similar al de la <A href="https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_Comitatus_Act">Posse Comitatus Act</a> de 1878 según el cual el Departamento de Defensa debe abstenerse de intervenir en asuntos de seguridad interna. En efecto, a través de una serie de leyes y reglamentos suscritos por todo el espectro político a lo largo de las últimas tres décadas, en la Argentina, las fuerzas armadas están a cargo de la seguridad exterior y las fuerzas de seguridad se encargan de la seguridad interior. </p> <P>Sin embargo, esta similitudes están cambiando ya que el presidente Mauricio Macri, a lo largo de sus primeros ocho meses de gobierno, se ha mostrado dispuesto a implicar al país en una lógica militarizada de “guerra contra las drogas” con lo cual estaría abriendo una alarmante Caja de Pandora que puede afectar seriamente la democracia y a los derechos humanos en Argentina. En un momento en que esta lógica está siendo fuertemente contestada en toda América Latina, Macri subrayó en su discurso inaugural que uno de los objeticos clave de su gobierno sería “derrotar el tráfico de drogas” como ningún otro gobierno lo habría hecho hasta la fecha. Sn embargo hasta ahora no se ha anunciado ningún plan de reducción de daños o de actuación orientada hacia la demanda. </p> <P>En enero del 2016, y a través del Decreto 228, el Ejecutivo declaró un estado de emergencia de seguridad pública: el anexo de dicho decreto consagraba el derribo de aeronaves con el objetivo para luchar contra el tráfico de drogas. El supuesto efecto disuasorio de este tipo de medidas se ha demostrado insignificante en países como Honduras, Perú, Bolivia y Venezuela.&nbsp; Para diversos expertos mundiales, esta política es ilegal, insensata y moralmente equivocada.</p> <P>Para fortalecer el combate anti-drogas, en febrero de este año la Ministra de Seguridad, Patricia Bullrich, viajó a Washington para entrevistarse con Chuck Rosenberg, jefe de la DEA. Aparentemente el personal de la DEA en Argentina aumentará, siguiendo, como es habitual, la agenda antinarcóticos de Washington y no las necesidades de Buenos Aires. En el mes de marzo, en la sesión de apertura del Congreso argentino, Mauricio Macri aseveró, sin aportar ninguna evidencia, que “el consumo de drogas ha aumentado exponencialmente”, generando de esta manera la sensación de que estamos ante una epidemia. También en marzo, coincidiendo con la visita del presidente Barack Obama, Estados Unidos y la Argentina “se comprometieron a trabajar juntos para combatir el crimen organizado y el tráfico de drogas”, destacando el rol de entrenamiento que Washington desempeña. Es probable que algunos miembros de las fuerzas armadas, tanto activos como retirados, lean ese compromiso como una oportunidad para abordar una nueva misión: la guerra contra las drogas. </p> <P>En abril, cuando la Sub-secretaría de Estado para el Control de Armas y Seguridad Internacional, Rose Gottemoeller, visitó la Argentina, el ministro de Defensa, Julio Martínez, dijo que la cooperación EE.UU-Argentina iba a cubrir una serie de asuntos, incluida “la lucha contra el tráfico de drogas”. En mayo, a través del Decreto 656, el ejecutivo eliminó la transparencia sobre el presupuesto de la Agencia Federal de Inteligencia, invocando la necesidad de ser más efectivos a la hora de manejar asuntos críticos como “el terrorismo y el tráfico de drogas”. A principios de agosto, en la Comida Anual de Camaradería de las Fuerzas Armadas, el presidente Mauricio Macri hizo un llamamiento a los militares para que contribuyan activamente a “derrotar al tráfico de drogas”.</p> <P>En breve, el nuevo gobierno argentino aparece inclinado a poner demasiado énfasis, sin contar diagnósticos acertados, en la cuestión interna de las drogas y está tentado, por su convencimiento ideológico, a militarizar su manejo. Esta combinación es una receta segura para el desastre. </p> <P>No hay ejemplo en la región que demuestre las virtudes de esta política. Al contrario, en todos los lugares en los que los militares se involucraron directamente en la lucha contra las drogas las violaciones de los derechos humanos aumentaron, las relaciones entre civiles y militares se desequilibraron, la corrupción&nbsp; creció, el crimen organizado se mantuvo y el tráfico de drogas empeoró. México no es sino el último ejemplo de la tragedia del prohibicionismo militarizado. </p> <P>No es hora de abrir la Caja de Pandora de la “guerra contra las drogas” en la Argentina. Es crucial que Estados Unidos evite enviar cualquier señal favorable a una estrategia como ésta.</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Wed, 10 Aug 2016 09:07:54 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 104675 at https://www.opendemocracy.net President Macri’s perilous gambit https://www.opendemocracy.net/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/president-macri-s-perilous-gambit <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>It is time not to open the Pandora Box of the “war on drugs” in Argentina. It is crucial that the United States avoid any signal in favor of such a strategy.<em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/la-peligrosa-estratagema-de-macri"> Español</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-25926775.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-25926775.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="295" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, dance with professional tango dancers at the end of a state dinner that Argentine President Mauricio Macri hosted for the Obamas in Buenos Aires, in March 2016. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)</span></span></span></p> <p>The United States and Argentina share some common features. The most significant in terms of civil-military relations and defense-security separation is that since the return of democracy to Argentina in 1983 the country has adopted a system very similar to the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 by which the Department of Defense is prevented from interfering in domestic law enforcement. Through a set of laws and regulations that were agreed upon by the entire political spectrum over the last three decades the armed forces are in charge of external defense and the security forces are in charge of internal safety in Argentina.</p> <p>In this context, President Mauricio Macri may be opening a disquieting Pandora’s Box that can seriously affect democracy and human rights in Argentina. During his first eight months of government he has shown a commitment to involve the country in a militarized "war on drugs" logic, at a time when that rationale is seriously contested throughout Latin America. In the inaugural speech of December 10, 2015, Macri underlined that a key goal of his administration was "to defeat drug trafficking” as no government has done before. No serious harm reduction, demand-oriented plan has yet been announced. </p> <p>By January 2016 and through Decree 228 the executive declared a state of public safety emergency: the annex of the decree consecrated the downing of aircraft with the purpose of shooting down drug-smuggling planes. The allegedly deterrent effect of this type of measure has shown to be negligible in such countries as Honduras, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela. For several experts worldwide this policy is illegal, unwise and morally wrong.</p> <p>In February, Minister of Security, Patricia Bullrich, traveled to Washington to meet with the head of the DEA, Chuck Rosenberg, in order to reinforce the anti-drug combat in the country: the DEA field personnel in Argentina will almost certainly increase, following—is it has been the case for many years--Washington’s agenda on narcotics and not so much Buenos Aires needs regarding the drug phenomenon. In March, at the opening session of Congress, Mauricio Macri asserted without providing any evidence that "drug consumption has grown exponentially"; thus generating a sense of a major drug epidemic. Also in March, during the visit of President Barack Obama, the United States and Argentina “pledged to work together to combat organized crime and drug trafficking”, highlighting the role of training provided by Washington. It is probable that some members of the armed forces, both active and retired, read that pledge as an opportunity to have a new mission: drug-war fighting. </p> <p>In April, when the US Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Rose Gottemoeller, visited Argentina the Defense Minister, Julio Martinez said that US-Argentine cooperation is going to cover several issues, including "the fight against drug-trafficking”. In May by means of Decree 656 the executive eliminated the transparency over the budget of the Federal Agency of Intelligence invoking the need to be more effective in dealing with critical challenges such as “terrorism and drug trafficking". By the beginning of August and at the Annual Camaraderie Dinner of the Armed Forces President Mauricio Macri called upon the military to actively participate in “defeating drug trafficking”.</p> <p>In essence, the new Argentine government appeared to be geared towards overemphasizing, without any thorough diagnosis, the domestic drug question and tempted, due to an ideological belief, to militarize the handling of the drug phenomenon: a combination that is a recipe for disaster.</p> <p>No example in the region demonstrates the merit of such a policy: everywhere when the military became directly involved in the fight against drugs human rights violations grew dramatically, civil-military relations became more unbalanced, corruption was not tackled, organized crime has not been eradicated, and the drug issue worsened. Mexico is just the latest example of the tragedy of militarized prohibitionism.</p> <p>It is time not to open the Pandora Box of the “war on drugs” in Argentina. It is crucial that the United States avoid any signal in favor of such a strategy.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Argentina </div> <div class="field-item even"> United States </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta United States Argentina Democracy and government International politics latin america Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Wed, 10 Aug 2016 09:04:49 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 104674 at https://www.opendemocracy.net UNGASS 2016: from opportunity to opportunism https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/ungass-2016-from-opportunity-to-opportunism <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The Summit represented a&nbsp;big opportunity to end the "war on drugs", &nbsp;but&nbsp;defenders of the status quo were able to abort aspirations of an effective transformation of the field. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/ungass-2016-de-la-oportunidad-al-oportunismo" target="_blank"><em><strong>Español</strong></em></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-8463499_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="300" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>National police patrol outside a court in Amatitlan, Guatemala. AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd</span></span></span></p><p>According to the Real Academia Española dictionary, opportunity is understood as the existence of "appropriate circumstances" while opportunism refers to taking advantage of such circumstances to obtain "the greatest possible benefit". The recent (April 19-21) third United Nations General Assembly Special Session on drugs (UNGASS) promised to be a propicious opportunity to rethink and reorientate the issue of illicit psychoactive substances, towards a different track from the current prohibitionist approach. However, a preliminary assessment shows that this was an opportunist summit in which defenders of the status quo were able to abort aspirations of an effective transformation of the field.</p> <p>Prior to the conference, a combination of factors had called into question the international regime of illicit drugs (IRID). In 1990 and 1998 the first and second&nbsp;&nbsp; United Nations General Assembly Special Sessions on drugs were held. The first UNGASS took place in the final days of the Cold War - with the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe - and the deepening of the "war on drugs" - especially in terms of the US anti-narcotics policy with respect to Latin America.</p> <p>The emphasis was placed on punitive measures centred on controlling supply: a focus was placed on drugs as a security issue. Briefly, UNGASS 1990 concerned the imposition of a coercive rationality: alternative and/or dissenting voices were few and were ignored; the United States (accompanied by many Eastern countries) seemed to depend on the ability to advance their version of prohibitionism against a Europe and a Latin America with limited will to coordinate a common perspective distinct from the former.</p> <p>Soon it could be observed that the effective results of aggressive prohibition were meager. In this context, Latin American countries began to request a review of the predominant strategy, calling for policies more geared towards curbing demand. The 1998 conference showed, in a way, a compromise: notions such as a "balanced approach" and principles such as "shared responsibility" formed part of the discussions and the final statement. "Shared responsibility" contributed to partially depolarising inter-state controversy regarding the fight against narcotics, facilitated the achievement of some adjustments in anti-drug public policy and allowed a wider exchange between stakeholders located in the different countries affected by the development of the phenomenon of illicit psychoactive substances. However, it did nothing to change the essence of the anti-drug crusade. In reality, over time, this co-responsibility contributed to "normalising" the "war on drugs"; a war that continued to incorporate a few "carrots" to the traditionally used arsenal of "sticks".</p> <p>In 2009, when the end-of-decade assessment was carried out for the fight against drugs, it was announced that a new UN Special Session would take place in 2019. However, and largely due to the positions of various Latin American countries (eg. Colombia, Uruguay, Mexico and Guatemala), the summit was brought forward. In this context, it is crucial to assess how they arrived at this new UNGASS and what the final resulting political statement shows.</p> <p>One way to approach an understanding of UNGASS 2016 is by examining the positions of the states and societies in the field. The states have shown varied behaviour: in some cases, a relative consistency between internal measures and external positions, and in others, inconsistencies between them. For example, China and Russia have agreed, in fact, to practice and promote notoriously punitive approaches to the drugs phenomenon, both internally and externally. Something similar has characterised the discourse and praxis of countries in the Middle East. For their part, Uruguay, Czech Republic and Portugal have shown more permissive domestic and international approaches. In turn, the United States, as a federal nation, has shown in recent years a more willing attitude, with state decisions favorable to legalising marijuana, and it is inclined to effect some measures in line with a harm reduction policy, while in the international arena it was unwilling to sponsor major changes. A unitary country like Colombia, meanwhile, has very repressive laws and practices on drugs, but in the international arena promotes tranformations in the current paradigm.</p> <p>Concomitantly, there are countries that, regardless of the ideological orientation of their current government, have opted for a high or low profile in discussions prior to the third UNGASS; as in the case of Mexico (high profile) and Brazil (low profile). In parallel, there have been some more moralistic or pragmatic in their approach to the issue of drugs internally, and have taken a similar line at the international level, such as in the cases of Sweden and the Netherlands, respectively. Also, while Europe might exhibit, in general, a less aggressive policy towards drugs, the fact is that already by 2014 it had warned that it was quite distant from the recent discussions on the subject; something that became evident in late 2015 and early 2016.</p> <p>An important point is in the question of "new threats"; especially the interlinking of illicit drugs, organised crime and terrorism. That link was mentioned on various occasions in the various United Nations agencies. However, it reached the UN Security Council as a formal topic of debate in December 2009 in the context of the perceived challenge to international security generated by drug trafficking, at the initiative of African countries. This, in turn, was the result of growing concerns expressed, in particular, by West African nations. This type of approach that assumes a insidious nexus of different types of problems&nbsp; was reaffirmed by the current UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov. Later, in late 2014, the Security Council again took up the matter in the context of the simultaneous fight against terrorism and transnational organised crime at a time when the Council presidency was held by Chad. In essence, the violence resulting from the rise of drug trafficking in West Africa led the nations in the region to further emphasise the security dimension of the drugs issue.</p> <p>As for international civil society, its role was very active and assertive in the discussions preceding UNGASS 2016. The vast majority of NGOs, experts and movements that have tracked preliminary meetings in Vienna (primarily) and New York, noted the incurred costs and misunderstandings of the prohibitionist paradigm and provided arguments and alternative initiatives. The tone and scope of the proposals was more reflective than challenging and more reformist than radical.</p> <p>In essence, during the two years prior to the April 2016 summit there seemed to be broad international recognition – on the part of some states and many NGOs – of the fact that some sort of change was needed in the IRID. If we consider three possible types of change – re-structuring the system in its entirety, reformulating pillars and important principles or retouching certain aspects and practices on the issue of drugs – UNGASS 2016 was characterised by the latter: minor and sparse retouches in the context of an eventual opening to certain alternative measures at national level but not at the collective or global level. With this, an opportunity to take more ambitious steps was wasted.</p> <p>The final document reflects this. As in the policy statements of 1990 and 1998, the third UNGASS statement reaffirmed the seeking of a "society free of drugs": a chimerical proposal that has proven to be (and will be) unachievable. Again, as in the second UNGASS, achievements (which have been very few) and challenges (still substantial) in the matter were recognised; an approach was agreed that is both comprehensive (in its ramifications for public policy) and balanced (in terms of supply and demand), although no part of it has been effected in recent decades; and it was claimed that international cooperation (mainly inter-state) will be brought to bear to face an increasingly complex and changing phenomenon. In turn, the value of the 1961, 1971 and 1988 conventions on drugs was stressed. In the 27 pages of text, no favourable mention is made towards any harm reduction policies; this is a more sensitive practice faced with the effects of drugs on individuals, families, neighborhoods and cities. Indeed, "organized crime" is mentioned nine times, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime three times, and terrorism three times. Also, it is stated that states have "sufficient flexibility to develop and implement national drug policies according to their priorities and needs."</p> <p>In short, there is no significant advances towards dismantling the prohibitionism inherent in the IRID, although eventual possibilities are considered in "accordance with the provisions of the three treaties of international drug control", to trial localised and specific experiments in a regulatory direction.</p> <p>In this context, opportunism was manifest in preserving the status quo; something that, for different reasons and with different languages, Washington, Beijing and Moscow agreed upon. It is likely, in turn, that a posteriori of UNGASS 2016, a number of key governments in the West and the East, and even in the South will remark that the main current threat is transnational crime (for its link with the drug business and forms of terrorism and its bearing on state fragility and instability) and a consensus should be sought to counter it from a perspective that emphasises the security dimension. In other words, the "war on drugs" is considered in a certain way outdated, the "war on terrorism" will take over as inexorable, and the "war against organized crime" will become the leitmotif of a new crusade. The United States and the European Union have been stressing the development of criminality with global reach and its deleterious consequences. Russia and China, active warriors on drugs, are likely to lean in favour of repressive measures against organised crime though avoiding that it violates their sovereignty. The arguments about the rise of criminality and its relationship with risk caused by criminality in failed states are shared by many countries in Africa. If Latin America accepts, resignedly or reluctantly, that the issue of transnational organised crime is an issue of security and not governance, it will be, sooner rather than later, the backdrop for this "new" crusade that, it will seem, will take the place of the futile and onerous "war on drugs". </p><div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Ideas </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta Civil society Conflict Democracy and government Ideas latin america Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Mon, 02 May 2016 15:44:38 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 101779 at https://www.opendemocracy.net UNGASS 2016: de la oportunidad al oportunismo https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/ungass-2016-de-la-oportunidad-al-oportunismo <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>La cumbre representaba una gran oportunidad para acabar con la "guerra contra las drogas", &nbsp;pero los defensores del estatus quo lograron abortar las aspiraciones de transformación en la materia. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/ungass-2016-from-opportunity-to-opportunism" target="_blank"><em><strong>English</strong></em></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-8463499.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="300" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'> Patrulla de la policía nacional en Amatitlán, Guatemala. Foto AP / Rodrigo Abd</span></span></span></p><p>Según el diccionario de la Real Academia Española la oportunidad se entiende como la existencia de una “circunstancia conveniente”, mientras que el oportunismo remite al aprovechamiento de aquella circunstancia para obtener “el mayor beneficio posible”. La reciente (abril 19-21) y tercera Sesión Especial de la Asamblea General de Naciones Unidas en torno a la cuestión de las drogas (UNGASS) prometía constituirse en una oportunidad propicia para repensar y reorientar la cuestión de las sustancias psicoactivas ilícitas en un sendero distinto al prohibicionismo vigente. Sin embargo, un balance preliminar muestra que se trató de una cumbre oportunista en la que los defensores del <em>statu quo</em> lograron abortar&nbsp; las aspiraciones de transformación efectiva en la materia.</p> <p>Previo al cónclave una conjunción de factores había puesto en entredicho el régimen internacional de drogas ilícitas (RIDI). En 1990 y 1998 se efectuaron la primera y la segunda Sesión Especial de la Asamblea General de Naciones Unidas en torno a las drogas. La primera UNGASS se llevó a cabo en medio del ocaso de la Guerra Fría--en particular con el desmoronamiento del comunismo en la Unión Soviética y Europa Oriental--y de la profundización de la “guerra contra las drogas”--en especial en términos de la política anti-narcóticos de Estados Unidos respecto a América Latina.</p> <p>El acento se colocó en las medidas punitivas centradas en el control de la oferta: se impuso el enfoque sobre las drogas en tanto problema de seguridad. De manera sucinta, UNGASS 1990 se trató de la imposición de una racionalidad coercitiva: las voces alternativas y/o disidentes fueron escasas y desatendidas; Estados Unidos (acompañado por muchos países de Oriente) parecía contar con la capacidad de avanzar su versión del prohibicionismo ante una Europa y una Latinoamérica con limitada voluntad de coordinar una perspectiva común y distinta. </p> <p>Pronto se pudo observar que los resultados efectivos de una prohibición agresiva eran magros. En ese contexto, los países latinoamericanos comenzaron a solicitar una revisión de la estrategia predominante, reclamando políticas más orientadas a frenar la demanda. El cónclave de 1998 mostró, de cierta forma, un compromiso: nociones como el “planteamiento equilibrado” y principios como el de la “responsabilidad compartida” hicieron parte de los debates y de la declaración final. La “responsabilidad compartida” contribuyó a despolarizar, parcialmente, la polémica inter-estatal en cuanto a la lucha anti-narcóticos, facilitó el logro de algunos ajustes en las políticas públicas contra las drogas y permitió un intercambio más amplio entre los actores sociales localizados en los diferentes países y afectados por el avance del fenómeno de las sustancias psicoactivas ilícitas. Sin embargo, no contribuyó a modificar la esencia de la cruzada anti-narcóticos. En realidad y con el tiempo, la co-responsabilidad contribuyó a “normalizar” la “guerra contra las drogas”; una guerra que fue incorporando algunas pocas “zanahorias” al arsenal de “garrotes” tradicionalmente implementados.</p> <p>En 2009, cuando se efectuó la evaluación de la década en materia de lucha anti-drogas, se anunció que en 2019 se efectuaría una nueva Sesión Especial de la ONU. No obstante, y debido en gran medida a las posturas de varios países de América Latina (por ejemplo, Colombia, Uruguay, México y Guatemala) se procedió a adelantar la cumbre. En ese marco, resulta clave evaluar cómo se arribó a esta nueva UNGASS y que muestra la declaración política final del encuentro. </p> <p>Un modo de acercarse a entender UNGASS 2016 es a través de examinar las posturas de los estados y las sociedades en la materia. Los estados han desplegado una conducta variada en el que en algunos casos se observa una relativa consistencia entre las medidas internas y las posiciones externas y en otros una inconsistencia entre un plano y el otro. Por ejemplo, China y Rusia han coincidido, de hecho, en practicar y promover enfoques notoriamente punitivos frente al fenómeno de las drogas, tanto adentro como afuera. Algo semejante ha caracterizado el discurso y la praxis de países de Medio Oriente. Por su parte, Uruguay, República Checa y Portugal han estimulado doméstica e internacionalmente enfoques algo más permisivos. A su vez, Estados Unidos, en tanto país federal, ha mostrado en años recientes una actitud más dispuesta hacia decisiones estaduales favorables a la legalización de la marihuana e inclinada a desplegar algunas medidas en sintonía con una política de reducción de daños, mientras en el terreno internacional no estuvo dispuesto a auspiciar cambios de envergadura. Un país unitario como Colombia, por su parte, tiene leyes y prácticas muy represivas en materia de drogas, pero en el campo internacional promovió transformaciones al paradigma vigente. </p> <p>En forma concomitante hay países que, independiente de la orientación ideológica del gobierno de turno, han optado por un perfil alto o bajo en los debates anteriores a la tercera UNGASS; tal el caso de México (alto perfil) y Brasil (bajo perfil). Paralelamente, ha habido países más moralistas o pragmáticos en su abordaje del asunto de las drogas a nivel interno y ello se ha expresado también en el ámbito internacional, tal el caso de Suecia y Holanda, respectivamente. Asimismo, si bien Europa podría exhibir, en líneas generales, una política menos agresiva en materia de drogas, lo cierto es que ya en 2014 se advertía que estaba bastante distante de las recientes discusiones sobre el tema; algo que se hizo evidente entre finales de 2015 y comienzos de 2016. </p> <p>Un dato importante lo constituye la cuestión de las “nuevas amenazas”; en especial el entrelazamiento entre drogas ilícitas, delincuencia organizada y terrorismo. Ese vínculo fue objeto de mención en varias ocasiones en los distintos organismos de Naciones Unidas. Pero llegó al seno del Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU en tanto tema de debate formal en diciembre de 2009 en el marco de lo que se consideró el reto a la seguridad internacional generada por el narcotráfico y a iniciativa de países del África. Ello, a su turno, era el resultado de crecientes inquietudes expresadas en particular por naciones de África occidental. Este tipo de aproximación que asume una intersección acechante entre distintos tipos de problemas la reafirmó el actual Director Ejecutivo de UNODC, Yury Fedotov. Tiempo después, a finales de 2014, otra vez el Consejo de Seguridad retomó el asunto en el contexto de la lucha simultánea contra el terrorismo y la delincuencia organizada transnacional en momentos en que la presidencia del Consejo era ocupada por Chad. En esencia, la violencia derivada del auge del narcotráfico en África occidental llevó a las naciones del área a enfatizar más la dimensión de seguridad del asunto de las drogas. </p> <p>En cuanto a la sociedad civil internacional su papel fue muy activo y asertivo en los debates previos a UNGASS 2016. En su gran mayoría las ONGs, expertos y movimientos que han dado un seguimiento a los encuentros preliminares en Viena (principalmente) y New York señalaron los costos y equívocos del paradigma prohibicionista y aportaron argumentos e iniciativas alternativas. El tono y alcance de las propuestas fue más reflexivo que desafiante y más reformista que radical. </p> <p>En esencia, durante los dos años anteriores a esta cumbre de abril de 2016 pareció existir un amplio reconocimiento internacional—de parte de algunos estados y múltiples actores no gubernamentales—acerca de que se necesitaba algún tipo de cambio en el RIDI. Si se consideran tres tipos de cambio—re-estructurar el régimen en su totalidad, reformular pilares y principios importantes o retocar ciertos aspectos y prácticas en materia de drogas—UNGASS 2016 se caracterizó por lo último: retoques menores y puntuales en el marco de una eventual apertura a determinadas medidas alternativas y de modo selectivo a nivel nacional pero no en plano colectivo o global. Con ello se desperdició la oportunidad de dar un paso algo más ambicioso.</p> <p>El documento final refleja lo anterior. Como en las declaraciones políticas de 1990 y 1998, la tercera UNGASS reafirmó la búsqueda de una “sociedad libre” de drogas: una propuesta quimérica que ha probado ser (y será) irrealizable. Nuevamente, como en la segunda UNGASS, se reconocieron los logros (así hayan sido muy escasos) y desafíos (todavía cuantiosos) en la materia; se validó una aproximación integral (en lo que hace a las políticas públicas) y balanceada (en cuanto a la demanda y oferta) aunque nada de ello haya acontecido en las últimas décadas; y se reivindicó la cooperación internacional (básicamente inter-estatal) para enfrentar un fenómeno cada vez más complejo y cambiante. A su vez, se reforzó el valor de las convenciones de 1961, 1971 y 1988 sobre drogas. En las 27 páginas del texto no se hace mención alguna a una política favorable a la reducción de daños; esto es a una práctica más sensible frente a los efectos que producen las drogas en individuos, familiares, barrios y ciudades. Sí se menciona en nueve ocasiones a la “delincuencia organizada” y tres a la Convención de Naciones Unidas contra la Delincuencia Organizada Transnacional, así como se nombra en tres ocasiones al terrorismo. Asimismo, se consigna que los estados tienen la “suficiente flexibilidad para formular y aplicar políticas nacionales en materia de drogas con arreglo a sus prioridades y necesidades”.</p> <p>En breve, no se avanzó significativamente respecto al desmantelamiento del prohibicionismo inherente al RIDI aunque se contemplan eventuales espacios, en “conformidad con lo dispuesto en los tres tratados de fiscalización internacional de drogas”, para el ensayo de experimentos localizados y específicos en una dirección regulatoria. </p> <p>En ese marco, el oportunismo se expresó mediante la preservación del <em>statu quo</em>; algo en lo que, por razones distintas y con lenguajes diferentes, coincidieron Washington, Beijing y Moscú. Es probable, a su turno, que <em>a posteriori</em> de UNGASS 2016, una serie de gobiernos claves de Occidente y Oriente, e incluso del Sur, remarquen que la principal amenaza actual sea el crimen transnacional (por su lazo con el negocio de las drogas y las formas de terrorismo, así como por sus consecuencias sobre la fragilidad e inestabilidad de los estados) y que se debe procurar un consenso para su enfrentamiento desde una perspectiva que haga hincapié en la dimensión de la seguridad. Puesto en otras palabras, la “guerra contra las drogas” se considerará de algún modo perimida, la “guerra contra el terrorismo” se asumirá como inexorable y la “guerra contra la delincuencia organizada” se tornará en el <em>leitmotiv</em> de una nueva cruzada. Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea han venido subrayando el avance de la criminalidad de alcance global y sus secuelas deletéreas. Rusia y China, guerreros activos en materia de drogas, son proclives a inclinarse a favor de medidas represivas contra la delincuencia organizada pero evitando que ello vulnere su soberanía. Los argumentos en torno al auge de la criminalidad y su relación con el riesgo producido por la instauración de estados fallidos son compartidos por muchos países de África. Si Latinoamérica acepta, resignadamente o a regañadientes, que el tema de la delincuencia organizada transnacional es un problema de seguridad y no de gobernabilidad, será, más temprano que tarde, escenario de aquella “nueva” cruzada que remplazará, de manifestarse, a la fútil y onerosa “guerra contra las drogas”. </p><p>Translated from Spanish by&nbsp;<em>Katie Oliver</em>, member of&nbsp;<em>Democracia Abierta's</em>&nbsp;Volunteer Program</p><div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item even"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Civil society Conflict Culture Democracy and government Equality Ideas International politics latin america Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Mon, 02 May 2016 10:41:56 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 101778 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Obama, a Argentina e os direitos humanos https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/obama-argentina-e-os-direitos-humanos <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>O relançamento das relações entre os Estado Unidos e a Argentina dispõe dum pilar sobre o qual se deve apoiar: os direitos humanos. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/obama-argentina-y-los-derechos-humanos" target="_blank">Español</a> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/obama-argentina-and-human-rights" target="_blank">English</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/2668809_0_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>General Augusto Pinochet (direita), o presidente de Chile con o General Jorge Videla, o Presidente da Argentina em Mendoza, Argentina. Foto de Keystone/Getty Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>Barack Obama visitará a Argentina no dia 24 de março, data na qual se comemora o quadragésimo aniversário do mais sangrento golpe de estado sofrido pela Argentina durante o século XX. Apesar de que a participação dos Estados Unidos na queda do governo não tenha sido tão destacada e ativa como o foi no caso do golpe no Chile em 1973, a mensagem de apoio às forças armadas dado por Henry Kissinger aos planos de “guerra suja” foi contundente. Segundo documentos desclassificados pelo Departamento de Estado, Kissinger disse ao Ministro de Exteriores argentino, César Guzzetti, no dia 7 de outubro de 1976: “quanto antes tenham êxito melhor...O problema dos Direitos Humanos está a aumentar...Queremos uma situação estável. Não lhes causaremos dificuldades desnecessárias. Se podem acabar antes que o Congresso retome as sessões, muito melhor. ”</p> <p>Estava claro que no meio da Guerra Fria, a estabilidade e o anticomunismo eram mais importantes para Washington que a democracia e o Estado de Direito. </p> <p>A partir dos anos 80, quando se produziu a transição democrática na maior parte dos países da América Latina, os direitos humanos foram um assunto crucial tido em conta nas políticas hemisféricas, e, em particular na relação diplomática entre a Argentina e os Estados Unidos. Apesar de muitos altibaixos, durante as últimas três décadas a relação entre os dois países caracterizaram-se pela maior proximidade e colaboração entre Buenos Aires e Washington em relação ao tema dos direitos humanos por cima de outros assuntos da agenda bilateral e global. Vários exemplos corroboram está afirmação: o comportamento do voto argentino nas instâncias internacionais de direitos humanos e o seu nível de coincidência com os Estado Unidos que foi crescendo durante os últimos anos, tanto nas Nações Unidades como na Organização de Estados Americanos, sendo este um bom exemplo. A decisão transcendental de estabelecer a primeira Comissão de Verdade depois da ditadura militar foi seguida por outras experiências similares na América Latina; um fenómeno que a partir dos anos 90, foi aplaudido por Washington. O apoio argentino ao sistema interamericano de direitos humanos foi fundamental em momentos crucias, apesar da oposição por parte de diferentes países na região. Os governos eleitos sucessivamente demonstraram ter sempre entre os seus interesses a promoção da democracia na América Latina, assim como o reforço do sistema internacional de direitos humanos. Não surpreende, portanto, que a Argentina, juntamente como a França, fossem os países promotores da Convenção Internacional para a proteção de todas as pessoas contra os desaparecimentos forçosos, em 2006. </p> <p>Nos últimos anos a legalização do casamento entre pessoas do mesmo sexo na Argentina e a sua postura progressista ante os direitos LGBTQI permitiu uma melhoria das relações com os Estados Unidos, mesmo no contexto duma serie de tensões durante a presidência de Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. A existência, a partir de 1993, da iniciativa <a href="https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cascos_Blancos">Capacetes Brancos</a> através da qual a Argentina se viu envolvida ativamente na assistência humanitária em todo o mundo, e o importante compromisso – superando a contribuição efetiva de países como a Áustria, o Canada, a Dinamarca, a França, a Finlândia, a Alemanha, o Japão, a Noruega, a Suécia e o Reino Unido – nas operações de paz da ONU são duas áreas nas quais os interesses da Argentina e dos Estados Unidos coincidem. </p> <p>Houve questões como a ameaça e o uso da força, a intepretação dos princípios da responsabilidade de proteger, a política de execuções extrajudiciais ou a persistência em não fechar Guantánamo, nas quais a distância entre Buenos Aires e Washington foi abismal. Contudo, e apesar destes choques, em ambos países os atores sociais e políticos chave estão de acordo na centralidade dos direitos humanos e nos benefícios duma ordem mundial legalizada. Na Argentina, a sociedade abraçou a defesa e o avanço dos direitos humanos. O Presidente Mauricio Macri, cujo governo expressa uma visão oposta à da sua predecessora na maioria dos assuntos, e que tem um estilo pessoal diferente, situou também este tema como assunto central da política exterior. Isto demonstra que a grande maioria dos argentinos acredita que os direitos humanos constituem o pilar “fundamental” da sua democracia. </p> <p>Contudo, na sociedade Argentina existe uma preocupação de fundo: a incorporação tardia e errada do pais na falhada “guerra contra a droga”. Medidas de “mão dura” tais como a mais recente declaração de emergência de segurança segundo a qual, entre outras coisas, se propõe o derrube de aviões preocupam, uma vez que implicam uma atitude desproporcionada e beligerante perante o fenômeno das drogas e uma erosão gradual das fronteiras entre o role das forças de segurança e o dos militares. Medidas que se conjugam e se podem retroalimentar com a proverbial pressão, por parte das agências de segurança, inteligência e militares dos Estados Unidos, para incorporar as forças armadas latino-americanos no combate as supostamente vinculadas “novas ameaças” – o narcotráfico internacional, o terrorismo global e o crime organizado transnacional. O ponto de encontro entre Buenos Aires e Washington neste ponto é, e continuará, a ser problemático. Já se sabe que o abuso dos direitos humanos no meio da “guerra contra as drogas” foi uma realidade constante na região. </p> <p>Neste contexto, a visita de Brack Obama à Argentina supõe uma excelente oportunidade para situar a questão dos direitos humanos no centro os valores partilhados. Algumas ações e atitudes podem revitalizar a sua importância em 2014, durante uma visita ao Brasil, o vice-presidente Joseph Biden entregou a Dilma Rousseff relatórios sobre torturas procedentes de documentos desclassificados. O Presidente Obama poderia entregar ao presidente Macri alguns dados desclassificados adicionais – da CIA e NSC por exemplo – relativos ao período 1976-1983 na Argentina. &nbsp;</p> <p>O presidente Obama visitará Cuba antes de visitar a Argentina: será o primeiro presidente norte-americano a visitar a ilha depois da Coolidge em 1928. Muito provavelmente Obama referir-se-á ao embargo e à sua inutilidade depois de tantos anos de imposição. Na Argentina, o presidente dos Estados Unidos não só deve prestar homenagem às vítimas da “guerra suja”, mas também reconhecer os custos humanos da Guerra Fria e o seu obsessivo anticomunismo. </p> <p>Por último, no caso da Colômbia, a administração estadunidense compreendeu o valor de alcançar a paz através dum acordo negociado entre o governo e as Forças Armadas Revolucionárias da Colômbia (FARC), incluindo o seu potencial impacto positivo na restrição do cultivo, processamento e contrabando de droga. De alguma forma, isto significa reconhecer o fracasso da cruzada antinarcóticos liderada pelos militares naquele país. Por que deveria agora um presidente estadunidense encorajar o governo argentino a seguir uma política que se se demonstrou errada?</p> <p>O relançamento das relações entre os Estado Unidos e a Argentina dispõem dum pilar sobre o qual se deve apoiar, e sobre o qual podem manter-se: os direitos humanos. </p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Argentina </div> <div class="field-item even"> United States </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta United States Argentina Civil society Culture Democracy and government Ideas International politics latin america Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Wed, 09 Mar 2016 15:58:08 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 100457 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Obama, Argentina and human rights https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/obama-argentina-and-human-rights <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The resumption of relations between the United States and Argentina has a&nbsp;foundation on which to build: human rights. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/obama-argentina-y-los-derechos-humanos">Español </a><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/obama-argentina-e-os-direitos-humanos" target="_blank">Português</a><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/obama-argentina-y-los-derechos-humanos"><br /></a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/2668809.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>General Augusto Pinochet (right), the President of Chile with General Jorge Videla, the President of Argentina in Mendoza, Argentina. Photo by Keystone/Getty Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p> <p>President Barack Obama will be visiting Argentina on March 24, the day of the 40th anniversary of the cruelest military coup d'etat that the country suffered during the XXth century. In the midst of the Cold War, when stability and anti-communism was always more significant to Washington than democracy and rule of law, the role of the United States in the downfall of the elected government in Argentine was less prominent and active than in the demise of the popularly-voted socialist experience in Chile in 1973. Notwithstanding, US supportive message to the armed forces after their putsch was epitomized by Henry Kissinger “green light” to the military`s “dirty war” plans when, according to declassified State Department documents, he told the Argentine Foreign Minister, Cesar Guzzetti on October 7, 1976, that "the quicker you succeed the better…The human rights problem is a growing one…We want a stable situation. We won't cause you unnecessary difficulties. If you can finish before Congress gets back, the better”.</p> <p>Since the transition to democracy in Latin America in the 80s human rights has been crucial in hemispheric politics, in general, and in terms of Argentina-United States diplomacy, in particular. Even though there have been many ups and downs, as well as intimacy and outburst, in US-Argentine relations over the last three decades there has been more proximity and collaboration between Buenos Aires and Washington on human rights that in other topics of the bilateral and global agenda. Several examples corroborate this assertion: for example, the Argentine international voting patterns on human rights bodies and its level of coincidence with the United States, both at the United Nations and at the Organization of American States grew over the years. The landmark decision to establish the first Truth Commission in the country after the military dictatorship was followed by other similar experiences in Latin America; a phenomenon that, after the 90s, has been praised by Washington. The Argentine support of the inter-American human rights system has been essential at critical junctures even though there have been many challenges from several countries in the region at different times. Successive elected governments display a high profile on the promotion of democracy in Latin America as well as on the reinforcement of the international regime on human rights. Not surprisingly Argentina together with France, were key sponsors of the 2006 International Convention for the Protection of All Peoples from Enforced Disappearance.</p> <p>In recent years, legalization of same-sex marriage in Argentina and the country`s progressive posture on LGBTQI rights allowed for the improvement on US-Argentine relations in the middle of a series of flare-ups tensions during the presidency of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. The existence, since 1994, of the White Helmet Initiative by which Argentina has been actively involved worldwide in humanitarian assistance and the country’s significant—more than the respective contribution of Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom--commitment to UN peaceful operations are two additional areas where the interests of Argentina and the United States concur.</p> <p>There have been questions—the threat and use of force, the understanding over the Responsibility to Protect principles, the policy of extra-juridical executions practices by the United States, the persistence of Guantanamo, among others—where the distance between Buenos Aires and Washington is abysmal. However, and spite of other frictions, in both countries key social and political actors agree about the centrality of human rights and the merits of a legalized world order. In the case of Argentina the society has embraced the defense and advancement of human rights. President Maurico Macri, who is heading a government with an opposing outlook on most issues from his predecessor, and has a different personal style, also located human rights as a major subject in Argentina’s foreign policy. In the end, this shows that a large majority of Argentines believe that human rights are a key “fundamental” of its democracy.</p> <p>However, there is significant underlying concern among the society: the late and mistaken incorporation of Argentina in the failed “war on drugs”. Pull factors such as the most recent security emergency declaration by which, among others, it proposes the shooting down of airplanes; something quite worrisome because it implies a hawkish attitude vis-à-vis the drug phenomenon and the gradual erosion of boundaries between the roles of the security forces and the military overcoming the drug issue. Pull factors such as the proverbial pressure by US security, intelligence, and military agencies to incorporate the Latin American armed forces in the combat against the allegedly intertwined “new threats”—international drug trafficking, global terrorism, transnational organized crime—is also very problematic. The deterioration and abuse of human rights across the region due to the ill-conceived “drug war” has been dramatic everywhere.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </p> <p>Thus, in this context President Obama`s visit to Argentina is an excellent opportunity to place the issue of human rights in US-Argentine relations at the center of their shared values. Some actions and attitudes can reinvigorate its significance. In 2014, while visiting Brazil, Vice-President Joseph Biden hand-delivered torture reports from declassified documents to President Dilma Rousseff. President Obama can handle to President Macri additional declassified data—from the CIA and NSC, for example—on the 1976-83 period in Argentina.</p> <p>President Obama will go Cuba prior to this flight to Argentina: he will be the first US President to visit the isle after President Coolidge did it in 1928. It is very likely that Obama will refer to the blockade and its worthlessness after so any years of its imposition. In Argentina, US President cannot only pay tribute to the victims of the “dirty war” but also recognize the human cost of a Cold War policy based on obsessive anti-communism.</p> <p>Finally, in the case of Colombia the US administration has understood the value of attaining peace by a negotiated agreement between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and its potential positive impact on drug cultivation, processing and smuggling. Somehow it meant the recognition of an unsuccessful, military-led anti-narcotics crusade in that country. Why would an American president encourage now the Argentine government to pursue such a wrong logic? Barack Obama should not urge in any way the involvement of the armed forces in resolving the drug problem in Argentina.&nbsp;&nbsp; </p> <p>To sum up, the enhancement of US-Argentine relations has a&nbsp;foundation to further it: its name is human rights.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Argentina </div> <div class="field-item even"> United States </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta United States Argentina Civil society Culture Democracy and government Economics Ideas International politics latin america Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Wed, 09 Mar 2016 11:31:58 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 100451 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Obama, Argentina y los derechos humanos https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/obama-argentina-y-los-derechos-humanos <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>El relanzamiento de las relaciones entre los Estados Unidos y Argentina tiene un pilar en el que debiera sostenerse: los derechos humanos. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/obama-argentina-and-human-rights"><em><strong>English </strong></em></a><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/obama-argentina-e-os-direitos-humanos" target="_blank"><em><strong>Português</strong></em></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/2668809_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>General Augusto Pinochet (derecha), el presidente de Chile con el General Jorge Videla, el Presidente de Argentina en Mendoza, Argentina. Foto de Keystone/Getty Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>Barack Obama visitará el país el 24 de marzo, fecha en la que se conmemora el 40 aniversario del más cruento golpe de Estado sufrido por Argentina durante el siglo XX. &nbsp;A pesar que la participación de Estados Unidos en la caída del gobierno no haya sido tan destacada y activa como lo fue en el caso del golpe en Chile en 1973, el mensaje de apoyo a las fuerzas armadas dado por Henry Kissinger a los planes de “guerra sucia” fue contundente. Según documentos desclasificados por el Departamento de Estado, Kissinger le dijo al Ministro de Exteriores argentino, César Guzzetti, el 7 de Octubre del 1976: &nbsp;“…cuanto antes tengan éxito, mejor… El problema de los Derechos Humanos va en aumento… Queremos una situación estable. No les causaremos a ustedes dificultades innecesarias. Si pueden acabar antes de que el Congreso reanude sus sesiones, mucho mejor.” &nbsp;</p> <p>Era claro que en medio de la Guerra Fría, la estabilidad y el anticomunismo eran más importantes para Washington que la democracia y el Estado de derecho.</p> <p>A partir de los años 80, cuando se dio la transición a la democracia en la mayor parte de los países de América Latina, los derechos humanos han sido asunto crucial en las políticas hemisféricas y, en particular, en la relación diplomática entre la Argentina y los Estados Unidos. A pesar de muchos altibajos, durante las últimas tres décadas las relaciones entre los dos países han estado caracterizadas por la mayor proximidad y colaboración entre Buenos Aires y Washington en el tema de los derechos humanos por sobre otros asuntos de la agenda bilateral y global. Varios ejemplos corroboran esta afirmación: el comportamiento del voto argentino en las instancias internacionales de derechos humanos y su nivel de coincidencia con los Estados Unidos, que fue creciendo durante años, tanto en las Naciones Unidas como en la Organización de Estados Americanos, es un buen ejemplo. La decisión transcendental de establecer la primera Comisión de la Verdad después de la dictadura militar fue seguida por otras experiencias similares en América Latina; un fenómeno que, a partir de los 90, ha sido aplaudido por Washington. El apoyo argentino al sistema interamericano de derechos humanos ha sido fundamental en momentos cruciales, a pesar de la oposición de parte de distintos países en la región. Los gobiernos elegidos sucesivamente han mostrado siempre un perfil alto en la promoción de la democracia en América Latina, así como en el reforzamiento del sistema internacional de derechos humanos. No sorprende que la Argentina, junto con Francia, fuesen los países promotores de la Convención Internacional para la protección de todas las personas <span>contra la desaparición forzosa</span>, en el 2006. </p> <p>En los últimos años la legalización del matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo en Argentina y su postura progresista ante los derechos LGBTQI permitió una mejora en las relaciones con Estados Unidos, incluso en medio de una serie de tensiones durante la presidencia de Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. La existencia, a partir de 1994, de la iniciativa <a href="https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cascos_Blancos">Cascos Blancos</a> a través de la cual la Argentina se ha involucrado activamente en asistencia humanitaria en todo el mundo, y el importante compromiso —superando la contribución efectiva de países como Austria, Canadá, Dinamarca, Francia, Finlandia, Alemania, Japón, Noruega, Suecia y el Reino Unido —, en las operaciones de paz de la ONU, son dos áreas adicionales en que los intereses de la Argentina y Estados Unidos coinciden.&nbsp; </p> <p>Ha habido cuestiones como la amenaza y el uso de la fuerza, la interpretación de los principios de la responsabilidad de proteger, la política de ejecuciones extra-judiciales o la persistencia de Guantánamo, en las que la distancia entre Buenos Aires y Washington ha sido abismal. Sin embargo, y a pesar de estos y otros roces, en ambos países actores sociales y políticos clave están de acuerdo en la centralidad de los derechos humanos y en los beneficios de un orden mundial legalizado. En Argentina, la sociedad ha abrazado la defensa y el avance de los derechos humanos. El presidente Mauricio Macri, cuyo gobierno expresa una mirada opuesta a la de su predecesora en la mayoría de los asuntos, y quien tiene un estilo personal diferente, ha situado también el tema como asunto central de la política exterior. Esto demuestra que la gran mayoría de los argentinos cree que los derechos humanos constituyen el pilar “fundamental” de su democracia. </p> <p>Sin embargo, en la sociedad Argentina existe una importante preocupación de fondo: la incorporación tardía y equivocada del país a la fallida “guerra contra la droga”. Medidas de “mano dura” como la más reciente declaración de emergencia de seguridad según la cual, entre otras cosas, se propone el derribo de aviones preocupan, puesto que implican una actitud desproporcionada y beligerante ante el fenómeno de las drogas y una erosión gradual de las fronteras entre el rol de las fuerzas de seguridad y el de los militares. Medidas que se conjugan y se pueden retroalimentar con la proverbial presión, por parte de las agencias de seguridad, inteligencia y militares de los Estados Unidos, para incorporar a fuerzas armadas latinoamericanas en el combate contra las supuestamente vinculadas “nuevas amenazas”--narcotráfico internacional, terrorismo global y crimen organizado trasnacional. El punto de encuentro entre Buenos Aires y Washington en este punto es y será muy problemático. Ya se sabe que el abuso de los derechos humanos en medio de la “guerra contra las drogas” ha sido una constante en la región. </p> <p>En este contexto, la visita de Barack Obama a Argentina presenta una excelente oportunidad para situar la cuestión de los derechos humanos en el centro de los valores compartidos. Algunas acciones y actitudes pueden revitalizar su importancia. En 2014, durante una visita a Brasil, el vicepresidente Joseph Biden entregó en mano a Dilma Rousseff informes sobre torturas procedentes de documentos desclasificados. El presidente Obama podría entregar al presidente Macri algunos datos desclasificados adicionales —de la CIA y del NSC, por ejemplo— relativos al período 1976-83 en Argentina.</p> <p>El presidente Obama visitará Cuba antes de volar a Argentina: será el primer presidente norteamericano que visite la isla después de que lo hiciera Coolidge en 1928. Muy probablemente Obama va a referirse al embargo y a su inutilidad después de tantos años de imposición. En Argentina, el presidente de los Estados Unidos no sólo debe rendir tributo a las víctimas de la “guerra sucia”, sino también reconocer los costos humanos de la Guerra Fría y su obsesivo anticomunismo. </p> <p>Por último, en el caso de Colombia, la administración estadounidense ha comprendido el valor de alcanzar la paz a través de un acuerdo negociado entre el gobierno y las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, incluyendo su potencial impacto positivo en la restricción del cultivo, el procesamiento y el contrabando de droga. De alguna manera, ello significa reconocer el fracaso de una cruzada anti-narcóticos liderada por los militares en ese país. ¿Por qué debería ahora un presidente estadounidense alentar al gobierno argentino a seguir una política que se mostró tan equivocada? </p> <p>En breve, el relanzamiento de las relaciones entre los Estados Unidos y Argentina cuenta con un pilar donde sostenerse y donde mantenerse: los derechos humanos.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Argentina </div> <div class="field-item even"> United States </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta United States Argentina Civil society Conflict Culture Democracy and government Ideas International politics latin america Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Wed, 09 Mar 2016 11:23:31 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 100450 at https://www.opendemocracy.net After Paris: stop declaring more wars https://www.opendemocracy.net/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/after-paris-stop-declaring-more-wars <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>In embracing the failed American anti-terror model, France and Europe are abandoning their own successful one.<br /><br /></p> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the wake of the atrocious terrorist acts in Paris on 13 November, Francois Hollande declared “war“ on the Islamic State. The French president has received widespread support across Europe for this stance. It seems that both country and continent are forgetting their previous history with terrorism and instead rehearsing the explicit American <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/paris-atrocity-and-after">model</a> of fighting terror. </p><p>Over the 1960s and 1970s, many European countries witnessed the emergence of armed groups that were ideologically radicalised and politically motivated. The implicit European model was based on the premise of making the resort to terror improbable, unnecessary and illegitimate. This entailed a patient and prudent combination of deterrence, development and dialogue, involving the state (deterrence), public and private actors (development) and civil society (the dialogue). In short, it meant a mix of improved rule of law and extended welfare state. By the mid-1980s most terrorist organisations in Europe were <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/25/how-europe-won-the-70s-war-on-terror.html">defeated</a>: more justice and prosperity had made it possible.</p><p>After 9/11, George W Bush <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/specials/attacked/transcripts/bushaddress_092001.html">proclaimed</a> a "war" against Al-Qaida. The key notion was to make an asymmetrical conflict – a type of conflict where the weak has, initially, the tactical advantage of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/23/world/europe/paris-attacks-isis-threatens-west.html?rref=collection%2Fnewseventcollection%2Fattacks-in-paris&amp;action=click&amp;contentCollection=europe&amp;region=stream&amp;module=stream_unit&amp;version=latest&amp;contentPlacement=4&amp;pgtype=collection">choosing</a> the target, the means and the moment – impossible and unworkable. The confrontation against an openly extremist and religiously driven terrorist group was supposed to be unlimited in time and geography. Thus, the distinction between war and peace became erased. There was the beginning of <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/paul-rogers/thirtyyear-war-renewed">perpetual</a> war on American terms. </p><p>Guantánamo; Abu Ghraib; the Patriot Act; enhanced interrogation techniques; extraterritorial abduction; extrajudicial executions; punitive attacks against countries that have not threatened or attacked the United States; the "drone wars" <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/paul-rogers/americas-global-shift-drone-wars-base-politics">deployed</a> on various Islamic nations; manipulation of international law – all are part of the arsenal of the US anti-terror model. A model which can be temporarily sustained: it "only" requires vast defence <a href="http://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/">budgets</a>, curtailment of domestic rights, a militarised foreign policy, and relocating the <a href="http://www.psr.org/assets/pdfs/body-count.pdf">violence</a> to its original source – in this case, the Muslim world. </p><p>Until now the United States can assert that its strategy has been successful, at least partially. Since 2001 many more Americans have died each year because of tornadoes and lightning strikes than terrorist acts at home and abroad. However, US policy actions – both hardline and softball – have been mostly a <a href="http://aei.pitt.edu/63622/">failure</a>. American military operations made Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya "failed states". Washington <a href="http://www.dw.com/en/hrw-blames-international-rise-in-extremism-on-human-rights-violations/a-18223599">eroded</a> its legitimacy in the Middle East by obsessively supporting Saudi Arabia, the main financier of <em>Sunni</em> jihadism. It also generated more resentment among young and vulnerable segments of the population by constant and massive aerial attacks on Islamic countries. Even if it is not so stated, the underlying premise is that “war” on terrorism and ensuing socio-political chaos in Middle East, north Africa, and central Asia is “manageable”: a new-old <em>Realpolitik</em> that is seriously flawed.&nbsp;&nbsp; </p><p>Now France, and Europe behind it, seems anxiously <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/11/french-american-terrorism-response-comparison">eager </a>to lead the war. In the French case – and maybe this will be replicated elsewhere in Europe – the implicit European model in dealing with terror is being finally abandoned, and the explicit American <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/paul-rogers/thirtyyear-war-continued">anti-terror</a> model embraced. against terrorism. Not surprisingly, President Hollande announced wide and drastic legislative changes and relentless battles abroad. More of the same: this, in the end, is a recipe for a larger fiasco. </p><p>Unless there is serious rethinking of what is happening both in the west and the Islamic world alike, new declarations of war will not bring peace to either. In the end the only alternative to <em>unjust post-legality</em> and <em>warfare states</em> is <em>improved rule of law</em> and <em>extended welfare state</em>.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/paris-atrocity-and-after">The Paris atrocity, and after</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/vijay-prashad/we-are-in-pitiless-times">We are in pitiless times</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/paul-rogers/united-nations-vs-isil-new-phase">The west vs ISIS: a new stage</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/arun-kundnani-opendemocracy/violence-comes-home-interview-with-arun-kundnani">Violence comes home: an interview with Arun Kundnani</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/bernard-dreano/demon-of-death-letter-from-paris">The demon of Death, a letter from Paris</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> International politics Paris attacks Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Mon, 23 Nov 2015 06:29:43 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 97868 at https://www.opendemocracy.net ¿A tres minutos del apocalipsis? https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/%C2%BFa-tres-minutos-del-apocalipsis <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>El "Reloj del Fin del Mundo", medida acreditada de lo cerca que está el mundo de la catástrofe, se ha puesto de nuevo en marcha. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/three-minutes-from-apocalypse" target="_blank"><strong><em>English</em></strong></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/640px-Doomsday_Clock_graph.svg-1_0.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="140" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Reloj del Fin del Mundo: minutos para para la medianoche, 1945 - 2015.Wikicommons/Fastfission. Some rights reserved</span></span></span></p><p>En el punto mismo de origen de la guerra fría, en junio de 1947, un grupo de científicos quiso llamar la atención sobre el peligro extremo que planteaba el rápido desarrollo nuclear para fines militares. Aquel mismo mes, el <a href="http://thebulletin.org/"><em>Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists</em></a> (Boletín de los Científicos Atómicos), fundado en la Universidad de Chicago, publicó en su portada la imagen de lo que llamó <a href="http://thebulletin.org/overview">Doomsday Clock</a> (Reloj del Fin del Mundo). El reloj marcaba las doce menos siete minutos. En décadas posteriores, en varios momentos críticos de las relaciones entre Estados Unidos y la Unión Soviética, la manecilla del reloj se acercó todavía más a la hora fatídica. Era una clara señal de que una gran confrontación entre las dos superpotencias era cada vez más probable.</p> <p>El fin de la guerra fría y la expectativa de un "dividendo de paz" ayudaron a mover la manecilla del reloj hacia atrás, hasta diecisiete minutos antes de la medianoche. Pero desde 1995 se ha ido deslizando hacia adelante una vez más, acercándose progresivamente a la hora temida. Durante las siguientes dos décadas, varios factores - enormes arsenales nucleares, degradación ambiental acelerada, nuevos avances tecnológicos - han generado una situación internacional cada vez más turbulenta. En enero de 2015, el reloj se colocó a tres minutos para la medianoche ya que, en palabras del Boletín, "los líderes internacionales no están cumpliendo con su deber más importante - garantizar y preservar la salud y vitalidad de la civilización humana".</p> <p>Nueve estados en el mundo poseen unas 10.215 cabezas nucleares cuya potencia destructiva equivale a un millón de las que se lanzaron sobre Hiroshima y Nagasaki. En los últimos cinco años ha habido un número creciente de incidentes (robos, pérdidas, accidentes) relacionados con material nuclear sensible. Además, tanto la temperatura media global como el nivel del mar y la cantidad de dióxido de carbono en la atmósfera van en aumento. A esta lista pueden añadirse otros fenómenos inquietantes como la propagación del espionaje masivo y los ciberataques entre países, junto con las preocupantes transformaciones tecnológicas derivadas de la robótica y su aplicación en el campo de las armas letales. </p><p>En este contexto, tres factores adicionales están provocando graves e incontroladas tensiones. El primero es el empeoramiento de una crisis múltiple y entrelazada en Oriente Medio, Asia Central y el norte de África. El fracaso de las intervenciones militares (en Irak, Afganistán, Libia) lideradas por Occidente; el colapso de las primaveras árabes; la degradación del conflicto palestino-israelí; la expansión de la violencia sectaria entre suníes y chiíes; la multiplicación de las milicias armadas irregulares, como ISIS, que recurren al terror generalizado; las fricciones fronterizas en curso entre distintos países; el incremento de los Estados frágiles; y la potencial proliferación nuclear han convertido a esta extensa parte del mundo en un punto caliente permanente que nadie sabe cómo manejar - ni los Estados Unidos y las potencias europeas en declive, ni las potencias emergentes del Este y del Sur. Pensar que todas estas cuestiones críticas solapadas pueden seguir gestionándose con la tradicional mezcla de fuerza y <em>realpolitik</em> es conceptualmente ingenuo y estratégicamente equivocado.</p> <p>El segundo factor es la intensificación de la hostilidad entre los países occidentales y Rusia. Una analogía imperfecta sería ver esto como una repetición de la guerra fría, lo cual sería además peligroso ya que podría dar lugar a mensajes inapropiados y a medidas erróneas que sólo agravarían la tensa situación en torno a Ucrania. Está claro que Occidente y Rusia tienen puntos de vista diferentes acerca de los ingredientes de un orden estable para Eurasia, y se ven incapaces o no están dispuestos a hacer concesiones. La combinación de una alianza atlántica extralimitada, que todavía está sufriendo una notable recesión, y una economía rusa debilitada, gobernada por un autoritarismo electoral, es muy problemática. Ambas partes, y el mundo, deben tratar de evitar la parálisis, la humillación, o la guerra.</p> <p>El tercer factor, que es crucial entender, es la compleja dinámica geopolítica del sureste asiático. La transformación de China de actor regional a potencia global está provocando reacciones y reajustes importantes en la zona. Es fundamental gestionar la transición de poder internacional que subyace al resurgimiento de China en los asuntos mundiales. La historia demuestra que los cambios de poder relativo a menudo (aunque no siempre) terminan en guerra. Hay signos evidentes entre los actores geográficamente cercanos&nbsp; como Japón y lejanos como Estados Unidos, de un compromiso para resistir y eventualmente revertir el resurgimiento de Beijing. La falta de confianza, moderación y autocontrol pueden conducir sin querer a una crisis. Sin ir más lejos, el llamado "giro" de Washington hacia la cuenca del Pacífico, la nueva seguridad adelantada por el primer ministro japonés, Shinzo Abe, y la estrategia militar reciente de China no parecen coincidir en un camino común que pueda acomodar los intereses de estos actores clave.</p> <p>En resumen, esta es la primera vez en un cuarto de siglo que el mundo en su conjunto es testigo de una situación tan delicada. La advertencia del Boletín de los Científicos Atómicos debe ser tomada muy en serio.</p><p><em>Este artículo fue publicado por primera vez en openDemocracy el 30 de junio de 2015.</em></p><div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Science </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Conflict Democracy and government Ideas International politics Science Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Thu, 02 Jul 2015 11:30:16 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 94067 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Three minutes from apocalypse? https://www.opendemocracy.net/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/three-minutes-from-apocalypse <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The "doomsday clock", a respected measure of the world's nearness to catastrophe, is again on the move. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/640px-Doomsday_Clock_graph.svg-1.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/640px-Doomsday_Clock_graph.svg-1.png" alt="Doomsday clock: minutes to midnight, 1945 - 2015." title="" width="460" height="140" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Doomsday clock: minutes to midnight, 1945 - 2015.Wikicommons/Fastfission. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>At the very point of origin of the cold war, June 1947, a group of scientists wanted to highlight the extreme danger posed by rapid nuclear development for military purposes. That month, the <a href="http://thebulletin.org/"><em>Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists</em></a>, founded at the University of Chicago, published on its frontpage the image of what it called a <a href="http://thebulletin.org/overview">Doomsday Clock</a>. The clock showed the time at seven minutes to midnight. In later decades, at various critical junctures in United States-Soviet Union relations, the clock hand was moved closer to the fateful hour. It was a clear signal that a major confrontation between the two superpowers was becoming more likely.</p><p>By contrast, the end of the cold war and the expectation of a "peace dividend" helped to move the clock hand back, as far as seventeen minutes to midnight. Yet since 1995 the time has once more crept forward, gradually approaching the dreaded hour. Over the next two decades, several factors - huge nuclear arsenals, accelerated environmental degradation, new technological <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/paul-rogers/climate-disruption-south-gets-real">advances</a> - have generated an increasingly turbulent international situation. In January 2015, the clock was <a href="http://thebulletin.org/clock/2015">positioned</a> at three minutes to midnight because, in the words of the <em>Bulletin</em>, “international leaders are failing to perform their most important duty - ensuring and preserving the health and vitality of human civilization.”</p><p>Nine states possess some 10,215 nuclear <a href="http://thebulletin.org/doomsday-dashboard">warheads</a> with a destructive power equivalent to a million times those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the last five years there has been a growing number of incidents (theft, loss, accidents) involving sensitive nuclear material. In addition, the average global temperature, the sea level, and the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are all on the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/paul-rogers/pope-francis-and-world%27s-climate">rise</a>. To this list can be added other disturbing phenomena such as the spread of massive spying and of <a href="http://www.csoonline.com/article/2852855/advanced-persistent-threats/10-deadliest-differences-of-state-sponsored-attacks.html">cyberattacks</a> between nations, together with worrisome technological transformations derived from robotics and its application in the field of lethal weapons.</p><p>In this context, three further factors are provoking serious and uncontrolled tensions. The first is the worsening of a manifold, mostly intertwined crisis in the Middle East, central Asia and north Africa. The fiasco of military interventions (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya) led by the west; the collapse of the Arab spring; the degradation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the expansion of sectarian <a href="http://news.nationalpost.com/news/world/isil-attacking-mosques-during-ramadan">violence</a> between <em>Sunnis </em>and <em>Shi'a</em>; the multiplication of irregular armed militias, such as <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/paul-rogers/islamic-state-long-war">ISIS</a>, resorting to widespread terror; the ongoing border frictions between countries; the upsurge in <a href="http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/06/17/fragile-states-2015-islamic-state-ebola-ukraine-russia-ferguson/">fragile states</a>; and the potential nuclear proliferation have turned this vast portion of the world into a permanent hotspot that no one knows how to manage - neither the United States and the declining European powers, nor the emerging powers from the global east and south. The idea that all these overlapping critical questions can be administered for much longer by the traditional mix of force and <em>realpolitik</em> is conceptually naïve and strategically wrong.</p><p>The second factor is the heightened pugnacity <a href="http://www.euronews.com/newswires/3026729-putin-says-russia-is-tackling-crisis-successfully/">between</a> the west and Russia. A flawed analogy would be to see this as a repetition of the cold war; also a dangerous one, in that it could lead to inappropriate messages and flawed measures that will only exacerbate the tense situation around Ukraine. It is clear that the west and Russia have differing views on the ingredients of a stable <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/ernesto-gallo-giovanni-biava/new-eurasian-world-order">Eurasian</a> order, and they look unable or unwilling to compromise. The combination of an overextended Atlantic alliance that is still suffering a significant recession and a weakened Russian economy governed by an electoral authoritarianism is very problematic. Both parties, and the world, must seek to avoid paralysis, humiliation, or warfare.</p><p>The third factor, crucial to understand, is the complex geopolitical dynamics of southeast Asia. The transformation of China from a major regional actor to a global power is provoking significant reactions and realignments in the area. Managing the international power transition <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/kerry-brown/china-and-world-beyond-exceptionalism">underlying</a> China's re-emergence in world affairs is fundamental. History shows that shifts in relative power often (if not always) end in war. There are evident signs, among geographically close actors such as Japan and distant ones like the United States, of a commitment to resist and eventually reverse Beijing's resurgence. The absence of confidence, moderation and self-restraint may lead inadvertently to a crisis. For example, the so-called "<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/ernesto-gallo-giovanni-biava/americas-chimerical-pivot">pivot</a>" of Washington towards the Pacific rim, the new security advanced by Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, and China's recent military strategy do not seem to agree on a common path to accommodate the interests of these key players.</p><p>In short, it is the first time in a quarter century that the world as a whole has witnessed such a delicate situation. The <a href="http://thebulletin.org/timeline">warning</a> by the <em>Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists </em>should be taken very seriously.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://thebulletin.org/"><em>Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists</em></a></p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> International politics Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Tue, 30 Jun 2015 21:48:41 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 94006 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Argentina: beyond impunity https://www.opendemocracy.net/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/argentina-beyond-impunity <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Argentina's democracy has travelled far since the early 1980s. Now, the sudden death of a senior prosecutor highlights the need for a new phase of reform.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most foreigners are genuinely shocked by the enigmatic death of Argentina’s special prosecutor Alberto Nisman. They are also puzzled by the pervasive lack of justice around the bombing of the Jewish community centre (AMIA) in Buenos Aires in May 1994, a lethal event that killed eighty-five people and hundreds of injuries. Until 9/11, this act of violence had the sad honour of being the largest terrorist attack in the Americas. </p><p>Nisman was found dead only days after he announced his intention to reveal a cover-up by Argentina's executive of Iran’s role in the AMIA attack. The vast majority of Argentines were already fed up with the injustice surrounding the original event and the investigation. This latest twist reinforces their frustration; many are&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vox.com/2015/1/26/7874455/nisman-death-argentina-iran">concerned</a> that Nisman’s death too will remain forever unsolved. </p><p>Put aside the ensuing noise and the hysteria. Separate out the inventions, accusations and machinations voiced by different individuals - including two unusual Facebook <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/23/world/americas/argentina-cristina-kirchner-changes-position-on-alberto-nisman-death.html?_r=0">postings</a> by President Cristina Fern<span class="st">á</span>ndez - within and outside the government. What remains at <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/fabian-bosoer-federico-finchelstein/argentina-in-shock">centre-stage</a> is impunity. And if impunity is the core of the matter then the inquiry should concentrate on the key protagonists and their strategies. Impunity today in Argentina is not a random problem. It is not the result of chance but the intended product of choice. But whose choice?</p><p>Since the transition to democracy in 1983 several key institutions, practices, and policies have changed very positively: for example, Argentina can demonstrate excellent and unparalleled credentials in terms of human rights (look at the trials of military officers involved in the 1976-83 <a href="http://www.massviolence.org/the-last-military-dictatorship-in-argentina-1976-1983-the">dictatorship</a>), the reform of the armed forces, nuclear non-proliferation, peacekeeping operations, and regional cooperation.</p><p>Notwithstanding these steps forward, several key actors have for decades been able to preserve their position intact. The common feature around which this complex set converges is - impunity.</p><p>First, the country’s intelligence <a href="http://www.eyespymag.com/intelargentina.htm">system</a> is extremely politicised, increasingly autonomous, mostly concerned with internal espionage, overly penetrated by foreign counterparts, and full of mafia-style <em>modus operandi</em>.</p><p>Second, a significant portion of the judicial <a href="http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/argentina1.htm">system</a> is plagued with vices, both substantive and procedural. These in turn lead to an aberrant complicity with powerful political, social and economic interests.</p><p>Third, the police forces were never seriously transformed with the advent of democracy. Among them there persists a “trigger-happy" habit, a clandestine linkage with the drug business, and worrisome corruption. These problems also <a href="http://www.irinnews.org/indepthmain.aspx?InDepthId=7&amp;ReportId=59484">pervade</a> the security apparatus in ways that are recognised by citizens, experts and public officials. </p><p>Fourth, many politicians - too many, and for too long - have habitually remained silent in face of this opaque and anti-democratic scenario (and even colluded with it, promoted it or profited from it). All these players, at the municipal, provincial, and national level - the winners until now - will attempt to maintain the status quo. However, that option is becoming untenable.</p><p><strong>What needs to happen</strong></p><p>The problem with impunity is the problem of Argentina today. The AMIA test-case now has a triple dimension: the original terrorist bombing of 1994, the special-prosecutor's allegations of a cover-up by the executive, and the <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/mary-anastasia-ogrady-who-killed-alberto-nisman-1422232647">death</a> of Alberto Nisman.&nbsp; But if it leads Argentina to find ways to reduce impunity, there may yet be a silver lining in the dark cloud. The attainment of two simultaneous, challenging priorities may contribute to this outcome.</p><p>On the one hand, civil society, leading personalities, and numerous party members should insist that this threefold case be investigated with transparency, impartiality, and expediency by prosecutors and judges, and that this entire procedure should be fully guaranteed by the government. An active citizenry is one of the preconditions for avoiding <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/27/world/americas/journalist-damian-pachter-in-argentina-fearing-for-his-safety-flees-to-israel.html">more</a> injustices.</p><p>On the other hand, it is urgent that <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-30995722">thorough</a> and substantive reforms of the intelligence system are made, both in themselves and as a precursor to even deeper judicial and police reforms in the future. This will require a political commitment on the part of the government and the opposition alike. This will be a tough test, especially in a year which ends with an election. But a reasonable policy consensus is essential in order to prevent Argentina's democratic deterioration. </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Javier Auyero<em>, </em><a href="http://www.cambridge.org/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521694117"><em><span><span>Routine Politics and Violence in Argentina: The Gray Zone of State Power</span></span></em></a> (Cambridge University Press, 2007)</p> <div>Luis Alberto Romero, <a href="http://www.psupress.psu.edu/books/titles/0-271-02191-8.html"><em><span><span>A History of Argentina in the Twentieth Century</span></span></em></a> (Penn State University Press, 2002)</div><div><span><span><br /></span></span></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/fabian-bosoer-federico-finchelstein/argentina-in-shock">Argentina in shock</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/washington-and-latin-america-farewell-monroe-doctrine">Washington and Latin America: farewell, Monroe </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/westphalia-to-southphalia">Westphalia to Southphalia</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/federico-finchelstein-fabian-bosoer/argentina-militarism-vs-democracy">Argentina: militarism vs democracy</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ivan-briscoe/tom%C3%A1s-eloy-mart%C3%ADnez-and-argentine-dream">Tomás Eloy Martínez and the Argentine dream</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/celia-szusterman/argentina-democracy-by-default-0">Argentina: democracy by default</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/article/globalisation/cristina_kirchners_moment">Cristina Kirchner&#039;s moment</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/argentinas-broken-polity">Argentina&#039;s broken polity</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democracy-protest/partition_temptation_4140.jsp">The partition temptation: Iraq to Latin America</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Argentina </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 3.0 </div> </div> </div> Argentina International politics latin america Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Mon, 26 Jan 2015 23:46:56 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 89965 at https://www.opendemocracy.net "Better numb than Islam" https://www.opendemocracy.net/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/better-numb-than-islam <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The attitudes of most American citizens to violence against Muslims bodes ill for democracy in the United States. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Over the half-century cold war, when the United States's enemy was the Soviet Union and the fight against communism was Washington's main priority, “better dead than red” was far more than a slogan. It epitomised and rationalised American public opinion's relative acceptance of huge defence budgets at home and abhorrent procedures abroad such as punitive wars, clandestine interventions, killing of foreign leaders and export of torture techniques. In the course of changing geopolitics, "better red than dead" found a new focus. Even before the collapse of the USSR, but especially after 9/11, America’s “war against terror” seemed to <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/conflict/past_present_future_3850.jsp">generate</a> a new logic among a very large number of US citizens: “better numb than Islam”. <br /><br /><a href="http://www.bu.edu/history/people/emeritus-faculty/andrew-j-bacevich/">Andrew Bacevich</a>, fellow at Columbia University, showed in a <em>Washington Post</em> op-ed that fourteen countries where Muslims form the vast majority have been invaded, occupied or bombed by the United States since 1980; most recently, US drone-warfare has targeted Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya (see "<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/even-if-we-defeat-the-islamic-state-well-still-lose-the-bigger-war/2014/10/03/e8c0585e-4353-11e4-b47c-f5889e061e5f_story.html">Even if we defeat the Islamic State, we'll still lose the bigger war</a>", 3 October 2014). A Congressional Research Service (<a href="http://www.loc.gov/crsinfo/">CRS</a>) report on the use of US armed forces abroad, <a href="http://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R42738.pdf">published</a> in September 2014, concluded that the overwhelming percentage of the 146 deployments over the post-cold-war period has been against Muslim-populated nations. <br /><br />What do we know about American perceptions of and reactions to this hardline, bellicose policy towards the Islamic world? Several polls over 2013-14, after most American troops left Iraq and their presence in Afghanistan was also much reduced, provide some evidence. A Gallup poll of March 2013, for example, <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/161474/support-drone-attacks-terrorists-abroad.aspx">showed</a> that 65% of Americans favour drone airstrikes; a <a href="http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/december_2014/voters_want_more_drone_strikes_on_terrorists_overseas">Rasmussen poll </a>of December 2014 puts the number at 71%. Moreover, two different polls in July 2014 reflect highly negative opinions <em>vis-à-vis</em> Islam. A <a href="http://www.pewforum.org/2014/07/16/how-americans-feel-about-religious-groups/">Pew Research pol</a>l on religious groups found that Muslims received the coldest rating, while a Zogby Analytics poll confirmed that attitudes towards Muslims were worsening. In addition, another Pew Research poll of September 2014 <a href="http://www.people-press.org/2014/09/10/growing-concern-about-rise-of-islamic-extremism-at-home-and-abroad/">concluded</a> that Americans see Islam as encouraging more violence than other religions. <br /><br />The disclosure in December 2014 of the Senate intelligence-committee's <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/12/09/world/cia-torture-report-document.html?_r=0">report</a> on torture by the CIA in the post-9/11 years has not seemed to alter the adverse views of Islam held by most Americans, nor their backing for whatever the United States government does. The most recent Washington Post/ABC News survey confirms that a <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/12/16/from-moderate-democrats-to-white-evangelicals-nearly-every-demographic-group-believes-torture-can-be-justified/">majority</a> of the US public holds that torture was justifiable after 11 September 2001.&nbsp; <br /><br />Why does brutalising civilians in the Muslim world not provoke any sympathy towards the victims? Why are Americans unmoved or disturbed by the illegal and immoral practices of the US intelligence system? Why is a very large percentage of US citizens so indifferent to or supportive of the amount of violence that the United States deploys against Muslims in their countries? Why are Americans willing to see their own democracy eroded in the fight <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/paul-rogers/war-of-new-connections">against</a> terrorism in the Middle East, central Asia, and north Africa? <br /><br />In the end, the combination of fear, frustration, and fatalism among Americans is perfect for legitimising abuse and injustice. If the logic of “better numb than Islam” is truly prevailing, then Americans - and those in the rest&nbsp; the world - should get ready for a severe downgrade of US democracy. </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/westphalia-to-southphalia">Westphalia to Southphalia</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 3.0 </div> </div> </div> International politics Democracy and government Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Charlie Hebdo Tue, 30 Dec 2014 06:13:05 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 89230 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Westphalia to Southphalia https://www.opendemocracy.net/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/westphalia-to-southphalia <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Does the rise of non-western states such as China, India, South Africa, and Brazil threaten the dominant model of international politics? </p> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 ended Europe's thirty-year war. It was also, in essence, a diplomatic-institutional agreement that sought to <a href="http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199743292/obo-9780199743292-0073.xml">organise</a> the continent's political life on new principles: of national sovereignty and non-intervention, of a country's right to self-defence, of international law moulded by the logic of a balance of power. Over the centuries this European-state-centred dynamic became universal, as - in the wake of European colonial expansion - <a href="http://avalon.law.yale.edu/17th_century/westphal.asp">Westphalia</a> irradiated institutions, rules, practices and concepts that the various peripheries gradually assimilated. <br /><br />This centuries-long development both expressed and exacerbated deep disparities between the world's "have" and "have-not" nations. More recently, in the last three decades, new powers from the global south have risen within Westphalian parameters - including China, India, South Africa, and Brazil. These countries have accordingly <a href="http://europesworld.org/2013/02/01/why-the-world-must-listen-more-carefully-to-asias-rising-powers/#.VFpbaslrtuA">enhanced</a> their world status, but in ways very different from earlier experiences. <br /><br />During the cold war, most successful middle-level regional powers - such as Canada, Sweden, Australia, and Japan - were western and/or pro-western. They were democratic, stable, and satisfied; had low internal inequality; acted moderately on the international stage; and sought to bridge the gap between global north and south and defuse tensions between west and east. In general, their initiatives in foreign policy strengthened the Westphalian system in terms of its core norms, procedures and values. <br /><br />Today's equivalent powers are from the periphery; their political regimes differ; their houses are not completely stable; their economic <a href="http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/emerging-powers-in-a-comparative-perspective-9781441119865/">position</a> is variable; they are dissatisfied with the current world order; they have high levels of domestic inequality; and their behaviour, in response to the west's demands for more international responsibility, is often unorthodox and <a href="http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/westphalia-chinese-characteristics-10947">challenging</a>. In short, these emerging powers have benefited from Westphalia yet in practice also <a href="http://www.postwesternworld.com/">criticise</a> the prevailing system. <br /><br /><strong>Five issues at stake</strong><br /><br />This raises the question: are these countries in effect creating a new model for organising global politics, which could be called "Southphalia"? A way to evaluate this is by reference to several key aspects of the respective models. Here are five, each of which deserves more detailed scrutiny.<br /><br />First, there is the issue of values. The emerging countries of the south complain about the unjust distribution of global power - but they seem to be concerned mainly with expanding their own influence and voice in world affairs. That is, they look more interested in joining the club of the powerful than in empowering their peers from the periphery.&nbsp; <br /><br />Second, there is the issue of policies. Westphalia was marked by the pro-status quo attitude of major powers and their partners. Southphalia acts like a soft reformist, trying to <a href="http://global.oup.com/academic/product/no-ones-world-9780199739394;jsessionid=BDC72557E91E9D4A2B44F3B45043BE6D?cc=gb&amp;lang=en&amp;#">constrain</a> the choices of the powerful and to increase its own autonomy. Its language can sound tough and confrontational, but the most relevant emerging powers are - at least until now, and probably for the near future - less revisionist than dissatisfied actors. They are playing <a href="http://opencanada.org/features/the-think-tank/comments/the-wests-enduring-importance/">within</a>, not against, the rules of the game. <br /><br />Third, there is the issue of institutional development. Westphalia built a network of international regimes that ultimately legitimised the predominance of the most powerful and influential. Southphalia uses the existing institutional architecture, but adds its willingness to amend and transform it. Just as the principal actors of Westphalia combine multilateralism (for example, the United Nations) and minilateralism (for example, the <a href="http://www.european-council.europa.eu/g7brussels">G7</a>) so does Southphalia: <a href="http://www.ibsa-trilateral.org/">IBSA</a> (India, Brazil, and South Africa) and the <a href="http://www.brics5.co.za/about-brics/">BRICS</a> (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) are two southern cases of the multilateralism of small numbers. <br /><br />Southphalia does offer a noticeable institutional innovation, however. This is the impulse to construct regional initiatives such as the <a href="http://www.sectsco.org/EN123/">Shanghai Cooperation Organisation</a> (sponsored by China) and the <a href="http://laht.com/article.asp?CategoryId=12394&amp;ArticleId=329400">South American Defence Council</a> (advanced by Brazil). Their benefits include acting as buffer mechanisms, enabling their members to avoid western involvement in crucial diplomatic and military areas. <br /><br />Fourth, there is the issue of ideas. Westphalia established foundational principles that remain the cornerstone of inter-state relations. Now, major actors within the emerging world are voicing new Southphalian concepts. China has <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/william-callahan/china%E2%80%99s-grand-strategy-in-post-western-world">proclaimed</a> the virtues of "<em>hexie shijie</em>" (harmonious world) as a <a href="http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2007/10/harmonious-society-and-harmonious-world-chinas-policy-discourse-under-hu-jintao-zheng-yongnian-eeee%E2%88%9E%E2%88%8Fa%CF%80%C2%A5-and-sow-keat-tok/">guide</a> for global affairs. India has promoted Gandhi’s <a href="http://www.i-genius.org/eprofiles/global-gandhian-trusteeship-corporate-responsibility-foundation-suresh-kr-pramar">notion</a> of "trusteeship" as an expression of the search for collective spiritual development and a more <a href="http://inequality.org/">egalitarian</a> order. Brazil, since the fiasco in Libya in 2011, has been <a href="http://www.postwesternworld.com/2013/08/01/brazils-enigmatic-retreat-the-case-of-the-responsibility-while-protecting-rwp/">calling</a> for “responsibility while protecting” as an alternative to western manipulation and mismanagement of the “responsibility-to-protect” principle. Thus, the south is introducing fresh ideas that contest the west's dominant (but <a href="http://www.postwesternworld.com/">weakening</a>) assumptions. In short, Southphalia is attempting to reconfigure the logic of politics, law and morality by which power, legality, and ethics are intertwined and reinforced.<br /><br />Fifth, there is the issue of leadership. Westphalia has been based on the deliberation of the few and the conventional style of <a href="http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/67730/g-john-ikenberry/the-future-of-the-liberal-world-order">leadership</a> of the most powerful. Hegemony by a single power or bloc has been its prevailing mode. Here there is no innovation from the south: Southphalia is not investing in more participatory and pluralistic forms of deliberation, nor stimulating different modes of concerted, joint, collaborative and/or distributive leadership. <br /><br />To sum up, Southphalia shows some elements of continuity and change from Westphalia.&nbsp; Will the coming years see Southphalia's extension, not without resistance from the west, or its assimilation by a Westphalian system displaying a persistent capacity to adjust? </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199743292/obo-9780199743292-0073.xml">Peace of Westphalia, 1648</a></p><p><a href="http://www.postwesternworld.com/">Post-Western World</a></p><p><a href="http://www.worldpolicy.org/">World Policy Institute</a></p><p>Dries Lesage &amp; Thijs Van de Graaf eds., <a href="http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/rising-powers-and-multilateral-institutions-/?K=9781137397591"><em>Rising Powers and Multilateral Institutions</em></a> (Palgrave, 2015)</p><p>Charles A Kupchan, <a href="http://global.oup.com/academic/product/no-ones-world-9780199739394;jsessionid=BDC72557E91E9D4A2B44F3B45043BE6D?cc=gb&amp;lang=en&amp;#"><em>No One's World The West, the Rising Rest, and the Coming Global Turn</em></a> (Oxford University Press, 2012)</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 3.0 </div> </div> </div> International politics Democracy and government institutions & government Globalisation democracy & power Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Wed, 05 Nov 2014 13:27:04 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 87499 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Economic crisis and illicit drugs https://www.opendemocracy.net/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/economic-crisis-and-illicit-drugs <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The great recession since 2008-09 has reshaped international attitudes in ways that are influencing public policy on drugs. It is a process with echoes of the 1930s. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p>The century-old international drug regime is gradually losing legitimacy. Drug prohibition is still prevalent worldwide, but new regulatory alternatives are on the rise everywhere. Colorado and Washington’s marihuana <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2013/10/09/after-legalizing-marijuana-washington-and-colorado-are-starting-to-regulate-it/">legalisation</a>, as well as Uruguay’s <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-27265310">decision</a> to legalise pot, are good illustrations of a revealing and compelling tendency.</p><p>An indirect, but potentially significant, factor that may influence the evolution of the drug question is economic - in particular, the ongoing "great recession" that has affected many states (especially in the west) since 2008-09. Here, paradoxically, the critical economic situation may have positive effects upon the expanding and lively public <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/war-on-drugs-time-to-demilitarise">debate</a> on drugs. </p><p>There are three ways in which the influence of the great recession on the <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/article/globalisation/the_global_drug_war_beyond_prohibition">future</a> of drug policy, actual or potential, is visible. </p><p>The first relates to the impact of the economic crisis on the state. The recession has increased awareness of the need for action in several areas: <a href="http://www.qracao.com/index.php/component/content/article/37-overig-nieuws/10927-curacao-2013-international-narcotics-control-strategy-report">supervision</a> of offshore banking, tax-havens, and cash-smuggling, which are relevant both to legal and illicit flows; and increased transparency regarding banking secrecy, capital <a href="http://www.socialwatch.org/sites/default/files/statistics06/en/ImpossibleFinancialArchitecture/index_capital_flight.htm">flight</a>, and trade mispricing. All this will require reinstating the value of state intervention and the state's ability to impose stricter market regulations. Overall, an alternative drug-policy <a href="http://www.leap.cc/">approach</a> requires state capacity-and-control mechanisms able to ensure clear <a href="http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/9/8/world-leaders-callfordecriminalizationofalldrugs.html">regulation</a>. The foundation of the approach is an effective and vigorous state rather than narcotics prohibition under a free (and distorted) market.</p><p>The second relates to the effects of the economic crisis on public-policy funding and bureaucracy, which include a more thorough cost-benefit analysis of inequality (and in general greater <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/pikettys-inequality-story-in-six-charts">sensitivity</a> towards the subject). Governments, particularly in the developed north, came to realise that budget adjustment is inevitable and the waste of resources involved in ineffective policies untenable. So there is already a general shift towards re-evaluating existing programmes and plans, including those that involve anti-drug activities. Meanwhile, the damaging consequences of growing <a href="http://undesadspd.org/Home/tabid/40/news/394/Default.aspx">inequality</a> cause increasing alarm in the United States and Europe. Some studies highlight the connection between inequality, drug-addiction and drug-related deaths, adding a further layer of concern about the west's <a href="http://www.voxeu.org/article/great-recession-s-long-term-damage">enduring</a> economic downturn. </p><p>The third relates to the way the economic crisis has led to an adjustment of values. The 1990s and early 2000s was a period of lavish personal spending by the upper segments of the population, uncontrolled greed by financial speculators, unrestrained individualism, a high-risk-prone environment, and self-indulgent hedonism. This atmosphere extended from New York and London to Moscow and Bogotá; in all places the local drug barons, transnational <em>narcos</em>, and the global money-laundering tycoons were equally welcome, their lifestyles transforming both the rich and the poor. After the great recession, the uninhibited show of wealth and voracious acquisitveness by the powerful creates is less acceptable. This new <a href="https://nacla.org/article/turning-point-drug-policy">setting</a> may be important in helping to delegitimise illegal businesses such as drug-trafficking.&nbsp;&nbsp; </p><p>The indirect effect of the great recession on drug-prohibition in the west may be analogous to the relation between the <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/timeline/rails-timeline/">great depression</a> of the 1930s and the prohibition of alcohol in the United States. The depression created a broad framework to discuss and rethink key issues in a fresh way: among them labour productivity, employment needs, social ills, attitudes to the law, capacity at both national and state level to secure revenue via tax and other sources. One by-product of the process was that, four years after the Wall Street <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/introduction/crash-introduction/">crash</a> of 1929, the twenty-first amendment of the US constitution repealing alcohol prohibition was passed in 1933. </p><p>The link between the two examples should not be overestimated. But both cases - the 1930s and the 2010s, great depression and great recession, alcohol prohibition and drug prohibition - do reveal a single, vital truth: that major crisis may play a part, unplanned and positive as it may be, in reshaping attitudes and policy on illicit substance use.&nbsp; </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.unodc.org/">United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC)</a></p><p><a href="http://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org/">Global Commission on Drug Policy</a></p><p><a href="http://www.leap.cc/">Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (Leap)</a></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.state.gov/p/wha/rt/cbsi/">Caribbean Basin Security Initiative</a></p><p><a href="http://www.cfr.org/narcotics-control/fact-sheet-central-america-regional-security-initiative/p22782">Central American Regional Security Initiative</a></p><p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/editorial-tags/drug-policy-forum">Drug Policy Forum</a></p><p><a href="http://www.idpc.net/">International Drug Policy Consortium</a></p><p><a href="http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/commissions/CND/index.html">United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.issdp.org/vienna2009/register.htm">International Society for the Study of Drug Policy </a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/war-on-drugs-time-to-demilitarise">The war on drugs: time to demilitarise</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> Civil society Democracy and government International politics Globalisation democracy & power latin america Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:01:08 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 86000 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Drugs and the peace process in Colombia: a moderate radical step https://www.opendemocracy.net/opensecurity/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/drugs-and-peace-process-in-colombia-moderate-radical-step <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="western" lang="es-AR"> The third point of agreement reached in the Havana negotiations may finally pave the way for the gradual end to the “war on drugs”, and defuse one of the issues – the drug trade – that has most hindered peace in Colombia.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="western" lang="es-AR"> The agreement reached in Havana on May 16th 2014 between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) entitled “Solution to the problem of illegal drugs” is momentous in that it constitutes a limited step forward with regard to a very complex issue that is underpinned by a series of very important premises.</p> <h2> <strong>The underlying assumptions </strong> </h2> <p class="western" lang="es-AR"> In essence, the agreement appears to be informed by two basic postulates. The first relates to the drugs phenomenon and the second to the key stakeholders in the agreement. </p> <p class="western" lang="es-AR"> The focus of the current paradigm for dealing with illegal drugs is to achieve abstinence and eliminate psychoactive substances that have been declared illegal. This approach places the emphasis on the object – the drug – and not on the subject – the human being. The strategy is geared towards punishing and selectively prosecuting certain (direct and indirect) participants and towards certain stages in the phenomenon. This means that, based on rather opaque criteria, there is a relative level of tolerance towards the practices of some actors under some circumstances. </p> <p class="western" lang="es-AR"> In general, those most directly affected by practices centred on coercion and harassment are peasants and informal workers involved in the growing of plantations and the harvesting of crops; indigenous people and the rural poor who have to suffer the consequences of policies directed at forcibly eradicating plantations (often by the use of chemicals) and interdiction efforts; the “mules” who carry drugs to the areas of demand; and the inhabitants of disadvantaged neighbourhoods where violent territorial struggles take place between traffickers, corrupt police, dishonest politicians and criminal organisations. </p><p class="western" lang="es-AR">Also affected are sectors of the population who are stigmatised, especially young people, because they live in areas where drug dealing goes on, and the weakest groups who lack the political pressure necessary to ensure that their “view” of the drugs “problem” is taken into account. These and other actors are the weak link in a lengthy and complex chain that culminates in an enormously lucrative business for a few. </p> <p class="western" lang="es-AR"> Vulnerable human groups who are severely harassed therefore end up dead, or in prison, or without access to health care or alternative opportunities for a decent life. In general, those who reap the greatest benefits from illegal trade enjoy wealth and investments that go untouched, despite the existing array of laws and restrictions of various kinds that are meant to deal with this issue; social standing among the well-to-do classes, who usually welcome the “nouveau riche”; economic and political incorporation into the cracks between illegality and legitimacy and into a state (at the local, department and/or federal levels) that has been partially immobilised because of collusion between certain officials and criminal organisations; the ability to coopt and corrupt officials at the national and international levels; and the personal security guarantees provided as a result of the deregulated small arms market and the services of many private security companies. </p><p class="western" lang="es-AR">This dual model, in which development considerations are noticeably secondary, has served to increase social divisions, economic inequities, political differences and international asymmetries. The agreement between the government and the FARC seems to be inspired by the desire to question some of the foundations of this model and seek public policies other than those that currently prevail (in Colombia and elsewhere). </p> <p class="western" lang="es-AR"> With regard to the second postulate, the agreement assumes that the guerrillas are ready, willing, and able to break with and get out of the drugs trade once and for all and that the elites and institutions are sufficiently interested, determined and capable to tackle the dismantling of this illegal trade that has permeated society and the state for years. </p><p class="western" lang="es-AR">The precedent set by the negotiations between the paramilitaries and the administration of President Álvaro Uribe (2002-10) is not promising, because the armed actors, ruling classes and state sectors have all failed to get rid of the illegality that had penetrated institutions for decades. The hope, both at home and abroad, is that the agreement with the FARC will be the beginning of effectively overcoming the drugs phenomenon. </p> <h2> <strong>The negotiating approach</strong></h2> <p class="western" lang="es-AR"> There were two possible paths that the dialogue between the parties could have taken as far as the nature of this issue is concerned. One was to look at the intricate web that characterises the drug problem, which would have meant addressing the entire “value chain” it entails (cultivation, production, processing, trafficking, distribution, marketing, financing, sale and use) and associated aspects (domestic organised crime, transnational criminal alliances, links between illegal economies of various kinds, etc.). Another was to focus on several specific aspects of the drug question that have particularly negative impacts and significance for Colombia. </p> <p class="western" lang="es-AR"> The negotiators, for reasons of expediency and/or conviction, chose the second route. The agreement should therefore be examined from this perspective and not from a more all-embracing viewpoint. Given the circumstances in Colombia, the option chosen seems the most reasonable, in that it can be advanced and hopefully resolved within the country, and the most realistic, in that it is in keeping with a “<a href="http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/juan-gabriel-tokatlian-lauds-the-progress-being-made-toward-a-peace-agreement-between-the-colombian-government-and-the-farc-rebel-group">modest peace</a>”, given the existing political and military realities.</p> <h2> <strong>The commitments made</strong></h2> <p class="western" lang="es-AR"> Some aspects of the agreement reached in Havana are particularly interesting. The government achieved several important things. Firstly, the agreement affirms the view widely held in the country by most of the authorities and a significant section of the community of national and foreign experts that there is a link between the armed conflict and illegal drugs.&nbsp;<span>Indeed, although the communiqué initially states that “the internal conflict in Colombia has a long history, dating back several decades, that pre-dates and has causes that are unconnected with the emergence of illicit crop cultivation and the production and marketing of illegal drugs within the country”, later on it says that “the cultivation, production and marketing of illegal drugs have also permeated, fuelled and financed the internal conflict”. The first statement probably satisfies the FARC and the second endorses the official position.</span></p> <p class="western" lang="es-AR"> Secondly, no criticism has been made of the role (tolerance, collusion, profiteering) played by the establishment in the evolution of the drug problem or by other actors, either internally (paramilitaries, the security forces) or externally (the US), that have been linked with the issue. The FARC has avoided resorting to rhetorical diatribes and the government has paid no symbolic price, either domestically or externally, for a lengthy and futile “war on drugs”. </p> <p class="western" lang="es-AR"> Thirdly, the executive (especially under the government of President Juan Manuel Santos) has received backing for policies that are already being implemented as part of a less-punitive approach. For example, the parties reportedly agreed&nbsp;</p><p class="western" lang="es-AR"><span class="blockquote-new">that the National Government will lobby for an international conference to be held under the auspices of the United Nations to reflect on and make an objective evaluation of the policy for combating drugs and move forward in building consensus around any adjustments that need to be made.</span></p> <p class="western"><span>In fact, and thanks in part to the steps taken by the Santos government, it has already been agreed that a special session on drugs will be held in 2016 under the auspices of the United Nations.</span></p> <p class="western" lang="es-AR"> Fourthly, the executive has obtained a commitment from the FARC that the latter will abandon its ties with the drug phenomenon. The wording used was that “in an end-of-conflict scenario” the guerrillas are prepared to “end any relationship which, in the context of the rebellion, may have arisen in connection with this phenomenon”. This has meant a noteworthy victory for the government. </p> <p class="western" lang="es-AR"> For its part, the FARC has also achieved certain goals. Firstly, for years it has demanded the provision of genuine services and social development at the rural and urban levels to tackle the drug issue. To do this it was agreed that a new national plan to eradicate illicit crops, together with a comprehensive plan concerning drug use, would be implemented. </p><p class="western" lang="es-AR">Secondly, emphasis has been placed on strategies affecting some interests of the economic and political sectors that have been associated with or benefited from the growth of the drug trade. Thus greater action is to be taken against assets generated by drug trafficking and the laundering of narcotic-related proceeds, together with more direct efforts to combat the corruption associated with the drug business. </p> <p class="western" lang="es-AR"> Lastly, there are two points that both the government and the FARC see as successes. Firstly, for both the matter of territory was and is crucial: in the case of the former, so that it can regain sovereignty (once peace has been won) and in the case of the latter, so that it can maintain its influence (once it has become a legal political force). Secondly, the vast majority of what has been agreed in the negotiations under this agenda item – in an agenda that covers five issues – does not need to go through Congress.&nbsp;This means that it will rely on measures drawn up and implemented by the executive.</p> <h2> Is there hope?</h2> <p class="western" lang="es-AR"> In short, after decades of a failed “war on drugs” in Colombia, the agreement seems to show that the best way to approach the drug question is to restore the legitimacy of institutions, increase the state’s capacity to combat crime, move in the direction of protecting the most vulnerable, design effective rather than sensational strategies to deal with those who benefit most from the drug trade, and implement comprehensive public policies that are focused on people’s well-being.&nbsp;</p><hr /><p><em>This report was <a href="http://peacebuilding.no/Regions/Latin-America-and-the-Caribbean/Colombia/Publications/Drugs-and-the-peace-process-in-Colombia-a-moderate-radical-step/%28language%29/eng-US">originally published</a> by the Norweigian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (NOREF).&nbsp;</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/opensecurity/washington-office-on-latin-america/towards-lasting-peace-reforming-drug-policy-in-colom">Towards a lasting peace: reforming drug policy in Colombia</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/opensecurity/darynell-rodriguez-torres/colombias-peace-process-three-challenges">Colombia&#039;s peace process: three challenges</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/opensecurity/ivan-briscoe-timo-peeters/back-to-basics-for-colombias-rebels">Back to basics for Colombia&#039;s rebels</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/opensecurity/daniel-kovalik/deadly-wages-of-%E2%80%9Cfree-trade%E2%80%9D">The deadly wages of “free trade”</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/QuietRevolution">A quiet revolution: drug decriminalisation policies in practice across the globe</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Colombia </div> </div> </div> openSecurity openSecurity Colombia Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Conflict in Context: Colombia Security in Latin America and Caribbean Peacebuilding Wed, 02 Jul 2014 09:21:01 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 84171 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Washington and Caracas: hegemony vs maturity https://www.opendemocracy.net/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/washington-and-caracas-hegemony-vs-maturity <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Venezuela's presidential election presents the United States with a historic choice, says Juan Gabriel Tokatlian.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>A wise comment made by Sandra Day O’Connor, who retired from the United States supreme court in 2006, has a certain relevance to Washington's dilemma over its <a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2013/05/201351923939523706.html">attitude</a> to Nicolás Maduro, the new president of Venezuela. The former judge, speaking to the editorial board of the<em> Chicago Tribune</em>, had been asked about the court's role in the notorious controversy in 2000 when the result of the presidential election <a href="http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/00-949.ZPC.html">depended</a> on the result in Florida. </p><p><a href="http://www.oyez.org/justices/sandra_day_oconnor">O'Connor</a> recalled that the court "took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue…Maybe the court should have said, ‘We’re not going to take it, goodbye.’” She went on: “Obviously the court did reach a decision and thought it had to reach a decision..it turned out the election authorities in Florida hadn’t done a real good job there and kind of messed it up. And probably the supreme court added to the problem at the end of the day” (see "<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-04-27/news/ct-met-sandra-day-oconnor-edit-board-20130427_1_o-connor-bush-v-high-court">O'Connor question's court's decision to take on Bush v. Gore</a>", <em>Chicago Tribune</em>, 27 April 2013).&nbsp; </p><p>Now, Washington - this time in the form of the Barack Obama administration - is being called on to take a stance on another close presidential election, the one in Venezuela held on 14 April, six weeks after the <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-21679053">death</a> of Hugo Chávez on 5 March. In the vote, Chávez's nominated successor <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-20664349">Nicolás Maduro</a> defeated the opposition candidate Henrique Capriles by a <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-22391980">tight</a> margin of 1.6%. This contested result in an extremely polarised country faces the United States with an important choice: is it willing to <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2013/0517/Venezuela-s-Maduro-still-waiting-on-Washington-s-recognition">recognise</a> the legitimacy of the result (and thus join all Latin America), or is it still inclined to fuel Venezuela's volatility and instability? </p><p>The answer is poised. Washington may follow its cold-war pattern and choose among&nbsp; some combination of hardline containment, political rollback, and attempted regime change. But all these options would be bad - for Venezuelans, for Latin Americans, and even for the US's long-term interests in both Venezuela and the region. </p><p>Washington has a number of other potential initiatives at its disposal. It could engage in some kind of symbolic sanction in response to the absence of an <a href="http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/18/world/americas/venezuela-elections">overall</a> vote recount. It could adopt a policy of soft pressure and growing encirclement of Venezuela, while waiting for an extended and uncontrolled crisis. Or it could call openly for a sort of “Venezuelan spring” to be led by Capriles.</p><p>None of these three options is realistic, however. Each would exacerbate the country's internal turmoil, perhaps even provoking a civil war in Venezuela with likely spillover effects in Latin America. The <em>chavista</em> side would depict the domestic opposition to Maduro even more strongly as puppets of Washington; and this would make even harder the creation of a legitimate challenge to Venezuela's <a href="http://www.dw.de/hugo-chavez-a-21st-century-socialist/a-16502149">so-called</a> "21st century socialist revolution". </p><p><strong>A sound strategy</strong></p><p>The only reasonable policy for all the parties involved - in <a href="http://go.hrw.com/atlas/norm_htm/venezula.htm">Venezuela</a>, in the region and the United States - is to develop a US-Latin American collaborative strategy oriented towards a peaceful transition in Venezuela. This should be designed to aid and not assail the country. It may involve the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Cuba, Brazil, and Argentina. All have key interests in Venezuela, albeit with different intensity and scope; but these could be managed positively, for neither Washington nor Latin America needs a source of disorder, polarisation, and fragmentation in the Americas. A sound strategy of this kind can be implemented if <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-protest/fox_chavez_3070.jsp">dogmatism</a> and parochialism are sidelined. </p><p>The key to a successful political <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/fabian-bosoer-federico-finchelstein/venezuela-legacy-of-populist-revolution">evolution</a> in Venezuela is to avoid extremism; stimulate bargaining among different, key domestic actors; help achieve effective and verifiable compromises; contribute to democratic strengthening; and avoid calls on the military to “do something”. Much of this can be embodied in a mixture of incentives and restraints, planned over a lengthy period of time. </p><p>To a large extent this reasonable strategy depends on Washington and the <a href="http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/130513/maduro-thinks-that-obama-makes-a-serious-mistake">recognition</a> that real consultation with Latin America is not only feasible but also urgently necessary. </p><p>Over six decades ago, on 29 March 1950, <a href="http://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/short-history/kennan">George F Kennan</a> - then counselor of the US secretary of of state, <a href="http://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/people/acheson-dean-gooderham">Dean Acheson</a> - sent a long memorandum to his boss. Near the end of the document, Kennan <a href="http://www.us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9781594203121,00.html">asserted</a>: "It is important for us to keep before ourselves and the Latin American peoples at all times the reality of the thesis that we are a great power; that we are by and large much less in need of them than they are in need of us; that we are entirely prepared to leave to themselves those who evince no particular desire for the form of collaboration that we have to offer, that the danger of a failure to exhaust the possibilities of our mutual relationship is always greater to them than to us; that we can afford to wait, patiently and good naturedly; and that we are more concerned to be respected than to be liked or understood". </p><p>This type of argument and approach was congruent with the US's actual hegemony with regard to the region at the <a href="http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674064270">beginning</a> of the cold war. Its underlying logic as a mode of thinking (and acting) is today obsolete. Inter-American relations now demand a fresh course. How Washington handles President Maduro's election will reveal either a newfound maturity or the persistence of hegemonic presumption <em>vis-</em><em>á-vis</em> Latin America. </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Rory Carroll, <span class="st"><a href="http://www.canongate.tv/comandante.html"><em>Comandante: Inside Hugo Chávez's Venezuela</em></a> (Canongate, 2013)</span></p><p>Richard Gott, <a href="http://www.versobooks.com/books/ghij/g-titles/gott_hugo_chavez.shtml"><em>Hugo Chàvez and the Bolivarian Revolution</em></a> (Verso, 2006)<img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.co.uk/e/ir?t=opendemocracy-21&amp;l=as2&amp;o=2&amp;a=0141184337" alt="" border="0" height="1" width="1" /></p><p><a href="http://caracaschronicles.com/beginners-guide-to-the-chavez-era/"><em>Caracas Chronicles</em></a></p><p>Nikolas Kozloff, <a href="http://www.palgrave-usa.com/catalog/product.aspx?isbn=1403973156"><em>Hugo Chàvez: </em></a><span><a href="http://www.palgrave-usa.com/catalog/product.aspx?isbn=1403973156"><em>Oil, Politics, and the Challenge to the U.S</em>.</a> (Palgrave, 2007)</span></p><p> <a href="http://www.embavenez-us.org/index.php?pagina=pag_embassy.php&amp;titulo=Embassy">Venezuelan embassy in US</a></p><p>Greg Grandin, <em><a href="http://us.macmillan.com/empiresworkshop">Empire's Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the rise of the New Imperialism</a></em> (Metropolitian Books, 2006)</p> <p>Joseph Smith, <a href="http://www.scarecrowpress.com/Catalog/SingleBook.shtml?command=Search&amp;db=%5EDB/CATALOG.db&amp;eqSKUdata=0810855291"><em>Historical Dictionary of United States-Latin American Relations</em></a> (Scarecrow Press, 2006)</p> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/www.thedialogue.org/">Inter-American Dialogue</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/www.brookings.edu/">Brookings Institution</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/www.cfr.org/">Council on Foreign Relations</a></p> <p><a href="http://coa.counciloftheamericas.org/">Council of the Americas</a></p><p> <a href="http://www.iamericas.org/">Institute of the Americas </a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Juan Gabriel Tokatlian is director of the department of political science and international studies at the <em><a href="http://www.utdt.edu//">Universidad Torcuato Di Tella</a></em> in Buenos Aires. He was previously professor at the <em>Universidad de San Andrés</em>, also in Argentina. He earned a doctorate in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University school of advanced international studies, and lived, researched and taught in Colombia from 1981-98</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/fabian-bosoer-federico-finchelstein/venezuela-legacy-of-populist-revolution">Venezuela: legacy of populist revolution</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/obama-and-latin-america-curse-of-local">Obama and Latin America: curse of the &#039;local&#039;</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/fabian-bosoer-federico-finchelstein/hugo-chavezs-afterlife-three-scenarios">Hugo Chávez&#039;s afterlife: three scenarios</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/drug-war-new-paradigm-vs-old-paradox">The drug war: new paradigm vs old paradox </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/article/hugo-chavez-and-venezuela-a-leader-s-destiny">Hugo Chávez and Venezuela: a leader’s destiny</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/hugo-chavez-and-venezuela-questions-of-leadership">Hugo Chávez and Venezuela: questions of leadership</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/article/hugo-chavez-oil-and-venezuela">Hugo Chávez, oil, and Venezuela</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/hugo-chavez-tides-of-victory">Hugo Chávez: tides of victory </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democracy-protest/chavez_supremo_4523.jsp">Hugo Chávez: yo, el supremo</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/venezuela_a_complicated_referendum">Venezuela: a complicated referendum </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democracy-protest/venezuela_3255.jsp">Venezuela: a revolution in contraflow</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democracy-protest/bolivarian_4146.jsp">Bolivarian myths and legends</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/silke-pfeiffer/venezuela-violence-and-politics">Venezuela: violence and politics</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/barack-obamas-drug-policy-time-for-change">Barack Obama&#039;s drug policy: time for change</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Venezuela </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> Venezuela Democracy and government International politics american power & the world democracy & power latin america Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Mon, 20 May 2013 20:33:40 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 72803 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Iran's nuclear question: a wider lens https://www.opendemocracy.net/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/irans-nuclear-question-wider-lens <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The valuable experience of Latin American states on key nuclear and conflict issues needs to be heard in the dialogue over Iran, says Juan Gabriel Tokatlian.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div>The global nuclear regime is eroding too quickly. Some countries around the world seem ready to develop their own nuclear-weapons initiative in the event of a sharp deterioration in the international environment. In this context the way Iran's uranium-enrichment programme is <a href="http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/focus/iaeairan/index.shtml">managed</a> and resolved is crucial. </div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Herein lies a further problem. For the handling of Tehran’s nuclear question by the "P5+1" (the United States, Russia, China, Britain, and France) plus Germany is <a href="http://www.minnpost.com/christian-science-monitor/2012/06/iran-nuclear-talks-are-both-sides-frustrated-say-diplomats">close</a> to failure - notwithstanding the mix of rhetoric, posturing, and sanctions that surrounds it. </div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The Baghdad <a href="http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-05/25/c_123187526.htm">summit</a> between the P5 + 1 and Iran (23-24 May), and the f<a href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jzWUN6eAwW9RRgBaMiXOXDSxuYZQ?docId=CNG.faf8df20a253202de74b7bc7ee29c335.e1">orthcoming</a> round of talks in Moscow (on 18-19 June) are examples of diplomatic bankruptcy, because such gatherings are embedded in a traditional rationale that no <a href="http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/ed20120609a1.html">longer</a> serves a useful purpose; that is, organising a "core" group and weighing the process in its favour. The reasoning is that only a few central actors know how to deal with nuclear proliferation.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>It is clear, though, that the five permanent&nbsp;<a href="http://www.un.org/sc/members.asp">members</a> of the United Nations Security Council who wield veto powers, together with an ascending Berlin, are not necessarily well-equipped to avoid nuclear development in the global periphery. After all, they have a poor record if the cases of Israel, Pakistan, India, and North Korea are taken into consideration. By contrast, several emerging countries in the global south who are bound by the <a href="http://www.un.org/disarmament/WMD/Nuclear/NPT.shtml">nuclear non-proliferation treaty</a> (NPT) have demonstrated their understanding of and commitment to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Their insight and experience should be welcomed. </div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><strong>The others' experience </strong></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In particular, a positive regional showcase deserves more attention. Latin America is witnessing a major redistribution of regional power with international implications - which is also both non-nuclear-weapons based and conflict-free. In the area there is now one <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/arthur-ituassu/brazils-new-political-identity">emerging</a> international power (Brazil), several middling powers (Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela), and a few smaller powers (Chile, Cuba, Costa Rica). All coexist with a global <a href="http://carnegieendowment.org/ieb/2012/03/08/china-s-rise-and-latin-america-global-long-term-perspective/a1g6">power-shift</a>; none is a source of international tension. There are varied dynamics in the region - of measures, ideas and institutions - but they tend to support adherence to international regimes in the <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/mariano-aguirre/iran-turkey-brazil-new-global-balance">resolution</a> of conflicts and non-proliferation.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Within that overall framework, Latin America has benefited from a central <a href="http://www.gmu.edu/programs/icar/ijps/vol3_2/Brigagao.htm">stabilising</a> attribute since the mid-1980s: the end of the security tensions between Brazil and Argentina. The pacifying effect of this bilateral achievement - which took place under the impulse of democracy, interdependence, and integration - was reinforced by the establishment in 1991 of the <em>Agencia Brasileño-Argentina de Contabilidad y Control de Materiales Nucleares</em> (<a href="http://www.abacc.org.br/">Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials</a> / Abacc). </div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>This <a href="http://www.abacc.org.br/?page_id=99&amp;lang=en">agency</a> is the only one of its type in the world. Abacc is a binational agency that verifies the peaceful use of nuclear materials, thus avoiding the potential manufacture of weapons of mass destruction. Brazil may on the way to <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/leslie-bethell/brazil-regional-power-global-power">becoming</a> a global player, but it is in part thanks to the good <a href="http://www.abacc.org.br/?page_id=146&amp;lang=en">work</a> of Abacc that it has chosen not to develop nuclear arms. </div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Argentina, for its part, is ranked at 16 on its strengths along a range of nuclear measures (trends in material production / elimination, on-site physical protection, control and accounting procedures, response capabilities, domestic nuclear materials security legislation, independent regulatory agency, and voluntary commitments) - just below the United States (13) and ahead of France (19) (the ranking is organised by the <a href="http://www.ntiindex.org/">Nuclear Materials Security Index</a> of the <a href="http://www.nti.org/">Nuclear Threat Initiative</a> [NTI]).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In short, Brasilia and Buenos Aires have where nuclear matters are concerned, they are <a href="http://www.carnegieendowment.org/2009/01/08/brazil-and-argentina-s-nuclear-cooperation/i5u">responsible</a> actors: by checking each other, by improving the civilian use of nuclear power, by rejecting proliferation, and by making Latin America a democratic zone of peace. Argentina and Brazil have contributed decisively to the <a href="http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NP-Brazil_Argentina_extend_cooperation-0102114.html">creation</a> of a robust, authoritative intermediate security order within a highly contested global security order, and by producing and supporting a set of legitimate rules, norms, and procedures. </div> <p>Their example <a href="http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=52697">deserves</a> more recognition. But it should also earn them the chance to offer a meaningful input into the current, stalemated negotiations on the Iranian nuclear question. This is <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/paul-rogers/america-israel-iran-mediation-vs-war">now</a> a war-or-peace issue, and the voice of key emerging and regional actors demands to be listened to and incorporated into the process. </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><em><a href="http://www.abacc.org.br/">Agencia Brasileño-Argentina de Contabilidad y Control de Materiales Nucleares</a></em> (Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials / Abacc)</p> <p><a href="http://www.nti.org/"><span><span>Nuclear Threat Initiative</span></span></a>&nbsp;(NTI)</p> <p><a href="http://www.ntiindex.org/"><span><span>Nuclear Materials Security Index</span></span></a></p> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.org/www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Focus/IaeaIran/index.shtml"><span><span>Iran and IAEA</span></span></a> <a id="link248" title="archive de Iran and IAEA" rel="nofollow" href="http://archive.wikiwix.com/opendemocracy/?url=http://www.opendemocracy.org/www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Focus/IaeaIran/index.shtml&amp;title=Iran%20and%20IAEA"><span><span>↑</span></span></a> </p> <p><a href="http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/">World Nuclear News</a> (WNN)</p> <p><a href="http://www.sipri.org/"><span><span>Stockholm International Peace Research Institute</span></span></a> <a id="link250" title="archive de Stockholm International Peace Research Institute" rel="nofollow" href="http://archive.wikiwix.com/opendemocracy/?url=http://www.sipri.org/&amp;title=Stockholm%20International%20Peace%20Research%20Institute"><span><span>↑</span></span></a> </p> <p><a href="http://www.gcsp.ch/e/index.htm"><span><span>Geneva Centre for Security Policy</span></span></a> <a id="link252" title="archive de Geneva Centre for Security Policy" rel="nofollow" href="http://archive.wikiwix.com/opendemocracy/?url=http://www.gcsp.ch/e/index.htm&amp;title=Geneva%20Centre%20for%20Security%20Policy"><span><span>↑</span></span></a> </p> <p><a href="http://www.thebulletin.org/"><span><span>Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists </span></span></a><a id="link254" title="archive de Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists " rel="nofollow" href="http://archive.wikiwix.com/opendemocracy/?url=http://www.thebulletin.org/&amp;title=Bulletin%20of%20the%20Atomic%20Scientists%20"><span><span>↑</span></span></a> <br /><a href="http://www.acronym.org.uk/"><span><span><br />Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy</span></span></a> <a id="link256" title="archive de Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy" rel="nofollow" href="http://archive.wikiwix.com/opendemocracy/?url=http://www.acronym.org.uk/&amp;title=Acronym%20Institute%20for%20Disarmament%20Diplomacy"><span><span>↑</span></span></a> </p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Juan Gabriel Tokatlian is a professor of international relations at the <em><a href="http://www.utdt.edu//">Universidad Torcuato Di Tella</a><a id="link3" title="archive de Universidad Torcuato Di Tella" rel="nofollow" href="http://archive.wikiwix.com/opendemocracy/?url=http://www.utdt.edu//&amp;title=Universidad%20Torcuato%20Di%20Tella">↑</a> </em>, Argentina. He was previously professor at the <em>Universidad de San Andrés</em> in the country. He earned a doctorate in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University school of advanced international studies, and lived, researched and taught in Colombia from 1981-98</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Iran </div> <div class="field-item even"> Argentina </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Brazil </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> Brazil Argentina Iran Conflict Democracy and government International politics institutions & government Globalisation middle east latin america europe Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Tue, 12 Jun 2012 21:35:30 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 66434 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The war on drugs: time to demilitarise https://www.opendemocracy.net/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/war-on-drugs-time-to-demilitarise <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The United States armed forces have played a leading role in the “war on drugs” across much of Latin America. The results are damaging and counterproductive, says Juan Gabriel Tokatlian. </div> </div> </div> <p>A notable feature of current analysis of global drug issues is a nominal stress on the need to reconsider the international anti-drug crusade.</p><p>An example is the&nbsp;report published on 2 June 2011 by the <a href="http://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org/">Global Commission on Drug Policy</a>, whose <a href="http://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org/Commission">members</a> include senior dignitaries such as <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/author/kofi-annan">Kofi Annan</a> (former United Nations secretary-general), George P Schultz (former United States secretary of state), and several former presidents, prime ministers, writers (such as <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/author/carlos-fuentes">Carlos Fuentes</a>) and activists (such as <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/author/asma-jahangir">Asma Jahangir</a>); this explicitly states that the “war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world” and that “fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed”. <br /><br />There followed a report published on 14 June by the project <a href="http://www.leap.cc/">Law Enforcement Against Prohibition</a> (Leap), made up of former and current United States officials involved in the "war on drugs" (police, judges, FBI/Drug Enforcement Agency [DEA] agents, and military officers); this argues for a shift in the terms of the US’s current drug-control strategy. Then on 23 June, several congressmen introduced a bill in Washington - the <a href="http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-2306">Ending Federal Prohibition of Marijuana Act of 2011</a> - that (<em>inter alia</em>) <a href="http://www.cisionwire.com/law-enforcement-against-prohibition/r/on-40th-anniversary-of--war-on-drugs--cops-release-report-showing-its-failure,c9134839">calls</a> for a lifting of federal legal sanctions on marijuana. <br /><br />These three indications, among many others worldwide, are encouraging (see “<a href="article/globalisation/the_global_drug_war_beyond_prohibition%20">The global drug war: beyond prohibition</a>”, 4 December 2007). But for a breakthrough in international drug policy to be possible, a further step is necessary: to broaden understanding and debate (not least in the United States) on the identity and character of those waging the “war on drugs”. In particular, the key actors outside the US (for example in Latin America) are military. The <a href="http://www.southcom.mil/appssc/index.php">US Southern Command</a> (Southcom) - in effect, the regional arm of the Pentagon, with its headquarters in Miami - occupies a central role here, and it is far more powerful than the many civilian anti-drug crusaders.<br /><br />There was during the cold-war era, in both the United States and Latin America, scant interest in understanding or even considering that role. But by the late 1980s there had begun to develop throughout the Americas a sense that the US armed-forces’ participation in the domestic drug policies of its southern neighbours was rising, and in a disturbing fashion. <br /><br />The end of the cold war was a turning-point in several respects, one of them being Washington’s desire to find new <a href="http://justf.org/">missions</a> for its armed forces in general and for Southern Command more specifically. This resulted in Southcom being assigned new <a href="http://www.southcom.mil/AppsSC/pages/counterNarco.php">aims</a> and receiving more monies. Thus did a traditionally less important command become a dominant player in what had by by the mid-1990s <a href="http://www.tni.org/report/reluctant-recruits-us-military-and-war-drugs">developed</a> into an irregular (or “asymmetrical”) mode of war. <br /><br /><strong>After the crusade</strong><br /><br />After the attacks of <a href="http://www.gpoaccess.gov/911/index.html">11 September 2001</a> there was an additional factor. The role of Southcom, already extensive, developed further: it became a more autonomous protagonist in the “war on drugs” with unprecedented resources. The new <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/05/05/2205128/drug-thugs-called-greatest-security.html">enemy</a> - an elusive “narco-terrorist” - demanded an even tougher counter-drug policy. The Pentagon was ready for that. In the 2000-11 period, almost $12 billion in anti-narcotics funds were devoted to <em>Plan Colombia</em> (for Colombia); <em>Plan Merida</em> (for México); the <a href="http://www.state.gov/p/wha/rt/cbsi/">Caribbean Basin Security Initiative</a>; and the <a href="http://www.cfr.org/narcotics-control/fact-sheet-central-america-regional-security-initiative/p22782">Central American Regional Security Initiative</a>. Of that total, approximately $9 billion were deployed by the police and the military, with the bulk of these funds being handled, supervised or used by Southcom itself.<br /><br />This excessive militarisation of counter-narcotics <a href="https://nacla.org/article/beyond-drug-war-pentagon%E2%80%99s-other-operations-latin-america">policies</a> in Latin America (which only Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay have escaped) has created severe <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/drug-war-new-paradigm-vs-old-paradox">consequences</a> - among them the unbalancing of civil-military relations, extended corruption, growing violation of human rights; with no compensating advance in the effectiveness of drug-control or tangible improvement for the US in terms of the availability, purity, and price of drugs (see "<a href="juan-gabriel-tokatlian/drug-war-new-paradigm-vs-old-paradox">The drug war: new paradigm vs old paradox</a>", 17 August 2010). <br /><br />The growth of Southcom’s <a href="http://www.southcom.mil/AppsSC/pages/about.php">influence</a> and resourcefulness in the anti-drug crusade is matched by the reduction of most US civilian agencies to the status of passive spectators of a fiasco. In the absence of a positive US-Latin American agenda or of a strong, innovative voice in Washington with respect to the inter-American system, a military command located in Florida is today the US’s most visible instrument of engagement with Latin America (see "<a href="juan-gabriel-tokatlian/obama-and-latin-america-curse-of-local">Obama and Latin America: curse of the 'local'</a>", 16 February 2010).<br /><br />Southcom is now seen, at least from Latin America, as a clear and present danger with regards to narcotics. This lamentable situation can be addressed only by serious rethinking in the north of the impact of the United States’s own “drug warriors” on the “war on drugs”.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.unodc.org/">United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC)</a></p><p><a href="http://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org/">Global Commission on Drug Policy</a></p><p><a href="http://www.leap.cc/">Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (Leap)</a></p><p><a href="http://justf.org/">Just the Facts</a></p><p>Cornelius Friesendorf, <a href="http://www.routledge.com/shopping_cart/products/product_detail.asp?sku=&amp;isbn=9780415413756&amp;pc"><em>US Foreign Policy and the War on Drugs</em></a> (Routledge, 2007)</p><p>US Southern Command (Southcom)</p><p><a href="http://www.tdpf.org.uk/">Transform - Drug Policy Foundation</a></p><p><a href="http://www.state.gov/p/wha/rt/cbsi/">Caribbean Basin Security Initiative</a></p><p><a href="http://www.cfr.org/narcotics-control/fact-sheet-central-america-regional-security-initiative/p22782">Central American Regional Security Initiative</a></p><p><a href="editorial-tags/drug-policy-forum">Drug Policy Forum</a></p><p><a href="http://www.idpc.net/">International Drug Policy Consortium</a></p><p><a href="http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/commissions/CND/index.html">United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.issdp.org/vienna2009/register.htm">International Society for the Study of Drug Policy </a></p><p><a href="http://www.tni.org/category/issues/drugs-policies">Transnational Institute - drug policies </a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Juan Gabriel Tokatlian is a professor of international relations at the <em><a href="http://www.utdt.edu//">Universidad Torcuato Di Tella</a></em>, Argentina. He was previously professor at the <em>Universidad de San Andrés</em> in the country. He earned a doctorate in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University school of advanced international studies, and lived, researched and taught in Colombia from 1981-98</p><p>Also by Juan Gabriel Tokatlian in <strong>openDemocracy</strong>:<br /><br />&nbsp;"<a href="democracy-protest/contadora_3593.jsp">Colombia needs a Contadora: a democratic proposal</a>" (30 May 2006)</p><p>"<a href="democracy-protest/partition_temptation_4140.jsp%20">The partition temptation: from Iraq to Latin America</a>" (29 November 2006) <br /><br />"<a href="democracy-protest/hopeful_triangle_4336.jsp">Latin America, China, and the United States: a hopeful triangle</a>" (9 February 2007)</p> <p>"<a href="juan-gabriel-tokatlian/www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-protest/latin_memo_4420.jsp">A Latin American’s memo to Bush</a>" (9 March 2007) <br /><br />“<a href="democracy-protest/tokatlian_longview_4429.jsp%20">After Bush: dealing with Hugo Chávez</a>” (13 March 2007) <br /><br />“<a href="article/globalisation/the_global_drug_war_beyond_prohibition%20">The global drug war: beyond prohibition</a>” (4 December 2007) <br /><br />“<a href="article/washington-and-latin-america-farewell-monroe-doctrine%20">Washington and Latin America: farewell, Monroe</a>” (7 October 2008)</p> <p>“<a href="article/cuba-colombia-venezuela-and-obama%20">Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela...and Obama”</a> (24 November 2008)</p><p>“<a href="article/barack-obamas-drug-policy-time-for-change%20">Barack Obama's drug policy: time for change</a>” (15 April 2009) <br /><br />“<a href="article/armenia/armenia-and-turkey-forgetting-genocide%20">Armenia and Turkey: forgetting genocide</a>” (12 October 2009)</p><p>"<a href="juan-gabriel-tokatlian/obama-and-latin-america-curse-of-local">Obama and Latin America: curse of the 'local'</a>" (16 February 2010)</p><p>"<a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/drug-war-new-paradigm-vs-old-paradox">The drug war: new paradigm vs old paradox</a>" (17 August 2010)</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Colombia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> openSecurity Colombia Democracy and government International politics democracy & power conflicts latin america Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Security in Latin America and Caribbean Wed, 10 Aug 2011 15:09:54 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 60824 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The drug war: new paradigm vs old paradox https://www.opendemocracy.net/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/drug-war-new-paradigm-vs-old-paradox <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The appointment of a new head of the lead United Nations anti-drugs agency is a precious opportunity to abandon a failed policy, says Juan Gabriel Tokatlian. </div> </div> </div> <p>The United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon declared on 9 July 2010 that the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (<a href="http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/about-unodc/index.html?ref=menutop">UNODC</a>) would have a new executive director: Yuri Fedotov, a citizen of the Russian Federation. Fedotov's <a href="http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2010/sga1251.doc.htm">appointment</a> means the departure of <a href="http://www.un.org/sg/senstaff_details.asp?smgID=8">Antonio Maria Costa</a> (of Italy), who has held the position since 2002 and whose record - at a critical time in the development of the issues under his remit - has been particularly poor. Indeed, the balance of his moderately conservative tenure has only confirmed the mistakes, shortcomings and contradictions of the current prohibitionist regime.</p><p>Yuri Fedotov <a href="http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2010/July/secretary-general-appoints-yuri-fedotov-of-russian-federation-executive-director-of-unodc.html?ref=fs3">arrives</a> with a mix of attributes: a professional diplomat with solid expertise on key UN matters, who may lack a specialist background on narcotics but comes from a country highly affected (from inside and outside) by the complex interconnection between drugs, <a href="http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/organized-crime/index.html?ref=menuside">organised crime</a>, and terror.&nbsp; He <a href="http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2010/jul/09/unodc_russians_are_coming">faces</a> a major choice: to become the thoughtful catalyst of a progressive paradigm-shift, or to perpetuate the fruitless paradox that a “war on drugs”&nbsp; which has proved ineffectual across four decades can somehow, some day, be made to work.</p><p><strong>The ingredients of change</strong></p><p>The potential paradigm that is waiting for Yuri Fedotov to embrace rests on three core ideas.</p><p>The first is the failure of the current global counter-narcotics strategy. This&nbsp; relies on an international anti-drugs regime that <a href="http://transform-drugs.blogspot.com/2010/08/on-domestic-and-international-front.html">lacks</a> legitimacy, credibility and symmetry.&nbsp;The reinforcement of this regime, backed by the main United Nations <a href="http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/index.html">conventions</a> on drugs, can lead only to its greater&nbsp; discredit and contempt at the level of interstate relations and among non-state actors.&nbsp;In particular, the impossible search for&nbsp; a unified, homogenised approach to drugs that ignores cultural and contextual differences among countries and citizens provokes more alienation.</p><p>The way <a href="http://www.tdpf.org.uk/blueprint%20download.htm">beyond</a> this situation is to validate a new set of principles.&nbsp;One of them, for example, could be that the measures that stem from one international regime - in this case, illicit drugs - must not collide with others, such as human rights, the environment, or small arms. This is not to suggest that drug-users are responsible for negative outcomes in these areas; it is rather about urging states to be consistent use in their discourses and practices across the board, and avoid anti-narcotics policies that increase human-rights violations, environmental degradation and the proliferation of weapons.</p><p>The second idea is that the structural problems that have allowed the drug trade to flourish have not been overcome, either in developed countries or peripheral ones.&nbsp;A new <a href="http://www.idpc.net/publications/idpc-drug-policy-guide-version-1">approach</a> must begin by recognising that a better anti-drug strategy needs to be linked to good public policy on justice, equity, <a href="http://www.harm-reduction.org/news/1850-the-international-community-expressed-concern-to-the-un-secretary-general-regarding-appointment-of-yuri-fedotov-as-the-head-of-the-un-office-on-drugs-and-crime.html">health</a>, human rights, education and employment.&nbsp;The issue of drugs is just a symptom of something more deep and complex that involves, without exception, the international system.&nbsp;To see narcotics in their proper proportions and real meaning is a fundamental step in rethinking the failed "war on drugs" (see "<a href="../../article/globalisation/the_global_drug_war_beyond_prohibition%20">The global drug war: beyond prohibition</a>”, 4 December 2007).</p><p>The third idea is that it might be time to try a modulated <a href="http://transform-drugs.blogspot.com/2010/08/consider-drug-regulation-says-ex.html">regulatory</a> scheme.&nbsp;This implies the establishment of a specific type of drug-regulation according to the damage caused in each case.&nbsp;The universe of illegal psychoactive substances should be disaggregated, because not all drugs are identical in nature and effect.&nbsp;It is also crucial to identify regulatory mechanisms of various kinds throughout the production chain, from demand to supply; to operate on a single link without considering all stages creates a dysfunctional situation that benefits only transnational organised crime.</p><p>The first international treaty on drugs, the <a href="http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/the-1912-hague-international-opium-convention.html">International Opium Convention</a> was agreed in The Hague on 23 January 1912. A century on, Yuri Fedotov has the chance to reorient the current international drug-regime. Prohibition has not worked and will not work. Instead of waiting for a miraculous paradox - that through more coercion, the demand for drugs will one day vanish - it is a moment to encourage a realistic and transformational paradigm.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.unodc.org/">United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC)</a></p><p>Cornelius Friesendorf, <a href="http://www.routledge.com/shopping_cart/products/product_detail.asp?sku=&amp;isbn=9780415413756&amp;pc"><em>US Foreign Policy and the War on Drugs</em></a> (Routledge, 2007)</p><p><a href="http://www.tdpf.org.uk/">Transform - Drug Policy Foundation</a></p><p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/editorial-tags/drug-policy-forum">Drug Policy Forum</a></p><p><a href="http://www.idpc.net/">International Drug Policy Consortium</a></p><p><a href="http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/commissions/CND/index.html">United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs</a>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.issdp.org/vienna2009/register.htm">International Society for the Study of Drug Policy </a></p><p><a href="http://www.tni.org/category/issues/drugs-policies">Transnational Institute - drug policies </a></p><p>Sam Quinones, "<a href="http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4684">State of War</a>" (<em>Foreign Policy</em>, March-April 2009)</p><p>Tomas Kellner &amp; Francesco Pipitone, "<a href="http://www.mitpressjournals.org/action/doSearch?action=runSearch&amp;type=advanced&amp;result=true&amp;prevSearch=%2Bauthorsfield%3A%28Pipitone,%20Francesco%29">Inside Mexico's Drug War</a>" (<em>World Policy Journal</em>, Spring-Summer 2010)</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Juan Gabriel Tokatlian is a professor at the <em><a href="http://www.utdt.edu//">Universidad Torcuato Di Tella</a></em>, Argentina. He was previously professor at the <em>Universidad de San Andrés</em> in the country. He earned a doctorate in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University school of advanced international studies, and lived, researched and taught in Colombia from 1981-98</p><p>Also by Juan Gabriel Tokatlian in <strong>openDemocracy</strong>:<br /><br />&nbsp;"<a href="../../democracy-protest/contadora_3593.jsp">Colombia needs a Contadora: a democratic proposal</a>" (30 May 2006)</p><p>"<a href="../../democracy-protest/partition_temptation_4140.jsp%20">The partition temptation: from Iraq to Latin America</a>" (29 November 2006) <br /><br />"<a href="../../democracy-protest/hopeful_triangle_4336.jsp">Latin America, China, and the United States: a hopeful triangle</a>" (9 February 2007)</p> <p>"<a href="../../juan-gabriel-tokatlian/www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-protest/latin_memo_4420.jsp">A Latin American’s memo to Bush</a>" (9 March 2007) <br /><br />“<a href="../../democracy-protest/tokatlian_longview_4429.jsp%20">After Bush: dealing with Hugo Chávez</a>” (13 March 2007) <br /><br />“<a href="../../article/globalisation/the_global_drug_war_beyond_prohibition%20">The global drug war: beyond prohibition</a>” (4 December 2007) <br /><br />“<a href="../../article/washington-and-latin-america-farewell-monroe-doctrine%20">Washington and Latin America: farewell, Monroe</a>” (7 October 2008)</p> <p>“<a href="../../article/cuba-colombia-venezuela-and-obama%20">Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela...and Obama”</a> (24 November 2008)</p><p>“<a href="../../article/barack-obamas-drug-policy-time-for-change%20">Barack Obama's drug policy: time for change</a>” (15 April 2009) <br /><br />“<a href="../../article/armenia/armenia-and-turkey-forgetting-genocide%20">Armenia and Turkey: forgetting genocide</a>” (12 October 2009)</p><p>"<a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/obama-and-latin-america-curse-of-local">Obama and Latin America: curse of the 'local'</a>" (16 February 2010)</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/article/globalisation/the_global_drug_war_beyond_prohibition">The global drug war: beyond prohibition</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/lockdown-in-vienna-the-un-s-drug-summit">Lockdown in Vienna: the UN’s drug summit </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democracy-protest/uribe_2958.jsp">Álvaro Uribe&#039;s gift: Colombia&#039;s mafia goes legit</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/barack-obamas-drug-policy-time-for-change">Barack Obama&#039;s drug policy: time for change</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democracy-protest/chemical_war_3020.jsp">Colombia&#039;s other war</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/mick-moore/drugs-towards-global-tolerance-regime">Drugs: towards a global tolerance regime</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/mexico_a_war_dispatch">Mexico: a war dispatch</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/brazil_shadow_urban_war">Brazil: the shadow of urban war</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/conflict/war_opium_3502.jsp">The new opium war</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/guinea-bissau-drug-boom-lost-hope">Guinea-Bissau: drug boom, lost hope</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> Conflict Democracy and government International politics institutions & government Globalisation Drug & Criminal Justice Policy Forum democracy & power conflicts Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Tue, 17 Aug 2010 22:55:28 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 55608 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Juan Gabriel Tokatlian https://www.opendemocracy.net/author-profile/juan-gabriel-tokatlian <div class="field field-au-term"> <div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Juan Gabriel Tokatlian </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-au-firstname"> <div class="field-label">First name(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Juan Gabriel </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-au-surname"> <div class="field-label">Surname:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tokatlian </div> </div> </div> <p><strong>Juan Gabriel Tokatlian</strong> is Full Professor and director of the department of political science and international studies at the <em><a href="http://www.utdt.edu//">Universidad Torcuato Di Tella</a></em> in Buenos Aires. He was previously professor at the <em>Universidad de San Andrés</em>, also in Argentina. He earned a doctorate in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University school of advanced international studies, and lived, researched and taught in Colombia from 1981-9</p><p><strong>Juan Gabriel Tokatlian</strong> es Profesor Plenario y director del departamento de ciencias políticas y estudios internacionales de la <a href="http://www.utdt.edu/" target="_blank">Universidad Torcuato Di Tella</a> en Buenos Aires. Previamente fue profesor en la Universidad de San Andrés, también en Argentina. Se doctoró en relaciones internacional en la John Hopkins University school of advanced international studies. Residió en Colombia entre 1981-98. </p><div class="field field-au-shortbio"> <div class="field-label">One-Line Biography:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Juan Gabriel Tokatlian is a professor of international relations at the &lt;a href=http://www.utdt.edu//&gt;&lt;em&gt;Universidad Torcuato Di Tella&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/a&gt;, Argentina. He was previously professor at the &lt;em&gt;Universidad de San Andrés&lt;/em&gt; in the country. He earned a doctorate in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University school of advanced international studies, and lived, researched and taught in Colombia from 1981-98 </div> </div> </div> Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Fri, 26 Mar 2010 13:12:23 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 51028 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Obama and Latin America: curse of the 'local' https://www.opendemocracy.net/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/obama-and-latin-america-curse-of-local <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The United States’s policies in Latin America are shaped by its domestic politics. The result is failure, discredit and loss of influence, says Juan Gabriel Tokatlian.</p><p>(This article was first published on 16 February 2010)</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>The former speaker of the House of Representatives in Washington, <a href="http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=o000098">“Tip” O’Neill,</a> captured the reality of daily political life in the United States - and everywhere else - in a phrase that justly became famous: “All politics is local”. When applied on too great a canvas, however - perhaps according to the principle “all foreign policy is domestic politics” - it is a perilous guide.&nbsp;Washington’s <a href="http://www.brookings.edu/reports/2008/1124_latin_america_partnership.aspx">approach</a> to Latin America, under Barack Obama as <a href="http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1945440,00.html">much</a> as his predecessor George W Bush, is a case in point.</p> <p>It is evident that external and internal politics are intertwined and that today most <a href="http://www.unc.edu/depts/diplomat/item/2009/0103/comm/baezalangevin_convergence.html">issues</a> are “intermestic”; that is, simultaneously international and domestic in ways that link multiple official and non-governmental actors with different power-attributes and power-interests. Yet the “over-primacy” of domestic politics is a major mistake that affects essential global <a href="http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/">aims</a>, commitments and responsibilities. President Obama’s first year at the White House has been, in terms of US-Latin America relations, a vivid example of that excessive emphasis. &nbsp;</p> <p>None of Obama’s key policies <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/the-americas-and-washington-end-of-an-era">towards</a> the region has been able to overcome the overriding influence of domestic politics. The increasing (and reasonable) concern with Mexico’s stability in light of the advance of drug-related organised crime was answered with the traditional formula: the coercive Plan Merida that satisfies only hardliners inside and outside the executive and legislative. The fifth <a href="http://www.summit-americas.org/">Summit of the Americas</a> held in April 2009 in Trinidad &amp; Tobago was a fiasco in large part because Washington was less interested in an updated dialogue on trade: protectionist appeals in Congress and among business sectors made it impossible to renew any serious debate on the <a href="http://www.as-coa.org/article.php?id=1409">economics</a> of the western hemisphere. &nbsp;</p> <p>The military <a href="http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2009/aug/128021.htm">agreement</a> of August 2009 between the United States and Colombia by which US troops can use seven <a href="http://en.mercopress.com/2009/08/08/obama-denies-the-us-plans-to-set-military-bases-in-colombia">bases</a> was openly questioned by most South American countries (in particular, Brazil). But in any case it is essentially useless from the standpoint of improving the fight against drugs: all the available factual evidence shows that the drug war in the Andes has made things <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/barack-obamas-drug-policy-time-for-change">worse</a>, and that a direct US military presence in these Colombian bases will make no difference. However, the growing voice of the military in foreign policy - especially of the <a href="http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/dod/southcom.htm">US Southern Command</a> <em>vis-à-vis</em> Latin America - has superseded any other regional consideration or objective.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>The lack of an effective normalisation of US-Cuba relations has still more to do with US politics than Havana’s <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/raul-castro-and-cuba-reading-the-changes">policies</a>. The Cuban-American, anti-Castro constituency is less vocal and significant than the ideological, cold-war-fixated conceptions of key legislators and policy-makers; the latter’s dominance blocks any innovative way of addressing the potentially extensive and positive agenda between Washington and Havana.</p> <p>The ambiguity - to say the least - of the US <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-01-27/lobo-set-for-presidency-as-u-s-latin-america-split-update1-.html">position</a> towards the military <em>coup d'état </em>in <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/honduras-behind-the-crisis">Honduras</a> in June 2009 cannot be explained in terms of the promotion of democratic values in the region or the containment of a (non-existent) communist threat. Its main rationale was domestic: to facilitate the confirmation of the assistant secretary of state, Arturo Valenzuela, whose nomination had been <a href="http://en.mercopress.com/2009/11/07/honduras-crisis-deal-confirms-valenzuela-nomination-to-the-state-department">blocked</a> by the Republican senator, Jim DeMint. The fact that Washington was, by default, instrumental in the first successful military <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/honduras-time-to-choose">coup</a> in the Americas in the 21st century will be remembered for a long time in Latin America.</p> <p>In a similar vein, the decision in January 2010 temporarily to halt airlifts of Haitian <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/tone-faret-mariano-aguirre/haiti-politics-of-recovery">earthquake</a> victims because of alleged disputes among states regarding where the injured should be taken is an example of the disproportionate weight of domestic politics, both at the national and state level.&nbsp;</p> <p>The result of this erroneous over-primacy of internal over external politics is that the United States - and not just the Barack Obama administration - is losing leverage, <a href="http://en.mercopress.com/2010/01/28/cambio-the-obama-administration-in-latin-america-a-disappointing-year-in-pe">confidence</a> and credibility throughout Latin America. The worst possible scenario is that the inter-American system as a whole exhausts its basic legitimacy. The election in March 2010 of the <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization-institutions_government/left_2698.jsp">next</a> secretary-general of the Organisation of American States will become a test-case of that legitimacy.</p> <p class="Body">&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="content"><div class="odtab-content"><p>Greg Grandin, <em><a href="http://us.macmillan.com/empiresworkshop">Empire's Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the rise of the New Imperialism</a></em> (Metropolitian Books, 2006)</p> <p>Joseph Smith, <a href="http://www.scarecrowpress.com/Catalog/SingleBook.shtml?command=Search&amp;db=%5EDB/CATALOG.db&amp;eqSKUdata=0810855291"><em>Historical Dictionary of United States-Latin American Relations</em></a> (Scarecrow Press, 2006)</p> <p><a href="../../www.thedialogue.org/">Inter-American Dialogue</a></p> <p><a href="../../www.brookings.edu/">Brookings Institution</a></p> <p><a href="../../www.cfr.org/">Council on Foreign Relations</a></p> <p><a href="http://coa.counciloftheamericas.org/">Council of the Americas</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.iamericas.org/">Institute of the Americas </a></p></div></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Juan Gabriel Tokatlian is a professor at the <a href="http://www.utdt.edu//">Universidad Torcuato Di Tella</a>, Argentina. He was previously professor at the Universidad de San Andrés in the country. He earned a doctorate in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University school of advanced international studies, and lived, researched and taught in Colombia from 1981-98<br /><br />Also by Juan Gabriel Tokatlian in <strong>openDemocracy</strong>:<br /><br />&nbsp;"<a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-protest/contadora_3593.jsp">Colombia needs a Contadora: a democratic proposal</a>" (30 May 2006)</p> <p>"<a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-protest/partition_temptation_4140.jsp%20">The partition temptation: from Iraq to Latin America</a>" (29 November 2006) <br /><br />"<a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-protest/hopeful_triangle_4336.jsp">Latin America, China, and the United States: a hopeful triangle</a>" (9 February 2007)</p> <p>"<a href="www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-protest/latin_memo_4420.jsp">A Latin American’s memo to Bush</a>" (9 March 2007) <br /><br />“<a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-protest/tokatlian_longview_4429.jsp%20">After Bush: dealing with Hugo Chávez</a>” (13 March 2007) <br /><br />“<a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/globalisation/the_global_drug_war_beyond_prohibition%20">The global drug war: beyond prohibition</a>” (4 December 2007) <br /><br />“<a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/washington-and-latin-america-farewell-monroe-doctrine%20">Washington and Latin America: farewell, Monroe</a>” (7 October 2008)</p> <p>“<a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/cuba-colombia-venezuela-and-obama%20">Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela...and Obama”</a> (24 November 2008)</p> <p>“<a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/barack-obamas-drug-policy-time-for-change%20">Barack Obama's drug policy: time for change</a>” (15 April 2009) <br /><br />“<a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/armenia/armenia-and-turkey-forgetting-genocide%20">Armenia and Turkey: forgetting genocide</a>” (12 October 2009) <br /><br /></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/kerry-brown/chimerica-obama-visits-beijing">Chimerica: Obama visits Beijing</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/fawaz-gerges/america-and-israel-palestine-dangerous-disarray">America and Israel-Palestine: dangerous disarray </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/article/what-obama-must-say-and-do-in-egypt">What Obama must say (and do) in Egypt</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/opendemocracy-general/ali-reza-eshraghi/iran-and-america-obama-and-%E2%80%9Cvelvet-coup%E2%80%9D">Iran and America: Obama and the &quot;velvet coup&quot;</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/article/barack-obama-and-the-middle-east-pragmatism-vs-hope">Barack Obama&#039;s middle east: pragmatism and hope </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/barack-obama-israels-true-friend">Barack Obama: Israel&#039;s true friend</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/article/memo-to-obama-the-middle-east-needs-you">Memo to Obama: the middle east needs you</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/barack-obama-s-triple-test">Barack Obama’s triple test</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/article/barack-obama-hope-fear-and-advice">Barack Obama: hope, fear... advice</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/godfrey-hodgson/barack-obama-imperial-president-post-american-world">Barack Obama: imperial president, post-American world </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/article/united-states/barack-obama-s-poisoned-shirt">Barack Obama’s poisoned shirt</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/the-failure-of-force-an-alternative-option">The failure of force: an alternative option</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/article/what-obama-means-for-iraq">What Obama means for Iraq</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/khaled-hroub/barack-obama-muslims-and-islamism">Barack Obama, Muslims and Islamism</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Colombia </div> <div class="field-item even"> United States </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> United States Colombia Democracy and government International politics american power & the world democracy & power latin america Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Thu, 18 Feb 2010 13:35:22 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 50333 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Armenia and Turkey: forgetting genocide https://www.opendemocracy.net/article/armenia/armenia-and-turkey-forgetting-genocide <p> It is difficult to explain under what circumstances a group of individuals decides to forget the greatest tragedy experienced by the community of which it forms part. For this reason, the decision of the Armenian government to disregard the genocide that the Armenian people suffered at the <a href="http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/HistoryWorld/European/OtherEuropeanNations/?view=usa&amp;ci=9780199273560">hands</a> of the Ottoman Turks in 1915-23 is a shocking phenomenon worthy of special attention. What then accounts for the approach of the current <a href="http://www.gov.am/en/">government</a> in Yerevan? </p> <p> <span class="pullquote_new">Also in <strong>openDemocracy</strong> on Armenia, Turkey and genocide: <br /> <br /> Sabine Freizer, &quot;<a href="/democracy-caucasus/armenia_3075.jsp">Armenia&#39;s emptying democracy</a>&quot; (30 November 2005) <br /> <br /> Hrant Dink, &quot;<a href="/democracy-turkey/europe_turkey_armenia_3118.jsp">The water finds its crack: an Armenian in Turkey</a>&quot; (13 December 2005) <br /> <br /> Vicken Cheterian, &quot;<a href="/democracy-turkey/dink_dialogue_4273.jsp">The pigeon sacrificed: Hrant Dink, and a broken dialogue</a>&quot;(23 January 2007) <br /> <br /> Peter Balakian, &quot;<a href="/democracy-turkey/dink_assassination_4291.jsp">Hrant Dink&#39;s assassination and genocide&#39;s legacy</a>&quot; (29 January 2007) <br /> <br /> Taner Akçam,<em> &quot;</em><a href="/article/turkey_and_history_shoot_the_messenger">Turkey and history: shoot the messenger</a>&quot; (16 August 2007) <br /> <br /> Ben Kiernan, &quot;<a href="/article/globalisation/visions_reflections/global_history_genocide">Blood and soil: the global history of genocide</a>&quot; (11 October 2007) <br /> <br /> Fred Halliday, &quot;<a href="/article/armenia-s-mixed-messages">Armenia&#39;s mixed messages</a>&quot; (15 October 2008) <br /> <br /> Martin Shaw, &quot;<a href="/article/the-uses-of-genocide-kenya-georgia-israel-sri-lanka">Uses of genocide: Kenya, Georgia, Israel, Sri Lanka</a>&quot; (9 February 2009) <br /> <br /> Martin Shaw, &quot;<a href="/article/a-century-of-genocide-1915-2009">A century of genocide, 1915-2009</a>&quot; (23 April 2009)</span> </p> <p> Armenia and Turkey, after two years of negotiations mediated by Switzerland, have agreed upon two protocols that were <a href="http://www.rferl.org/content/Turkey_Armenia_To_Sign_Landmark_Agreement_To_Normalize_Ties/1848293.html">signed</a> on 10 October 2009. They concern, respectively, the establishment of diplomatic relations and the fostering of bilateral relations.  </p> <p> The first presents several <a href="http://news.am/en/news/armenia/6354.html">problems</a>, which are likely in time to be resolved so that the protocol eventually can be implemented. Undoubtedly, and sooner rather than later, Armenia and Turkey will normalise their ties (as has frequently occurred in so many other cases in the diplomatic history of nations, including former enemies). However, a period devoted to the generation of mutual trust and reciprocal commitments might have generated a framework free from suspicion and fears, oriented <a href="http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2009/1012/1224256434866.html">towards</a> a more solid opening of bilateral links. </p> <p> The second protocol is incomprehensible and inadmissible, for it proposes the creation of a sub-committee to examine the &quot;historical dimension&quot; of the relationship between Turks and Armenians. The only &quot;historical dimension&quot; that can be examined is a fact that is irrefutable for everyone alike: the genocide. This protocol, therefore, aims at &quot;examining&quot; the occurrence of the genocide. The accompanying proposal constitutes the greatest historical setback to the <a href="http://www.armenian-genocide.org/">Armenian cause</a>; but neither is it useful for new generations of Turks, who need to build their present and future on the <a href="/article/turkey_and_history_shoot_the_messenger">basis</a> of the truth of their history. </p> <p> A great number of <a href="http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781400096770">testimonies</a> of many individuals, Armenian and non-Armenian, provide eloquent evidence of the <a href="http://www.gendercide.org/case_armenia.html">events</a> of 1915 and after; many images of the events survive, and have been circulated all over the world. The official documents and reports of the time contain copious accounts of what happened, the character and <a href="http://www.armenian-genocide.org/map-full.html">dimensions</a> of an epic atrocity. The Armenian genocide is a fact, not a debate.  </p> <p> <strong>Between history and politics</strong> </p> <p> The history of subterfuge and denial in the recognition of the genocide includes the fate of a report submitted to the United Nations sub-committee on human rights in 1973 and 1975 by a Rwandan, Nicod<em>è</em>me Ruhashyankiko; this pointed out &quot;the existence of abundant impartial documentation related to the massacre of the Armenian people, considered to be the first genocide of the 20th century&quot;. When the report reached the UN committee on human rights in 1979, the paragraph had disappeared. In 1985, another <a href="http://www.preventgenocide.org/prevent/UNdocs/whitaker/">report</a> produced by the British researcher Benjamin Whitaker restored the explicit recognition of the genocide experienced by the Armenians.  </p> <p> In the 1990s, an important number of individual nations recognised the Armenian genocide via legislative laws or executive resolutions. The nascent Republic of Armenia, which attained its independence in 1991, had little to do with this; it was the diaspora that, after decades of efforts, succeeded in reaffirming the cause of the genocide. The diaspora was always ahead of the state in this matter. For the Armenian people, the issue of the genocide has always been a social rather than a state matter. However, it was always clear that its defence was also a guarantee of the survival of the Armenian state.  </p> <p> In this context, the second Armenian-Turkish <a href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1710e3e2-b6c6-11de-8a28-00144feab49a.html">protocol</a> is opprobrious. Turkey itself has taken no <a href="http://www.esiweb.org/rumeliobserver/2009/06/20/red-herrings-in-turkish-armenian-debate/">steps</a> towards acknowledging the genocide, yet the government of Armenia itself calls it into question. This raises a number of questions: about the role of Armenia&#39;s government and its internal balance, the attitude of Armenian citizens towards the <a href="http://www.rferl.org/content/At_Home_And_Abroad_Turkey_Deal_A_Tough_Sell_For_Armenian_President/1846073.html">issue</a> of the genocide, the extent of a desire in Yerevan to <a href="http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=6053">heal</a> wounds, the absence of a sense of contrition or responsibility in Turkey, the effect of the economic crisis in Armenia on political calculation, and the replacement of the <em>moralpolitik</em> of the fight against genocide by the <em>realpolitik</em> of the oblivion of genocide. </p> <p> Perhaps a combination of the latter two motives might explain the position of the Armenian government. This would interpret the move in terms of the short-term and material benefits of certain domestic sectors in Armenia, whose position is reinforced by an exaggerated perception of national weakness. If this is the case, it requires a response: a coalition of the <a href="http://www.rferl.org/content/Armenian_President_Takes_Turkey_Deal_To_Diaspora/1844698.html">diaspora</a>, civic actors in Armenia and influential world opinion in defence of memory and against the pragmatic silencing of horror.  </p> <p> The Armenian genocide was one of the first and cruellest genocides of the <a href="/article/a-century-of-genocide-1915-2009">20th century</a>. Its disdain may be the prelude to widespread impunity. The solitude of the victims - past and present - is the prologue to more barbarism. </p> <p> &#160; </p> <table border="0" cellspacing="5" cellpadding="5" width="500" height="200" bgcolor="#e3f2f9"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p> Juan Gabriel Tokatlian is at the <em>Universidad de San Andrés</em> in Argentina. He earned a doctorate in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University school of advanced international studies </p> <p> Also by Juan Gabriel Tokatlian in <strong>openDemocracy</strong>: </p> <p> &quot;<a href="/democracy-protest/contadora_3593.jsp" target="_blank">Colombia needs a Contadora: a democratic proposal</a>&quot; (30 May 2006) </p> <p> &quot;<a href="/democracy-protest/partition_temptation_4140.jsp" target="_blank">The partition temptation: from Iraq to Latin America</a>&quot; (29 November 2006) </p> <p> &quot;<a href="/democracy-protest/hopeful_triangle_4336.jsp" target="_blank">Latin America, China, and the United States: a hopeful triangle</a> &quot; (9 February 2007 </p> <p> &quot;<a href="/node/4420" target="_blank">A Latin American&#39;s memo to Bush</a>&quot; (9 March 2007) </p> <p> &quot;<a href="/democracy-protest/tokatlian_longview_4429.jsp" target="_blank">After Bush: dealing with Hugo Chávez</a>&quot; (13 March 2007) </p> <p> &quot;<a href="/article/globalisation/the_global_drug_war_beyond_prohibition" target="_blank">The global drug war: beyond prohibition</a>&quot; (4 December 2007 </p> <p> &quot;<a href="/article/washington-and-latin-america-farewell-monroe-doctrine" target="_blank">Washington and Latin America: farewell, Monroe</a>&quot; (7 October 2008) </p> <p> &quot;<a href="/article/cuba-colombia-venezuela-and-obama">Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela...and Obama</a>&quot; (24 November 2008) </p> <p> &quot;<a href="/article/barack-obamas-drug-policy-time-for-change">Barack Obama&#39;s drug policy: time for change</a>&quot; (15 April 2009) </p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <style></style> Armenia Conflict Democracy and government International politics the future of turkey caucasus: regional fractures democracy & power conflicts europe Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Creative Commons normal email Foreign Mon, 12 Oct 2009 13:21:00 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 48786 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Barack Obama's drug policy: time for change https://www.opendemocracy.net/article/barack-obamas-drug-policy-time-for-change <p> The United States president has prepared for the fifth <a href="http://www.fifthsummitoftheamericas.org/default.aspx?id=46">Summit of the Americas</a> in Trinidad &amp; Tobago on 17-19 April 2009 by announcing a package of measures that will make easier the movement of people and remittances between the US and Cuba. This may help lift the atmosphere of his meeting with the thirty-three other leaders from across the region, among whom Cuba&#39;s is the only absentee. But if Barack Obama truly wanted to make a difference, there is one policy area that more urgently needs his focused attention and brave decision: drugs. <span class="pullquote_new">Juan Gabriel Tokatlian is at the <em>Universidad de San Andrés</em> in Argentina. He earned a doctorate in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University school of advanced international studies. He lived, researched and taught in Colombia from 1981-98<br /> <br /> Also by Juan Gabriel Tokatlian in <strong>openDemocracy</strong>:<br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/democracy-protest/contadora_3593.jsp" target="_blank">Colombia needs a Contadora: a democratic proposal</a>&quot; (30 May 2006)<br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/democracy-protest/partition_temptation_4140.jsp" target="_blank">The partition temptation: from Iraq to Latin America</a>&quot; (29 November 2006)<br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/democracy-protest/hopeful_triangle_4336.jsp" target="_blank">Latin America, China, and the United States: a hopeful triangle</a> &quot; (9 February 2007)<br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/node/4420" target="_blank">A Latin American&#39;s memo to Bush</a>&quot; (9 March 2007)<br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/democracy-protest/tokatlian_longview_4429.jsp" target="_blank">After Bush: dealing with Hugo Chávez</a>&quot; (13 March 2007)<br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/article/globalisation/the_global_drug_war_beyond_prohibition" target="_blank">The global drug war: beyond prohibition</a>&quot; (4 December 2007)<br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/article/washington-and-latin-america-farewell-monroe-doctrine" target="_blank">Washington and Latin America: farewell, Monroe</a>&quot; (7 October 2008)<br /> <br /> &quot;<a href="/article/cuba-colombia-venezuela-and-obama">Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela...and Obama</a>&quot; (24 November 2008)</span> </p> <p> The prospect at this stage is remote. It has not yet dawned on the Obama administration that its decision to wage a &quot;war on drugs&quot; in a new theatre (Mexico) is doomed to the same failure it has experienced everywhere else in the region (in particular, Colombia). It will be a melancholy end to a four-decade effort. </p> <p> In May 1971, the ill-fated Richard Nixon proclaimed the beginning of this &quot;war&quot;. Since then Washington - with wide support among the international community - has comprehensively lost the fight against narcotics inside the United States and worldwide. Between the last failure in Colombia and the <a href="http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2009/03/2009330192045168972.html">coming</a> one in Mexico, the picture is one of unrelieved retreat (see &quot;<a href="/article/globalisation/the_global_drug_war_beyond_prohibition">The global drug war: beyond prohibition</a>&quot;, 4 December 2007). </p> <p> The coercive confrontation against drugs in Colombia has, under any measurable standard - cocaine production, drug availability and purity, the level of drug-related violence, control of narcotics-linked money-laundering, new markets for consumption - been a wholesale disappointment. Plan Colombia, that heavily militarised eight-year <a href="/democracy-protest/isacson_nextplan_4425.jsp">effort</a> costing $6 billion, has proved incapable of curtailing the drug phenomenon in this part of the Americas - which extends worldwide. </p> <p> In the 2000s, Bogota has undertaken a range of actions: forcefully (using chemical agents) eradicating illicit crops over an area approximately two-and-a-half times the state of Delaware, extraditing more than 600 Colombians to the United States, dismantling the traditional big drug cartels (and some of the new, more sophisticated, cellular, less visible, and smaller &quot;boutique&quot; ones). In its own terms, the strategy hasn&#39;t worked: the drug problem hasn&#39;t been solved, either in the United States or in the immediate region. True, Plan Colombia can be regarded as modestly successful as a counterinsurgency initiative, but as a counter-drug stratagem it has been a complete fiasco. </p> <p> Yet the same rationale that underlies Plan Colombia is now present in Plan Merida, Washington&#39;s project for Mexico. The implementation of a new drug crusade in that country will almost certainly have the effect of making Mexico more of a failed state than it is already (see Sergio Aguayo Quezada, &quot;<a href="/article/mexico-a-state-of-failure">Mexico: a state of failure</a>&quot;, 17 February 2009). </p> <p> <strong>The next dialogue</strong> </p> <p> The logic of United States drug policy links domestic and international motives, which are both manifold and sometimes contradictory (see Cornelius Friesendorf, <a href="http://www.routledge.com/shopping_cart/products/product_detail.asp?sku=&amp;isbn=9780415413756&amp;pc"><em>US Foreign Policy and the War on Drugs</em></a> [Routledge, 2007]). The strategy, supply-driven and highly punitive, has invested immense efforts and <a href="/node/My%20Documents/leap.cc/dia/miron-economic-report.pdf">monies</a> to reduce the price at the stage of production; improve eradication in order to discourage peasants to cultivate illicit crops; strengthen interdiction in the processing and transit countries in order to decrease the availability and potency of drugs in the US homeland; and enhance seizures at entry-points so as to elevate the domestic price of narcotics and thus deter the entrance of additional potential consumers into the drug market, reducing crime levels as a result. </p> <p> The outcome has been the opposite of what the US expected and desired. There have been few winners and many losers in a campaign in which Washington now <a href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e673c44c-1180-11de-87b1-0000779fd2ac.html">spend</a>s $1,400 every second. US citizens have become less safe, with many more victims; while organised criminal organisations (both domestic and transnational) have become richer and more powerful. The Andean region and <a href="/node/My%20Documents/afraf.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/108/431/171">west Africa</a> are but two areas where the drug phenomenon has created enormous social, political, ecological and military difficulties (see Emmanuelle Bernard, &quot;<a href="/article/guinea-bissau-drug-boom-lost-hope">Guinea-Bissau: drug boom, lost hope</a>&quot;, 13 September 2008). The legacies of the ill-conceived &quot;war on drugs&quot;, here and elsewhere, include human-rights abuses, environmental catastrophes, imbalances in civil-military relations, institutional corruption, urban drug-lords&#39; and rural warlords&#39; accumulation of power, and law-enforcement agencies&#39; failures (see Ivan Briscoe, &quot;<a href="/article/lockdown-in-vienna-the-un-s-drug-summit">Lockdown in Vienna: the UN&#39;s drugs summit</a>&quot;, 23 March 2009). </p> <p> The Obama administration&#39;s extension of the &quot;war of drugs&quot; to Mexico will reinforce these <a href="http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4684">depredations</a> in a country closer to its borders than Colombia. If the United States - Democrats and Republicans alike - want to avoid this fate, it must participate in a new discussion about narcotics in the western hemisphere. The Summit of the Americas in <a href="http://www.trinidadandtobagonews.com/blog/?p=1067&amp;cpage=1">Trinidad &amp; Tobago</a> is an opportunity to initiate a thorough, serious dialogue on drugs and their links to organised crime and citizens&#39; insecurity in the continent. The social, economic and political realities in the Americas are already &quot;narcotised&quot;. It is time, after more than three decades of a failed &quot;war on drugs&quot;, to start a post-prohibitionist debate. It is not too late to rethink. </p> <table border="0" cellspacing="5" cellpadding="5" width="500" height="200" bgcolor="#e3f2f9"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p> Among <strong>openDemocracy&#39;s</strong> recent articles on the Americas: </p> <p> Celia Szusterman, &quot;<a href="/article/argentina-celebrating-democracy">Argentina: celebrating democracy</a>&quot; (19 December 2008) </p> <p> John Crabtree, &quot;<a href="/article/bolivia-after-the-vote">Bolivia: after the vote</a>&quot; (2 February 2009) </p> <p> Sergio Aguayo Quezada, &quot;<a href="/article/mexico-a-state-of-failure">Mexico: a state of failure</a>&quot; (17 February 2009) </p> <p> George Philip, &quot;<a href="/article/hugo-chavez-oil-and-venezuela">Hugo Chávez, oil, and Venezuela</a>&quot; (20 February 2009) </p> <p> Julia Buxton, &quot;<a href="/article/hugo-chavez-tides-of-victory">Hugo Chávez: tides of victory</a>&quot; (20 February 2009) </p> <p> Adam Isacson, &quot;<a href="/article/colombias-imperilled-democracy">Colombia&#39;s imperilled democracy</a>&quot; (6 March 2009) </p> <p> Victor Valle, &quot;<a href="/article/el-salvador-s-long-march">El Salvador&#39;s long march</a>&quot; (20 March 2009) </p> <p> Kelly Phenicie &amp; Lisa J Laplante, &quot;<a href="/article/peru-the-struggle-for-memory">Peru: the struggle for memory</a>&quot; (8 April<strong> </strong>2009) </p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> latin america openUSA Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Creative Commons normal email Wed, 15 Apr 2009 13:43:06 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 47736 at https://www.opendemocracy.net