by Valerie Rush
The narco-terrorist insurgency known as the São Paulo Forum (SPF) has very high-level sponsors inside the financial and political establishment of the Americas, in the form of a Washington-based think-tank founded in 1982 by David Rockefeller, McGeorge Bundy and others, known as the Inter-American Dialogue (IAD). A collection of prominent bankers, politicians, and diplomats from both North and South America, the IAD promotes London’s one-worldist agenda of “free-trade” looting and depopulation, to be achieved through the dismantling of the region’s military forces, drug legalization, erosion of the concept of national sovereignty, and, finally, the breakup of the nation-states of the region.
One of the ways that London has maintained hands-on policy control over the Dialogue since its founding, is through British intelligence assets in the Canadian establishment. For example, the top foreign and intelligence adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Eliot Trudeau in the 1970s, Ivan Head, was a founding member of the IAD and today sits on its executive committee. More recently, Canadian Maurice Strong, Prince Philip’s own, who ran the Eco-92 environmentalist summit in Rio de Janeiro, was added to the Dialogue’s Cuba Task Force.
The Dialogue thoroughly shaped the Ibero-American policy of the British-run Bush administration. Although it has lost significant ground under Clinton, it remains a powerful policy force in Washington, and across Ibero-America. As the IAD itself bragged in its April 1993 newsletter, it has a number of “members currently ‘on loan’ to their governments.” This includes IAD past president Richard Feinberg, currently Latin America director for Clinton’s National Security Council; Brazil’s President Fernando Henrique Cardoso; Bolivia’s President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada; Argentina’s Defense Minister Oscar Camilión.
The Inter-American Dialogue has fostered, protected, and provided direction to Castro’s São Paulo Forum since the latter was founded, using the Forum as a brutal battering ram against the structures which sustain the nation-states of the region. Mexican writer Jorge Castañeda, who functions as a liaison between the two organizations, confessed the strategy underlying the IAD’s promotion of the Forum, in his book, Utopia Disarmed: The Latin American Left after the Cold War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993).
Ibero-America is reaching the limit of where it can find resources with which to pay its debts, under current models, Castañeda wrote. States will soon run out of natural resources or utilities to sell; once “the fire sales” are over, where will the funds come from to meet debt payments? Castañeda argues, bluntly, that terrorism, however distasteful, is all that remains to force the institutions and populations of the continent to submit to the next round of looting:
“But lesser evils can function only in reference to greater ones; they require a clear and present danger to be credible. Thus, the condition for the renewed viability of reforms in Latin America—of any persuasion, but mainly in consonance with the social-democratic paradigm—lies inevitably in the threat of something worse. Since it cannot be revolution as such—the way Cuba was for nearly 20 years—it must be different, yet terrifying nonetheless. This is the syndrome of Sendero Luminoso [Peru’s narco-terrorist Shining Path]…. Without the fear inspired by the prospect of losing everything, the wealthy and middle class will prefer to lose nothing.”
Two faces, one goal
Ties between the IAD and the SPF are formal, public and extend even to shared membership and activities:
- In July 1990, the Forum was created in São Paulo, Brazil, under the cosponsorship of the Cuban Communist Party and Brazil’s Workers Party (PT). That same year, the PT’s leader Luís Inacio “Lula” da Silva was invited to join the IAD.
- In February 1992, a featured speaker at an SPF conference in Lima, Peru was Sandinista ideologue, Father Xabier Gorostiaga, S.J., a member of the IAD.
- In April 1993, the IAD sponsored a visit to Washington by three presidential candidates of São Paulo Forum parties: Brazil’s “Lula” (PT), Venezuela’s Pablo Medina (Radical Cause), and Colombia’s Antonio Navarro Wolf (M-19). The IAD meeting was designed to introduce the Forum’s leading figures to Washington policy-makers, including Clinton administration officials. It followed an April 16-17 conference at Princeton University, in New Jersey, with those three candidates, and three more SPF candidates: Mexico’s Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas (PRD), Rúben Zamora of El Salvador (FMLN), and Luis Maira of Chile (Chilean Socialist Party). They were introduced at the Princeton meeting by Jorge Castañeda. IAD President Peter Hakim and member Jorge Domínguez briefed Washington journalists in August of that year that a “genuine ease of communication” between the Forum and U.S. officialdom, had been established in the April visit.
- In June 1993, Inter-American Dialogue member Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, a millionaire mining entrepreneur and partner of the British Crown’s Rio Tinto Zinc mining company, assumed office as president of Bolivia; his vice president, “indigenist” leader Víctor Hugo Cárdenas, was (and is) an active participant in the Dialogue’s Ethnic Divisions Project. Appointed foreign minister, was Antonio Araníbar, from the Free Bolivia Movement (MBL), a member-party of the São Paulo Forum’s steering committee. Araníbar had spent the preceding year developing international relations for the Forum.
- In September 1993, Tabaré Vásquez, then mayor of Montevideo, Uruguay, for the Broad Front—a member of the São Paulo Forum steering committee—toured the United States, where he met with both the Dialogue itself, and Dialogue members Richard Feinberg (Latin America director at the NSC), and Enrique Iglesias (president of the Inter-American Development Bank). Feinberg, the Uruguayan press reported, discussed prospects for future U.S.-Uruguayan security accords with the Forum’s mayor.
- In November 1993, the Dialogue sponsored a briefing in Washington, for Mexico’s Jorge Castañaeda to present his new book, Utopia Unarmed. Castañaeda is an official adviser to the Forum’s Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas of Mexico, and advocates drug legalization. During the Brazilian presidential elections of 1994, he asserted, “The left will rule in Latin America, through the election of Lula in Brazil.”
- On Aug. 25-26, 1995, the Inter-American Dialogue joined with the Chilean government and National Democratic Institute for International Affairs to host a seminar on “the crisis of the parties.” SPF member parties represented included the Chilean Socialist Party, the Mexican Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD), Nicaraguan Sandinista Sergio Ramírez, and others. A leading speaker at the event was Uruguayan Juan Rial, co-author of the 1990 book,The Military and Democracy: the Future of Civil-Military Relations in Latin America, (Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1990) which became the Bush government’s “manual” on how to dismantle the armed forces of the continent, as per Dialogue policy prescriptions.
- José Octavio Bordón, a Dialogue member, former governor of Argentina’s Mendoza province and a former senator of the Peronist party, was 1995 presidential candidate of the Frepaso movement, an affiliate of the São Paulo Forum.
- The Dominican Republic’s José Francisco Peña Gómez, presidential candidate for a coalition of opposition forces which includes the São Paulo Forum’s United Left Movement (MIU), is a member of the IAD.
- The National Democratic Convention (CND) in Mexico, a front for the Forum’s Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), includes among its leading figures Pablo González Casanova, a member of the editorial board of the SPF’s magazine, América Libre, and IAD member Mariclaire Acosta Urquidi, a former president of British intelligence’s Amnesty International in Mexico.
A common agenda
Whether in pin-striped suits or hood and bandolier, the members of the Inter-American Dialogue and of the São Paulo Forum promote a shared agenda:
Limited sovereignty: At a Dec. 8, 1992 press conference in Washington, then-Dialogue directors Richard Feinberg and Peter Bell, of the Ford Foundation and Human Rights Watch/Americas, unveiled the results of a year-long project on “Redefining Sovereignty,” concluding that sovereignty must not be “a shield behind which governments or armed groups” can hide. They pointed to Somalia as an example of how the world community can “legitimately” abrogate national sovereignty. In that report, and other locations, the IAD argued that sovereignty must take a back seat to “collective hemispheric action,” “election monitoring,” “conflict resolution,” “supervising peace accords”, and the “defense of human rights”—whether through the auspices of the Organization of American States, the U.N., the International Red Cross, or some other supranational agency.
In its report “Convergence and Community: The Americas in 1993,” the Dialogue demands that “the nations of the hemisphere must actively promote negotiated settlements of Latin America’s remaining guerrilla conflicts,” i.e., power-sharing arrangements with the local SPF affiliates. The model for this approach is the U.N.-brokered “peace negotiations” in El Salvador, where, with Bush State Department enforcement, the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) narco-terrorists won massive political victories that they never achieved on the battlefield, while the country’s military is being dismantled.
The São Paulo Forum also embraces the concept of “limited sovereignty,” and employs similar tactics to achieve it:
- El Salvador’s FMLN imposed, as a condition for partial disarming, the creation of a foreign-run “Truth Commission,” which determined who would be purged from the military for alleged human rights violations. That commission functioned as a de facto international court, for whose decisions no national recourse was allowed.
- Argentina’s MTP, Colombia’s M-19 and FARC-ELN, and Guatemala’s URNG have all called for similar “Truth Commissions” in their countries.
- Mexico’s PRD demanded oversight of the 1994 national elections by the U.N.’s non-governmental organizations (NGO) network.
- In early July 1993, Humberto Ortega, then head of the Sandinista People’s Army, sent a proposal to the U.N. that Nicaragua host a school for training Central American troops deployed by the U.N. for regional operations.
- Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s Lavalas movement encouraged a full-scale multinational military invasion of Haiti—with enthusiastic backing from the IAD—to restore itself to power in that country.
Ethnic separatism: In February of 1993, the Dialogue set up an “Ethnic Divisions Project” under Donna Lee Van Cott, a specialist in “ethnic conflict” who sits on the World Bank advisory committee on indigenous peoples. Van Cott describes the project’s focus as follows: “In virtually every country in Latin America, indigenous cultures are challenging the legitimacy of nation-states that exercise dominion over their ancestral territory. They challenge not just the state’s disposition of their lands, languages, resources, and heritage, but the very concept of national identity and national culture.”
Indigenism and ethnic separatism are also bywords of almost every SPF member organization (see IDs on p. 00).
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs): The international support apparatus for the SPF insurgencies, is composed principally of NGOs, as we document in the following section (see p. 00). These NGOs, in turn, are coordinated and guided by the Dialogue.
The 1992 IAD report defined as one of its main goals, “To strengthen the role of the increasingly significant community of NGOs, by facilitating communication among these groups and improving their ties to governments and international organizations.” On Dec. 8, 1992, the Dialogue’s Feinberg announced that “the era of the NGO has arrived in the Western Hemisphere.” The Dialogue created an umbrella group of Washington-based NGOs that deal with Latin America, whose declared purpose was to “build stronger bridges between the NGO community and the U.S. government.” In February 1993, Peter Hakim told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that “collaboration with NGOs should become a major new ingredient in American foreign policy.” On March 2, Feinberg, newly appointed to the National Security Council, held an “off-the-record” luncheon with NGO representatives, in which he “underscored the strategic importance” he placed on coordinating policy with NGOS.
Demilitarization: The IAD argues that the nations of Ibero-America must “redefine the mission” of their armed forces, and significantly reduce their military budgets. “An effort must be undertaken to change military thinking about internal security and subversion,” through a “reform” of military education, they argue. The IAD is worried that “traditional views of the military’s role in politics still prevail,” and that in many countries, “public attitudes toward the military are not uniformly unfavorable, and the armed forces themselves are generally proud of their accomplishments.”
Dialogue founding member Robert McNamara, former U.S. secretary of defense and former World Bank president, has spearheaded this campaign. In a 1991 policy paper he called for “conditioning financial aid to developing countries on their reduction of military expenditure.”
The SPF agrees. The Final Statement of the Forum’s fourth annual conference in Havana (July 21-24, 1993), states that the armed forces “constitutes [one of] the most serious threats to the construction of political democracy in Latin America.”
In a March 1992 speech, the Sandinistas’ Tomás Borge said that “armies are only used for coups d’état and to repress people and, further, eat up a large part of our budgets. [They are] a cancer in our countries…. [There is] no reason for armies to continue to exist.”
During his April 1993 speech to the Princeton gathering, Argentine presidential candidate Pablo Medina (Radical Cause) said that “without a defined role in the international arena, and with the internal conditions of the economy aggravated by their high cost of maintenance, the militaries have become a serious problem for democracies.”
Brazil’s “Lula” told a May 1994 press conference in Washington: “I think we already have too many armed forces in the world. We have to diminish the military apparatus.”
Drug legalization: In its April 1986 annual report, the IAD argued that the war on drugs was an abject failure and that, “because narcotics is such a formidable problem, the widest range of alternatives must be examined, including selective legalization.” A later IAD report states: “To curtail drug production is to destroy the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people, to cripple local economies, and to foment political opposition. Moreover, although only a small fraction of drug profits return to producing countries in Latin America, the amounts are substantial for strapped economies carrying large burdens of external debt” (emphasis added).
In February 1993 testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on U.S. Policy after the Cold War, Dialogue President Peter Hakim declared, “Given the scarcity of foreign aid resources, funding for drug initiatives in Latin America should either be sharply curtailed or more effectively directed to helping Latin American governments to deal with their drug problems—not ours.”
At an August 1995 continental meeting in Argentina, sponsored by the Forum’sAmérica Libre magazine, Evo Morales, the head of the CAPHC (see p. 00), denounced the 1961 U.N. decision to declare the production of coca leaves illegal, and argued that those fighting the drug trade “have a Hitlerian mentality.” He said that “to defend coca is to defend the dignity of national sovereignty.”
In September of 1995, Forum luminary Rigoberta Menchú of Guatemala called on Morales’s movement to prepare a document for submission to the U.N., which would prove that the coca leaf is “a natural and cultural resource of the Andean peoples” and to demand “urgent U.N. action” to defend its cultivation and consumption.
Economic policy: The Dialogue is a key proponent of George Bush’s North American Free Trade Agreement, as well as of an expanded Western Hemisphere version of NAFTA. The IAD’s 1993 report states that such free-trade pacts, “once bound by international agreement, are insulated—at least to some degree—from domestic political reversal. For some, the ‘locking in’ of economic policies might be considered a cost, not a benefit, because it restricts national sovereignty and may constrain national response to special problems. But the intent of all international agreements is precisely to limit the sovereign choice of the contracting nations in order to obtain mutually agreed upon benefits.”
The Dialogue is confident that the SPF, despite its rhetoric about “fighting neo-liberalism,” shares this approach. In August of 1993, the Dialogue’s Peter Hakim said of the Forum’s presidential candidates, “They really can’t pursue populist policies once they are in office.”
In fact, SPF leaders have repeatedly embraced the International Monetary Fund (IMF) system and its free-trade doctrine, and implemented these policies vigorously when they accede to power. Fidel Castro argued in 1985 for saving the IMF as an institution, and for paying the region’s foreign debt with money taken from the U.S. defense budget. Haiti’s Jean-Bertrand Aristide campaigned against the IMF in the 1990 elections, and within months after being sworn in as President in February 1991, signed an austerity pact with the IMF. Subsequently, Aristide outlined a World Bank-approved economic plan for privatization, tax reform, cutting the fiscal deficit and promoting exports, which the Washington Post accurately described as identical to Milton Friedman’s policies.
Mexico’s Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas favors NAFTA, and told the Argentine dailyClarín on April 17, 1995, that “open economies aren’t necessarily bad … the trade opening is a tool that can be used for good or bad; the same with privatization, which can be bad at one moment and good at another.” Brazil’s “Lula” da Silva advocates a “practical socialism” which would implement measures which must “adapt to the world’s reality.” Carlos Alvarez of Argentina’s Frente Grande coalition said there could be “no turning back” from the Menem government’s free-trade economic policies. Colombia’s Antonio Navarro Wolf (M-19) praises the IMF for having “imposed discipline in monetary management and that helps integration…. I would say that that is the positive side of neo-liberalism, that forced Latin American businessmen to be more responsible.”
Support for Castro regime: The Inter-American Dialogue established a Task Force on Cuba in 1991, headed by former U.S. Secretary of Defense Elliot Richardson, which has been carrying out quiet back-channel negotiations with the Castro regime, to normalize U.S.-Cuban relations. The Second Report of the Task Force, released on Sept. 15, 1995, reveals that they premise such proposed normalization on the lie that the Castro regime “no longer poses a conventional security or ideological threat to any of its neighbors, and certainly not the United States … [and] has curtailed its interference in the affairs of other countries.”
In August 1993, Dialogue president Peter Hakim and Cuba Task Force member Jorge Domínguez had argued the same regarding Cuba’s entire continental narco-terrorist apparatus, the São Paulo Forum. At a Washington press conference, Hakim insisted that the SPF presidential candidates “are not looking to use democracy as a means towards socialism.” Domínguez elaborated that they had abandoned terrorism. “Whatever doubts one might have about any of the [Forum candidates], they are not doing now, what they were doing before. Navarro Wolf is … not shooting it out somewhere. The same is true of a variety of other groups who have given up violence,” he lied.