Mexico’s President Would Build Alliance to Counter Cuba Blockade / By William T. Whitney Jr.

Photo credit: People’s Dispatch

On the occasion of Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel’s visit recently to Mexico, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) raised the possibility of many nations cooperating to oppose the U.S blockade of Cuba. AMLO has become Cuba’s champion in the international arena, and perhaps not accidentally: the governments of the two nations each originated from social and political revolutions.

The two leaders have built a tight relationship.  Diaz-Canal visited to Mexico in September, 2021. AMLO was in Cuba in May, 2022. And AMLO refused to attend a U.S – organized Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles in June 2022 because Cuba had been excluded. 

Accompanied by Cuban government officials, Díaz-Canel on February 11 joined AMLO in the Mexican state of Campeche. That Cuban medical teams are working there now may have helped determine the meeting’s location.

In remarks at a medical center,  AMLO lauded Cuba’s medical solidarity and described his own people’s unmet social needs. He called upon the U.S. government to end its blockade of Cuba:

[Cuba] has our respect, our gratitude, our support, and we are going to continue demanding the removal, the elimination of the blockade against Cuba, which is inhumane. And there’s more than voting in the United Nations where the anti-blockade resolution is always approved overwhelmingly, and then it’s back to the way it was.

I promise President Miguel Díaz-Canel that Mexico will be leading a more active movement so that all countries come together and defend the independence and sovereignty of Cuba. No longer will there be anything about treating Cuba as a terrorist country or putting Cuba on the black list of supposed terrorists.

Cuba has been able to count on support from Mexico. As the Bay of Pigs invasion was unfolding in 1961, former Mexican President Lázaro Cárdenas spoke in defense of Cuba before 80,000 people in Mexico City’s Zocalo. Soon afterwards, Mexico’s government backed Cuba in the United Nations. Later Mexico rejected calls by the U.S. – dominated Organization of American States for member states to impose economic sanctions against Cuba and break off diplomatic ties.

AMLO visited Cuba in May, 2022. Speaking before Cuban leaders, he recalled “times when the United States wanted to own the continent …. They were annexing, deciding on independence wherever; creating new countries, freely associated states, protectorates, military bases; and … invading.”  The U.S. government, he declared, needs to know “that a new relationship among the peoples of America … is possible.”

While in Cuba he signed agreements for Mexican young people to study medicine in Cuba, for Cuba to provide Mexico with anti-Covid vaccines, and for hundreds of Cuban physicians to work in Mexico in underserved areas.

Months before, in September 2021, Díaz-Canel was the honored guest at celebrations in Mexico City of the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s national independence. Welcoming his guest, AMLO praised Cuba’s steadfastness in defending its revolution. Calling upon U.S. political leaders to lift the blockade on Cuba, he appealed to their good sense and rationality, saying nothing about nations uniting in opposition to the blockade. 

Photo credit: People’s Dispatch

[The U.S. government] must lift its blockade against Cuba, because no state has a right to subjugate another people, or another country … [And] It looks very bad that the U.S. government uses the blockade to hurt the people of Cuba in order to force them by necessity to confront their own government … President Biden, who shows political sensitivity, [must] take a wider view and put a permanent end to the politics of grievances against Cuba.

The emphasis was different, however, when the two leaders met recently, on February 11 in Campeche. AMLO unveiled an evolved and more forceful approach to ending the blockade. He bestowed upon Díaz-Canel Mexico’s highest recognition extended to foreign notables, the Aztec Eagle, and then praised Cuba as a special case for its strenuous resistance to U.S. enforcement of the Monroe Doctrine. He continued: 

I also maintain that it is time for a new coexistence among all the countries of America, because that model imposed more than two centuries ago is completely exhausted, it is anachronistic, it has no future. There is no way out, it no longer benefits anyone, we must put aside the trade-off imposed on us either to go along with the United States or be in opposition, courageously and defensively. 

It is time to express and explore another option, that of dialoguing with the leaders of all the countries and especially with U.S. leaders, and convince and persuade them that a new relationship between the countries of our continent, of all America, is possible. I believe that conditions are perfect now for achieving this goal of mutual respect.

In an interview later on, Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard offered some specifics:

President Lopez Obrador wants to bring the presidents of the progressive states of Latin America together to address food security, well-being and other issues that are important for our community of nations. This is something we have to discuss with other foreign ministers and move forward in the coming months. 

The progressive governments AMLO has in mind, according to Ebrard, are Mexico, Argentina, Brazil. Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile, and Honduras. They include “the three largest economies in Latin America.” The implication may be that these countries, collaborating on various issues, political ones included, have sufficient economic clout to pressure the United States on Cuba.

President Díaz-Canel himself has been building other bridges. In recent weeks he visited Belize, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Barbados, for the 7th CARICOM (Caribbean Community) – Cuba Summit meeting.

AMLO’s focus on progressive nations is crucial. He has worked toward reviving the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) as a vehicle for collective action, despite participation there by conservatively-governed nations. Yet he did not attend the CELAC summit taking place in January and so may be discouraged as to prospects for CELAC serving his purposes. 

AMLO’s power to orchestrate regional support is limited. Only 18 months remain of his six-year term as president of a country dependent economically on the United States and divided geographically, ethnically, and by social class. Nevertheless, Cuba, whose external resources for ending the U.S. economic blockade are hardly infinite, badly needs international partnering that offers persuasive power. Lifelines thrown by AMLO are a start in that direction. 

W.T. Whitney Jr. is a political journalist whose focus is on Latin America, health care, and anti-racism. A Cuba solidarity activist, he formerly worked as a pediatrician, lives in rural Maine. W.T. Whitney Jr. es un periodista político cuyo enfoque está en América Latina, la atención médica y el antirracismo. Activista solidario con Cuba, anteriormente trabajó como pediatra, vive en la zona rural de Maine.

Peru Sees Possible Transformative Change, and US Intervention / By W.T. Whitney Jr.

Photograph Source: Mayimbú – CC BY-SA 4.0

Critics of U.S. interference in Latin America and the Caribbean may soon realize, is such is not the case now, that Peru has a compelling claim on their attention. The massive popular resistance emerging now amid political crisis looks to be sustainable into the future. Meanwhile, a reactionary political class obstinately defends its privileges, and the U.S. government is aroused.

This new mobilization of Peru’s long-oppressed majority population manifested initially as the force behind left-leaning presidential candidate Pedro Castillo’s surprise second-round election victory on June 6, 2021. It exploded again following the coup that removed Castillo on December 7, 2022.

The politically inexperienced Castillo, a primary school teacher and teachers’ union leader in rural northern Peru, espoused a program of resisting both Peru’s corrupt and oligarchical elite and foreign exploiters.  Castillo had begun his 2020 presidential campaign prior to aligning with a political party.  His affiliation eventually would the Marxist-oriented Peru Libre (Free Peru) Party, which abandoned him during his presidency.  

Castillo was the first leftist to be elected president of Peru. The candidate he defeated was Keiko Fijimoro, standard-bearer of Peru’s oligarchs and militarists and daughter of dictator and former president Alberto Fujimori.

Castillo’s forced removal from office prompted massive popular resistance.  Since then, small farmers, indigenous communities, social organizations, students, and labor unions have sustained a national strike. Concentrated in Peru’s southern provinces at first, and later spreading throughout northern regions, strikers have been blocking highways, city streets, and access to government offices and airports. 

In their “March from the Four Corners” of Peru, protesters on January 19 occupied Lima massively in what they called the “Taking of Lima.” They have filled streets and plazas, marched, and impeded access to government offices. They say they will stay. Lima residents and social movements have stocked food for them and, with the help of schools and universities, provided shelter.

Anthropologist Elmer Torrejón Pizarro, from Amazonian Peru, was marching on January 19. He writes: “I saw no criminals next to me, much less terrorists. I observed young university students and mostly peasants, women and men from the south. I saw their faces, furrowed by the pain of life and death. They were next to me, their faces hard and burned by blows from life, from Peru. They were faces expressing generational hibernation of a country that, as a state, has failed.”

The protesters are demanding: resignation of de-facto president Dina Boluarte, liberation of the imprisoned Pedro Castillo, and dismissal of a Congress dominated by rightwing and centrist political operatives. They want new elections in 2023 and a popular referendum on instituting a Constituent Assembly. They, like Castillo, want a new Constitution.

Left-oriented news sources haven’t reported reactions to the strike from Peru’s leftist political parties. The few websites of those parties that are accessible add little.  The Communist Party of Peru Patria Roja, an exception, on January 16 condemned the coup government as a dictatorship, called for a transitional government, and expressed support for the demands outlined above.   

Popular resistance is one aspect of this crisis situation. The other is political repression. For weeks, the police and the military have been assaulting protesters throughout the country with lethal force. They have killed over 60 of them, wounded hundreds and jailed hundreds more.

In Lima on January 21, almost 12,000 police were in the streets blocking demonstrations and harassing residents and students; 14,000 more were otherwise engaged. The police that day violated a university autonomy law and entered San Marcos University where they arrested strikers sheltering there and students, over 200 in all.

The security forces and their handlers are heirs to repressors who, from Spanish colonization on, have repeatedly victimized masses of impoverished, mostly indigenous Peruvians.  Peru experienced three prolonged military dictatorships during the 20th century.

In dealing with Castillo and the threat he represented, forces of reaction turned to softer methods. These centered on congressional maneuvering aimed at harassing Castillo’s ministers and blocking his government’s program.

Finally, the Congress demanded that Castillo resign, and immediately soldiers seized the president. He was charged with “rebellion and conspiracy” and will remain in prison for at least 18 months.  He is held incommunicado.

Interviewed, Wilfredo Robles Rivera, the deposed president’s lawyer, spoke of a “parliamentary coup, a slow coup, a prolonged one organized on several fronts.” He explains that, “It was a strategy that began even before President Castillo took office. The rightwing … was pressuring election officials to recognize electoral fraud. An electoral coup, therefore. The true parliamentary coup began when Castillo became president.”

An earlier article by the present author elaborates on this terminal phase of Castillo’s downfall. Robles Rivera’s perspective appears in one of the addenda below.

Lastly, there is that aspect of Peru’s mounting crisis that relates to North Americans: U.S. intervention is possible. 

General Laura Richardson, head of the U.S. Southern Command, spoke to the establishment-oriented Atlantic Council on January 19. In regard to Latin America, she mentioned “rare earth elements,” “the lithium triangle – Argentina, Bolivia, Chile,” the “largest oil reserves [and] light, sweet crude discovered off Guyana,” Venezuela’s “oil, copper, gold” and “31% of the world’s fresh water in this region.”  She concludes, crucially: “This region matters. It has a lot to do with national security. And we need to step up our game.”

On January 18, de facto President  Dina Boluarte and her Council of Ministers informed Peru’s Congress that they were submitting for approval a draft legislative resolution saying, in effect, that Congress would be “authorizing the entry of naval units and foreign military personnel with weapons of war” into Peru.

Who but U.S. troops and military machinery would be first in line? The U.S. military is already familiar with deploying in Peru.  And the day prior to Castillo’s removal from office. U.S. ambassador Lisa Kenna, a CIA veteran, was in the office of Peru’s defense minister, conferring.  

She is persistent. On January 18 Kenna conferred with Peru’s minister of energy and mining and his associates. Journalist Ben Norton attests to that minister tweeting about “a high-level institutional dialogue that day between Peru and the United States.” The minister expressed pleasure at “support from the North American government in mining-energy issues” and mentioned his government’s prioritization of the natural gas and energy sectors.

Presently all liquified natural gas produced in Peru goes to Europe. Energy supplies there are precarious due to U.S. anti-Russian sanctions. We imagine U.S. applause.

The author did the translating above and below.


Lawyer Wilfredo Robles Rivera describes some of the congressional maneuvering that led to President Pedro Castillo’s removal.

“Obstructionists in the Congress prevented that body from discussing hundreds of the [Castillo] government’s legislative proposals …They followed with demands for dismissing the president through the vacancy procedure. …Their request for vacancy came in response to the President’s speech of December 7 in which he called for dissolution of Congress. They did not have the necessary votes to present the request … [and so] there was an accelerated process backed by other institutions, especially the military and police. At this point, the military-police coup comes into play.”

We add that Peru’s Constitution, in force since 1993 and a product of the Fujimori dictatorship, does allow a president to dismiss the Congress under specified circumstances and the Congress to “request a vacancy” in order to remove a president. Twice before, the Congress failed in that attempt.

Héctor Béjar offers reflections. His interview with  Prensa Latina reporter Manuel Robles Sosa appeared on January 18.   [WW1]  

Béjar served for three weeks as minister of foreign affairs in ex-President Castillo’s new government. He resigned in response to unfounded charges from the military conveyed through Parliament. Béjar has taught and written extensively on revolutionary change in Peru. He and others founded the National Liberation Army in 1962 for which he was imprisoned.

Prensa Latina: How do you evaluate the protest movement forming in the South of Peru?

Héctor Béjar: It’s a many-faceted movement composed of the quechua and aimaras communities, especially the aimaras, of women vendors in the popular markets, of transport workers in the South, traders in general, small business owners in the booming city of Juliaca, students from universities and high schools, and people in general. Added to them are the “rondas campesinas” (autonomous peasant patrols in rural areas) active in Cajamarca, Amazonian communities, and within many other popular networks.

PL: The social organizations that are protesting are putting forth a platform of political demands … without being ready to back off in exchange for development projects. What are the implications of this characteristic of the current protests for the people’s movement?

HB: It’s a qualitative shift. It’s the first time in Peruvian history that a movement surging up from the people themselves is setting forth a clearly political agenda that takes precedence over immediate, isolated demands limited to local problems. 

PL: What about ex-President Pedro Castillo? 

HB: The protesters identify with him as a person, as a teacher and rural resident, quite apart from his questionable performance in governing. … I have to say also that the movement has already largely transcended the idea of simply rescuing Castillo.

PL:  Most political analysts assert that the failure of Castillo has been harmful for the left and its future. Do the social protests and participation of left forces call this idea into question?

HB: The big movement we are speaking about must not be defined as of the left. If we look at reality, it’s a people’s movement, from the base, much broader than left politics. It’s also certain that most militants of the different left movements existing in Peru are fully invested in supporting this movement.

PL: Opinion polls show that the demand for a constituent assembly is shared by a majority of the population. That has to have an impact on the protests. (NB: Opinion polling in mid-January indicated that 71 % of Peruvians reject the government; 19% approve; 88% of them object to the Congress. )

HB: Evidently so. We are already in the process of getting rid of the old system and the constituent is part of a new one. The most probable outcome is that as the days and weeks pass, and if this movement persists and grows, the demand of a constituent assembly and a new constitution will continue growing until it takes over.

PL: What is the future and what are the options that might open up after this struggle?

HB: If this struggle continues and is not betrayed … we would have the possibility of a true democracy open to all of the country’s cultures and nationalities – a social state and an economy open to investments by the people and closed to every kind of corruption ….

Lautaro Rivara’s interview with Héctor Béjar for the website appeared on January 3. Excerpts from  Béjar’s comments follow:

On Peru’s 1993 Constitution: It’s the bad result of a disastrous coup d’état and of entangled negotiations of de facto President Fujimori with the OAS and the international community. This resulted in a text full of legal patchwork…It also contains a famous economic chapter that shields foreign investment, making it invulnerable and paying no taxes in Peru. … What is happening is that this Constitution, already makeshift in 1993, has been patched up repeatedly since then. And it was the present Congress … that has made more than thirty modifications that Peruvians do not even know about. Some of these modifications repealed existing rights, such as the right to referendum.

In regard to a coup: The Army and Police know that they cannot carry out a coup d’état directly; there is no environment either in Latin America or the world that favors that. But as everybody knows, the patterns of coups now vary … Some military chief leaked information to the effect that the left will never govern the country while armed forces remain in Peru. The problem is no longer communism, which is what they used to say, but now it’s the entire left that these people are rejecting.

How does Peru’s government work? Today in Peru we have a media party, very active as a concentrated monopoly; a prosecution party, and the judiciary’s party. These three parties, and the Congress, are the four great actors that govern Peru, with support from big capitalists, both local and foreign … Closing the Congress is a national demand. Everyone wants that, apart from the congresspersons themselves. …. The same goes for the judiciary, which is highly corrupt. In my opinion, it should be reorganized, but also totally dismantled.

About Peru’s social movements: They have grown a lot. In Peru there is a political left, which is part of the political apparatus, the political system, and there is a co-called “social left”, which is not left in terms of strict political consciousness, but which includes many social activists who feel they are part of the left. They are very articulate in expressing political ideas … and have highly articulated political ideas. There are thousands of them in Peru now. However, corruption permeates everything in this country, including sectors of the social movement.

W.T. Whitney Jr. is a political journalist whose focus is on Latin America, health care, and anti-racism. A Cuba solidarity activist, he formerly worked as a pediatrician, lives in rural Maine. W.T. Whitney Jr. es un periodista político cuyo enfoque está en América Latina, la atención médica y el antirracismo. Activista solidario con Cuba, anteriormente trabajó como pediatra, vive en la zona rural de Maine.

How Global McCarthyism Shaped the World / by Peter Hogart

Members of the Youth Wing of the Indonesian Communist Party (Pemuda Rakjat) are watched by soldiers in Jakarta during attacks on communists in 1965. (Photo: AP)

This article was originally published in Orinoco Tribune .

Military coups are a CIA tool used to control the Global South and ensure U.S. hegemony in many parts of the world.

As debates rage about  the origins of the conflict in Ukraine, calls for no-fly zones and sending arms to fight back against the attacks from Russia, there is intense discussion about the role and nature of NATO and the level of US responsibility for the bloody events that have captivated and horrified people around the world. It feels like the politics of the Cold War loom large. Vincent Bevins’ book The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade & the Mass Murder Program that Shaped our World helps inform our understanding of that period and is a valuable resource for those struggling with questions of international political economy today.

During the Cold War there was a movement of “Third World nations,” developing outside the direct influence of both the US and the USSR. But as these newly independent countries tried to forge their own political and economic path after throwing off the burden of colonial rule, the US’ Central Intelligence Agency intervened to disrupt them. Bevins puts into stark detail how the CIA dedicated itself to training and funding generals to overthrow, imprison, mutilate and murder anyone who advocated even the mildest of economic reforms in their own countries.

The rise of Global McCarthyism

After the end of World War II, the US emerged as the new dominant capitalist power and it quickly turned to consolidating and extending that power, trying to contain and counter the appeal of the USSR and Communism. For example, the US intervened in elections in France and Italy, funneling money to parties it approved of and fueling anti-left propaganda. As the divisions of the Iron Curtain around the USSR became more clear, the US turned its attention to influencing the future of the Third World. Stepping up to this challenge was the CIA, which became the name for the US’ dedicated spy service. Formed in 1946, the agency had the dual role of intelligence gathering and actively intervening around the world to shape it in the US’ interest.

In 1948, Indonesia emerged from a war for independence from Dutch colonialism, newly formed and independent. With Sukarno as its leader, the new country looked to be both anti-colonial and anti-communist. Sukarno came to symbolise the potential independent, neutrality of Third World Nations. The US was initially cautiously optimistic, adopting the “Jakarta Axiom,” meaning a tolerance for neutral Third World nations.

However, by 1953 the Jakarta Axiom came to an end. Neutral Third World nations attempted to control their own resources or pass modest laws on land reform. But CIA moved into action, pouring millions into orchestrating coups in Iran and Guatemala. The new consensus under President Dwight D. Eisenhower was that “neutral governments were potential enemies, and Washington could decide if and when an independent Third World nation was sufficiently anticommunist.”

The term “Third World” really came to prominence in 1955, when Sukarno and Ghanian president Kwame Nkrumah helped organize the Afro-Asian Conference in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. The conference put forward a different kind of nationalism, based on anti-colonial struggle, attempting to organize Third World Nations to collectively work together for better terms within the global economic system to help foster their own development. More than 29 countries took part, organizations and communication networks sprang up with criticism of the global capitalist system. While these nations tried to forge a path outside of Washington or Moscow, and even tried to pay homage to the American Revolution in its speeches and communications, the entire conference was viewed as an offense to the US State Department and neutrality viewed as a crime against America. As Bevins explained, “Anyone who wasn’t actively against the Soviet Union must be against the United States, no matter how loudly he praised Paul Revere.”

The US saw Asia pivotal to countering the influence of the USSR and poured millions into the elections in Indonesia, but Sukarno’s Indonesian National Party and even the Communist Party (PKI) still did well. The well-organized PKI’s electoral success was frustrating to Washington, and Sukarno’s tolerance and good relationship with the PKI and other left wing parties increased Washington’s suspicion. The CIA dropped bombs, and helped fund and stoke rebellions against Sukarno in some of the outer islands. The plot failed, the military put down the rebellions, and the discovery of direct US involvement disillusioned Sukarno and pushed him further away from Washington.

New tactics: military coups

The US perspective for shaping the Third World changed after this. The CIA began to focus on supporting the “military as a more effective, long-term anticommunist strategy.” Bevins documents the way in which this strategy was used to great effect in Brazil.

The military proved to be the most reliable anti-communist force and during the 1950s and 1960s. Brazil’s military deepened ties with Washington, training at Fort Leavenworth alongside soldiers from Indonesia. Far-right groups were formed and received funding from the CIA, carried out bombings, shootings and other forms of intimidation against the presidency of the liberal reformer, João Goulart. Jango, as he was known, who had sided with the US during the Cuban Missile Crisis, was deemed a threat to world capitalism for proposing to extend voting rights to all Brazilians, rolling out a literacy program and a modest program of land reform. This independent course was punished by a US capital strike, economic sabotage, and the funding, training and secret support of a group within the military. This all eventually led to a coup on March 31, 1964 in which “the US State Department made tankers, ammunition and aircraft carriers available to the conspirators.”

The coup was successful and it represented a great achievement for the CIA’s new tactics:

“In Iran (1953) and Guatemala (1954), Indonesia (1958) and Cuba (1961), anyone who was paying attention knew that Washington had been behind the regime change operations. These very obvious signs of US intervention had not only tainted Washington’s image worldwide–they undermined the efficacy of the states they installed when they were victorious. Guatemala’s government fell apart quickly after the CIA-backed coup, as did the Shah’s government in Iran, eventually.” These new clandestine tactics were replicated to devastating effect in Indonesia.

The Jakarta method

In Indonesia, the US and British governments, not happy with President Sukarno’s national independence amidst escalation of the war in Vietnam, stepped up their secret activities in the country. The extent of these operations are still hidden, making it hard to know just what kind of black operations and secret warfare they were engaged in. What we do know is that a midlevel group of Army officers opposed to a military coup, calling themselves the September 30th Movement, launched an attempt to arrest a group of seven Army generals, ending in the deaths of these generals. It’s unclear whether this was a terribly bungled attempt by well-meaning officers loyal to Sukarno, the work of infiltration by anticommunist elements in the military, or a straight-up attempt to create an event that would allow for a seizure of power by the military. But after the deaths of those generals on October 1, 1965, “General Suharto seized control of the country, and told a set of deliberate, carefully prepared lies. These lies became official dogma in one of the world’s largest countries for decades.”

The military spread the story that the PKI was the mastermind of the “failed communist coup,” spreading lies that the generals were tortured in demonic rituals as women from the communist-aligned women’s movement danced naked around them before cutting off their genitals and murdering them. The US government quickly recognized Suharto as the leader and helped him spread the propaganda, while Western media outlets broadcast these lies back into the country. Communication from the US embassy in Indonesia to the US State Department on October 5 reveal that position of the US government: avoid overt involvement, indicate clearly to Suharto and the military that they want to provide assistance and support, increase contact with military, and spread the story of PKI’s guilt, treachery and brutality.

By October 7, military commanders were touring provinces, making it clear to civilians that they were expected to help violently repress communists or face arrest and death themselves. Party members, union members, and anyone even remotely related to left wing politics were arrested en masse, interrogated, tortured, raped, disappear. Religious youth organizations and other civilian organizations were recruited to do the killing in Central and East Java. Machetes (not native the region) began to appear in Bali in huge numbers at the exact same time as the military anti-communist campaigns.

By January of 1966, the outcome was clear. Excerpts from a US State Department memo paint a vivid picture:

“Prior to October 1, 1965, Indonesia was for all practical purposes an Asian communist state…events of the past several months have had three major effect on Indonesia’s power structures and policies: The PKI has ceased for the foreseeable future to be an important power element. Effective action by the Army and its Muslim allies has totally disrupted the party’s organizational apparatus. Most Politburo and Central Committee members have been killed or arrested, and estimates of the number of party members killed range up to several hundred thousand…”

Years afterwards, the role the US played became clear. Bevins summarizes:

“When the conflict came, and when the opportunity arose, the US government helped spread the propaganda that made the killing possible, and engaged in constant conversations with the Army to make sure the military officers had everything they needed, from weapons to kill lists. The US embassy constantly prodded the military to adopt a stronger position and take over government, knowing full well that the method being employed to make this possible was to round up hundreds of thousands of people around the country, stab or strangle them, and throw their corpses into rivers. The Indonesian military officers understood very well that the more people they killed, the weaker the left would be, and the happier Washington would be.”


This process was repeated around the world, wherever the US deemed it strategic. The word Jakarta became a code-word for mass murder and the phrase “Jakarta is coming” spray-painted as a threat to left wing activists. From 1945 to 1990, a loose-network of US-backed anticommunist mass murder programs emerged around the world and carried out campaigns in at least 23 countries. As Bevins’ notes in his conclusion:

“the extermination programs in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, East Timor, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Iraq, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, the Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Taiwan, Thailand, Uruguay, Venezuela and Vietnam should be seen as interconnected, and a crucial part of the US victory in the Cold War.”

These programs interrupted and reversed any independent political projects, halted development, paved the way for capitalist globalization (or as Bevins refers to it: “Americanization”), dismantled the Third World movement, created crony capitalist countries across the globe, and helped to establish a virulent anticommunist narrative that is quite clearly alive and well today. As well, the lessons learned by much of the International Left was that peaceful politics were impossible, transforming the global political landscape even further.

The Jakarta Method is an essential resource for making sense of the violent and unequal global political landscape that we find ourselves in today. Understanding the role of US imperialism and the extents it will go to can help situate us politically and must inform our strategy and tactics. Bevins’ book is a stirring call for the left to honour the dead, draw lessons from their experience, and fight like hell for the living.

Black Agenda Report, May 17, 2022,

Panamanians reject visit of US state secretary Antony Blinken / by People’s Dispatch

On April 19, dozens of Panamanians took to the streets of the capital Panama City to protest the arrival of the US Secretaries of State and Homeland Security, Antony Blinken and Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: SUNTRACS/Twitter

The US Secretaries of State and Homeland Security arrived in Panama to attend a regional meeting on migration cooperation in the hemisphere. Those protesting the visit highlighted that US imperialism is the root cause for migration in the region.

On April 19, dozens of Panamanians took to the streets of the capital Panama City to protest the arrival of the US Secretaries of State and Homeland Security, Antony Blinken and Alejandro Mayorkas. The US officials came to the Central American country to attend the Ministerial Conference on Migration and Protection, a regional meeting on migration that began on April 19 and concluded on April 20.

Members of progressive Broad Front for Democracy (FAD) party, social organization National Front for the Defense of Economic and Social Rights (FRENADESO) and trade union Single Union of Construction Workers (SUNTRACS), among others, demonstrated in front of the Monument to the Martyrs. The protesters recalled the 1989 US invasion of Panama, which resulted in the killing of thousands of citizens, and rejected the US meddling in internal affairs. They declared Blinken a “persona non grata” and burned his effigy, along with that of the US President Joe Biden. They also shouted slogans such as “Get out Blinken,” “Get out Yankee assassins,” among others.

Read more: Panamanians demand justice for the victims of the 1989 US invasion

“We respect Panamanian people. We respect the memory of the martyrs of January 9. We respect the victims of the invasion. Therefore, we do not accept that a country that has done so much damage to humanity, comes to give us orders,” said the SUNTRACS.

The protesters took the opportunity to condemn the illegal detention and extradition of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab by the US government and demanded his release, pointing out “feeding people is not a crime.” Saab was arrested in Cape Verde on June 12, 2020 at the request of the US government when his plane was refueling at the Amilcar Cabral International Airport on the island of Sal. He was traveling to Iran to negotiate trade deals for food and medicine for Venezuelan public programs, including the CLAP (Local Committees of Supply and Production). On October 16, 2021, he was extradited to the United States.

The demonstrators also rejected the mistreatment of Latin American immigrants by the US government and condemned that the US imperialism was responsible for migration in the region. The representatives from the FAD stressed that for decades, the US governments have been forcing the regional governments to impose neoliberal policies, which deepen inequality and poverty, the structural causes of migration.

Since March 2020, the US government has been using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to kick out people seeking humanitarian asylum in the country. According to the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), just in March 2022, the US officials prevented over 220,000 Latin American undocumented migrants from crossing the US border with Mexico. About half of them were immediately expelled under the Title 42 order, which considers the arrival of migrants a “threat” to health security.

During their two-day visit, Blinken and Mayorkas met with their counterparts from more than 20 Latin American and Caribbean countries and discussed cooperation on migration in the hemisphere. The representatives of all countries agreed that political instability, absence of strong institutions, corruption, insecurity, and lack of opportunities -worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic- were some of the causes of the large-scale regional migration.

In this regard, Blinken said that the United States considers Panama, a territory that serves as transit each year for thousands of migrants heading to North America, a key ally to face part of the migratory crisis. Meanwhile, Panamanian foreign minister Erika Mouynes called on the governments of the region to respond as a strengthened group, with a single agenda and the same interest.

People’s Dispatch, April 21, 2022,