Tuesday, September 12, 2006


There's an interesting article in the NY Times from today discussing Uruguay's role in the competition for Latin American alliances between Venezuela and the United States. There are a couple of interesting facets this article points us to. First of all, there is the fact that while Clinton and his predecessors get fair share of blame for neoliberal policies that attempt to get "third world" (a term I loathe) countries into subservient positions with the U.S. via free trade agreements, such policies, while lost in the rhetoric of the war on terror, have not disappeared during the Bush administration. Rather, we continue like drones, pushing neoliberalism, despite the clear failures in Brazil and Argentina as well as lesser failures in Mexico and elsewhere in the Americas, blaming those countries instead of the inherent flaws of neoliberalism, and continuing to exploit the hell out of anybody we can in the name of multinational business.

Additionally, the article points to nuances and complexities of South American politics, and "third world" politics at the international level more broadly. Whether we want to or not, we often tend to imagine the world along the axis of U.S./Europe and "third world", but there's such diversity between different nation-states too, and complexities of "Third World" politics go very far beyond anything the term or idea of a "third world" offers. As obvious as it may seem, the article points out the differences between somewhere like Uruguay vs. somewhere like Brazil, Argentina, or Venezuela, and its an important difference that we all too often neglect.

Finally, in a reminder that hits closer to home for Mister Trend, the article offers an important contemporary reminder even to those individuals interested in Latin American history, politics, policy, human rights, etc., that there's more than Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, and Venezuela.