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Indymedia report: Resistance grows as economies melt down in Latin America

August 14 feature from Melbourne (Australia) Indymedia
Resistance grows as economies melt down in Latin America

Interesting times are ahead for the people of Latin America. While the US government continues its 'offensive' in Latin America, promoting coups, economic ruin, domestic terrorism and drug trafficking, and the economies of several different countries collapse or buckle under the strain of external debt and IMF austerity measures - such as Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, and Uruguay - local people rebuilt their lives and continue to resist both capitalism and US imperialism.

In Brazil, landless peasants and workers have squatted land near Osasco, while in Mexico, the farmers who have been waging a 9 month battle to stop an 2.3 billion dollar airport project have just declared the town of Atenco (on the eastern edge of Mexico City) 'autonomous', in a similar fashion to the Zapatista communities in Southern Mexico in Chiapas.

Also in Brazil, there was also a large 'Anti-Free Trade Agreement of the Americas' protest, which drew thousands of people. This followed a massive protest march on the 3 August organised by several unions held in the state of Rio Grande do Sul of Brazil. The march went to an international bridge in the city of Uruguayana, which separates Brazil from Argentina. About eight thousand people participated in the event, held in a cold rain. The marchers were barred by the Argentine Army and Brazilian Federal Police from crossing the Amizade (Friendship) Bridge when arriving in Uruguayana.

The U.S. Treasury Secretary was greeted in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, on August the 6 by large protests. He was there as a part of an IMF commission to determine their conditions for further loans. Despite requests from Argentine President Duhalde and other government officials for an emergency loan similar to those granted by the U.S. to Brazil and Uruguay, O'Neill did not grant one. As rescheduled elections for March 2003 approach, so does the likelihood of fresh loan defaults.

Meanwhile in Uruguay, the government has managed to secure a $1.5 billion (U.S.) loan from the IMF and reopened the banks after a rough few weeks. More than 13 supermarkets were looted in poor neighborhoods of Montevideo on August 2 to the shouts of "we are hungry." Riot police were dispersed throughout the city, shooting rubber bullets at people as they tried to get food.

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