Mas dinero, Jorge, por favor!

Wow. Talk about a sweet scam.

Funny how Alvaro Uribe waited until AFTER he was safely re-elected (cough) by abstention! (cough) before springing this widdle surprise on his numero uno consumer of the legendary Colombian marching powder:

US President George W Bush and his Colombian counterpart Alvaro Uribe have held talks about how to speed up the eradication of drugs.

Speaking at the White House, Mr Uribe said his country had not achieved the best results in the last few years.

Bogota receives around $600m a year in US aid to combat drugs trafficking – but studies suggest the flow of cocaine to the US has not fallen significantly.

Mr Uribe, who was re-elected last month, wants the aid to rise.

Colombia is one of the largest recipients of US assistance.

Since 2000 it has received more than $4bn in aid under Plan Colombia, a scheme for combating drugs trafficking.

“In the last two years, we have not gotten the results in the areas with illegal drugs,” Mr Uribe admitted after the talks.

“One point we have studied this morning with President Bush is how to speed up the eradication of drugs, because we need to show better results in this area.”

Yeah, I’ll just bet they do!

But wait…the funniest line is still to come:

Mr Bush, for his part, described Mr Uribe as a “vital ally”.

Now seriously…isn’t that just about the funniest thing Dubya’s said since that “misunderestimated” blooper?

We all know he’s not talking about the success of the War on Drugs, because there hasn’t been any. And it’s in right-wing Washington’s interest that there never be any. Hasn’t Gary Webb pointed out as much? There’s a very good reason why Washington prefers its Latin American leaders to be as authoritarian as possible. And it’s not law and order; quite the opposite, in fact. As long as there is instability in the region, someone in Washington will be rubbing his grubby claws and dollar signs will be gleaming in his eyes. Repression, even if it doesn’t fight crime worth a damn, is as good as gold to these people. (Do I have to remind y’all that Colombia is the country in Latin America where trade unionists and journalists both get murdered in the greatest numbers? And that there is a powerful reason why those two groups are so vulnerable there?)

And if there were ever any doubt as to why Jorge and Alvaro are sittin’ in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, get a load of how this item closes:

The conservative Columbian president is Washington’s closest ally in Latin America, and seen by US diplomats as a bulwark against President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

Item: Chavez’s Venezuela enjoys unprecedented press freedom–definitely exceeding that of the United States, and even Canada. And the right-wing corporate media there repay their president for his kindness with a 24/7 shower of steaming brown libel. (So does the US Congress.)

Item #2: Chavez’s Venezuela also encourages trade unionists to be uppity…and uncorrupted. Oh dear!

And then there’s another item, perhaps insignificant but worth mentioning in this context: Venezuela is also fighting its own war on drugs, without Washington’s “aid”–and succeeding.

You will NEVER hear Hugo Chavez saying “Mas dinero, Jorge, por favor”. At least, not in the context of any “Plan Venezuela”. And there are plenty of good reasons for that, too. Something like 25 million of them, in fact. Of whom more than half are not only cheering his efforts to create greater sovereignty for them, but participating in those initiatives themselves.

And you’ll scarcely hear a peep about that in the US media, either. (Whenever you do, it will be hedged around with a lot of very dodgy language intimating that Chavez is somehow authoritarian.)

But by damn, you’ll hear an awful lot of questionable reports touting the “success” of Plan Colombia! You’ll even hear some downright scary suggestions floated by right-wing extremists in the US Congress in the name of furthering the war. And conversely, hardly a word about Alvaro Uribe’s own well-documented authoritarian tendencies.

Ever wonder why?

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