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Why Poverty and Starvation In Latin America?


In “Open Veins of Latin America” Eduardo Galeano shows his readers how over the last 500 years first the Native American Indians, and then the poverty stricken populace of Central and South America, first by enslavement, and then by the enslaving plantation system has brought about great poverty, sickness, starvation and death for the vast majority of inhabitants, both Native Americans and the Spanish or Portuguese general populace.  Proper land-reform, fair distribution of farmland to the general populace would end all of this.  But the wealthy, both local and from abroad, first Spanish and Portuguese, and then from the United States, supporting the owners of sugar and coffee plantations, prevent this.  From the creation and ownership of coffee and sugar plantations, to copper and iron mines and the mining of all the rest of Latin America’s precious resources, this exploitation from sources abroad has, as Galeano so expertly documents in detail, brought about this cycle of poverty, starvation and death which has devastated the masses of Central and South America.  To quote, “The demand for sugar produced the plantation, an enterprise motivated by its proprietor’s desire for profit and placed at the service of the international market Europe was organizing.  Internally, however---since it was to a considerable extent self-sufficient---the plantation was feudal in many important aspects, and its labor force consisted mainly of slaves.  Thus three distinct historical periods---mercantilism, feudalism, slavery---were combined in a single socioeconomic unit.  But in the constellation of power developed by the plantation system, the international market soon took the center of the stage.  Subordinated to foreign needs and often financed from abroad, the colonial plantation evolved directly into the present-day latifundio, one of the bottlenecks that choke economic development and condemn the masses to poverty and a marginal existence in Latin America today.  The latifundio as we know it has been sufficiently mechanized to multiply the labor surplus, and thus enjoys an ample reserve of cheap hands.  It no longer depends on the importation of African slaves or on the ‘encomienda’ of Indians; it merely needs to pay ridiculously low or in-kind wages, or to obtain for nothing in return for the laborer’s use of a minute piece of land.  It feeds upon the proliferation of minifundios---pocket-sized farms---resulting from its own expansion, and upon the constant internal migration of a legion of workers who, driven by hunger, move around to the rhythm of successive harvests.” (Open Veins of Latin America, by Eduardo Galeano, p. 60, par. 2-3)


Late 1960s In Brazil, The Empty Promise Of Land Reform


“The Northeasterner’s slave labor is now constructing the great trans-Amazonia highway that will cut Brazil in two, penetrating up to the Bolivian border.  The “march to the west,” as the plan is called, also involves the agricultural colonization project to extend “the frontiers of civilization”; each peasant will get ten hectares of land if he survives the tropical forests.  The Northeast [of Brazil] contains 6 million landless peasants while 15,000 people own half of all the land.  Agrarian reform is not carried out in the already occupied areas, where the latifundistas’ property rights remain sacred, but in the jungle [where this ten hectare land-reform is being offered].  Thus a road for the latifundio’s expansion into new territory is being opened up by its victims, the flagelado, or “tormented ones,” of the Northeast.  [This is a reference to the construction by these destitute workers of the Trans-Amazonia Highway.]  Without capital or implements, what is the use of ten hectares one to two thousand miles from consumer centers?  One must conclude that the government’s real aims are quite different:  to provide labor for the U.S. latifundistas who have bought or appropriated half the lands north of the Rio Negro, and also for U.S. Steel, which received Amazonia’s rich iron and manganese deposits from General Garrastazu Medici.” (Open Veins of Latin America, p. 91, par. 1, emphasis mine)  So much for genuine land-reform.


Early 1970s, Salvador Allende Attempts To Bring Real Land-Reform To Chile---What Happened?


In the early 1970s, right after the publishing of Galeano’s Open Veins of Latin America, Salvador Allende attempted to bring equitable land-reform into Chile.  What happened?  If you’re into historically accurate movies, order off the movie “Missing” starring Jack Lemon and Sissy Spacek.  Also read this quote from Salvador Allende’s widow, Isabel Allende:  “If I had been able to read between the lines, I could have concluded that Salvador Allende’s government was doomed from the beginning.  It was the time of the Cold War, and the United States would not allow a leftist experiment to succeed in what Henry Kissinger called “its backyard.”  The Cuban Revolution was enough; no other socialist project would be tolerated, even if it was the result of democratic election.  On September 11, 1973, a military coup ended a century of democratic tradition in Chile and started the long reign of General Augusto Pinochet.  Similar coups followed in other countries, and soon half the continent’s population was living in terror.  This was a strategy designed in Washington and imposed upon the Latin American people by the economic and political forces of the right.  In every instance the military acted as mercenaries to the privileged groups in power.  Repression was organized on a large scale; torture, concentration camps, censorship, imprisonment without trial, and summary executions became common practices.  Thousands of peopled “disappeared,” masses of exiles and refugees left their countries running for their lives…In this context, “Open Veins of Latin America” was published.  This book made Eduardo Galeano famous overnight, although he was already a well-known political journalist in Uruguay.” (Forward to Open Veins of Latin America, written by Isabel Allende, pp. ix-x, par. 2, and par. 1, resp.)   If you didn’t catch it, the United States helped initiate and aid a military coup d’etat on September 11, 1973.  We 9/11-nd the nation of Chile and much of South America.  Many more innocents died in their 9/11 than did in ours, as it swept through Chile, and then on into much of the rest of South and Central America.  Nonetheless, I can almost hear God saying about our 9/11, ‘There America, back at ya!  How do you like them apples?’


Ancient Land-Reform, Promise For The Future


Few realize, a wise king in ancient history took an enslaved race, freed them from slavery, and brought them into an area of rich farmland, and by fair allotment, divided up that land equitably to every family and head of household.  He even gave allotments to women whose husbands had died.  This land then remained in each family, deeded to them by inheritance in perpetuity.  A family’s land could only be leased for a 50-year lease period, and then had to be returned back to the family, free of charge.  This prevented the over-accumulation of lands by the rich, at the expense of the poor, the result of which we have seen in Central and South America, as thoroughly documented by Eduardo Galeano.  This system of ancient land-reform took place in the Middle East back in the 1400s BC, and can be found documented in Numbers 26:51-56, “These were the numbered of the children of Israel, six hundred thousand and a thousand seven hundred and thirty.  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Unto these the land shall be divided for an inheritance according to the number of names.  To many thou shalt give the more inheritance [i.e. if your family was large, you got more land in your allotment], and to few thou shalt give the less inheritance: [i.e. if your family was smaller, you got less land, this was fair distribution according to need, what some would consider a communist or socialist principle.  Well all this means, is that the great socialist and communist thinkers took a valuable principle out of the Bible, God’s Word, modifying it as it suited them]  to every one shall his inheritance be given according to those that were numbered of him.  Notwithstanding the land shall be divided by lot:  according to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit it.  According to the lot shall the possession thereof be divided between many and few.”  What God, Yahweh, the pre-Incarnate Christ did for the 12 tribes of Israel, granting them an incredible freedom from slavery and then granting them land-reform by fair allotment, he as the soon-returning Jesus Christ will yet again grant fair land-reform by allotment to the poor and destitute in the world, and yes, for those locked into poverty in Central and South America, who need it the most (according to Eduardo Galeano---don’t believe me, read his book). 


Sadly, Christian Missions Cannot Eliminate The Cause Of The Problem


Very sadly, Christian missions and short-term missions cannot eliminate the cause of the problem, only the coming of the Kingdom of God and it’s King, Jesus Christ can do that.  But they can help alleviate some of the suffering, and for this reason, they are very valuable.  Links to a couple of those groups are listed below.


If I weren’t a Christian and I was transported back to the early 1970’s and living in Latin America, after having read Eduardo Galeano’s Open Veins of Latin America, I’d be a Communist, or at the very least a Socialist.  And that is now with the understanding that Communism is basically a failed governmental system.  But some in Latin America realized that Communism offered far more real social justice and genuine land-reform to its majority poverty-stricken peasant population and was far less evil than the Nazi-type dictatorial governments the U.S. has been installing in Latin America via “CIA-BlackOps.”  Hugo Chavez chose a Marxist-Leninist style government for Venezuela in order to free his country from the monetary and political-military control of the United States and its big business monetary cartel which was ruthlessly mining Venezuela of her wealth while holding its people in poverty.  It was simply a choice for a more benign system of government than what than what the U.S. offered---which was far from the real democracy which we Americans enjoy within the U.S. borders as American citizens.  Communism, in reality, for Latin Americans, was the lesser of two evils. 



“So now I look back on my experiences on Okinawa as a small moment in time, following a long history of American imperialism that began long before my birth in 1924 and continues to this day [read “The Imperial Cruise” by James Bradley].  The military-industrial complex is so entrenched in our economy that the survival of our democratic society is being threatened.  And, sadly most Americans are not aware of what our country has done and is doing to the rest of the world [read William Blum’s “KILLING HOPE: U.S. AND CIA INTERVENTIONS SINCE WORLD WAR II” and “Open Veins of Latin America” by Eduardo Galeano].”  (quoted from “THE HAWK and THE DOVE, World War II at Okinawa and Korea” by Rolland Glenn, p. 250, par. 4)


Related links:


What are Short-Term Missions?



For further reading:


What has the United States become since 1945?  An American Empire, the Modern Romans.  Don’t believe me?  See,


Open Veins of Latin America, five centuries of the pillage of a continent” by Eduardo Galeano, forward by Isabel Allende





Lessons From El Salvador

To quote what Richard Boyle said in the documentary about the making of Oliver Stone’s Salvador:  “When you get the truth out, things happen, you know, good things, hopefully.  And I think that was my main motivation, never to make money.  If I wanted to make money, I would have stayed working for the Networks, being controlled by them, and write and do the crap they wanted, do the stand-ups from the roof [like] reporters who went down there, we made fun of Pauline Axelrod, any number of journalists go down there, they never leave the hotel, they do the stand-ups on the roof, closest to combat they ever get is ordering a lobster sandwich.” (Richard Doyle, photo/journalist in El Salvador, 1980-81) 

          To quote Ambassador White, in the same documentary:  “One journalist actually went out and got the story, and reported the story, went, for example, to El Mozote where the massacre, where a huge massacre took place, of 800 people, innocent civilians, mostly women and children.  And the United States government simply lied about it.  Now what happened, he [Boyle] was taken off from El Salvador and put on the New York City beat, and then left the newspaper [and obviously went back to El Salvador].”   (Ambassador White, U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador under President Jimmy Carter)

          Richard Boyle enlightens us further on the power of the camera and photo/journalist:  “When I was a kid I would look at pictures, remember that picture of a baby in Nanking, that’s burnt and crying?  That picture had more impact than thousands of articles about the Japanese atrocities in China.  A picture can be very powerful.  And I think that’s what kind of led me to be a photo/journalist.  If you get that one, if you can get that one picture that will sum something up, tell the viewer what’s going on, make the world aware.”  Boyle goes on to say about the film Salvador, “We showed more in the film Salvador than in all the documentaries I’ve made, all the news reports I’ve written, all the “60-Minutes” reports on El Salvador, all the stuff the media’s put out about El Salvador.  I think that film did more to tell people what really was going on, even though it was a feature film, than all the rest of the stuff put out for years and years and years and years.  And people told me that in Congress.” (Richard Boyle)

          Ambassador White said, “Certainly, the last scene is typical of what happened to many Salvadoran refugees.  This is another shameful action on the part of the United States.  We knew perfectly well it was the people we were backing that would terrorize these campesinos, and they had no choice but to flee.  It was either flee or be killed.  And here they were legitimate political refugees.  The problem for the Reagan Administration is that they were refugees from the violence that we were sponsoring.  And it took a long time to get that policy changed.  I would believe that films such as Salvador played a role in getting that changed, because I think around 1986 or -7 they started a policy of paroling people in.”  (Ambassador White)  Ambassador White, wrapping up what he had to say about El Salvador, and the movie Salvador said this, “As the film turned out, I thought it was really quite good.  I thought that Oliver Stone captured the sort of foreboding sense of evil that hung over El Salvador in every part.  I thought it captured the total arbitrariness and kind of kill-crazy atmosphere of the place.  And the fear, and the legitimate fear of the campesinos and the poor people of the city, you know, that they just simply could be killed at any time.  We spent probably 6 billion to 7 billion dollars, we killed 75,000 people, many of them who died horribly through torture.  We drove a million refugees to the United States.  And all this to try in vain to defeat a revolutionary force that was ready to negotiate in 1981.  Now if anyone can make sense out of that, from the point of view of the United States national interest, I would like to hear it.”  (Ambassador Robert White, emphasis mine throughout) 

          The following was stated at the end of this documentary for the film Salvador, “Ambassador Robert White was asked by Secretary of State Alexander Haig to submit a report confirming that the El Salvadoran government was thoroughly investigating the murder of the American nuns.  Since the government was responsible for the murders, this would have been an illusion, and he refused.  He was immediately fired, thus forced to retire from the Foreign Service after a distinguished career.  In 1986, Oliver Stone received the Academy Award nominations for both Salvador and Platoon.  The monumental success of Platoon eclipsed the small but growing appreciation for Salvador.  While raw and direct compared to Oliver Stone’s later films, Salvador is considered by many to be one of the most compelling films in recent memory.  Its vitality and illuminations increase with time.”  (This documentary following the movie was produced, written and directed by Charles Kiseyak)  Be sure to purchase Salvador, SPECIAL EDITION, starring James Woods, Jim Belushi, Michael Murphy and John Savage, directed by Oliver Stone. 

So Why Was It So Important For The United States to Defeat Communism in Latin America?

The United States of America still hasn’t admitted to the holocaust it was responsible for creating in Latin America (although President Obama has been apologizing to some of these nations privately, much to his credit).  We defeated the Nazis in Europe only to emulate them in Latin America.  Some will say “So what’s the big deal?  That was history, it’s in the past.”  The Big Deal is that nasty things like this tend to be re-perpetrated by the perpetrators, especially when there are big profits to be made, unless they are exposed for what they did, and in a sense, still doing, although through different methods.  And by the way, who are the real perpetrators?  Is it the “death-squads”, or the governments that created them, or the CIA that trained and backed them up?  No, you’ve got to go deeper down the Rabbit Hole.  Keep that question in mind.  But for those who think this is all in the past, realize, Latin America is still very vulnerable as long as the truth remains buried from view.  Good photo/journalists like Boyle (and Eduardo Galeano) did their best to expose this stuff, but without enough continuing exposure, the kind of exposure we gave the German people about Nazi atrocities after the fall of Nazi Germany, it’ll just keep happening.  One of my adoptive daughters was remarking that cell-phone cameras kind of prevent the open roving “death-squads” from occurring anymore, so we don’t have to worry about this happening anymore, or the “CIA/BlackOps” which was responsible for it all.  So she was telling me I should move on, and get my head out of the history books.  Oh really?  She hasn’t gone deep enough down the Rabbit Hole.  It is the “latifundio (plantation) system” which operates throughout Latin America which keeps the vast majority of Latin American people in virtual slavery through their paying of “starvation wages.”  These “latifundios” grow and export such major commodities as sugar, coffee, cotton, bananas, and cacao (chocolate) which keep most of Latin American workers earning starvation wages, and these latifundios have the direct support of U.S. big business concerns, in some cases are directly owned by them, which keep US-business-friendly governments in power, which keep the “Latifundio system” going.  So the virtual slavery most Latin Americans are in due to the oppressive Latifundio system, continues to create a strong need and desire for relief and change within the general populace.  This in the past has contributed heavily to the creation of revolutionary land-reform movements (going all the way back to Jose Artigas, Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa).  In the 20th century these revolutionary movements were often backed by local communists, and many of these were benign at first.  Are we beginning to see who the real perpetrators are yet?  Nothing really has changed in Latin America, if you look hard enough under the surface.  The Latifundios still exist, backed by, and sometimes directly owned by US Big Business.  The Monster has changed its outward appearance, but it is still alive and well in Latin America.  From the mid-1950s to the early 1990s communist land-reform movements sprang up all over Latin America, and these promised genuine land-reforms to the peasants, but these land-reformers threatened US-American Big Business concerns “south of the border.”  The “death-squads” helped protect these “Nazi-type US/CIA-BlackOps” installed governments, and protected them from “the Communist threat,” which was not a real threat to real social justice in Latin America.  In Latin America the real threat communist pro-land-reform movements posed was a direct threat to US big business, and nothing more.  A Communist takeover never really posed a threat inside the US, where communism could never survive against the American free-enterprise system and genuine democracy.  So can CIA/BlackOps still pose a threat in Latin America?  You bet it can, via clandestine operations to maintain and install pro-US/Big Business governments throughout Latin America, as it always has.  It just has to be more subtle in how it does this, yes, no more “death-squads” operating out in the open for all those cell-phone totting citizens.  So who are the perpetrators?  I think you know by now.  Why are my two articles, “America—The Modern Romans” and “Why Poverty & Starvation in Latin America” so important?  I think Richard Boyle has answered that question pretty nicely when he said, “When you get the truth out, things happen, good things, hopefully.”  The two articles make a lot of this clear.  The first one is titled “America—The Modern Romans” listed on the left-hand nav bar of my website, about ¾ the way down.  Just under it is another article titled “Why Poverty & Starvation in Latin America?” which explains the Latifundio system.  Eduardo Galeano, in his monumental work “Open Veins of Latin America” fully documents how Latin America has been in virtual slavery through “starvation wages” due to the Latifundio-plantation system, and fully documents how it got going, and how it morphed into what it is today, still active, where a select few wealthy land-owners own most of the land in Latin America in the form of these immense Latifundio-plantations.  I highly recommend his book.  The link to my first article is at:

I also highly recommend the purchase of Oliver Stone’s movie Salvador, (SPECIAL EDITION) starring James Woods, Jim Belushi and John Savage.  It’s easily available on  Included in the DVD is Oliver Stone’s documentary about this event and the making of the movie on location in El Salvador and Mexico, and this contains interviews with Richard Boyle and Ambassador White.  The movie and documentary is a classic documented account of US foreign policy run-amuck in El Salvador, with most of the grizzly facts hidden from the American public.  It also shows you what real photo/journalists are all about, and it’s not the money. 

“My journey took me a little bit further down the Rabbit Hole than I had intended, and though I’ve dirtied my fluffy white tail, I have emerged enlightened.” Sherlock Holmes (the movie)


The Glavny Protivnik


Over a nice dinner with friends, I watched “Capitalism: A Love Story,” a documentary film by Michael Moore.  The Occupy Wall Street crowd later on was inspired to protest the horrendously evil banking practices exposed in this documentary, but sadly the Occupy Wall Street movement lacked real focus and direction, and the Wall Street crowd has always succeeded in buying off any political leaders who might restrict them, and ultimately gaining control of Congress and the WH, whether it be occupied by Democrat or Republican (except for JFK and FDR).  This is the same evil Big Business crowd that’s been responsible for what we did for 45 years in Latin America.  After Communism fell and Wall Street couldn’t use fighting “The Great Communist Threat” in Latin America as an excuse for holding Latin America in economic slavery any longer, this evil crowd turned on America itself (mid 1980s to present).  I think Michael Moore in this one instance has focused on this event, this turning of Wall Street’s focus from the rape of Latin America to that of doing the same thing on North American soil.  This shift of Wall Street’s focus took place in the mid 1980s under President Reagan, as Gorbachev was bringing Soviet Communism to an end.  And Wall Street, reading the handwriting on the wall about loosing it’s trumped up excuse for messing with Latin American governments in the interest of American Big Business (since Truman all the way through Reagan), shifted their evil focus homeward onto US soil.  Now apparently Moore has picked up where my research into the virtual slavery of Latin America left off.  The evil party, Wall Street and Big Business, has been the same from the early 1950s right up to now, it hasn’t changed regardless of whose been in office at the White House, they’ve just bought out everyone (with the exception of FDR and his VP Henry A. Wallace, and JFK, and when they couldn’t buy out JFK, they had him killed).  And ending the Cold War in 1963, as JFK and Nikita Khrushchev wanted to do, would have taken away their excuse for fighting the Communist threat in Latin America, and thus their control of Latin American governments, robbing them of their lucrative hold on Latin American resources.  My research has just had the dots connected from where it left off, bringing it up to the present.  It was an enlightening evening spent with friends, watching this documentary.  I’m a fiscal conservative, always have been, probably always will be.  But I do believe strongly in social justice and taking care of the poor, and I’m also an extreme history nut (my family knows this well).  What these guys have done, going all the way back (in recent history) to Truman, first in Latin America, and now here, is absolutely criminal.  Michael Moore has just laid out the facts clearly and honestly, just as Oliver Stone did in his series “The Untold History of the United States,” and as Eduardo Galeano did in his masterful work “Open Veins of Latin America.”  They all point to the what the Russians would call the Glavny Protivnik, the Main Enemy, and that is what Wall Street and Big Business in America has become since the early 1950s, starting under Truman---which has controlled almost all White House administrations, the CIA and our military objectives.  As a matter of fact, Oliver Stone called the CIA “Capitalism’s Invisible Army.”  So have we identified the Main Enemy of all those helpless Latin Americans yet? or the Main Enemy of all those helpless Americans who suffered under the rape of Wall Street, from the mid-1980s onward to the present?  It isn’t the CIA and their covert Ops, per se, they were merely Capitalism’s Invisible Army, it is Wall Street, Capitalism run wild, capitalism without proper governmental checks and balances.  In the Torah, the Old Testament’s first five books of the Bible, God had land-reform built in, so every family got a plot of land, which couldn’t be permanently sold off, as we’ve seen, it had to be returned to the family that owned it at the end of every 50 years, so no permanent accumulation of land by the rich could occur.  Also every 7th year there was to be a cancellation of all debts, personal, private debt, across the board.  This would prevent a lot of what we’ve seen recently, as documented in Michael Moore’s documentary, and put safeguards on the poor, keeping capitalism and free enterprise in check.  Also, built into the Torah law of God, the laws of the land for ancient Israel, and for the future Millennial Kingdom of God, all lending with usury, interest, will end, so banking as we know it now will end.  Credit unions may exist, but loans would have to be without interest, maybe only charging nominal fees to pay for their employees.  Can you imagine what that would do for the poor?  No, people have no clue how proper government should work.  It would almost appear the Bible has taken the best elements out of each governmental system man has tried, and incorporated the into one form of government, God’s future government for mankind, but not run by mankind.  But it is really the reverse which has taken place.  In reality, mankind has borrowed elements out of the future governmental laws of the land contained in the Torah, and tried to make the governments we see extant.  But merely taking one part out of a whole system and trying to make a form of government out of it has not worked, as we have seen throughout history.  The world, in a sense, is waiting for the sons of God, and the government of God to take over, as Romans 8:19-22 expresses. 





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