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Economist Describes Latin Democracy Movement
"The promotion of conflict is a major policy of clandestine operations"
Interview with John Perkins, author of bestseller "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man"

By Fritz Elmendorf


John Perkins, an economist and shaman who recently visited Nosara to lead a seminar at the Blue Spirit Retreat Center, says he was an ‘economic hit man’ who persuaded leaders in Latin America and other developing countries to take on large international loans, with terms that kept them under the thumb of the U.S. government and its major corporations.

Following a talk he gave at Nosara’s Yoga House which was focused on his experiences with shamanism, the Voice of Nosara asked the best-selling author of “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” to comment on events effecting Costa Rica.

Perkins says his experience in Latin America began as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Amazon in the 1960s , where he was taught the skills of shamanism. Although, he says, his later career, taught him how to corrupt governments by persuading their leaders to take on large amounts of debt. Perkins said that loans such as those made by the World Bank and the U.S. Agency for International Development were typically unaffordable and benefited only the rich, leaving the Latin American dictators who accepted them at the mercy of the U.S. government and the corporations which had economic interests in their natural resources.

However, he offered a more nuanced view when discussing Costa Rica’s plans to borrow $800 million from the Inter-American Development Bank to pave the local coastal road, as well as other projects. “If it’s a democratically elected government…roads can be a good investment…. You have to be very careful about the terms. Will it help the poor people? Will the road create enough income to pay it off?”

Although not familiar with the specific situation in Costa Rica, he said, “Roads can be a very good investment, especially small roads, and roads that can help farmers get to market. In each case you have to ask if it’s going to help the poor, the middle class.” Putting it into perspective, he adds, “The only way my grandson is going to inherit a good world is if we get rid of poverty. Every project has to be evaluated on that goal.”

Perkins was not familiar with the current border dispute with Nicaragua, but offered some perspective based on his travels there. He said many Nicaraguans resent Costa Rica for its alleged support of the U.S. anti-Sandinista forces in the 1980s.

He continued, “The CIA loves conflict, it opens the door for more exploitation. It opens the doors for corporations to go in and exploit everything. The promotion of conflict is a major policy of clandestine operations.”

On a somewhat different issue, he reflected on the recent controversy regarding Costa Rica’s renewal last July of its agreement to give U.S. navy the right to bring up to 45 warships to Costa Rican waters.

“Costa Rica is in a key point for all of Central and South America. I’m always amused when I hear that Costa Rica doesn’t have a standing army. It doesn’t have to, it has the U.S. army. This new agreement substantiates that. Ecuador just threw the U.S. out of the biggest military base in South America, so they’re looking around. Costa Rica and Mexico are the only Latin American countries that haven’t been invaded by the U.S. at some point. The U.S. 7th fleet that patrols the Caribbean had been mothballed but has now been brought back out. So Costa Rica is a very convenient place for it to lay up.”

Another controversial project is the proposed gold mine at Las Crucitas, which has been temporarily blocked by a Costa Rican court. Perkins noted that gold mines are particularly polluting and workers are often exploited.

“On the other hand, if the mine is set up with safety and environmental safeguards, and protection for the workers, it can be good. But there almost always has to be some ownership by the workers. It can be a good thing, but there are all these trade offs. You have to look very carefully at these things,” said the economist.

Interview with John Perkins, author of best-seller
“Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”

“The people are taking back our power”

By Fritz Elmendorf


While the world’s attention may be on the democracy movement in Egypt, Latin America has also experienced a major move toward democracy in the wake of diminished power of the United States, according to bestselling author John Perkins.

Perkins, an economist and a shaman who recently lead a seminar at the Blue Spirit Retreat Center, provided an insider’s perspective on the political changes taking place in this region, in an interview with Voice of Nosara.  He says he is a repentant former ‘economic hit-man’ -- his job as a consulting economist for the World Bank was to help arrange legal bribes for U.S. supported dictators that kept them in power and suppressed democratic opposition.

His insider’s view is detailed in his 2004 best selling book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, which describes how Latin American dictators were enticed to take on unaffordable loans from the World Bank and other lenders, whose terms kept them under the thumb of the U.S. government.

Leaders who resisted this economic corruption typically became the victims of assassinations or coups instigated by the CIA, Perkins said.But this began to change in the past decade following the failure to depose Venezuelan President Hugh Chavez in a 2002 coup orchestrated by the CIA, he said. “That changed everything. The U.S. was shown to be a paper tiger,” Perkins told VON.

Latin American leaders and populations had been intimated by the U.S. and there was “a huge undercurrent of resentment. The intelligence community was very successful in installing dictatorships and keeping them in power,” but that began to fall apart with Chavez’ open defiance and survival.

The U.S. didn’t follow up against Chavez, Perkins says, because the Administration was so committed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in addition felt they would need Venezuelan oil.The groundswell grew, and Perkins said there are now 10 Latin American countries with new democracies replacing dictatorships. He says they are exemplified by leaders such as Evo Morales in Bolivia and Rafael Correa in Ecuador. 
He said that although the CIA successfully instigated a coup against President Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, who had advocated a raise in the minimum wage and land reform, thus threatening U.S. corporations there, the CIA bungled a coup against Correa in Ecuador.

“Correa is a huge problem for the U.S., he has a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago -- you can’t call him an anti-capitalist,” Perkins said and noted that  he is a leader in the ‘don’t pay the debt’ movement, and didn’t renew the lease for the U.S. military base there. He has also advocated changing the currency from the U.S. dollar to its own currency.

Moreover, the indigenous populations of Ecuador and Bolivia have also become very active and influential, he added, and have been able to shut down the countries with strikes to protest their impoverishment.
According to a recent blog posting by Perkins, “Current events in the Middle East are indicative of this new era when we the people are taking back our power. It started in Latin America where 10 countries – that for many years had been ruled by CIA-supported dictators – elected presidents who are standing up to the corporatocracy. Now a similar movement is seeding itself in the Middle East.”


More Regional News

Samara Bridge Collapses under Trailer's Weight
Conavi started work on a provisional route

On Wednesday April 23th, machinery arrived to prepare for closing the bridge over Buena Vista river between Bar Las Vegas and the sawmill, the main route entering Samara from Nicoya. On Thursday morning, work began on a provisional route around the bridge by Vista Verde Restaurant. Thursday afternoon, around 12:30 p.m., the bridge collapsed as a trailer loaded with heavy stone was passing over it. More >

Samara Police Roughing It in the Community Hall
Police must wait at least two more weeks before repairs are finished

Renovations to the Samara Police facility, which began on February 10th, are expected to take at least two more weeks.  In the meantime, the police have been roughing it in the community hall and a small office lent by Hotel Giada. More > 

Survivor of Cinchona Earthquake urges Samara to be prepared
Local committee appointed to organize Samara for emergencies

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Tsunami Alert
Population on the coast should evacuate to higher altitudes

After an 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck Japan and 10 meter high waves hit the country, the National Emergency Commission announced a green alarm on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. As a tsunami might hit the coast around 4 p.m., coastal residents are advised to start evacuating to higher altitudes starting from 2 p.m. More >

Union of Forces Opened A Space For Student With Wheelchairs

Early on the morning of Wednesday, March 2nd, a group of students, parents and teachers at Samara Integrated Center for Youth and Adult Education (CINDEA de Samara) armed themselves with shovels. They were united by their enthusiasm to give a better quality life to one of the students in the program. Mas >

Bathers are unprotected by lack of lifeguards on beaches

“At 11:30 a.m. she came in, hugged everybody and said she wanted to go to the beach. At 1:30 p.m., she drowned". Just like that, with those words, Jim MacKenzie narrated Kattia María Umaña Chaverri's death, which took place on January 25th. The lack of warning signs on dangerous beach areas put the life of three teenagers at risk, killing their mother. More >

Presidential Visit
President Chinchilla Complains in Nicoya Over Lack of Money

At almost 12:00 p.m. and under a burning sun, a long line of people that almost reached the high table assembled, holding in their hands letters and envelopes of all sizes with petitions for the President. Irene Pacheco, the President's assistant, was in charge of receiving a total of 96 petitions. More >

New Dike Proposal for Nosara Meets with Doubts
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Traffic Police Seeks to Reorganize Nicoya's City Limits
• Heavy vehicle drivers invade restricted zones

The road chaos that has prevailed for the past five years in the city of Nicoya upsets and concerns its residents, who demand a reorganization.

Missing, fallen or misplaced traffic signs, a blurry road demarcation, vehicles parked on restricted areas or taxi stops and vehicles driving the wrong way down the street are just some of the irregularities seen in Nicoya. More >

10 Myths About a Local Earthquake

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