Friday, July 6, 2007

Markos Moulitsas' "Family Business" Linked
to Death Squads in El Salvador

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Cross-posted at the Francis L. Holland Blog and The Truth About Kos blog.

After my article connecting Markos Moulitsas Zúniga to the CIA and international whale birthing ground polluters, some readers of MyLeftWing have demanded to know why it makes any difference that Markos Alberto Moulitsas Zúñiga supported Republican presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Republican Rep. Henry Hyde, and that Markos trained with the CIA for six months in 2001 and supports "states rights." This article explains why certain behaviors and beliefs are simply incompatible with being a "progressive."

Carlos Alberto Delgado Zúniga, listed in public records as a "manager" at Moulitsas' family hotel, is a board member of the "Asociacion Nacional de Empresa Privada" (ANEP), which means "National Association of Private Enterprise. "The Center for International Policy has said regarding ANEP and quoting CIA documents:

In 1983, another source provided the U.S. embassy with a chilling account of how death-squad operations were planned, financed and executed. According to the source, these right-wing death squads, which were all connected to D'Aubuisson's group (...), and some members of the National Association of Businessmen (ANEP) ... The chain of command then proceeds to death-masters like [deleted] [who] have contacts with retired officers who go around to the different security forces as "black bag" men, paying off and recruiting likely foot-soldiers. The latter are recruited at the lower and even middle levels (captains and majors) of the different security forces.

Death squad hit-men thus recruited are on the receiving end of a vertical hierarchy leading up to the paymasters whom the foot-soldiers do not know...).(17)
Center for International Policy

The man listed as the “manager” at Markos Moulitsas “family business,” the Hotel Suites Japultapeque, The “Camara Salvadoreña de Tourismo” (Salvadoran Board of Tourism) is a “member group” of El Salvador’s “Asociacíon Nacional de Empresa Privada” (ANEP) (National Association of Private Corporations). As president of the Salvadoran Board of Tourism, Carlos Alberto Delgado Zúñiga, who is listed as “manager” at Markos Moulitsas “family business” hotel conglomerate, is also the highest official from the Camara Salvadoreña de Turismo (CASATUR) (the Salvadoran Board of Tourism) who sits, effectively, on the member board of the National Association of Private Businesses (ANEP). This arrangement is called an “interlocking directorate.”

To understand what an interlocking directorate is, one must first understand something about the management of major corporations. (…)Highly interlocked corporations, such as David Rockefeller's Chase Manhattan Bank, are well positioned to exercise a certain measure of influence over the corporate community, and to informally enforce some degree of ideological discipline. ProgressiveLiving.Org

The list of corporate participants in the Salvadoran National Association of Private Corporations (ANEP) is a “who’s who” of national and multinational corporations doing business in the country, including the Salvadoran Sugar Company, the Salvadoran Cement Company, Xerox El Salvador, Microsoft, Nestle and Rayovac.

This quote about the ANEP’s role in the Salvadoran Civil War of the 1970’s and 1980’s makes it clear that ANEP is anything but a “progressive” organization:

In 1976, in response to a mild attempt at land reform by the government, the businessmen and land owners quickly

intervened. The outcry from the Asociacion Nacional de Empresa Privada (ANEP--National Association of Private Enterprise) and Frente Agraria Region Oriental (FARO—Eastern Region Agrarian Front) brought on a government crisis that blocked the attempt. The right was not content to leave all repression up to the security forces however, and the death squad known as the Union Guerrera Blanca (UGB--White Warrior Union) soon made its presence known in the assassination of any one known or thought to be connected with the guerilla movement. The UGB was staunchly anti-communist, anti-guerilla, and rumored to work closely with the security forces.

The Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Anticomunista-Guerra de Eliminacion (FALANGE--Anti-Communist Armed Forces of Liberation-War of Elimination) was another right wing death squad believed to consist of active, retired, or off duty members of the security forces. Global Security.Org

However, not all of ANEP’s work has been extra-legal, because its member corporations also act as members of the legal business community. The following quotes about their involvement in US-sponsored globalization of industry and attempts to privatize El Salvador’s public hospitals should give a clearer idea:

ANEP is a strong institutional proponent of globalization of national economies, as shown in this 2002 quote a then president of ANEP, cited in one of El Salvador’s most prominent newspapers, La Prensa:

La empresa privada reconoce que las negociaciones para un Tratado de Libre Comercio con Estados Unidos han sido el factor que ha potenciado la integración regional en los últimos meses.

Translated: Private enterprise recognizes that the negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with the United States has been a factor that has catalyzed the regional integration in recent months.

Antonio Saca, presidente de la Asociación Nacional de la Empresa Privada (ANEP), declara que en estos momentos es una “urgente necesidad”, y que Centroamérica no tiene otra alternativa que unificarse ante la globalización.

Translated: Antonio Saca, president of the National Association of Private Corporations, declared that at this time there is an “urgent necessity,” and that Central America has no alternative except to become united in globalization. Archive.LaPrensa

To see ANEP’s participation in worker abuses in the context of Central American globalization, see also Human Rights Watch: U.S. TRADE AND AID POLICIES IN EL SALVADOR AND THE U.S.-CENTRAL AMERICA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT

The following quote describes what happened in El Salvador when the Salvadoran right wingers, including organizations such as ANEP, began pressuring for the privatization of El Salvador’s public hospitals, with support from the United States:

It is an irony that most world leaders do not practice what they preach around the elections. The President of El Salvador, Francisco Flores, of the rightist Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) is no exception. On June 1, 1999, when he was sworn into the presidency, the first promise he made to his strife torn, catastrophe ravaged country was to provide more employment. "The foremost and most urgent requirement of our government is to promote jobs," However, the next few years saw him embark on a path of privatization and trade negotiations that would result in massive job cuts. And this move was to affect with maximum impact, the most basic and crucial of all sectors, health and medical care. It also brought about the largest protests in the recent history of El Salvador, protests that were to continue over the next nine long months.

The recent upsurge in protests marked its beginning in September, 2002 when healthcare workers and doctors went on a strike to protest the closing down of the main hospitals that run under the aegis of the Salvadoran Institute of Social Security (ISSS), the institution that is responsible for running the country's public healthcare system which provides free healthcare and social security coverage to all organized workers in the country. The closure included the leading cancer hospital of the country. The protests were started by members of the hospital workers union (STISSS) of the Salvadoran Institute of Social Security along with the social security doctors union (SIMETRISSS) from the public hospital system.

The move to close down public hospitals was a culmination of government efforts to extend privatization and opening up of the economy. Already major foreign private investments, mainly by US companies, have taken place in the sectors of electricity and telecommunications. It is also widespread in the financial sector. Attempts to privatize the health sector had been initiated even earlier in 2000, but protests and strikes had soon ended that process. This particular effort emerged as a result of the proposals presented by the National Association of Private Business (ANEP) during the Second National Encounter of Private Businesses (ENADE). The ANEP suggested these proposals ostensibly for gearing the economy towards the so-called modernization of healthcare services and the concession of auxiliary services in medical facilities.

The keenness of the government to follow through with these proposals reflected not only a rightist inclination to agree with the Washington Consensus but also private gains. ARENA's significant efforts to dismantle the public sector, even in key areas, stem from a desire to make El Salvador attractive to the foreign investors. In the context of the coming Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) negotiations, which in the name of free trade, intends to open up even the public sectors of the Central American economies to US investors, the former has become imperative for the government. Of course, it can simultaneously ensure future incomes for itself. Ironically, the privatization process has included private companies owned by the Minister of Health though it is illegal for ministers of the Salvadoran government to benefit from such contracts. And this appears to be the rule rather than the exception.

The proposals by the ANEP, enthusiastically followed through by the Flores Government, not only threatened the employment conditions of healthcare workers but also proposed a withdrawal of subsidized and cheap healthcare facilities that were provided by the system. The limited privatisation that had already taken place in this sector in several hospital departments, food and security services had seen costs rise substantially. This therefore, was much bigger than an unemployment issue; it affected the supply conditions of a crucial service that in turn affected a large section of the population. It threatened the average Salvadoran's basic access to healthcare. These aspects were significantly stressed by SIMETRISSS and STISSS.

The strike continued with more workers and doctors joining each week and with larger areas of medical facilities being included. On October 23rd, 2003, the first white march (white - in solidarity with hospital workers and doctors) was organized and led by the STISSSS and SIMETRISSS. Estimates of protestors varied from 8,000 to 200,000 but there was no doubt that this march saw the transformation of the protests into a larger social movement with people from all walks of life joining in to defend their basic right to public healthcare. Many organizations, starting from those involved in the field of healthcare and human rights to those representing rural populations participated in the protest. Workers from other public sectors like electricity, transport and water, the other targets of privatization moves, joined in. STSEL, the union of Electricity workers had also been staging its own protests against the firing of its workers since March 2002. University students, women's groups and churches were also a major presence in this and the following protests over the next eight months. NetworkIdeas.Org

IdeasWeb.Org goes on to explain some of the effects that this privatization will have on El Salvador:

However, issues of concern in the health sector are by no means eliminated. The government gives indications that it wants to crush the strong health care workers' unions, such that possibilities for such protests are eliminated in the future. It also helps to woo the foreign investor to invest in public sector units. Simultaneously the threat of private health insurance companies and HMOs is by no means eliminated.

However, the main threat remains embodied in the CAFTA or the Central American Free Trade Agreement that President Bush proposed in January 2002, in preparation for the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). Following the lines of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, CAFTA is to be a union of the trading zones of the US with that of Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador and is to be finalized by the end of 2003.

The US already contributes more than 60% of El Salvador's imports. The country has also been lowering its tariff barriers in compliance with WTO rules. Therefore a free market for goods has not been a problem for the US. However, over 80% of all Salvadoran exports are in intermediate or capital goods where tariffs have been zero or negligible. Most of the reduced or near zero subsidies have been in manufactured or bulk non-agricultural goods. Agriculture has not been a major recipient of US exports, a situation likely to change with the signing of the CAFTA. IdeasWeb.Org

Read the entire IdeasWebsite.Org article for an better understanding of the forces at work and for a better understanding of why, for Markos Moulitsas Zúñiga, acknowledging his family background would severely complicate his efforts to present himself to the American Left as a potential leader of “progressives.”

FIDE (Forum de Inversiones

Carlos Alberto Delgado Zúñiga, president of the Salvadoran Board of Tourism and involved with large hotel, casino and cruise ship interests, is spearheading an effort for a new “Law of Tourism” in El Salvador. The following article on the Salvadoran Tourism Board’s website explains the goals of the proposed “Law of Tourism.”

Ley de Turismo de El Salvador

La Cámara Salvadoreña de Turismo ha trabajado incansablemente, con el apoyo y consenso de todo el sector privado turístico de El Salvador, en obtener una Ley de Turismo de beneficio para todos los sectores. A la vez, que sea una Ley competitiva a nivel internacional y que esté a la altura de los demás países del resto de Centroamérica.

Translated: The Salvadoran Tourism Board has been working indefatigably, with the support and consensus of all of the private tourism sector of El Salvador, to enact a “Law of Tourism” for the benefit of these sectors. At the same time, it should be a law competitive on an international level and at the level of the rest of Central American countries. This is an effort to make local laws hospital to an internationalization of tourism and the economy in general, consistent with the goals of the Central American Free Trade Agreement that has been championed by President Bush.

Dentro de este trabajo, el Comité Técnico Consultivo de CASATUR ha sostenido reuniones con la Asociación Nacional de la Empresa Privada (ANEP) y con la Cámara de Comercio e Industria de El Salvador, a quienes se les han hecho presentaciones sobre la importancia del turismo en nuestro país y de contar con un instrumento jurídico que permita el fortalecimiento permanente del desarrollo del turismo.

Translated: Within this work, the Technical Consultation Committee of CASATUR (the Salvadoran Turism Board) has held meetings with the Asosiación Nacional de Empresa Privada (ANEP) (National Association of Private Corporations) and the Board of Commerce and Industry of El Salvador, to whom we have made presentations about the importance of tourism for our country and explained the necessity for a juridical instrument [The Law of Tourism] that would permit the permanent reinforcement of the development of tourism. Rich people get richer when the sculpt the legal framework of a country to suit their business interests.

Uno de los aspectos primordiales para el sector privado turístico dentro de la Ley, es la creación del Fondo de Promoción Turística (FODEPROTUR) como un ente autónomo dedicado exclusivamente para la promoción turística del país.

Translated: One of the fundamental aspects for private tourism industry within the the Law [of Tourism] is the creation of the Fondo de Promoción Turística (FODEPROTUR) (Tourism Promotion Fund) as an autonomous entity dedicated exclusively to the promotion of the tourism of El Salvador. This is where rich Salvadorans set up a mechanism to take money from the Salvadoran government and also create a channel for contributions to “private industry development” monies from the US Government.

CASATUR considera que el turismo es una forma viable de desarrollo sostenible y que el dólar turístico produce un efecto cascada, el cual se derrama a múltiples sectores sociales.

CASATUR believes that tourism is a viable form of sustainable development and that the tourist dollar produces a cascade effect, which flows to multiple social strata. In other words, if you give money to people who are rich, that will ultimately help the poor, which is the “trickle down theory” that Markos Moulitsas supported by supporting Ronald Reagan back in the 1980’s. (…) CASATUR

No comments: