War On Terror - Target: Americas

“The new War on Terror is going to be a different war,” announced George W Bush to the world just after that fateful day in September 2001. For once, Bush chose his words carefully. He called it the new War on Terror, because, as many have since pointed out, the Reagan Administration had actually made the declaration of a “War on Terror” 20 years before in reference to the Soviet Union’s alleged support of an international "terrorist" network. Ironically, it was during the Reagan years that Washington itself sponsored and directed terrorist acts with ferocious precision.

Many aspects of the War on Terror have been practiced before, especially in Latin America. It is already evident that the "terrorist" trope is being indiscriminately applied to groups in the region as disparate as insurgent rebel groups, teachers' unions and undocumented immigrants; this is similar to the way “Communist” was the all-purpose label for the “internal enemy” of the Dirty Wars. Colombia is only the most glaring example of how the War on Terror threatens to further devastate the region by making a bad situation worse.

This Report analyzes these changes and looks at some of the effects on countries that have internalized the War on Terror.


Taking Note

Fred Rosen
What are we to make of the Bush Administration’s continual withdrawal from international agreements? Of its naming of hard-line hawks to sensitive international posts?


“The new war on terror is going to be a different war,” announced George W. Bush to the world just after that fateful day in September 2001. As events began to unfold, however, it became clear that there was little that was all that “different” about this war.

Open Forum

Laura Carlsen
On his first trip abroad after re-election, George W. Bush, in Chile for a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC), was greeted by thousands of angry Chileans protesting his trade and military policies and telling him to go home.


Fred Rosen
About 10 million current U.S. residents were born in Mexico, and a great many of them regularly send money home, paying a kind of informal, voluntary income tax to their homeland. The Bank of Mexico estimates that remittances over the course of 2004 amounted to $16.6 billion dollars, up 24% over 2003.


Marcelo Ballvé
Anti-americanism is again becoming a force to be reckoned with in Latin America. Throughout the 1990s, anti-Americanism was generally latent in the region, only marginally influential in political life. In those days, Latin America’s capitals indulged in free-market reforms, welcoming a frenzy of privatizations and deregulatory schemes choreographed by Washington and the Washington-dominated international financial institutions.
Tom Barry
Whose side are you on? That’s the question that President George W. Bush asked in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. And he gave the world his answer and warning: “Either you are with us or against us.”
Adam Isacson
Looking around Latin America today, one could be reasonably encouraged by the regional security picture. Beyond Colombia and the remnants of Peru’s Shining Path insurgency, there are no civil wars and relatively little organized political violence in the hemisphere. While social upheavals have occurred, they have most often been resolved constitutionally.
Bill Weinberg
In july 1994, a new york city detective with the FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorist Task Force came to the door of Ibrahim González, a jazz musician, teacher and radio producer in the Bronx. Saying “his name came up in an investigation,” the agent questioned González about phone calls, charitable donations and houseguests.
Jo-Marie Burt
In July 2000, I was invited by a colleague to attend a conference at San Marcos University in Lima at which he had been asked to speak. “It will be a unique experience,” he promised me. “It is being organized by Shining Path people.”
Heather Hanson & Rogers Romero Penna
Professor Alfredo Correa De Andreis was a respected member of the community in Barranquilla and a peace activist. He had been dean of the Magdalena University and was a professor at the University of the North and Simón Bolivar University.
Nazih Richani
As Colombia’s peace negotiations continue to go nowhere, it is important to consider the role of the United States. It was U.S. intervention that changed the incentive structure for the military, the agribusiness elite and their right-wing allies who might have been more inclined to negotiate under a balance of forces they perceived to be in favor of their enemy, the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).


Controversy over Haiti As someone who has traveled to Haiti as a human rights observer, I am deeply disturbed by some of the statements made in Jane Reganís article. Perhaps most troubling was the assertion that resistance to the overthrow of the democratically elected government "has dwindled to several hundred mostly young men in the capitalís Bel-Aire neighborhood, some of them very visibly armed."

Tracking the Economy

James T. Kimer
George w. bush’s “political capital” is rapidly being spent on his controversial Social Security privatization initiative. Grasping for positive examples of privatization, the President and his supporters are now looking to Chile, whose system Bush recently called “a great example.”

In Brief

Ben Plimpton
Although it is not the only labor union operating in El Salvador’s maquiladora sector, the Union of Textile Industry Workers (STIT) is arguably the most successful. In November 2002, STIT secured collective bargaining rights for workers employed at a Tainan Enterprises clothing factory outside San Salvador.