Jon Lee Anderson: “From now on, Cuba will be more like other modern societies: a lot of economy, little mystique”
Jon Lee Anderson: “The recession has put journalism in checkmate”
For Hunter S. Thompson, author of the most essential reporting in journalism of the 1960s and 1970s, there were two kinds of reporters: those who resembled a lightning rod, that is, those who traveled to a place and waited for something unexpected to happen. download the information onto them as if it were a electroshock, and those that could be compared to a seismograph, those professionals who do not wait for things to happen to them, but put their ears to the ground, as if they were going to rob a train
that gets closer, and they try to capture the movements that nobody can appreciate, but that explain communities, societies or countries.
Jon Lee Anderson
, legendary reporter with a few laps on his odometer, may be one of the latter. This Californian author, who speaks Spanish with a border aroma, received the 2005 Reporters of the World award from this newspaper and a regular on the pages of such prestigious magazines as
, has been piling up pins on his newspaper world map for decades, and it’s no wonder his new book,
The Spiral Years
(Sixth floor), I started it off with a big earthquake. We are in 2010 and Puerto Principe, the capital of
, a state founded in the Caribbean by former slaves. Smells like death from
the corpses that remain under the rubble
and thousands of people try to raid the food stores that NGOs have brought there while US soldiers try to bring order to the streets at gunpoint. From there, and following the seismic waves of the earthquake, Jon Lee Anderson recounts the last decade of Latin America in a frenzied journey from the pink tide that brought many left-wing leaders to power, but ended with the death of
Fidel and Chvez and the fall of Evo, Correa, Lula or Dilma
, in addition to the catastrophic agony of Maduro’s Venezuela. Virtually every country in the southern cone has suffered convulsions, as if history had suddenly accelerated to twice its speed. The process of attrition has ended up affecting even those countries with a more stable economy. Let’s think of Chile. It’s funny about
, a country that I know well because it is like my refuge. The alternation of power between the center-left and the center-right takes place without altercations. Let’s think about Bachelet and Piera. Until the outbreak of last year, which surprised me a lot, especially in terms of its size. How are those
in a country with a Germanic side, like Chile, but with its rebellious point? Chile, in any case, is among the countries that are at the forefront of the search for solutions to its existential problem. It is a very interesting country to observe for its commitment to democracy, even though it also has these streaks that range from fascism to the most radical anarchism, says Anderson from his home in the south of England, from which he fights the feeling of confinement. watching the sea in the distance. – What is the country in Latin America that best exemplifies that process of which you speak in Los Aos de la Spiral? – Well, I hadn’t considered it. Maybe it would be between
or Brazil. But if I have to keep one, Venezuela would say. At the beginning of the decade, in 2010, he was at the peak of the heyday of Chavismo, but anyone could see that there were many problems under the surface. Chvez was alive, although he had already been diagnosed with cancer. Then we attended
the great hecatomb of the last decade
. Something similar happened in Brazil. Lula was in power, one of the most beloved men on the planet, to end up, years later, voting for Bolsonaro. Indeed, Anderson analyzes the arrival of these right-wing populists in the region, such as Bolsonaro in Brazil, ez in Bolivia, and Bukele in Honduras. But also left-wing populists like
, the president of Mexico, a kind of mystical guru, as Anderson calls him, with a know-it-all dad demeanor who is only trying to appease Trump. With President Trump, the Latin countries have remained like that boxer who uses the ropes to avoid falling to the canvas, making himself small and invisible so that Trump would not notice them, which is what most of them have done, except Cuba. , Venezuela or Nicaragua, which have opted for a symbolic rebellion in the face of Trump’s mediocrity, says Anderson. At the same time, Latin America became the region in the world with the most homicides and violent crimes on the planet, and drug trafficking became, in many countries, a state within a state. In other countries of the continent, such as
, the Kirchners have propped up the culture of
the corruption that Carlos Menem sowed
and the rotten octopus of the call
It reached presidents or senior officials from Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Brazil and El Salvador, to name a few countries. To explain how Latin America has come to this degradation, we must go back to the 90s: It has to do with a logical, historical evolution of the political essence of the continent since the Cold War. We had a period, when the USSR fell, of the disappearance of armed struggles and counterinsurgency. In the Clinton years, the US did not act to define its policy, but its economy. What I remember from those years is that desire to export the market and neoliberalism, because capitalism had won and the USSR had collapsed. We saw huge privatizations. The Nafta treaty with Mexico, for example, privatized all corn.
Dunkin Donuts take over El Salvador
and Menem stole everything he could in Argentina. At that time almost everything was sold. Even the water. Those were the years of the bargain and the large-scale corruption began, at the same time, by the way, as in Spain. Many left-wing politicians were corrupted at that time, says Anderson. – What is the character that has most caught your attention in this process? –
I was dismayed by his way of acting.
I walked over the dead
who had just been killed in the seizure of the residence of the Japanese ambassador in Lima with necrophiliac behavior. He was the first president of Latin America to fall through corruption. From that moment on it became commonplace.
Politicians are no longer public servants but thieves
, Italian. Linked to this phenomenon comes the rise of drug trafficking, which devastates institutions and honesty in many countries due to the enormous amount of money it moves. Anderson is one of the people who has spent the most years studying the personality of the guerrilla
. He dedicates a chapter to Che in which he tells how the errors of that elimination operation by the CIa and the Bolivian army in the jungle later determined that the United States would end with Bin Laden throwing the body into the sea to avoid a pilgrimage to the place. of his death. Passed by country, and character by character (many, like Obama himself, he has met from short distances), we come to the elephant in the room: Donald Trump. – How did we get to this situation in the United States? – Due to the negligence and neglect of all of us around the essential fabric of all democracies. Watching Trump rise to power and degrade institutions from the first day he enters the White House and adjust to every day in four years has been one of the most Olympic mistakes of the modern era. The proof is how it’s ended, with those Capitol riots where the whole world saw Trump call for action and speak to the protesters and ask them to march to the building looking for politicians to hang up. People asked me, what do you think of this, Jon? I stayed in
by the incredible images of people breaking into that sacred precinct, but part of me was not surprised, because we have normalized everything that Trump has done for years. It’s like Twitter. At last they have taken the account, but there are people who have been demanding for years that they do it so that he would stop spreading his hatred, his racism and his manipulation to divide Americans. – Should he be tried? –
I want to see Trump not only prosecuted but imprisoned, humiliated
and deprived of his fortune. He’s a bully who never learns anything. He’s an evil guy who doesn’t deserve to be in public life. We need an exemplary judgment for him and his entourage. It is a message that must be sent to the world. It’s amazing that so many people support it. The trials have to be transparent, with charges that are very understandable to all Americans, but I don’t know if this will end the phenomenon that he has unleashed, and that can be a big problem.
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism