Chronicle of a Coup Foretold

Photograph Source: U.S. Department of State – Public Domain

Will the US left work to normalize the impending coup attempt in Mexico the way it did for Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil and Nicaragua?

Last July I gave a speech in the Left Forum in Brooklyn. When it was over, A young activist stood up and announced, in perfect English, that they were an anarchist from Mexico who had traveled to the Left Forum to speak out against the human rights abuses being perpetrated by “neoliberal” Mexican president Lopes Obrador against protesters. Since the panel I participated in had nothing to do with Mexico, I imagined an entire battalion of self-proclaimed Mexican vanguard leftists changing the subject in panel after panel at the left forum to damage AMLO’s image by exaggerating the connection between the Mexican president and local police forces under the control of opposition governments, as had happened to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff during the lead up to the World Cup. ‘So it begins’, I thought. As we say in Brazil, ‘I’ve seen this movie before’.

Based on the fact that the Integral State – the government, media, corporations, academic institutions, political parties, think tanks and NGOS which support the imperialist project – loves to recycle regime change tactics and strategies, I would like to predict how actors within the US left might, either overtly or inadvertently, strengthen support for the coup attempt which is obviously already kicking off against Mexico – a country that has petroleum deposits and other natural resources coveted by US corporations; a country whose children are already being held in American cages. This article is meant to help identify warning signs and hopefully lower the number of American progressives who fall for the same psyops techniques that were used against Honduras, Paraguay, Brazil, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Bolivia during recent US-supported coups and coup attempts in those countries. Although this article is satire, I have inserted links to similar types of articles from progressive media outlets about Latin American countries that have suffered from recent US-backed regime change attempts.

Based on what has happened recently to other Pink Tide governments in Latin America, I believe that so-called left voices in the anglo media might pave the way for the normalization of a coup attempt in Mexico as follows:

Stage 1

An American leftist magazine begins a campaign of articles by NED-funded Trotskyist academics about how AMLO is “betraying the left.” On the environmental front, AMLO is chastised for failing to immediately ween the Mexican economy off of fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, liberal media companies such as New York Times, Intercept and the Guardian, some of which have already transferred their top Latin America writers into Mexico City, run dozens of articles highlighting unfinished mega construction projects, crime, environmental crises and corruption,as if they are not systematic structural problems caused by centuries of parasitic capitalist exploitation and coups perpetrated by the US and its northern allies. They will pretend it is entirely new phenomenon in Mexico, which according to the useful idiots, exists in a geopolitical vacuum.

Stage 2

As pressure mounts against Mexico, a US leftist media outlet runs an appeal for leftists to be “honest” about AMLO, written by, a respected Latin American studies professor,who has not lived in Latin America since his PhD research, 30 years ago.  This piece will insist that AMLO is a capitalist, who does not deserve our solidarity. This is followed by a flurry of smug articles by grad students desperate to escape from the future nightmare of adjuncting focusing on AMLO’s “failures”.

None of them mention the US or imperialism. Every campaign promise that is not delivered, every policy initiative that doesn’t fulfill its purpose, is the fault of the sell-outs in the Mexican left. They all ignore the breathtaking obstructionism of the right-wing. Mexico needs a new left – one that makes a clean break from the past, from it’s unions and its social movements. The purpose of this flurry of negative analysis, whether intentional or not, weaken solidarity with Mexico, which is already weak due to the constant barrage of subtle, brain-washing racism against Mexican-Americans in the hegemonic media and entertainment industry.

Meanwhile, a new social movement springs up in Mexico, led by white, upper middle class university students, under the slogan of “no flags, no political parties”.

Stage 3

As International NGOs like Human Rights Watch and Transparency International, together with corporate-funded think tanks like AS/COA feed slanderous news-bytes into the hegemonic media, which is suddenly more interested in Mexico than it has ever been before. The protests begin expand.

Conservative elites parade through the streets singing the US national anthem parroting the racist slogans against indigenous groups and cold war anti-communist rhetoric inundates the social media, thanks to a massive Cambridge Analytica-style US/UK funded psy-ops operation.

The most popular progressive radio program in the country brings one of the young protesters onto the show, to talk about the horrible human rights abuses committed by “AMLO’s police.”  A major progressive Latin American studies organization invites a group of protesters up to participate in a panel discussion about authoritarianism. They wear masks, but later remove them to take selfies during a meeting with Mike Rubio and Ted Cruz. The nuance that the Mexican president doesn’t have any more control over local police forces than Obama did over the Oklahoma City or Dallas police during his presidency, is lost in the translation.

On Twitter, a prominent member of “The Squad” begins to publicly worry about the growing “authoritarianism” in Mexico. This is retweeted uncritically by tens of thousands of US progressives including most of the largest left-leaning media institutions, their journalists and editors.

Stage 4

Obrador falls. The neoliberal party originally supported by the US-backed coup mongers crashes and burns and a Trump/Bolsonaro/Boris Johnson style neofascist clown, backed by the narcotraffickers and the military takes the lead in a hastily set up election campaign. During the month before the elections the Guardian runs 22 articles explaining why the neofascist clown candidate isn’t really so bad.

As environmental protection agencies and labor laws are dismantled, pograms begin against indigenous peoples and slum dwellers. Assassinations and arbitrary arrests of labor and social movement leaders begin.

Left and liberal media organizations alike, begin running hand-wringing articles about what went wrong. Indigenous and union leaders -ignored during the coup process –  suddenly find themselves being invited to give interviews and write op-ed pieces for prominent American media outlets.

Meanwhile, according to the same media groups, a specter hangs over Argentina. On the pages of the most popular socialist publication in America, a NED-funded Troskyist academic asks, “are Fernandez and Kirchner opening the doors of neoliberalism?”

Brian Mier is a native Chicagoan who has lived in Brazil for 25 years. He is co-editor of Brasil Wire and Brazil correspondent for TeleSur English’s TV news program, From the South.