About Secret History

Commentary on Latin America.
Mostly about Mexico - but not always.
Designed to encourage readers to learn about
the apparently "secret history" of 500 million people
spread across two continents
- but not always.
You can always count on a little snark.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pirates of Paraguay: Al Qaida in South America

The Guardian threw in its two cents on the topic of terrorists in South America. Their conclusion: We don't know, but maybe somebody ought to look into that. Gah. I suppose that is the best of newspaper journalism at work any more. The extent of their investigation was to read wikkileaks (who says the State Department looked into it), call anti-war activist Ben Dangl (who says no), and read Sebastian Junger (who says yes). Wow. I look forward to Guardian reporter Pratap Chatterjee's appearance on PBS or in the Wall Street Journal as an expert on Latin America. At any rate, if anybody knows of any journalists we could send to Paraguay... . *

The description of the countryside around Ciudad del Este as a possible location for all manner of international mafia and terrorist groups reminds me of Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker's The Many Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic. Not a venture for casual reading, the book explores the spaces outside of domination by the British Empire where people were able to flourish with alternative "community" building societies based on equality and freedom. While I am NOT NOT NOT arguing mafia and all terrorist types have some pursuit of freedom in mind, I am reminded of the idea that the modern project of political and corporate empires is often less desirable among a certain set of the population: remember that the Mennonites went to Paraguay for that very reason. Is it possible that all sorts of global anarchists are hiding out in a jungle some place... history tells us it is possible. Is it the end of the "Western" world... I somehow doubt it, but I'm no Carnac.

*Yes, I have read the NY Times articles - and I would love confirmation that some of the people they were talking to really are up to what they say they are up to.

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