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Old 02-19-2012, 10:09 AM
SeC SeC is offline
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Wink Resource Nationalism: Why the West is Jittery


Resource Nationalism: Why the West is Jittery

Garikai Chengu

Since World War II, the United States has been involved in the overthrow of 52 foreign leaders, some of them democratically elected. The common thread among these leaders has been resource nationalism: Lumumba, Nkrumah, João Goulart, Salvador Allende, Isabel Martinez de Perón and Gaddafi, to name but a few.

To this day the leaders under the most pressure from America are not necessarily the most corrupt or undemocratic - they are resource nationalists.

Note Mr Chavez and his agrarian reform and pro-poor oil policies; President Mugabe and his land reform and indigenisation programme; Mr Ahmadinejad and his nationalised oil industry and quest for nuclear capability for domestic energy needs; the late Kim Jong Il and his non free market system and "Juche" system of self-reliance.

The reason for US pressure on these leaders is simple: the biggest threat to America's capitalist imperialist economic model is lack of access to foreign markets. Or put simply, resource nationalism.

If these leaders and their policies succeed, Venezuela, Zimbabwe and Iran would encourage other Latin American, African and Middle Eastern nations to follow suit. Thereby, hindering American access to 35 percent of the global market.

A prime example of how one nation's resource nationalism can reshape an entire continent to the betterment of the poor and the detriment of US corporate interests is Venezuela.

Mr Chavez has nationalised oil to promote free health care and education. The President has also dished out land to the poor. These resource nationalist policies have seen poverty tumble from 70 percent when Mr Chavez took office to just under 20 percent today.

Venezuela now has the most equitable income distribution of any nation in Latin America.
Largely, thanks to Venezuela's sharp reduction in poverty, unemployment and inequality, resource nationalism is sweeping across Latin America like wildfire. Unsurprisingly, Chavez has been singled out for an attempted CIA backed coup in 2002 and has been demonised by western media left, right and centre.

Just recently Chavez launched the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). Thirty-three heads of state from across the Americas came together to mark the monumental occasion.

The importance of this new institution in world politics cannot be overstated. The combined gross domestic product of the countries within CELAC make it the third-largest economic powerhouse in the world. It is also home to the world's largest oil reserves and the first and third largest global producers of food and energy, respectively.

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Resource Nationalism: Why the West is Jittery

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