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Bush faces mass protests, opposition to trade pact in Argentina
by wsws (reposted)
Wednesday Nov 2nd, 2005 6:54 AM
Wracked by multiple political crises at home and receiving the lowest approval rating for any recent US president, George W. Bush is leaving the country Thursday to face an even more hostile audience.
The two-day quadrennial Summit of the Americas being held in the Argentine seaside resort of Mar del Plata Nov. 4-5 will be marked by one of the largest demonstrations in the country’s history—called to repudiate the policies of the Bush administration.

On the eve of the summit, the Argentine daily Pagina 12 reported a poll showing that six out of ten Argentines oppose Bush’s presence in the country. By contrast, 75 percent welcomed the visit by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who has been vilified by Washington and has in turn denounced US foreign policy.

Protests began yesterday over the Bush visit—three days before his arrival—with blockades of bridges and highways in the Buenos Aires area and the appearance of posters throughout the Argentine capital bearing the slogans “Stop Bush” and “Fuera Bush,” in some cases superimposed over photographs of wounded Iraqi children.

Nor are the protests limited to Argentina. Last Wednesday, some 6,000 people marched on the US Embassy in Brasilia in an anti-Bush protest. The US president is scheduled to visit the Brazilian capital following the summit, going from there to a stop in Panama before returning to Washington.

The presence of the US president in Argentina has been preceded by the imposition of a massive security clampdown. An army of 7,000 additional police has been deployed in the resort city, which has been divided with three concentric circles of chain-linked fencing. Residents of the area surrounding the summit site have been identified and provided with passes to enter and leave their own homes. “We’ve been imprisoned,” one of them told a local television network.

A 100-mile no-fly zone has been declared surrounding the city, with orders to shoot down unidentified planes.

In addition to the blanket of security imposed by the Argentine government, Bush is arriving with an entourage of some 2,000, much of it composed of security personnel. Last Friday, two giant US military cargo planes arrived in Buenos Aires carrying large quantities of arms and two helicopters for use in guarding the US president.

On Friday a mass march expected to draw as many as 100,000 people will take place in Mar del Plata. Leading it will be popular football star Diego Maradona and Argentine Nobel Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel.

Bush is “a torturer, violator of human rights, an assassin, a violator of United Nations resolutions, of international treaties and of the sovereignty of peoples, as has happened in Iraq,” Pérez Esquivel said in a radio interview Saturday explaining his participation.

Maradona, who now hosts one of Argentina’s most popular television shows, said, “In Argentina, there are people who are against Bush being there. I am the first. He did us a lot of harm. As far as I’m concerned, he is a murderer; he looks down on us and tramples over us. I am going to lead that march along with my daughter.”

Also participating in the march will be Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a US soldier slain in Iraq, and Javier Couso, the brother of the Spanish television cameraman who was killed when an American tank fired on the Hotel Palestine, the headquarters of international journalists, during the US storming of Baghdad in April 2003.

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Battle ahead at Americas summitBBC (reposted)Thursday Nov 3rd, 2005 7:51 PM

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