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Bush’s visit sparks upheavals in Argentina
by wsws (reposted)
Saturday Nov 5th, 2005 9:20 AM
The participation of US President George W. Bush in the Summit of the Americas in Argentina has unleashed a wave of popular outrage in that country and across much of Latin America.

Mar del Plata, the seaside resort where the 34 hemispheric heads of state are meeting, was the scene Friday of pitched battles between demonstrators and riot police, with clouds of teargas choking the streets just blocks from the meeting. At least one bank was set on fire, as protesters answered teargas canisters and rubber bullets with stones and Molotov cocktails.

Facing unprecedented hostility from the American people, reflected in his record drop in the polls, Bush is regarded as a political and social pariah south of the US border. The demonstrations outside the summit were joined by bitter divisions within the meeting itself.

Tens of thousands of people marched in a heavy rain Friday morning in Mar del Plata, demonstrating their opposition to the war in Iraq and protesting the Bush administration’s economic and military policies in Latin America. The march began shortly after 8 a.m. and filled 15 blocks with crowds chanting “Bush Out!” and “Fascist Bush, You Are the Terrorist!”

Leading the march was Argentine Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and Bolivian cocalero leader and presidential candidate Evo Morales. Also in the front rank was a delegation from the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, the organization that challenged the former US-backed dictatorship, demanding the return of their “disappeared” children during Argentina’s “dirty war.”

As many as 70,000 people packed the Mundialista stadium for a rally after the march, which proceeded without incident on a 26-block route that was virtually free of police.

The rally’s principal speaker was Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who warned that “North American imperialism, in its desperation, is preparing a plan of aggression against Venezuela.” The day before, Venezuela had conducted military exercises simulating a response to a US invasion. Such an attack, Chavez said, would “unleash a hundred year war.”

Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona, who arrived in Mar del Plata on a special train filled with demonstrators, told the crowd, “I love you very much. Thanks for being here. Argentina has dignity, let’s throw Bush out.” Maradona wore a shirt bearing Bush’s image and the words “war criminal.” Earlier, Maradona told reporters that Bush was “human garbage.”

After the rally, thousands marched out of the stadium toward the Hotel Hermitage, where the summit had convened. The crowd reached the first ring of metal barricades thrown up around the meeting site, and there the clashes with the riot police began.

Bush’s presence at the summit has been accompanied by massive security operations. Some 8,000 Argentine police have been deployed around the meeting site. Gunboats have taken up positions off the coast of Mar del Plata.

The US delegation, meanwhile, includes several hundred security personnel, including dog units, Marines, civilian intelligence agents and military helicopters. Two US military cargo planes arrived ahead of Bush to bring in weapons and equipment for his security detail. This virtual US invasion has provoked even greater hostility from the Argentine public.

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SOPJoelSaturday Nov 5th, 2005 11:23 AM

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