Latin American governments' outrage over US spying ignores their own

Some of the same Latin American nations whose presidents are shocked and outraged over newly-revealed details of America's electronic surveillance programs are conducting versions of the same within their own borders. And in some cases, the US helped them create their domestic spying infrastructure. Tim Johnson at McClatchy reports:
At least four Latin countries have requested, and received, U.S. help in setting up eavesdropping programs of their own, ostensibly designed to fight organized crime. But the programs are easily diverted to political ends, and with weak rule of law in parts of the region, wiretapping scandals erupt every few months.
And read this earlier Boing Boing feature on one such program in Venezuela for more.

Notable Replies

  1. xeni says:

    Yes, smartass, this is news. Perhaps you missed the part where the post discusses the USA's own role in developing these surveillance programs throughout Latin America.

  2. What outrage? Latin America doesn't really fit in that list. The worst of human violations down there were committed by U.S. backed and trained strongmen in order to destroy or keep progressive governments and movements down. All in the name of the "free market"... The media follows right along. Just as you're seeing now..

    Yes, they're hypocrites about the rest, but they don't really have any hand Chinese or Russian affairs, unlike S.A.

  3. No - there were cases of similar irony a few years ago:

    Example: The US governments tortures Maher Arar "by proxy" (after a extraordinary rendition) in Syria 2002 and then criticizes Syria for it's human rights violation (explicitly mentioning torture) 2008.

  4. Funnily enough the article doesn't mention Venezuela or Ecuador among those countries. Rather it highlights almost exclusively neoliberal governments that are friendly with the U.S....

    I guess it would be hard to blame them for being angry about the spying that the U.S. is doing on other countries. I have a hard time believing they don't know that already though. Especially since they're so tight with the U.S. already..

  5. Ygret says:

    That is funny. Mexico, Paraguay, Columbia and Peru. Now I'm not saying Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Bolivia don't snoop on their domestic phone calls. I have no idea what type of laws they have about such issues, or what they get up to. But I wonder how much assistance the US government has given to the Honduran government since they helped them oust their democratically elected socialist president a few years ago. Frankly, I think all of the states that have acted "shocked" at US snooping are play-acting for their own people. I am more interested in the reactions of the people themselves. Just imagine if the people of the USA were informed that Russia, or China, or Cuba, or even France for that matter, were recording all of the phone calls and emails of the US populace. Could you imagine the explosion of anger amongst the people? And what would the US government do in that case? Pretend to be shocked of course. The reality would be that, just as now with the UK, the US government is storing everything the UK gets its grimy little hands on.

    The stark and scary truth is that the western governments (I can't speak for the rest of the globe) have quietly determined that the people they supposedly work for are their enemy. They are each other's friend, along with the multinational conglomerates and financial institutions. Its the states and their owners that are working together, and the masses of the people are the enemy to be spied on, manipulated, policed, imprisoned and controlled. The western governments no longer apply the law to themselves, nor do they apply the law to the international business cartels. In fact, they don't even pretend to enforce the law anymore, except upon the general populace, who are increasingly under the thumb of the police and surveillance state. These are dark days.

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