FROM W. AUSTRALIA Topic: LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS
WESTERN AUSTRALIA, Feb. 3 - Being a professional sports coach used to be the model of job insecurity. No longer. Try being a Central Bank's governor in one of the world's debtor nations. On Tuesday (Feb. 2), for example, Arminio Fraga, a 41-year old former George Soros' adviser, became the third man in as many weeks to be appointed as head of Brazil's embattled Central Bank. Even the losing Yankees' managers under George Steinbrenner had longer tenures than the recent Brazilian Central Bank governors.
In response to the above news, Brazil's currency, the "real," rose sharply for a second day on Wednesday (Feb. 3) to close at 1.74 "reals" to the dollar, up from 1.91 "reals" to the dollar on the day before, and from 2.06 on Jan. 29. But Brazilian stocks FELL 1.8%, after five straight sessions of major gains. Guess the Brazilian stockmarket investors don't think much of the Soros-types?
Fraga's predecessor, Francisco Lopes, got the boot only days after being confirmed by the country's Senate. But he had managed to devalue the "real", and let it float on the open markets, before being "red carded" (to borrow a soccer expression) by Brazil's president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who sought to calm traumatized financial markets by picking one of Wall Street insiders. Yet Lopes, an economics professor, replaced Gustavo Franco as the Central Bank governor only last month.
So who is pulling the strings of the Brazilian president, making him look like a Wall Street puppet, and his administration like a Wall Street outpost? The Wall Street insiders, of course. They are the ones who are seeking to protect the tens of billions of dollars in loans and investments which the bankers had made while hyping up Brazil as Latin America's most attractive investment opportunity, and Latin America as the world's best business bet.
In its latest (1998) report on world investments by multinational companies, for example, the United Nations UNCTAD agency hailed Latin America because it "now tops developing regions (in inflow of capital)... due to economic stability, growth, liberalization and privatization" (see "Two Faces of Globalism" ). And just think, this report was released about a year after the Southeast Asian "flu" hit the world's financial markets.
Given such a con job by respectable institutions," no wonder that as late as in 1997, Brazil picked up $16.3 billion in foreign investments, up 47% from 1996. Mexico received $12.1 billion, up 48% from the year before. Argentina got $6.3 billion, up 24% from l996. Latin America as a whole, attracted $56.1 billion in foreign investments in 1997, up 28% from the prior year. Billions of lemmings lining up on the shores of Latin America!
Which is why there is so much capital now to bail out. And which is why, Wall Street is once again trying to reach into our pockets (i.e., the taxpayers' funds), by calling on IMF to use its (PUBLIC) funds to rescue the bankers' PRIVATE follies. No wonder Lopes, right after being appointed to his short-lived post as Brazil Central Bank's governor in mid-January, was whisked off to Washington, along with the finance minister, Pedro Malan, for high level "consultations" with the IMF and the U.S. Treasury officials. So much for Brazil's sovereignty!
Barely a few days after the Black Wednesday (Jan. 13, when the Sao Paulo stock exchange practically collapsed), the IMF managing director, Michel Camdessus, said, "...the reaffirmation of fiscal consolidation as the foremost priority... together with the structural and privatization measures which are part of the agreed program with the Fund." The World Bank president, James Wolfensohn, and his vice president, Joseph Stiglitz, also provided their backing: "We are pleased with Minister Malan's final account of his Washington meetings, and welcome his invitation to intensify our dialogue," Prof. Chossudovsky quoted them as saying.
But what goes on in Washington is merely an appetizer to the main courses served up by the financial tycoons in New York. So after Washington, Malan dutifully traipsed on to Wall Street, cap in hand. At an early morning breakfast meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 20, held at the offices of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY, George Soros, William Rhodes (Citigroup), Jon Corzine (Goldman Sachs), and David Komansky (Merrill Lynch), some of the Wall Street "big hitters," took turns at bat, coaching Malan how to hit the curve balls which the global financial markets throw his way.
(Never mind that Malan's coaches-managers, in this case, were also the opposition pitchers!? Unlike the World Series, which is played between two opposing teams, the world finance championship series is a contest between Wall Street insiders who partner with each other as often as they fight one another. Kind of like an intra-squad game between the Yankees "blue" and the Yankees "white" teams).
This private meeting held behind closed doors with Brazil's "creditors of last resort" was crucial, according to Prof. Chossudovsky. For, Rhodes had headed the New York Banking Committee on behalf of some 750 creditor institutions; he had first dealt with Brazil's current president, Cardoso (when he was finance minister), negotiating the "restructuring" of Brazil's external debt. The result was a swelling of Brazil's internal debt from 60 billion in 1994, to more than 350 billion in 1998.
Although the results of the breakfast meeting were not made public, Bill MacDenough of the Federal Reserve Bank (who had actually organized the event), confirmed that Brazil's external and internal debts were considered to be within manageable limits: "it is not necessary [at this stage] to reschedule Brazil's external debt". Caving in to his Wall Street masters, Malan fully acquiesced: there will be "no re-negotiation," nor debt forgiveness, for Brazil. And, as we now see, it will take a former Soros man to implement it - at the expense of the Brazilian people and the western taxpayers.
Meanwhile, public opinion, both in North America and in Brazil, had been carefully misled, notes Prof. Chossudovsky. "The 'Asian flu' is spreading," we were told. The global media had casually laid the blame on Itamar Franco (former president of Brazil) for declaring a moratorium on debt payments to the federal government. The threat of impending debt default by the state governments was said to have affected Brasilia's "economic credibility."
Brazil's National Congress was also blamed for asking deceptive questions, and for not having granted a swift and "unconditional rubber-stamp" to the IMF's lethal economic medicine last December. The latter required budget cuts of the order of $28 billion, including massive layoffs of civil servants, the dismantling of social programs, the sale of state assets, the freeze of transfer payments to the State governments, and the channeling of state revenues towards debt servicing.
"By insisting on a tight monetary policy, the Washington-based institutions were intent on destroying Brazil's industrial base, taking over the internal market and speeding up the privatization program," writes Prof. Chossudovsky. The government overnight benchmark interest rate was increased to a staggering 32.5 % (per annum), implying commercial bank lending rates between 48.7 % and 84.3 % per annum. Local manufacturing crippled by insurmountable debts had been driven into bankruptcy. Purchasing power had crumbled; interests rates on consumer loans were as high as 150% to 250% leading to massive loan default.
In other words, the New World Order universe is unfolding according to plan. Brazil, once a proud nation which rebuffed foreign financial overtures in the 1970s and 1980s, has just become another Wall Street colony, enslaved by its leaders' greed and treason. Just as was the case with Southeast Asia and Russia earlier last year and in 1997.
It isn't the "Asian flu" that's spreading; it's Wall Street's imperialism. And it's spreading like a brush fire (see this writer's March 1998 CHRONICLES column, "Wall Street's Financial Terrorism,"). Smaller nations, not yet caught up in this inferno, had better batten down the hatches when the Wall Street raiders come calling, offering them money. Just as the decent parents in South Bronx do, for example, when the street corner drug dealers try to buy and destroy the bodies and souls of their children.
Fortunately, the defense against the globalists' drug assault is amazingly simple: "Just say no!" (to their money). Isn't that what Ron and Nancy Reagan counseled Americans to do in the mid-1980s? (remember the "just say no" to drugs campaign?). "Because the drugs kill," we were told.
Well, as we now see, the New World Order kills, too. Even when it's not bombing sovereign nations out of existence, or eradicating them by way of genocidal sanctions. It kills by way of usury. By getting people hooked on borrowed money, and then squeezing them dry when they can't repay their debts.
So how about a new anti-NWO usury drug addiction slogan? "Just say no! Loans can kill!"
Dr. Michel Chossudovsky, whose work was referenced, in part, in this report, is professor of economics at the University of Ottawa, Canada. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, check out... "Brazil Central Bank's Revolving Door", "Brazil: From a Rising to a Shooting Star", "Argentine Judge Says Four IBM Execs Are Suspects", "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina", a Djurdjevic Feb/98 Integration Management (IM) column (IM is a Washington Post publication).