Monday, April 18, 2011

The Latin America Rightwing Network

Recently, Adrienne Pine linked to this interesting piece by Cole Stangler, “Georgetown’s Latin American Board.” It discusses a particular instance of a phenomenon Pine has been drawing attention to for a while now - the use of US universities as vehicles of rightwing and military policy and politics. It also points to an important fact: these centers and programs are not independent or isolated within educational institutions, but form a significant part of a formal and informal network of rightwing organizations that spans the US, Spain, and Latin America, in which think tanks and propaganda centers in Latin America are set up, funded, promoted, and peopled by organizations in the US and Spain with links to the parties of the Right. As Stangler writes of the Georgetown program:
Not every GCL [Global Competitive Leadership] alumnus becomes immediately involved in political activities upon returning. There are even a few who engage in social entreprenuership. But a disproportionate number have taken up leading roles in neoliberal think tanks in the region, many of which are affiliated with the Fundación para el Análisis de los Estudios Sociales, a think tank chaired by Aznar and funded by the Spanish Partido Popular. Others have created similar leadership programs based in Bolivia and Ecuador.

Several Spanish GCL graduates from the program’s early years are now involved with FAES and the Partido Popular....

Pia Greene, a 2007 alumnus [sic] from Chile, is FAES coordinator for the country and also works at the neoliberal Fundación Libertad. Greene notably penned a piece for the Hispanic American Center for Economic Research entitled “To be or not to be pro Pinochet,” in which she concludes, “At the end of the day, Chile and the whole world learned that societies require the biggest dose of liberty to prosper: Pinochet’s government was not an exception, since they were the ones who planted the seed of a big success.” The article is accompanied by a video featuring a montage of photos of Pinochet set to Queen’s “We Are the Champions.”
The report comes at a moment when the relatively more hidden groups involved in the making of policy – as in the cases of William Cronon’s pieces about the American Legislative Exchange Council and the web of AGW-science-denial think tanks described in Merchants of Doubt* – are being exposed to the light of public attention. In the Americas, where leftwing movements and sympathetic governments continue to rise and overt violence has become a more complicated (though by no means abandoned) strategy for the Right, this is an important means by which they seek to quietly reinsert themselves and their projects in the political landscape.

Drawing on just a few sources, I’ve put together this list – certainly incomplete, and suggestions for additions are most welcome – of organizations involved in this network, several with links to information:

Americas Democrat Union

Atlas Economic Research Foundation:**

  • Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty

  • Center for the Dissemination of Economic Information (CEDICE)

  • Hispanic American Center for Economic Research (HACER)

  • Bolivian Foundation of Leadership for Global Competitiveness (FUNBOLIDER)

    Fundación Ecuador Libre Fundación Iberoamérica Europa

    Fundación Libertad

    Foundation for Social Analysis and Studies (FAES)

    Fundación Rafael Preciado

    Global Center for Development and Democracy (GCDD)

    Heritage Foundation

    Institute on Religion and Democracy


    John Templeton Foundation

    Latin American Board (LAB, Georgetown):

  • Global Competitive Leadership Program (GCL)

  • LatinInsights

    Manhattan Institute for Policy Research

    National Endowment for Democracy*** Network of Democratic Research Institutes

    Partners of the Americas:

  • Inter-American Network for Democracy

  • Center for Opening and Development of Latin America (CADAL)

  • Strategic Culture Initiative, Florida International University


    US Chamber of Commerce:

  • Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)

  • It may be time for a specifically Latin American Right Wing Watch…

    *If anyone doesn’t understand what I mean when I discuss the apparent bias of Book TV, here’s the “About this Program” description: “Author of the study Beyond the Ivory Tower writes about what she calls the subgroup of scientists who try to discredit was [sic] she believes is the settled science in controversial areas, such as climate change and tobacco use causing cancer. The event is in San Francisco with Erik Conway.” [emphasis added] Seriously.

    **Their site features a global events calendar.

    ***This site has a list of grants by country.

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