- Created: Wednesday, 06 May 2009 12:29
- Written by James Petras
FRFI 172 April / May 2003
James Petras is a revolutionary, anti-imperialist activist and writer, who has worked with the Brazilian landless workers’ movement and the unemployed workers’ movement in Argentina. He gave this interview to Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! on 21 March 2003.
FRFI: What is the strategic importance of Latin America for the US, particularly in the present circumstances?
Well let’s deal with the phoney arguments that say Latin America’s percentage of world trade has been declining; its importance for the US economy as a whole, as a percentage of its world trade, has been declining, so it is not very important. These are generalised arguments with inappropriate comparisons. It is important to note that Latin America is the area where the US banks get the highest rates of return and where historically they have received the greatest part of their overseas earnings. Banks like Citibank and Bank of America have been enormously successful in transferring illegal funds from Latin America, amounting to tens of billions of dollars every year. In addition Latin America is the only region in the world where the US has favourable external accounts balance of payments, so it helps to compensate for the enormous deficits it has in Asia and even in Europe. From that vantage point, if the US did not have Latin America the dollar would be weaker and its external accounts would be in even worse shape than they are right now.