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Banana Republic Of America: Beware Of The 'Latinamericanization' Of US Politics

Op-Ed: Thanks to the climate in Washington, the United States is beginning to resemble Latin America’s “Banana Republics,” where for years, ideological fanaticism trumped common sense – all to the detriment of the general population. A view from those who

A Tea Party rally in Minnesota (Fibonacci Blue)
A Tea Party rally in Minnesota (Fibonacci Blue)


SANTIAGO -- The American presidential campaign is in full swing, and has grown increasingly intense as the weeks go by. For those Latin Americans following the process closely, the campaign triggers a real sense of déjà vu. Not because this contest resembles past elections in the United States, but because it recalls the dangerous ideology-driven politics that were once so commonplace in Latin America. Never before have politics been so rough, so hate-driven, observers in Washington have remarked.

For the first time in the history of the U.S. Congress, the most liberal representative of the Republican Party is more conservative than the most right-wing Democrat. The result is a political system that appears headed toward a new era that is both uncertain and unstable. The radicalization of the Republicans, a process that's being fed by fanatical conservatives in the media, is giving rise to words and actions that are simply uncompromising.

So far the response from the other side of the political spectrum has been slow, tepid and even incredulous. The appearance of Occupy Wall Street, however, shows that those who've been ridiculed by the right as being soft, cowardly and socialist can also be driven toward a more radical position. This, in turn, accentuates a polarization that is making the country ungovernable.

For years Americans feared the "Latinamericanization" of their country, as immigrants from the Spanish-speaking south moved to the United States in droves. But those immigrants embraced the values of the country that received them. What's paradoxical is that that the real Latinamericanization taking place in the United States has to do with how its political elites are making a dangerous and harmful turn toward the kind of ideological fanaticism that used to dominate politics south of the Rio Grande.

Read more from AméricaEconomía in Spanish

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Searching For Marianna, A Pregnant Doctor From Mariupol Held Captive By The Russians

We’ve heard about the plight of the soldiers-turned-prisoners from Mariupol. Here are some traces of the disturbing fate of a young female doctor who’s been taken away.

A paper dove reads "Mariupol" at a shelter for displaced children in Uzhhorod, western Ukraine.

Paweł Smoleński

"Wait for me, because I will return…"

Marianna Mamonova wrote these words to her family, among the text messages and short phone calls that are the only remaining fragments used to piece together her recent past. We also have a photo of her, posted on Russian websites, where she looks into the lens, gaunt and exhausted, signed with a number like a concentration camp prisoner.

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Until the Russian-Ukrainian war, Mamonova’s biography was available to anyone who wanted to know. She was born in 1991, studied at the Ternopil Medical University, and later at the Kyiv Military Academy. After completing her studies, she was sent to work in the coastal city of Berdiansk. Her mother says that this is where her daughter's dream came true: She’d always wanted to be a military doctor, and worked in Berdiansk for three years, receiving the rank of officer in the Ukrainian army.

Beginning in 2014, she’d worked stints as a front-line doctor in the Donbas region, and when Russia invaded Ukraine in February she went to war again. This time in Mariupol.

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