For a long time, well beyond adolescence, I had a vague idea about the International Monetary Fund being a sort of benevolent operation. It gathered cash and loaned it out, especially to ‘third world’ countries where ‘economic development’ would raise the standard of living.

I believed that crap right through the ‘sixties, a time ripe for learning better, and through the eras of Nixon, Carter, Reagan, and the first Bush. I learned young that corporate America was not always a force for good, that politicians occasionally lied, and that people could take on crazy hatred for someone based on ethnicity or skin tone.

Even after I found out that the CIA was assassinating political leaders, and that American ‘foreign aid’ was actually designed to manipulate other countries, I did not wonder about the IMF. I didn’t quite understand the linkage, the mechanism, or the oppressive designs of the thing. But I’m beginning to.

There’s a documentary on video called “South of the Border.” I put it on my Netflix queue because it was created by Oliver Stone and because, well, I figured I sort of had to, a concession to politics in between the thrillers, film noir, and comedies, which are a lot more fun. I like movies in the late evening, and by that time I’ve usually had enough politics for the day.

I have friends who love documentaries and try to get me to watch them, but because I see them as a kind of necessary annoyance, like getting one’s car tuned, they tend not to rise very quickly on my list of things to do.

In “South of the Border,” Stone interviews several South American Presidents, intercutting video bites of F*X News anchors, CNN mouthpieces, and a few pols and ‘diplomats’ from the second Bush administration.

Oh, dear Lord, the shit I didn’t realize.

I’ll get back to the IMF in a minute, but first I’ve got to write about Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil, because in these countries, and elsewhere, there is an indigenous political and economic movement which poses a genuine threat to the bankers, as well as to those who have stolen much of the planet’s natural resources.

This has happened before, but in isolated cases, and the retribution against the country involved has been swift and unmistakable. For example, in Chile, a democratically-elected President was assassinated and his government seized by General Pinochet, in a coup engineered with the support of the U.S. government, International Telephone & Telegraph (the precursor of AT&T), and the AFL-CIO. As a consequence, a reign of terror was unleashed and death squads murdered tens of thousands. And there was Salvador, and Argentina, and Peru. And the Dominican Republic. Lot of places we didn’t have to shoot them –– they were for sale.

South America belonged to North America, simple as that. We got away with anything. Well, excepting Cuba.

And we’re still manipulating whatever we can, knocking over governments (Honduras), and exploiting tragedy (Haiti), and, yes, there were plans to murder at least one of the elected Presidents in Stone’s film, and likely still are such plans. But something bigger may be happening, a pan-national uprising of people long repressed and unwilling to let that continue.

I’d picked up bits and pieces in the American press about these guys and these countries, but I don’t watch television’s corporate-controlled nightly brainwashing, what they call “news.” I was aware that the right wing hated Hugo Chavez, but they hate lots of people so I ignored it.

We in the United States are actually told that democratically-elected leaders like Chavez and Bolivia’s Evo Morales are dictators. If recent history is any indication, their elections are more honest than ours.

Having seen “South of the Border,” I now view Chavez, Morales, and Brazil’s Lula da Silva, and Argentina’s Kirchner, as heroes, gutsy, straight-talkers unafraid of the Big Bad Wolf. Kirchner told Obama that if the U.S. wants to retain its air base in Argentina, he would like to establish one of his own in Miami.

The U.S. would like to get rid of Chavez. We already engineered one failed coup, and we’ve messed with their economy as much as possible, but the government is backed by the people and that makes it harder to dislodge him and riskier to kill him. Because Venezuela’s oil reserves are third largest in the world, and because Chavez won’t sell out his country, he’s the biggest problem. But now these others, they’re problems, too.

The International Monetary Fund has been the money arm of the Mega-State, and the U.S. government, which essentially runs it, has been its military arm. The IMF loans billions at usurious rates, and these loans are part of the deal for political and military support. Despots didn’t mind; they and their friends got rich and the army crushed any resistance.

Enormous debt has been a very powerful level to use against the countries who could be induced to carry it. One of the Presidents in the Stone video, I don’t remember who, talked about paying off the IMF debt entirely, with the IMF trying to convince him to “roll over” the loan. Now his country has a $260 billion surplus.

When the military staged a U.S.-backed (but denied) coup in Honduras, the IMF was writing checks overnight. The IMF has been buying Haiti, while 90% of the money donated by people like you has still not reached the Haitian people more than a year later.

Hunter Thompson called them ‘screwheads.’ The screwheads who run this system are in big trouble in South America. The U.S. military is busy elsewhere and the leaders of many of these nations are onto the IMF and unintimidated. They are shutting off America’s phony ‘drug war’ and booting out spies. They’re empowering their own people, politically and economically. It just might be a new day dawning.