A letter from an Argentinian to a Serb

Dear Andrej,

I am very honored that you consider any of my postings worth a comment. I have been following your own postings with great interest, and I was waiting for an opportunity to make some comment on your ill temper with the "anti Serb Australians". I am a "pro Serb Argentinian", which marks a difference, though both Australians and Argentinians belong to the same hemisphere we belong to different worlds! First World, Third World...

Perhaps this is the moment for me to write that comment. And perhaps the best way to begin is by telling you, not what I understand as "petty nationalisms" in the Balkans, but what I understand as "petty nationalism" here in Latin America, where I do my political work.

I believe that the whole of Latin America is a disjointed nation, much in the sense that Germany or Italy were disjointed up to the late 1800s, and certainly much in the sense the Yugoslavs were a disjointed nation up to the early years of this century. I also believe that the road to socialist revolution in Latin America passes through the reconstitution of the National Union of Latin America. Any other Latin American nationalism is -in this view- "petty nationalism". But even "petty nationalism" can be, so to say, two sided. It can work _for_ or _against_ the great goal. When Chile and Argentina, in 1978, almost went to war for three stupid islands to the South of Tierra del Fuego we are witnessing these petty nationalisms in action against the national union. When, during the mid 1950s, Argentina or Brasil defended their own industrial sector and tried to establish an alliance against imperialist pressure, the petty nationalisms worked in the right direction.

Some "petty nationalisms", moreover, cannot _but_ act in the sense of the unification. Others, cannot _but_ act in the sense of further desegregation. Belize is a case study for the second possibility, where the "independence" can be sustained only through direct British support. If I were a beliceno, I would struggle for integration with my neighbors of Spanish origin within a Caribbean Federation on the road to Latin American unity, that is I would struggle for the dissolution of the "independent Belize". Panama is a queer example of the first possibility. Panama is an absolutely artificial creation, it was made up by a gang of swindlers (led by a Bunau Varilla) in the early 1900s. The country was segregated from Colombia because Colombia had the queer idea that if the Panama canal was to traverse Colombian land, there should be some kind of compensation for Colombians. The United States, with support from some European powers, generated a "revolution" and "independized" Panama. Now, this dirty birth nonwithstanding, Panamanian "petty nationalism" has seen itself forced to raise the slogan of the nationalization of the Panama Channel. In so doing, it confronted American imperialism,