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1856 -- Granada: WALKER

The son of Tennessee shoots from the hip & buries without epitaph. He has eyes of cinders...

William Walker, Southern gentleman, proclaims himself President of Nicaragua. Red carpets cover
the main square of Granada. Trumpets flash in the sun. The band plays North American military marhes as Walker kneels & takes the oath with one hand on the Bible. Twenty one salutes are fired. He makes his speech in English & then raises a glass of water & toasts the president of the United States, his compatriot & esteemed collegue. The North American ambassador, John Wheeler, compares Walker with Christopher Columbus.*

Walker arrived in Nicaragua a year ago, a the head of the Phalanx of Immortals...Like a knofe into meat came the adventurers, recruited on the wharves of San Francisco & New Orleans.

The new president of Nicaragua restores slavery, abolished in Central America over thirty years ago, & re-implants the slave trade, serfdom, & forced labor. He dcreees that English is Nicaragua's official language & offers lands & hands to any white North Americans who care to come.

*In the 1980s, when the Reagan / Oliver North / CIA-backed  Nicaraguan contras were accused
of widespread murders & rapes,  Reagan attacked the critics for alleged political bias & defended
the contras as the "moral equals of our Founding Fathers."

Eduardo Galeano, Faces & Masks, p253
( Cited, Daily Bleed, July 13, 1854 )

1899 -- Rio De Janeiro


Sorcerous hands play with the price of coffee, & Brazil cannot pay the London & River Plate Bank & other very important creditors.

 It is the hour of sacrifice, announces the Finance Minister Joaquim Murtinho. The minister believes in the natural laws of economics, which by natual selection condemn the weak, that is to say the poor, that is to say almost everyone. Should the State take the coffee business out of the speculators' hands? That, says an indignant Murtinho, would be a violation of natural laws & a dangerous step toward socialism, that fearsome plague that European workers are bringing to Brazil: socialism, he says, denies freedom & turns man into an ant.

 National industry, Murtinho believes, is not natural. Small as it is, national industry is taking labor from the plantations & raising the price of hands. Murtinho, guardian angel of the great-estate order, will see to it that the crisis is not paid for by the owners of men & lands, who have survived intact the abolition of slavery & the proclamation of the republic. To pay off the English banks & balance the books, the minister burns in an oven any banknote that comes his way, suppresses any public service that is handy, & lets loose a hail of taxes on the poor.

 Economist by vocation & physician by profession, Murtinho also makes interesting experiments in the field of physiology. In his laboratory he extracts the encephalic mass of rats & rabbits & decapitates frogs to study the convulsions of the body, which continues moving as if it had a head.

Eduardo Galeano, Faces & Masks, p253

( Cited, Daily Bleed, Jan 30, 1894 )

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