Commonality of Challenges
Arce in Bolivia and Castillo in Peru face some similar challenges: paralyzed economies, the exhaustion of some sources of income such as natural gas and the emergence of others (e.g. lithium); the pandemically-related rise in poverty; deep social divisions between rich and poor and between well-endowed areas and areas less fortunate; a historical legacy of ruling class entitlement; health and education systems in great need of additional resources, especially in the poorer and more remote regions; environmental challenges such as the destruction of the Amazon rain forest; the insistent pressure for access and profit by multinational corporations, especially in the extractivist industries; the need to fortify and expand national institutions and the role of the State in the national economy; the always looming threat of the regional hegemon, the USA and its allies, both local and global, which, when angered sufficiently stifle economic and political development through the application of sanctions and financing of local “pro-democracy” movements. In both Peru and Bolivia, it must be expected that the right-wing will seek revenge and redress for electoral defeat by resort to anti-democratic practices, rabble-rousing, the withholding of all cooperation with the administration in power, and backdoor, treasonous collaboration with the USA, western multinational corporations, and right-wing neighbors.
Arce’s first acts in power may also resonate with Castillo’s program. They include establishment of the Bonus Against Hunger program, which provides 1,000 Bolivianos (US$150 / £100) aimed at the most disadvantaged – some 4 million people; tax reduction on credit card payments from 13% to 8%, returning the difference (5%) to the customer; return of VAT to low-income people; on large fortunes; negotiation for credit with the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank,without economic or political conditionalities attached, and for a moratorium and condoning of the country’s debt and the interest on it; maintenance in the value of the currency; import substitution; stimulation of economic demand via subsidies to the poorest; professionalization of the judiciary, on criteria of merit and qualification rather than political quotas determined by the relative strength of existing political forces; continuing industrialization of lithium and iron; food sovereignty; promotion of domestic tourism; export of electricity and the industrialization of gas broadly under state control and ownership. Other polices include 10-11% increase in State expenditure on health and education; increase in public investment so as to achieve a rate of economic growth of 4,8% for 2021 and return of the IMF loan contracted by Añez in 2020.
Arce is committed to the production of industrial inputs from raw materials, a strategy he believes generates employment and reduces economic dependency But neo-socialism in both Bolivia and Peru has yet to construct programs of State-directed equitable economic growth and redistribution which do not simultaneously contribute to planetary destruction. For example, debt-financed public investment is planned to build thirty-five hydroelectric dams at a cost of US$27 billion, providing 9.9 to 11 GW of power by 2025. Among the largest is the El Bala/El Chepete complex, which is set to flood parts of the Amazon basin in northern La Paz, including in the Madidi National Park. This energy is not needed within Bolivia, whose peak electricity consumption is well under 2 GW. Instead, the government hopes to make electricity into a major export commodity, sent overland to Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru.
Arce has resumed the country’s membership in three major blocs aimed at regional integration, reversing moves by the previous “interim” government to withdraw from these left leaning organizations, which are: the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (known by its Spanish acronym CELAC), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA). All these seek to promote political and economic cooperation between members. UNASUR has shed most of its original twelve members amid disputes over its leadership and direction, particularly with reference to Venezuela and the US-backed Lima Group. With Arce in power, the group now comprises only four members: Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela. CELAC is made up of 32 Latin American nations and is seen by some members as an alternative to the US-founded and headquartered Organization of American States (OAS). Bolsonaro took Brazil out of CELAC. ALBA aims to eliminate trade barriers and foster economic unity between Latin American nations. Its ten member countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela
A Bolivia-Peru Alliance
In building regional networks that can both sustain and help protect Bolivia, Arce might do well to consider the advantages of an ancient twin and ally, Peru, now that Peru is under the supervision of Pedro Castillo’s Perú Libre neo-socialist administration. The potential for such a link is deeply inscribed in the history and cultures of both countries.
During colonial times, the territory of Audiencia de Charcas, also known as Alto Perú, now Bolivia, was an integral territory of the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru from its creation. But in 1776, it was administratively severed and became a province of the newly created Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. Yet for geographical and historical reasons, this remained closer to Lima than to its administrative capital, Buenos Aires. The territory achieved independence in 1825 at a time when union with Peru was widely supported. The new Republic of Bolivia (named in honor of Simón Bolívar – whose full name was Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Ponte Palacios y Blanco, also colloquially called El Libertador) was born, with Bolívar as its first president. An armed uprising in Chuquisaca was used by Peru as an excuse to invade Bolivia. The Peruvian army entered La Paz, Bolivia, on May 28, 1828.
The Bolivia-Peru Confederation and Bolívar’s Gran-Colombia Bolivar
A plan for a federation, or at least a confederation, was accepted by the legislative branches of both countries, although there were disagreements as to how much autonomy Bolivia should enjoy. The idea of a federation conflicted with Bolívar ambition to create a political umbrella for all of the former Spanish possessions in South America. His preferred structure would have consisted of present-day Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, northern Peru, western Guyana and northwest Brazil known as Gran-Colombia Bolivar.
Bolívar’s plan to invade Peru was failing in 1828-1829 and stalled indefinitely upon his death in 1830. A few years later, it was Bolivia’s turn to invade Peru and a confederation of the two nations, the Peru-Bolivian Confederation, was formed, comprising a Republic of North Peru, a Republic of South Peru, and the Republic of Bolivia, under the presidency of Marshal Andrés de Santa Cruz, 1836-1839.
The union attempted to restore ancient commercial routes and promote a policy of open markets. But the confederation was opposed by the elite of Lima on the grounds that it interfered with Lima’s good relations with Venezuela. Neighboring countries such as Argentina and Chile were alarmed by the size and economic strength of the confederation. Chile began to regard the confederation as an enemy and went to war with the confederation in 1836. Argentina followed suit in 1837. On August 25, 1839, General Agustín Gamarra became president and officially declared the dissolution of the confederation, bringing South and North Peru together as one country (Peru), separate from Bolivia.
Allies in the War of the Pacific
Bolivia and Peru were to ally again a few decades later in their war against Chile (War of the Pacific), 1879 to 1884. Bolivia and Peru had already signed The Treaty of Defensive Alliance in 1873 to contain Chile’s expansionist tendencies over several fronts, including claims on the nitrate-rich coastal Bolivian territory in the Atacama Desert. On February 14, 1879, Chile’s armed forces occupied the Bolivian port city of Antofagasta. War between Bolivia and Chile was declared on March 1, 1879, followed by declarations of war between Chile and Peru on April 5, 1879.
The Forever Issue of Coastal Access
Chile gained significant resource-rich territory from Peru and Bolivia as proceeds of a war from which it emerged overwhelmingly victorious. Chile and Peru signed the Treaty of Ancón on October 20, 1883. Bolivia signed a truce with Chile in 1884. Chile acquired the Peruvian territory of Tarapacá, the disputed Bolivian department of Litoral. This turned Bolivia back into being a landlocked country.
To gain access to the main routes of transoceanic trade, Bolivia had previously ceded more than 100,000 square kilometers of territory to Brazil in 1867 in exchange for riverine access to the Atlantic Ocean. In the War of the Pacific Chile had demonstrated technological superiority and better coordinated military strategy. Peru and Bolivia were hindered by domestic fragmentation, both economic and institutional. Bolivia lost immediate access to the Pacific. Peru was humiliated by the occupation of Lima by Chilean troops for more than three years. Bolivia has subsequently continued to pursue its dream of access to the Pacific coast, a lack that it has been estimated to cost it 1.5 percent of its annual GDP, despite port collaboration with Chile in Arica and Antofagasta.
From 1880 to the 1920s, Bolivia recovered from its defeat while benefitting from the rebirth of silver mining and the growth of the tin industry. Politically, the Conservative Party dominated national politics until its overthrow by the Liberal Party in the “Federal Revolution” of 1899. A new political force, the Republican Party, came to power through a bloodless coup in 1920, but the Great Depression of the early 1930s cut short Bolivia’s economic recovery.
In addition to many common indigenous roots in cultural and linguistic groups such as the Quechua and Aymara,and their common subjugation to Inca and Spanish conquests, Bolivia and Peru share many other strong historical parallels. Both have experienced long periods of military rule (Bolivia rather more than Peru), which occasionally have exhibited left-wing or progressive tendencies.
The Startling Era of Left-Wing Military Dictatorships
The most notorious Peruvian and Bolivian dictators have been conservative tyrants: e.g., Hugo Banzer in Bolivia (1971 to 1978) and Alberto Fujimori in Peru, 1990-2000. Whereas Banzer later became a constitutional president (1997-2001), Fujimori transitioned the other way from constitutional president to dictator (1882-1990). Both presidents excused their dictatorships as necessary reactions to what they claimed were the excesses of earlier, military and revolutionary presidents (Juan Velsasco Alvarado in Peru, Juan José Torres in Bolivia).
These earlier revolutionaries, whatever their faults, constitute an important reminder of the long history of radicalism in these countries and those of their neighbors, and a warning that the hopes that fresh progressive faces inspire one day can be quickly dashed the next by reactionary revengeful successors like Jeanine Áñez. In the case of Peru I have recently examined the interesting legacy of Velasco. Velasco’s presidency (1968-1975) lasted a few years’ longer than that of Torres in Bolivia (1970-71) but it is more than coincidence that they overlapped not only with one another but also with the presidency of Salvador Allende (1970-1973) in Chile and with the reign of the left-wing dictator of Panama, Omar Torrijos, 1968-1978 (predecessor to Manuel Noriega). All came to a sorry end, with the backing of the USA, and all were succeeded by right-wing dictatorships. While this period further coincided with the democratic liberal regime of Rafael Caldera in Venezuala it also recalls the US-backed military coup d’etat in Brazil which overthrew President João Belchior Marques Goulart in 1964. Goulart was considered the last left-wing president of Brazil until Lula da Silva took office in 2003.
Two of these died naturally (Velasco, Caldera), another was assassinated (Torres, possibly and indirectly at the hands of his successor Banzer, as part of an Operation Condor project) and another committed suicide as the forces of Augusto Pinochet surrounded Chile’s presidential palace (Allende), and yet another died in an air crash (Torrijos) which some suspect was the work of the CIA. One (Goulart) died of a heart attack that was never officially confirmed.
Torres, who had climbed from birth to a poor Aymara-mestizo family to serve as 50th President of Bolivia from 1970 to 1971 had been the reform-minded right-hand and commander-in-chief of under President Alfredo Ovando Candía. Ovanda had led the Armed Forces of Bolivia in the aftermath of the 1952 Revolution that installed in power the reformist Revolutionary Nationalist Movement party (MNR).
Torres urged Ovando to enact more far-reaching reforms and to stand up to the more conservative officers. He denounced capitalism on the grounds that it fostered underdevelopment and encouraged dependence on foreign countries. In 1969, Torres had been one of the main protagonists in the nationalization of the Gulf Oil and had participated in the occupation of the company’s headquarters in La Paz. Ovanda’s rule was threatened by a right-wing military coup attempt in October 1970. But leftist military forces under Torres triumphed. Ovanda stood down in favor of Torres. He called together an Asamblea del Pueblo in which representatives of specific “proletarian” sectors of society were represented (miners, unionized teachers, students, peasants). It was granted the powers of a working legislature. Torres proposed to rebuild society on the four pillars of workers, academics, peasants and the military. He wished to defend Bolivia’s natural resources, expropriate the sugar industry, and negotiate with the Chilean government of Salvador Allende for Bolivian access to the sea. He proposed amnesty for former rebels, increases in the university budget and closure of the United States Strategic Communications Center. His government was undermined by US Ambassador Ernest Siracusa (who had participated in the coup d’état against Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, and was expelled from Peru in 1968, accused of being CIA). The World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank refused loans. After only ten months, Torres was overthrown in a coup led by the colonel Hugo Banzer, and with the support of the Brazilian military regime and the USA.
The politics of both Peru and Bolivia since the second half of the nineteenth century have otherwise largely constituted a struggle between conservatives (or later, in the case of Boliva, republicans) and liberals. Both countries have comprised primarily indigenous, or mestizo populations governed by mainly white, Hispanic ruling classes. The wealth of both countries has depended significantly on metals (though different metals at different times), oil, and agriculture, as has their vulnerability to fluctuations in international demand and their consequent wild impacts on prices. This in turn has been a controlling constraint on the extent of any significant redistribution of wealth. Until the late 20th century the export of metals dominated Bolivia’s trade but, with the collapse of the world market in tin in the 1980s, natural gas became a leading export. Metals, petroleum, and natural gas account for most of Bolivia’s legitimate export trade. Soybeans are the principal agricultural export. Bolivia’s primary trading partners include Brazil, Argentina, China, the United States, South Korea, Japan, and Peru. Illegal trade in cocaine continues to have a significant but decreasing impact on the Bolivian economy.
Working Socialism in South America
Recent socialist administrations have been good for Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru. The broad pattern in each of these countries is one of economic growth and better social conditions in the early 2000s, levelling off at the end of the commodities boom of 2014, and partially reversed as a result of Covid in 2020. Much the same was true of the Venezuelan economy of Hugo Chavez (1998-2013) and of the economy of Brazil under President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (2003-2011).
Brazil is by far South America’s largest and most popular (over 214 million in 2020) country. Lula was born in poverty in 1945 in the northeastern state of Pernambuco and migrated with his family at the age of seven to São Paulo, then Brazil’s booming industrial city. He never went beyond the fourth grade in school. In the 1970s he became leader of a labor-based movement of opposition to the military dictatorship. This gave rise to the Workers’ Party (PT) which came to power in 2002.
The PT was committed to socialism in the form of agrarian reform, participatory democracy, redistribution of wealth, independence from the North American superpower, and regional solidarity within Latin America. When Lula became president, Brazil had been one of the world’s top 10 industrial economies for some years. Lula’s predecessor, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, had opened the economy to an unprecedented influx of foreign capital.
Lula reassured foreign investors that he would not attack the position of capital nor withdraw from any international agreements. He proved to be more fiscally conservative than Cardoso, who had run up a substantial public debt, and instead ran a high budget surplus and paid the debt to the IMF in full. Brazil found new markets for its products, for which there was elevated demand, helping the country achieve relative prosperity through the 2000s. Brazil particularly tightened its relationship with China, which is now its most important trading partner.
Brazil suffered less from the economic crisis of 2008 than most countries, with growth resuming by the end of 2009 and achieving a growth rate for 2010 of 7.5%. The Bolsa Família and other Brazilian cash-transfer programs were extended by Lulu to include all of the country’s poor. They included credit to small farmers for food production and pensions for workers in the country’s informal sector. Recipients were obligated to keep their children in school and see that they received regular medical attention. According to the World Bank, the poverty rate fell from 22% to 7% between 2003 and 2009. But government benefits to small-scale agriculturalists were limited to a family farm credit, the legalization of squatters’ possessions, and the colonization of new land in the Amazon region. There was little challenge to the latifundio or redistribution of land from absentee owners to those who work it. Affirmative action programs for higher education expanded dramatically.
Venezuela had a population of almost 29 million in 2019. Hugo Chavez was born in 1958 to schoolteachers. He attended the Venezuelan Academy of Military Sciences, where he graduated in 1975 with a degree in military arts and science. He went on to serve as an officer in an army paratrooper unit. Chávez was leader of the Fifth Republic Movement political party from its foundation in 1997 until 2007, when it merged with several other parties to form the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), which Chavez. led until 2012.
Using the rise of oil prices in the early 2000s to consolidate State power over the economy and the country’s natural resources, Chávez created “Bolivarian missions”, aimed at providing public services to improve economic, cultural and social conditions. His policies aimed for redistribution of wealth, land reform, and democratization of economic activity via workplace self-management and creation of worker-owned cooperatives. He achieved greater autonomy from USA and European governments and used oil funds to promote economic and political integration with other Latin American nations. Venezuela’s economy improved dramatically during much of the Chávez presidency. From 1999 through 2013, inflation dropped to its lowest levels in the country since the late 1980s; unemployment dropped drastically from 14.5% in 1998 to 7.8% in 2011. Poverty also decreased significantly, dropping by nearly 50 percent since the oil strike, with extreme poverty dropping by over 70 percent. The narrative beyond Chavez to Maduro of course, has been a great deal more problematic, not least because of intensifying US economic warfare and destabilization against Venezuela and much more challenging economic circumstances.
Bolivia under Evo Morales
Bolivia had a population of 11.6 million in 2020. In Bolivia, poverty lowered from 66 percent in 2000 to 35 percent in 2018 in the wake of direct action, especially under Evo Morales, to develop the economy, reduce poverty and income inequality, and increase foreign investment. The extreme poverty rate fell to 15.2 percent (down from 37.7 percent ) in this period. Bolivia’s GDP growth hovered around 4 percent since the early 2000 to 2014. From 2000 to 2012, Bolivia increased its exports. These were mainly minerals and hydrocarbons which accounted for only 18% of GDP in 2000, but 47% in 2012. Just over 50% of the country’s GDP is earned by services. Bolivia’s decision to focus on exports helped grow its economy, add jobs, and reduce income inequality. Economic growth led to wage increases for many Bolivians. Salaries increased after the government took direct involvement in income inequality. The real minimum wage increased by 122 percent in the years 2000-2015. The average labor income also increased by 36 percent during 2000-2013.
A 2019 report by the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research observed that for most of 13 years Bolivia had enjoyed balance of payments surpluses. The country’s solid economic growth contributed substantially to the reduction of poverty and extreme poverty. Facilitating factors included a new constitution with significant economic mandates; nationalization and public ownership of natural resources and some strategic sectors of the economy; redistributive public investment and wage policies; policy coordination between the Central Bank and the Finance Ministry; and monetary and exchange rate policies directed toward de-dollarizing the Bolivian financial system. The renationalization of hydrocarbons in 2006 was vital to Bolivia’s subsequent economic and social progress. In the first eight years of the Morales administration, national government revenue from hydrocarbons increased nearly sevenfold from $731 million to $4.95 billion.
The CEPR report concluded that the importance of the government’s nationalization of hydrocarbons to Bolivia’s economic progress over the past 13 years could not be overemphasized. These revenues accounted for macroeconomic stability and financed social spending. This advance could only have come about after breaking free from the constraints of IMF agreements. When Evo Morales took office in 2006, Bolivia had been operating under IMF loan agreements for 20 years, and its GDP per capita was lower than it had been in 1980. The IMF had opposed any kind of nationalization or even lesser attempts at increasing government control over hydrocarbon.
Ecuador had a population of 18m million in 2021. In Ecuador, things were beginning to improve following dollarization of the economy in the 2000s, and further improved under Correa. GDP grew steadily from $US8.3bn in 2000 to $US108.1 in 2019, since when it fell back to $US98.8 in 2020. Correa was helped by resurgence in oil prices. Oil had been the largest contributor to Ecuador’s economy since the 1970s, but non-oil commodities subsequently grew as serious contributors to the economy. Tourism, bananas, shrimp, coffee and gold are today among other top contributors to export earnings. There has also been an influx of foreign investors, most notably China. Poverty dropped from 45 percent to under 22.5 percent under Correa and has stayed fairly steady at around 24% for much of the period 2015-2018. Share of population living on less than 3.20 U.S. dollars per day in Ecuador from 2010 to 2018 fell from 14.7% in 2010 to 8.6% in 2013 and then climbed up to 9.7% in 2018. Because of Covid it grew 8 percentage points to affect 1.3 million people in 2020, and the inequality gap widened. Since 2000, Ecuador has experienced an average of four percent annual economic growth, and since the beginning of Correa’s presidency, unemployment has decreased to less than five percent. Because Correa defaulted on Ecuador’s 3.2 billion dollars of sovereign debt the debt had amounted to nearly five billion dollars by 2014 and nine and a half billion by 2021.
Peru had a total population of 32m in 2019, with a per capita GDP of approx. $7,000 and an overall GDP of over $230 billion. Peru is the seventh largest economy in Latin America. Its services sector accounts for 60% of GDP, within which telecommunications and financial services alone account for nearly 40% of GDP. Industry represents 35% of GDP. Peru’s ores and minerals exports make up over 50% of total exports, food accounts for 21% and mineral fuels account for 12%, a trade that is very vulnerable to shifts in terms of trade. In a financially dollarized economy, consumers and firms might borrow in USD but buy and sell products in local currency, so any fluctuation of the foreign exchange can lead to distortions in both production and consumption decisions.
For two decades in the twenty-first century, Peru’s economy appeared robust, among the best-performing Latin American economies, with annual real GDP growth averaging 5.4 percent 2005-2020. But economic inequality had been intensifying since 2014, when a 12-year run of sustained growth in the national GDP, driven by a mining boom, came to an end.
Poverty had been the fate of 50% of the population in 1970, even increasingly slightly to 54.1% in 2000. It then declined a little, to 49.1%, in 2006, but went down a whole lot further, to 20%, in 2019. But the 2020 pandemic pushed it back up to 30%. In 2019 the top 1% and 10% of income earners got 29.6% and 56.6% of GDP, respectively; 40% of middle-income earners got 35.8% of GDP, whilst 50% of low-income earners only received 9.4% of GDP. About 45% of Peru’s total population is indigenous and 52% of those who live below the extreme poverty line are indigenous.
According to the Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Informatica (INEI), people who earn less than 338 soles, or US$150 dollars, per month are in poverty and those who earn less than 183 soles or US$80 a month are in extreme poverty. The minimum living wage has been established at 930 soles, or 415 dollars, per month. In 2017, poverty in urban areas impacted 15% of the population, but poverty in rural areas was 44%. 70% of the rural poor did not have titles to their property, 42% lived in adobe houses, and 58% lived on dirt floors. 73% of the rural poor had no access to a public water source, and 50% had only reached a primary school level of education. More than 80% did not have health insurance, and 53% worked in agriculture. Decades of neoliberal meanness in the matter of social and welfare benefits have cast millions into precariousness and hardship, enhancing their vulnerability to pandemics such as Covid-19. Peru has experienced one of the highest Covid-related mortality rates.
By 2021 a total of US$ 17 billion had been transferred abroad in fear of Pedro Castillo’s presidency. Consumer prices jumped 3.2 percent 2020-2021, a rise concentrated in products of the “basic food basket” impacting mainly the poor. Peru produces only 9.5 percent of the wheat it consumes—the rest is imported from Canada, the US, Argentina, and Russia. By 2020 the number of families declared poor (earning US$2,520 or less annually) in Peru had risen from 20 percent to 30 percent of the population, wiping out the poverty reduction achieved over the past decade. More than 10,000 families have been evicted from informal settlements. Yet foreign investment in Peru’s mining sector was expected to total US$34 billion over the next decade. Although the international price of copper rose by 94 percent from May 2020 to May 2021, mining employed fewer personnel due to increasing automation.
From this survey we can conclude that quite suddenly the prospects for progressive governance in South America have improved. At their heart is the scope for productive ideological harmonization and practical political collaboration between left-leaning parties in both Peru and Bolivia. This opportunity should be placed in a broader context of the current electoral dominance of the left in Argentina and Venezuela and, more particularly, the prospects for progressive victories in upcoming (2021-2022) elections in Brazil and Chile.
We should also take wary notice that radicalism in South America is hardly new, and that today, just as in the past, its prospects are highly vulnerable to the play of imperial power from the USA and NATO, in particular, but also to the continuing cultural and political impacts of former empires, notably those of Spain and Portugal. These are manifest broadly and deeply in most areas of life in South America: the tedious dance of liberal and conservative wings of the ruling classes that only occasionally open up chances for integration of the indigenous and mestizo populations into the mainstream of economic prosperity; the continuing and largely still reactionary influence of the Roman Catholic Church as well as of evangelical Protestantism; the inclination to usually reactionary military force as a quick response to significant threats to ruling class intersts; economic dependence of agricultural, mineral and hydrocarbon products on international market demand and investment by exploitative multinational corporations; steep social and economic inequality that has strong ethnic or racist overtones between – whites, mestizos and indigenous, populations in those areas that are naturally well-endowed with resources and those that are not, rural and urban, traditional social classes (bourgeois, professional, worker and peasant); and, not least, men and women.
Oliver Boyd-Barrett is Professor Emeritus, Bowling Green State University, Ohio and of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He currently teaches at California State University, Channel Islands. He has also taught at the Chinese University in Hong Kong and at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. His most recent books include RussiaGate and Propaganda (Routledge); Media Imperialism: Continuity and Change (edited with Tanner Mirrlees)(Rowman and Littlefield); Media Imperialism (Sage) and Western Mainstream Media and the Ukraine Crisis (Routledge).