Observers: Same Forces Behind U.S. Riots Fueled 2019 Latin America Violence

A woman walks past a fire set by demonstrators during clashes with riot police which erupted during a march on International Women's Day, in Santiago on March 8, 2020. - Protests, strikes and studies -- people around the globe are taking action to mark International Women's Day and to push …
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Protests and violent riots throughout the United States, nominally expressing outrage over the death of Minnesota man George Floyd, attracted Latin American leftist iconography this week – not a coincidence given months of violent riots throughout South America, observers told Breitbart News.

Autumn 2019 saw looting, burning, and assorted destructive acts in Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, and Chile, among other countries. Like the current situation in the United States, violence appeared to erupt nearly simultaneously throughout the continent and, like in America, many locals expressed frustration that the most violent acts appeared to be committed or paid for by foreign actors. Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile all arrested foreigners, most tied to the socialist and communist regimes of Venezuela and Cuba, accused of fueling violence in the countries.

At the time, one of the most prominent leftists on the continent, Nicolás Maduro henchman and U.S.-sanctions drug trafficker Diosdado Cabello, used his Venezuelan state TV show to warn the United States would soon face similar violence.

“What is happening in Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Argentina, Honduras is just a little breeze, and what is coming is a Bolivarian hurricane,” he said, referring to the Venezuelan socialist ideology. “The Bolivarian breeze will reach the United States and it will have someone who governs for the people.”

Cabello’s statement appeared to be a reference to the 2020 election at the time. His boss, Maduro, endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the 2016 election but did not endorse in 2020. An investigative report by Project Veritas revealed that staffers on Sanders’ campaign this year had plans for violence against Americans regardless of Sanders’ performance in the election.

Chile experienced perhaps the most outrageous of the violence; leftists burned down churches, destroyed Santiago subway stations, and terrorized residential communities. Across the political spectrum, even without agreeing on the solutions, Chilean political officials appeared to concord in conversation with Breitbart News that the original problems triggering protests there last year were legitimate: a proposed subway fare hike in the capital, frustration with outrageously large student loans, and a declining economy, among other concerns. But they also agreed that, if the protests were once peaceful and just, by October, they had gotten out of the control of many organizers, now controlled by violent elements seeking to engage in widespread destruction.

George Floyd was killed in late May by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is now facing charges of murder, along with the officers present when he killed Floyd. A bystander filmed his death, which occurred after Chauvin crushed Floyd’s neck with his knee for nearly ten minutes. The video triggered widespread outrage, prompting nationwide protests against police brutality, particularly against black people. The protests rapidly yielded to riots against racism, many of which resulted in the destruction of black-owned homes and businesses.

Many of those participating in the destruction appear to be members of the largely white Marxist group Antifa, which President Donald Trump has vowed to designate a terrorist organization.

George Floyd’s family pleaded with violent actors to cease committing acts of destruction in the name of their loved one this week. Local authorities in multiple cities – including Minneapolis, Dallas, Richmond, and Denver, among others – blamed “outsiders” for the violence. Some claimed far-right “white nationalists” were involved, but no evidence has surfaced indicating so.

“The same urban guerrilla tactics we saw here are over there now, the exact same thing and the same posters, the same signs in their hands,” René Barba, a city councilman in Lo Barnochea, a suburb of Santiago, Chile, told Breitbart News this week, asserting that the rioters even targeted the same store brands to destroy in America as they did in Chile.

“The downtown [of Santiago] – they destroyed it, burned it, tore it apart, and it strikes me that [it’s] the same destruction I see in the images I see on TV of you, those were the same places they destroyed here,” Barba affirmed. His remarks echoed his description of the Santiago violence during a prior interview with Breitbart News in December, in which he asserted that organized radical leftists were “handing out food before the protests, alcohol, we assume drugs” to enable destruction.

“In the damage occurring starting from October 2019 in Santiago de Chile … participated groups of, more or less, anarchists to my understanding, some from the extreme left, who have always advocated for violence in our country,” Kareen Herrera, Secretary of International Relations for Chile’s center-left Christian Democratic Party (PDC), told Breitbart News this week. “There are also extreme right-wing groups. There is another group we refer to as ‘lumpen‘ who are delinquent children in the streets who join all sorts of protests with the intent to destroy, very influenced, unfortunately, by drug and alcohol abuse.”

“In all of this social movement that has developed in Chile and that has gotten out of the hands of both authorities and organizers, innocent people have been hurt, like small business owners, and that has been exacerbated today by the pandemic, which will cause more poverty in Chile,” Herrera stated.

Barba, a conservative, contended that the riots in Chile were not isolated from those in the United States, going as far as asserting that some of those engaging in left-wing activism in America today were active in Chile not long ago. Herrera asserted only that the disillusion and lack of trust in the government that Chilean society has experienced is not unique to Chile, and neither are their consequences.

“The protests are for social demands that have been delayed for many years, such as [a rise in] the minimum wage, giving rightful attention to healthcare, quality public education, higher education without debt, pensions for old age – in sum, a long list of demands that are valid when the wage gap and life conditions are evident on a day-by-day basis,” Herrera told Breitbart News. “Chile is not isolated from what is happening globally, with a disgraced political class and increasingly less electoral participation from its population.”

Those demands, it is worth noting, have morphed into the Chilean left calling for an entirely new national constitution.

Herrera added that she considered concerns in Chile about police brutality and frustration towards the Catholic Church over sexual abuse cases legitimate, though the violence related to that frustration not so.

“I think it is important to understand that today, institutions are disgraced and social movements have strengthened and created spaces for themselves that were once only for political organizations,” Herrera said. “We cannot lose the ability to dialogue and protect institutions, both within and without the state – it is the only way to come to agreements and lower the intensity of the protests.”

“They have bombed military barracks, [placed] car bombs, attacked police, attacked cell phone towers … I see the same tactic of attacking police stations [used] here over there now,” Barba told Breitbart News, referring to the burning down of police stations in Portland, Oregon, and Minneapolis. Barba noted that over a dozen members of Chile’s Congress, many of them left-wing, left the country in February, and claimed several of the most radical visited the United States. Barba also cited the prevalence of left-wing Latin American iconography at American protests.

Among the symbols of Marxist violence present at protests around the country this week were the flag of Nicaragua’s Sandinista movement – which killed dozens of peaceful protesters throughout the pro-democracy movement of 2018 – and the “Chavez eyes” logo commonly used by the socialist regime of Nicolás Maduro. The flag of the indigenous Mapuche people of Chile, which the Chilean left has appropriated as its own symbol, also made a showing in Minneapolis.

The shared iconography does not necessarily mean the same individuals are active in both countries, Joseph Humire, the executive director of the Center for a Secure Free Society (SFS), a national security research institution, told Breitbart News.

“In national security, convergence theory allows for anarchic agit-prop groups to make common cause with socialist and anti-American movements in Latin America. Cyber warfare allows foreign state adversaries to help them out,” Humire explained. “What we are seeing now is the convergence of threat networks using anarchist and socialist movements to manipulate the George Floyd protests to escalate violence and cause chaos in the United States, much like they have done recently in Latin America.”

Humire noted that, just like in Chile, “it’s important to segment these national protests into at least two separate groups: 1) those that are peacefully protesting about racial injustice or police discrimination, which is their constitutional right; and 2) those that are using the peaceful protests as cover for more violent and nefarious actions to vandalize, steal, and commit arson – which are acts of terror.”

“The latter more subversive group seems to be tied primarily to the anarchist movement, ANTIFA – which has a global network. Whether in Germany or Argentina, we have seen anarchists try to cause chaos at G20 summits in recent years, and last year we saw local ANTIFA cells involved in the violent national protests in Chile and Colombia,” he noted.

Barba expressed optimism that America would not suffer what his nation has.

“We spent October, November, December, January, February, where nothing was done – nothing. They started disarming the police,” he told Breitbart News. “Unlike us, you have a president who will act.”

He concluded urging Americans to “be careful and look at where an attack with these features is coming from,” calling what occurred in Chile a “Castro-Chavista” creation. “Was the trigger here George Floyd’s death, or was this planned until a trigger event happened?”

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