Pirates of the Caribbean

Published by Verso, 2006 (new and updated edition 2008)

A fiery polemic on Latin America’s challenge to US-led neoliberalism

The Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela has brought Hugo Chávez to world attention as the foremost challenger of the neoliberal consensus and American foreign policy. Drawing on first-hand experience of Venezuela and meetings with Chávez, Tariq Ali shows how Chávez’s views have polarized Latin America and examines the hostility directed against his administration. Contrasting the Cuban and Venezuelan revolutionary processes, Ali discusses the enormous influence of Fidel Castro on Chávez, President of Bolivia Evo Morales and, in this fully updated edition, the newly elected President of Ecuador Rafael Correa, the latest addition to the “Axis of Hope.” Infused with references to the culture and poetry of South America, Pirates of the Caribbean guides us through a world divided between privilege and poverty, a continent that is once again on the march.

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From the archive

  • ‘Law and order’

    May 16, 2007

    ‘Law and order’ by Tariq Ali for The Guardian, May 16, 2007

    Sixty years old this August, Pakistan has been under de facto military rule for exactly half of its life. Military leaders have usually been limited to a 10-year cycle: Ayub Khan (1958-69), Zia-ul-Haq (1977-89).

    The first was removed by a nationwide insurrection lasting three months. The second was assassinated. According to this political calendar, Pervez Musharraf still has another year and a half to go, but events happen.

    On March 9 this year, the president suspended the chief justice of the supreme court. Unlike some of his colleagues, the judge in question, Iftikhar Chaudhry, had not resigned at the time of the coup, but like previous supreme courts, had acquiesced to the bogus “doctrine of necessity” that is always used to judicially justify a military takeover.  …

  • Obama at War: The Brooklyn Rail interviews Tariq Ali

    April 9, 2010

    An interview with Tariq Ali by Theodore Hamm and Christian Parenti for The Brooklyn Rail, April 9, 2010

    Rail: What do you make of Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s recent observation that an “amazing” number of innocent Afghan civilians have been killed by U.S. forces? That fact is not surprising—but shouldn’t such high-level acknowledgment of it provoke real opposition to the war?

    Tariq Ali: It should but it won’t because North American and European citizens (the latter in large majorities) who oppose the war feel disempowered. In the U.S., of course, Obama promised to escalate the war, an election pledge he has carried out with a vengeance and unless directly affected—as in the days of the draft—liberal Americans don’t care that much if foreigners are being killed. McChrystal’s remarks were designed largely for consumption in Afghanistan: he was simultaneously appealing  …

  • ‘No Balls’ – Tariq Ali for the LRB Blog

    September 1, 2010

    Tariq Ali on Pakistan’s cricket scandal for the London Review of Books Blog, September 1, 2010

    The mood in Pakistan is bitter, angry and vengeful. Effigies of Salman Butt have been burned, his name has been painted on donkeys and the no-ball bowlers are being violently abused all over the country. Demands that the corrupt cricketers be hanged in public are gaining ground. Among younger members of the elite there is shock that Butt (educated at a posh school) has let the side down. Mohammad Amir they could understand since he’s from a poor family. The blindness of this cocooned layer of young Pakistanis is hardly a surprise, but popular anger should not be underestimated. The no-ballers and their captain will need round-the-clock security when they return. Much better to take a long holiday abroad (surely they can  …