There are some interviews that I just know are going to be fantastic as soon as I walk into an office. I got that feeling today, when I walked down a half-inundated alley and up some rickety stairs into the dank and decrepit lair of FOCAO, the Federación de Organizaciones Campesinas de Orellana. Technically, the organization is a glorified farmers’ support group. I quickly realized, though, that they more-than-dabble in radical politics. The walls were covered in posters advertising days of resistance against petroleum exploitation, pan-Latin America conferences to confront neo-liberalism, and urging boycotts of Coca Cola. In short, minus the humidity, I felt like I was back in New York, talking revolution with my freegan friends.
All of the posters and ads, of course, had a mildly anti-American flair. Those vile corporations and the World Bank, after all, are headquartered in the U.S., and the caricatures of rich oligarchs destroying the environment were made to look awfully, well, gringo-esque. This cut a somewhat stark contrast with the fact that every piece of electronic equipment in the room—bar none—had an American flag sticker declaring “US AID: Aid from the American People.” Even the $10 computer speakers were tagged.
I’m not sure which I appreciate more: the fact that the campesinos are willing to bite the hand that feeds, or that America is willing to feed the hand that bites.