Thursday, March 08, 2007

Fear and Loathing in South America

"The future will be better tomorrow"

-Dan Quayle-

Sadly, he was wrong, but to be fair, Dan Quayle never did say he wished he had studied Latin so he could talk to Latin Americans during his trip to check the progress of our War on Drugs in South America. But the history of official Presidential and Vice-Presidential journeys to the south will soon have another chapter to amuse us. The pending Bush visit to South America triggers a lot of deja vu visions. Nixon's 1958 Vice Presidential visit was a harrowing one. His car was pelted with rocks and invective in Venezuela by what was portrayed at the time as a "pro Communist" mob. I suspect that US support for yet another brutal and corrupt "anti-communist" dictator, Marcos Jimenez is a more complete motivational description, but then, as now, things are described in accordance with the prevailing mythology.

Of course Nixon was still a dozen years from escalating Imperialism by assassinating the duly elected President of Chile and American Presidents have been supporting brutality in desultory fashion ever since. If Bush doesn't remember, perhaps he will be reminded that we are not widely seen anywhere as promoters of peace and liberty.

"I dont see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people."

-Henry Kissinger, 1970-

That sort of says it all. US intervention in Latin America, from political meddling to murdering; from invasion to the overthrow of democracies, is a long-standing tradition less likely to be forgotten by South Americans than North Americans. Bush, however does have the opportunity to disassociate himself with the past, even if the smoky odor of our intervention in Iraq clings to him.

"Mr. Bush should emphasize U.S. support for governments with a strong social agenda -- giving the poor a political voice and devising programs specifically aimed at reducing poverty." Says today's Miami Herald. "Mr. Bush needs to shape and articulate the argument over economic policies and respect for personal and political liberties in a forceful manner."

What he needs to do of course, and what he can do are sets less than congruent. Articulation is not his strong suit and respect for personal liberties has been replaced by a police state mentality, to say nothing of the fear of and anger towards Spanish speaking foreigners in the US. Perhaps George will return home wishing he had studied history more closely.


Intellectual Insurgent said...

Perhaps he should practice what he preaches here at home before he insults the intelligence of yet another populace. Indeed, every place Bush sets out to spread "democracy" only ends up in chaos. The people of South America understand this and no amount of Orwellian doublespeak will fool anyone but the most devout Bush worshippers in America.

Capt. Fogg said...

I just hope he comes back without starting another war.