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The International Writers Magazine: US Politics

LATIN LOVE by Dean Borok
One thing I particularly enjoy is reminding people of inconvenient things that they have done that they would prefer to ignore. Everybody screws up, but they shrug it off in the interest of "going forward".
The problem with that course of action is, as Churchill astutely observed, "Those who forget the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them".

It takes a big man to face up to his mistakes, even if he didn’t commit them. As the old saying goes, the sins of the fathers are visited upon the sons.

That’s why President Barack Obama was able to sit through a quarter-hour diatribe by Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega at the Organization of American States conference in Trinidad without batting an eyelash. Everything Ortega told him was true: how the US unmercifully inflicted unspeakable horrors on the people of Nicaragua for an interminable period of years, occupying that country for a quarter century and then, on our way out, installing a merciless dictator, Somoza, who tortured and slaughtered its indigenous population for several more decades. When that prick was eventually overthrown, the U.S. mustered and supplied an equally gruesome mercenary army of exiles to harass its revolutionary government, which at the time was led by none other than – Ortega!
Obama wasn’t responsible for any of this mess, but Ortega rejoiced that he was finally able to personally deliver his complaint to its source, and in permitting him to blow off steam, Obama did a service to humanity by letting him get a load of his mind and clearing the air.

Naturally, the Republican opposition in this country went berserk. They excoriated the president for not getting up and walking out on the diatribe. That’s their solution – throw your weight around, and if the natives have the audacity to complain, you swat them off like flies. In fact, George W. Bush put it exactly in that context. "I’m not here to swat flies", he said – right before another bunch of natives crashed jetliners into the World Trade Center.
Oh, but the Republicans are not finished! They’re howling about Obama consenting to shake hands with Venezuelan president-for-life Hugo Chavez, who exclaimed, "I want to be your friend," and pressing a book on him. They don’t have to worry about Obama reading the book. Obama is no dummy. He already knows what’s in the book:
*
how the U.S. unmercifully massacred Guatemala’s indigenous population in the interests of that country’s European land-owning elite, staging a military coup to rid Guatemala of its popular government in 1954 and igniting a civil war that lasted 50 years, killing hundreds of thousands of its inhabitants
*
how the U.S. inflicted a 70-year embargo on Haiti after that country’s population threw out its French colonial masters in 1802 as a lesson to our own black slave population
*
how the U.S. occupied the Dominican Republic over a period of 30 years, installing a dictator, Trujillo, who dominated the country for another 30 years. And after he was machine-gunned on the steps of the capital, we went in there again
*
how we installed Fulgencio Batista in Cuba, who turned that country into "the whorehouse of the Caribbean", and then punished that country for overthrowing him by imposing a 50-year embargo that survives to this day
*
how the U.S. installed military dictatorships in Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, El Salvador, Panama, etcetera etcetera etcetera
Yeah, the Monroe Doctrine of 1820 excluded the European powers from interfering in Latin America, leaving it as a theme park for us to jerk around as we saw fit, and we made the most of it.

But all good things must come to an end, and now we are on the receiving end of payback – just when we need these countries most. They still have resources that we need more that ever. Obama put it succinctly. "We are the most powerful country, but we are not the only one." We need them as badly as they need us.

Fortunately, all these countries are willing to forgive and forget. But they still insist on telling us how they feel, which is a good thing. What if they remained so enraged that they refused to communicate with us at all? If somebody treated me like that, I would never speak to him again.

Obama is more than a genius. He is an analytical, feeling human being. He knows what he has to do – as he puts it, listen. Eventually, when these countries have expressed their historical resentments and antagonisms and blown off all their steam, we can begin to negotiate on the basis of our mutual interests.

Unfortunately, the president’s biggest problem is right here at home, in the form of the Republican opposition and media interests. They’re idiots who don’t appreciate the tectonic shift that has taken place in world power relationships. They want to go back to the bad old ways.

They’re deluded, but they’re still dangerous. And they certainly have expertise in the area of overthrowing legitimately elected governments. Fortunately, owing to the previous administration’s psychotic fantasies, the armed forces are displaced in Iraq, half-a-world away. Nevertheless, with Dick Cheney ensconced in Washington, having set himself as a pole of reactionary discontent, and knowing his unhinged, anachronistic proclivities, Obama would do well to consult with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about her techniques for dodging sniper fire.

© Dean Borok April 23rd 2009
deanyorkave@yahoo.com

New York People
Dean Borok
New York City has got the loudest, pushiest women in the world

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