November 10, 2005

Why Dubya didn't exactly wow them during his Latin America trip.

Like it really needs explaining.

But sometimes, knowing reasons is a good thing, and journalist Tony Karon gives us a big one:

"Only a generation ago, this was a continent plagued by military dictatorship and civil war," Bush intoned in Brazil on Sunday. "Yet the people of this continent defied the dictators, and they claimed their liberty ... Freedom is the gift of the Almighty to every man and woman in this world — and today this vision is the free consensus of a free Americas."

Chile's presidential palace being bombed, 1973

Right, and where was Washington? Many of the same leaders with whom Bush met at the summit were in prison, or buried their friends and colleagues murdered for their activism, and faced the constant threat of murder and torture for standing up to dictatorship. And in most instances, they were fighting dictators backed by the United States.

Chile's President Ricardo Lagos is a case in point: He was imprisoned by Washington's man, Pinochet. Yes, he wants a trade deal with the U.S. But you can hold the democracy lecture, thank you.

The photo above shows Chile's presidential palace [La Moneda] being bombed during the 1973 military coup that put right-wing Gen. Agosto Pinochet [current Pres. Lagos' former jailer] into power. The planes and bombs were US-made, by the way. As, most would agree, was the coup.

Via Rootless Cosmopolitan. [Thanks to Cursor for the tip.]

Posted by Magpie at November 10, 2005 04:25 PM | International | Technorati links |

It's worse than that. People like Ricardo Lagos know that in the late 70s Jimmy Carter was their friend and Dick Cheney was their enemy. They hear Bush talk about Democracy and human rights in Iraq and they know that the rethug bastards voted against human rights and democracy for Latin America countless, countless times. Latin Americans have learned not to be Anti-American. Now they're only anti-Republican. They loved Clinton. Hell, they even rooted for Dukakis (I remember the disappointment in Peru when he lost). And when Bush lies and demogogues the security card and the "values" card, they've heard that before, too, from Colonels who went to a Te Deum on Sunday and attached the electrodes to their victims on Monday. Believe it or not, many Latin Americans have read and respect the US Constitution, on which their own constitutions were often modelled. They know from experience how fragile democracy is. They know from experience how election fraud is done. They know from experience how a free press gets destroyed and replaced by 24-hour propaganda. They know from experience what happens when leaders make apologies for torture and suspension of civil liberties. In short, they know and can see what most Americans don't and can't-- they can tell when a leader is out to destroy democracy-- they, unlike us, can see it coming from a mile away because they've seen it all before.

Posted by: the exile at November 11, 2005 02:02 PM