Note to Readers: I just finished reading an article featuring a Jorge Ramos (Noticiero Univision) interview with Barack Obama about Latin American issues. Thanks to Machetera, a terrific blog you should check out (http://machetera.wordpress.com), I have an English translation of the article. Unfortunately, throughout the interview, Senator Obama lays on the right-wing rhetoric, especially when talking about Cuba and Venezuela.
Senator Obama: When it Comes to Latin America, Are You Running for Bush’s Third Term?
Jeez, where to start? Maybe with the bottom line. Senator Obama, you must, without delay, get yourself an advisor who knows something about Latin America. Please don’t pluck up a policy wonk or Clinton insider. You need an academic who knows the history and politics and who really likes Latin America. You must find someone who can help you converse comfortably about current Latin American issues without uttering Bushspeak rhetoric that has severely injured relations with governments and peoples south of the border.
I want to raise some of the issues you discussed with Jorge Ramos in a recent interview:
-Cuba and Venezuela are our enemies?
-You state that you “would initiate discussions with our enemies in Cuba and Venezuela.” Cuba and Venezuela are not my “enemies” and I include both the leaders and the peoples when I say this. Cuba and Venezuela are not enemies of the people of the US. Remember, when it comes to these two countries, the US government is the aggressor. In essence, Cuba and Venezuela are not really the enemies of the US government either. US policy on Cuba and Venezuela is maniacally based on a rapidly dying (literally) group of right-wing Cuban Americans in Miami whose vote both parties consider essential for winning the presidency.
When you spoke at the Cuban American National Foundation conference recently, there were people in the audience who, for fifty years, have repeatedly committed terrorist acts against Fidel Castro and the people of Cuba. In addition, some of those terrorists in the audience traveled to Caracas in 2002 to “help out” in the US-sponsored coup against Chavez. While Pedro Carmona played “prez for a day and a half” sipping on his celebratory champagne in Miraflores (presidential palace) and collaborating with his anointed minister of justice to abolish virtually every governmental institution, including the national assembly, the guys from Miami were celebrating over at the Cuban embassy by threatening the lives of the Cuban diplomats inside. They destroyed Cuban diplomatic cars, cut the electricity and water lines to the embassy, and vowed to “starve’ the Cubans by not letting food inside. Please don’t doubt me on this one, I’ve seen the videotape. It’s always good to have a little background on the organizations, like CANF, which you court.
-The Colombia Free Trade Agreement
I was glad to hear that you stop short of supporting this agreement because of your concern about the murders of unionists. Yet, because of your support for Peru’s free trade agreement, I can only assume that the extinction of unionists in Colombia is at such a hideous, bloody, and continuous level that you have been advised to hold back. Plus, I know you have support in the US Congress on this one. There are plenty of bloody things taking place on this planet and that is why you need an advisor to help you sort it all out. I assume you want to achieve relative consistency in your foreign policy.
-Is Chavez a threat to national security?
You said, “yes, but a manageable one.” Shame on you Senator Obama. It is the US that is a threat to Venezuela’s national security and you now know at least one reason why – the US actively participated in the attempted overthrow of Chavez in 2002. And here are a few other reasons: the National Endowment for Democracy has been dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into the coffers of opposition groups in Venezuela (who are a lot like the guys in Miami) so that they can take another shot at a successful overthrow. In addition, virtually every US government entity that has ever been sent to Venezuela since Chavez was elected has been a front for spies. You are flat out wrong here Senator Obama and I am certain if you go down this road ever again, you are likely to run smack into George Bush.
-Chavez involved with the FARC?
You said that Chavez “may have been involved.” You have NO proof of this and INTERPOL, which reviewed the computers, will tell you there is NO proof of this. I suggest you contact the head of INTERPOL and corroborate this for yourself. You should get a quick response, he is an American. For someone such as yourself who has been victim to lies and innuendo, this is a serious accusation to make without proof in hand. I suggest you be far more careful in your remarks in this regard.
-You are thinking about UN or OAS sanctions against Venezuela because of an alleged relationship between Chavez and the FARC?
Senator Obama, you’re killing me here. See paragraph above. I think you would be wise not to utter the “S” word until you learn a lot more. Recommending sanctions is a very provocative and bellicose move which is quite unlike your stated intention to initiate discussions with Cuba and Venezuela. Plus, your diplomatic cart and horse are out of order. I would think that before you start talking about sanctions, you would want to initiate discussions with the leader and people you are about to penalize. Otherwise, you might as well call your Latin American policy the George Bush doctrine.
-You stated that Fidel didn’t write a recent article about you because he is too sick.
There’s only one place that you could have gotten this from – Little Havana, Miami. Did you learn about Fidel’s state of health at the CANF conference?
Having read many an article penned by Fidel, I can assure you that he wrote the article in question and is healthy enough to write another one. In fact, if you keep up these provocative, rotely-learned catch phrase utterances in your dealings with the good leaders and good people of Latin America, I can only hope that Fidel zings another one your way.