South America â€“ Baby Reaching Toward A Hot Stove?
By: Michael John McCrae
It took a few tries to find one report that wasnâ€™t decidedly anti-United States but the â€œStars and Stripesâ€ online report by AP writer Bradley Brooks came closest to being a straight up piece of journalism entitled: â€œLatin American summit focus is lack of US presenceâ€, 16 December 2008.
The second paragraph of the report set the overall tone of the summit, reading: â€œThe largest hemispheric summit to exclude U.S. representation was hailed by Washington’s most vocal critics as a sign that Latin America is demanding a new independence from the superpower to the north.â€
Now, any summit that is â€œhailedâ€ by â€œcriticsâ€ of the United States is automatically suspect. It may be true that the United States should not be sending $15 billion to AIDS sufferers in Africa, should not be trying to stem the tide of illegal drugs being run north from Columbia, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela, should not be dependent on oil exports from a South American dictatorship, should not be accepting illegal immigrants from any country south of the Texas border, should not have entertained the job creating NAFTA trade agreement and should certainly not be embargoing Cuban Cigars, but the United States sometimes doesnâ€™t know what is best for its own population, let alone the populations of Latin American Nations.
Latin America has found new allies, friends and weapons manufacturers to depend upon.
From the article: â€œCuba’s integration into the Rio Group – after it was expelled from the Washington-based Organization of American States in 1962 – only added to the buzz about a new era.â€
Cuba has probably always been in good graces with most of the 33 nations that attended this summit, but this summit blessed their communist re-integration into the Latin American mix, basically challenging the United Statesâ€™ historical anti-communist position. The President of Venezuela (Hugo Chavez) is quoted: â€œThe presence of Cuba is a very strong signal that America is no longer the boss in Latin Americaâ€¦â€
This is more than satisfactory to Chavez, and the Presidents of Bolivia (Evo Morales), Cuba (Raul Castro) and Paraguay (Fernando Lugo). The three socialist leaders among others have been trying to influence electoral politics in South America to wean South America from any dependence on the United States. Their preferred allies are the Russians and the Communist Chinese.
Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela have been welcoming Russian political and military visits to their countries and have been developing oil contracts and treaties with these nations that have sought the economic destruction of the United States. The government of the United States has been completely silent concerning the communist maneuverings within South America other than to say these are sovereign nations that are capable of making their own way in the world. The fact that the United States had no representation at this summit even as an observer should be a solid foreign affairs red flag!
There has to be some concern when the President of Brazil (Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva) praises the elections of dictators, socialists and liberation theologians to high national office. He is quoted: â€œThere was a time when our friend Chavez was all alone,â€ Silva said. â€œWho would have imagined 10 years ago our beloved Evo Morales as president? Who would have thought that a liberation theology bishop could become Paraguay’s president?â€
The joy here is tied to the election of Barack Obama. These South American leaders believe Obama will not neglect them as they believe theyâ€™ve been neglected by the Bush Administration. It is quite possible they are seeking debt forgiveness and bail-outs in lieu of free trade and having to pay legitimate debt. There is a hint in the comments quoted of Evo Morales: â€œThe entire world is hoping there will be changes,â€ said Morales, who in September expelled the U.S. ambassador, accusing him of siding with violent opposition protests. â€œI hope there might be changes, and we Bolivians want to improve diplomatic relations.â€
Morales expelled the American Ambassador on bogus charges and is now ready to â€œimprove diplomatic relationsâ€ with someone he knows shares his socialist ideology.
The question becomes, â€œHow will all this communist schmoozing play out?â€ Will the United States ever again be able to depend on any Latin American nation to support curbs on communist aggression anywhere in the world? Will the Latin American nations now supporting the wars against illegal drugs and terrorism be coerced by the more socialist Latin American leaders to discontinue such support? Will Russia again be a major player with bases throughout South America within striking distance of the United States mainland?
There is a pan of hot communist grease on the stove and the Latin American Baby is reaching for the handle!