Friday, June 09, 2006

THE CHAVEZ SAGA I - "leftside"

The Chavez saga in Venezuela is becoming more and more interesting. I am herewith including excerpts of some comments in this regard written by bloggers who visit the interesting Miami Herald blog of Andres Oppenheimer (link in this page).

By the way, we need to get those arrogant Washington idiots out of office and bring in people that think and are capable of designing a sensible, realistic and intelligent Latin American foreign policy. Enjoy!

leftside said:

It's laughable to hear some of you rant about the irrelevancy and anti-US bias of the OAS. It shows your contempt for democracy and regional diplomacy. The OAS' history as a US dominated institution is not debatable.

Because the region preferred a moderate Chilean over a Washington stooge is no reason to "cut them dead”. That type of bullying will get the US nowhere even faster.

Mora, you're proposal to boycott the OAS until they replace its leadership to suit your radical Cuban friends is revealing. And your shock at the "back scratching" that goes on in international foray is hypocritical and naive. Or are you unaware of the much more crude arm-twisting the US utilizes behind doors?


I think the most interesting story out of the OAS meeting is the US' blocking of a resolution to "prevent anyone who has participated in the planning, preparation, financing or commission of terrorist acts from obtaining safe haven, protection or naturalization in their territories for the purpose of preventing extradition." The US actually pushed a nearly identical provision on the other countries of the world, but in our backyard there are different rules (think Posada Carriles.)

mousqueton said:

International forums such as the OAS and certainly the UN are political markets. Everyone deals and tries to get a good bargain for their country and/or group. These markets are no temples and you would have to be very naïve to believe that morals and principles guide the trading. It is all about business. Off course sometimes the dealing gets a little loud and even rough. That is the nature of the market. Think about a NASCAR race were bumping between cars is called “rubbing” and is just part of the race.

We live in the same “barrio” and the US has the biggest house in the neighborhood. It is absolutely understandable therefore for quite some rubbing to go on. We put pressure on you and, once in a while, you get together and slap us in the face.

I have to concede that we have a bully and clumsy personality. Maybe it is because we are “nouveau” rich or perhaps it has to do with the cowboy stereotype. We tend to shoot from the hip and pick up fights pretty easy. That is why we end up paying so much every time we make mistakes. What can I say, we are a work in progress and we certainly were not born in a gold crib so we do not have either the education or sophistication of the European countries. The good thing about us though, is that what you see, is what you get.

Latin America could be worse. You could have England as a neighbor and while they are very educated and sophisticated there is no doubt in my mind that living in the “barrio” would be a real nightmare. Read some history, especially the chapter about the opium wars in China were England’s inhumane doings, while very “proper”, were only comparable to those of the third Reich.

It is also true that we have neglected Latin America for a long time. You see, we were kind of tied up overseas trying to get us the whole world. At first we had a competitor but now that we are alone, it seems that we have bargained for more than we can chew. So, we will be coming home soon and expect us to spend much more time in the “barrio”.

I realize we will have to a lot of mending to do and certainly work on our cowboy manners as well as lack of respect for our neighbors. But, deep down, we are pretty sensible people so I think we will be able to succeed. You must concede that you are not a walk in the park either.

What we are not, is weak. We do not allow arms in the streets of the “barrio” we share and the last time someone tried to sneak them in we were ready to go to World War III in order to stop them.

We are also very keen about people trying to start fights in the “barrio” and pitting up everyone against us. Though futile, these attitudes are a waist of time, a waist of money as well as energy and more importantly, they end up creating more misery and poverty. Something there is far too much in the “barrio” already and that we are in a good measure responsible because of our neglect. I believe that solving that main problem will be our first priority when we get back.

The only way to build a good relationship between everyone in the “barrio” though, will be if such is based on reason. We can handle standouts like the one of Chile with the UN security appointment and even open criticism like the ones expressed by Argentina and Brazil. We might not like them, but we can handle them. That is rubbing.

What we will not stand for is an antagonistic relationship the likes of what Chavez is promoting in the “barrio” and/or experiments with idealistic and pervasive ideologies that are based on pitting up one against the other and/or exploiting the needs of the poor for chauvinistic purposes.

You have to be realistic and understand that this is not going to happen and should the need arise; we will do whatever it takes to stop it; at whatever cost. Rational people only fight the causes they are sure they can win, avoid those that they are sure to loose and negotiate those that are questionable.

Who knows, we may even come around and understand socialism as a civilized political alternative for many of our neighbors, especially given the fact that it would take a zombie not to feel repulsed at the poverty and misery in some of our countries. It will not be easy, but it is possible.

For some reason, maybe ignorance or just because we are too spoiled by our riches, we have always been afraid of the word socialism. Nevertheless, we are sensible people and you find examples of that in the words of even some of our most conservative leaders. Such is the case of the following quote from the memoirs of Theodore Roosevelt.

“FELLOW-FEELING, sympathy in the broadest sense, is the most important factor in producing a healthy political and social life. Neither our national nor our local civic life can be what it should be unless it is marked by the fellow-feeling, the mutual kindness, the mutual respect, the sense of common duties and common interests, which arise when men take the trouble to understand one another, and to associate together for a common object. A very large share of the rancor of political and social strife arises either from sheer misunderstanding by one section, or by one class, of another, or else from the fact that the two sections, or two classes, are so cut off from each other that neither appreciates the other's passions, prejudices, and, indeed, point of view, while they are both entirely ignorant of their community of feeling as regards the essentials of manhood and humanity."

It doesn’t get more socialistic than that.

I will concede though, that in the present time, those sentiments are not evident because we have elected inept and ignorant leaders who are very similar to, and, share the same personality traits with, the likes of Chavez. What can I say; we also make mistakes and we are paying dearly for them.

This will come to pass though and it certainly is no excuse for people like “leftside” to support and promote feverish positions such as the ones being promoted by Chavez.

Idealism is a trait of youngsters; realism is a trait of mature people and Latin America certainly has some growing up to do. That, or, in the words of Ruben Blades from the song “Conmemorando”, will end up dreaming about …”la esperanza invincible del que ha sido un perdedor”… (The invincible hope of the looser).

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