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Shocked I tell you…

23 November 2009

Really, why is anyone surprised that the U.S. Democratic Party is any more reactionary than the Republican Party when it comes to Latin American policy?

Via Honduras Oye!:

– The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), organizations that receive funding from the U.S. State Department, are planning on sending delegations to observe the November 29 elections in Honduras, according to a statement issued by Republican Senator Richard Lugar. The IRI is a group that has supported the ouster of democratically elected presidents in Haiti and Venezuela in recent years. Both groups are apparently planning to assist with observation of the elections, despite the fact that the electoral process will be effectively controlled by thousands of military troops and police officers – the same forces who have committed innumerable human rights violations, including killings, rapes, beatings and thousands of detentions, since the June 28 coup d’etat.

“I am surprised to see NDI joining the International Republican Institute in its efforts to legitimize another coup,” Center for Economic and Policy Research Co-Director Mark Weisbrot said. “NDI has generally been less willing to support coups and anti-democratic regimes than has its Republican counterpart.”

It would get tedious to work out my thesis that both U.S. parties (and in any real sense, there are only two parties in the United States) are always going to have the same Latin American policy.  Neither have an internationalist outlook, like Christian Democrats or Socialists.  Both are based in 19th century “liberalism” (although the parties use the word in a different sense in the United States) and are more or less National Action parties (like the Gaulists in France, or PAN here) — more or less based in the idea that nationalism trumps ideology or economic theory, and the way things are is the way they should be.

Both U.S. parties have accepted the idea of exploiting the Americas going back to the Monroe Administration and it hasn’t changed any since then.  Oh, the days of gunboat diplomacy are a bit passe, and maybe the CIA is a little more subtle about it, but the intended results are the same.

As Richard Nixon said, “no one gives a shit about the place” — and, at least among the political elite, that’s always been true.  Consider that the Obama Administration nominated the disgraced former U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia, Philip Goldberg, to a post where he can do even more pernicious damage:  Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research (i.e., spy in chief).  Consider that democracy in Honduras was sold out by the Obama Administration to satisfy domestic political needs — specifically that of Senator Jim De Mint of South Carolina, and to move a former Bush state department figure into a more economically important job as Ambassador to Brazil.

Or look at continued (and expanded) support for the Uribe regime in Colombia… including overt military support.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the Obama administration has made the world a better place (if only in jump-starting some long overdue mild reforms to the United States’ bloated economic system and in being a little more subtle when it comes to bullying their fellow nations in the hemisphere), but”change we can believe in” ends at the Rio Grande River.

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