liberal ["liberalis" L - suitable for a freeman, generous; "eleutheros" Gk - free] (adj) generous, open-minded, not subjugated to authoritarian domination; (n) one who believes in liberty, universal suffrage and the free exchange of ideas. elite ["eslire" Fr -- to choose fr.L "eligere" -- choose] (n) the choice part; best of a class; the socially superior part of society.

Monday, June 06, 2005

OAS initiative

There has yet to be a storm of the destructive quality of last year's devastating Florida tropical tempests. The election year brought Florida a series of pummelings.

The closest thing to a warning sign now is the faint but increasing rumble of distant thunder in the OAS meeting in Miami.

Storm Damage

The fallout from Bush's leadership continues to rain down on the USA. Yesterday, in an article entitled, Latin Nations Resist Plan for Monitor of Democracy, Joel Brinkley discussed the unwillingness of the 10 major Latin American foreign ministers to voice any support for the OAS initiative.

The US is promoting the establishment of a "Democracy Monitoring" mechanism in the OAS that will allow citizens of American states to bring breaches of liberty and violations of OAS requirements directly to the OAS. The OAS would then become, under the proposal, empowered to enforce sanctions or take other corrective action against the guilty country.

However, the Latin Americans don't want to go along.
One ambassador, who declined to be identified because he did not want to offend the United States, noted that the organization's charter emphasized "non-intervention, self-determination and respect for individual personalities" in member states.

Many OAS member diplomats and representatives have viewed the US's initiative as an attempt to organize opposition in the hemisphere against Hugo Chavez and his administration in Venezuela.

According to Arshad Mohamed in a Reuters article yesterday, U.S., Venezuela Clash as OAS Meeting Begins,
"Together we must insist that leaders who are elected democratically have a responsibility to govern democratically," Rice said at the gathering's opening session.

She did not directly mention Venezuela but Washington and other critics of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez say that although twice elected, the Venezuelan president is showing authoritarian tendencies in office.

For his part, Chavez got in his own remarks on a tv show prior to the conference. He continued to bait Washington with stinging criticism.
Speaking before the conference began, Chavez accused the United States of trying to impose a "global dictatorship" and said that it, not Venezuela, should face OAS scrutiny.

"So, they're going to try to monitor the Venezuelan government through the OAS, they must be joking!" Chavez said, speaking on his weekly "Hello President" TV and radio show.


"If there is any government that should be monitored by the OAS, then it should be the U.S. government, a government which backs terrorists, invades nations, tramples over its own people, seeks to install a global dictatorship," he said.

Actually, it seems like a lot of time and effort for Washington to invest in having Rice lay the diplomatic groundwork for isolating Chavez. Perhaps they are wary of meddling in another oil exporter's internal affairs -- even close to home -- while still up to our necks, and possibly sinking even deeper, in the Afghani and Iraqi conflicts.

Perhaps, on the other hand, the U.S. is buying time until those conflicts are more resolved and we can either pull out or fight them by proxy. Once Bolton is implanted in the UN, the US will be in a better position to consolidate its access to Latin American and third world natural resources with a carrot and stick.

It's Unfortunate

We have more capital than all of Latin America combined, and they have over 200 million people living below the poverty limit. Were our policies and initiatives truly aimed at strengthening the people's voices and improving their living standards, Latin diplomats would be falling over each other to line up beside us.

Alas, we are unmasked. Our democracy and human rights rhetoric is strictly for export, wrapping a rapacious collusion with global multinational corporations who seek to enrich their directors and stockholders at the expense of the populations of underdeveloped countries.

The other "population" being put at risk here is Posterity. The U.S. has abandoned the moral high ground. Gone are the unified efforts to raise all boats on the rising tide of freedom and prosperity. Now we have a "with us or with the terrorists" line in the diplomatic sand, only people aren't so sure anymore which side is the side of righteousness. As long as might makes right, we're still the good guys, but our dependence on foreign oil and our consumerist culture are sabotaging our own cause.

If the CAFTA is ultimately forced through by the capitalist interests, there may be no averting an ultimate lengthy and bloody showdown between the popular and the capitalist forces in the hemisphere. Where Bush has failed has been in paying lip service to democratic principles but over and over again denying them in practice. The U.S. holds up other countries to scrutiny over human rights violations, but calls any accusations against itself as, "absurd."

It is this willingness to be as self-indulgent, hypocrictical and corrupt as everyone else that will cost us our world leadership role, if it hasn't already done so -- even in the Americas. Unless we are also the best, being merely the strongest won't be enough to win friends. In fact, it may be enough to make us a lot of enemies, even here in the West.


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