Friday, March 17, 2006
Bush Despised by Many in Latin America
Last week, the LA Times wrote an op-ed about the administration's failed attempt to demonize Chavez with the people of Latin America.
It almost seems as if the more names Bush uses for Chavez, such as "demagogue, strongman or would-be dictator," the more beloved he becomes, and like the mythical hero Odysseus who overcame the Sirens, the venom only adds to the legend that is becoming "Chavez."
The editorial pointed out that the Venezuelan president is "immensely popular in Latin America because he is a democratically elected populist who is sharing his nation's wealth with his people (and ours), and he's using it to cut the purse strings to U.S. credit sources."
With the recent rash of left/center presidents elected in Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia and possibly next month in Peru, Chavez has lots of friends in his neck of the woods.
That's a good thing for them -- and for us in the long run. The U.S. has long favored brutal right-wing dictators over democratic leaders.
Bush is squandering our influence there, and, in 20 years, people will ask, "Who lost Latin America?" The answer will be clear: George W. Bush.
Instead of trying to oust Chavez and tell Latin America how they should run their affairs, especially after centuries of destructive colonial policies that created immense poverty, the U.S. should just get over herself; and the bad old days when they ruled the roost. The new boys and gals have a new way of doing business.