“Imagine a country where not only are the borders secured by armed guards, but once you entered the country, if you even spoke about politics — at all — if you even mentioned anything politically, you would be deported. Imagine a country where everyone is required to be tracked all the time. Where all of these immigrants are constantly monitored. Imagine where the idea of immigrants even having a word on the internal politics of a country would be enough to get them deported.”
“I can imagine a country like that. That country is Mexico.”
Commander-President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that his government expropriated 250. 000 hectares of land during the month of October and expects the number to double until the end of the year, and continue throughout 2011.
I have an article on the Festivus Summit of the Americas coming up at Real Clear World, but in the meantime, I’m glad Gay Patriot West and William Jacobson noticed something a friend and I were talking about yesterday:
Bloomberg news reports the following statement by Barack Obama in his speech at the Summit of the Americas, after Daniel Ortega had spent an hour ripping into the U.S. (emphasis mine):
“You can’t blame the U.S. for every problem in this hemisphere,”Obama said. “I am very grateful that President Ortega didn’t blame me for things that happened when I was three months old.”
I’m not going to focus on the refusal to defend his country, or to give it back to the suppressors of freedom such as Chavez and Ortega. Manyothers are proving that point.
The words which jumped out at me were Obama’s hope that he wouldn’t be blamed “for things that happened when I was three months old.” That phrase is similar to the analysis Obama used to excuse his friendship, and political coordination early in his career, with domestic terrorist bomber William Ayers. Obama excused the relationship because Ayers’ crimes were committed when Obama was just eight years old (emphasis mine):
“Mr. Ayers is somebody who lives in Chicago. He’s a professor at the University of Chicago, Illinois, teaches education, and he engaged in these despicable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old. I served on a board with him.”
There is something truly bizarre about this reasoning. If something happened when Obama was not of a certain age (we know it is at least eight years old, although we don’t know where the line is drawn) then he accepts no responsibility. That is fine if one is talking about personal responsibility only. Obama is no more responsible on a personal level for what others did, be it yesterday or 30 years ago, than anyone else.
But Obama no longer is “anyone else.” Obama is the President and bears the burden of dealing with accusations and attacks on this country related to events which did not take place on his watch.
If Obama agreed with the attacks by Ortega, Chavez and others, then Obama should have had the guts to say so, and dealt with the domestic consequences. That would have been brave. If Obama didn’t agree, then he should have had the guts to stand up for his country then and there, in front of the tyrants. That would have been even braver.
The one option no longer available to President Obama is to hide behind his narcissistic view of his own personal responsibility. That is cowardly. The presidency is bigger than the person, and only a big person realizes and accepts that fact.
The reaction was similar when Chavez handed Obama the Marxist screed, The Open Veins of Latin America. Obama’s reaction was
When a reporter asked Obama what he thought of the book Chavez gave him, the president replied: “I thought it was one of Chavez’ books. I was going to give him one of mine.”
That comment shows two things,
a. Obama’s neophyte status allowed him to miss Chavez’s subtext, which was that of showing Obama “How ignorant are you” by gifting him this book in Spanish.
and b. Obama looking at the exchange in narcissistic terms.
But hey, Obama wasn’t born when the deeds mentioned in the book were taking place, so he’s in the clear, as far as he’s concerned.
A common denominator with Obama’s easy emphasis on racial divides—when juxtaposed to past evocation abroad of his Muslim sensitivities and middle name, serial apologies about American sins and pathologies, and constant denunciation of his predecessor—is a sense that the past tradition of America is culpable and therefore not his own—made explicit in his response to Daniel Ortega’s diatribe that he was just three months old during the Bay of Pigs troubles, and by extension not responsible for American transgressions. Again, separately all these new approaches are in themselves understandable, but in the aggregate they form a disturbing pattern seen earlier with the off-handed remarks about “typical white person,” the stereotyping of rural Pennsylvanians along lines of class and race, and the 20-year long patronage of a clearly racist preacher.
At some point, Obama needs to take a hiatus from this racialist identification, and, like a Sec. Condoleezza Rice, transcend race, let achievements and policies speak for themselves, and thus rise or fall on the content of his own character.
Noticias 24 reports that Chavez gave Obama a book, Las venas abiertas de América Latina (Latin America’s Open Veins) by Uruguayan Marxist writer Eduardo Galeano. Obama got up and shook hands again, and again.
Barack Obama refused to defend the United States today after a 50 minute-long tirade by Marxist Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.
Ortega blamed the US for the problems in the hemisphere.
Obama sat silent during the speech and later would not comment on the tirade.
Fox News has more on the president’s disgraceful lack of … spine.
President Obama made the first move to greet Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez
which was quickly put to use as a propaganda tool by the little toad:
but it was the acerbic and anti-American leader who beat Obama to the punch on the World Wide Web.
In a clear indication Chavez sought to leverage his brief encounter with Obama at the opening ceremonies of the fifth Summit of the Americas here, Chavez’s government Web site almost immediately posted a photo of the two leaders and a government-approved commentary in Spanish that read as follows:
“Before the Inaugural session of the 5th Summit of the Americas, the President of the United States approached President Chavez to greet him. They both drew their hands in a historic handshake after many years of tension under the Bush administration, when relations between Washington and Caracas had deteriorated. President Chavez expressed to Obama his desire for changes in the relations between the two countries. Eight years ago I greeted President Bush with this same hand. I’d like to be your friend.”
President Obama will announce today that he is lifting travel restrictions that block Cuban Americans from traveling to Cuba and will relax the rules governing what items can be sent to the island, a senior White House official said.
The decision does not lift the trade embargo on communist Cuba but eases the prohibitions that have restricted Cuban Americans from visiting their relatives and has limited what they can send back home.
The Obama administration believes,
A White House aide said the president believes that democratic change will come to the Cuban nation more quickly if the United States reaches out to the people of Cuba and their relatives in the United States.
That was the motive behind the EU’s lifting restrictions on Cuba last year.
Welcome to the Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean. If you would like your posts included in the next Carnival, please email me, faustaw2 “at” gmail “dot” com.
This week’s big story: Brazil continues its ascendance as a diplomatic powerhouse for the hemisphere. Last week thirty-three countries met in Brazil for the first Latin American and Caribbean Summit on Integration and Development. Today president Lula hosts French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who’s visting the country to bring about bilateral cooperation in several areas, including the production of defense submarines. I’ll be discussing Sarko’s visit in today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern, which you can listen to here.
Combined with a revamped Plan Colombia, the FTA can then promote both human rights and the overall quality of life in Colombia. One of the loudest proponents for the FTA is Asocolflores, Colombia’s flower exporters association. Dependent on the U.S. market, its companies employ 200,000 Colombians. This and other export industries create jobs and opportunities that provide poor Colombians alternatives to growing coca, the plant used to make cocaine.
Real change will not come from bulletproof armor, helicopters, and tanks, but will depend on Colombia’s institutional capabilities and the economic opportunities it can offer its citizens. The United States should focus Plan Colombia on improving justice and human rights, and pass the FTA to improve economic opportunities for both countries’ citizens. President-elect Obama’s campaign promised change; our regional partners could use some, too.
The BBC ran the story last Friday, and the numbers come from – where else – the Cuban government, which claims more than double the previous estimate of oil reserves:
The US Geological Survey (USGS) recently estimated that as much as 9bn barrels of oil and 21 trillion cubic feet of natural gas could lie within that zone, in the North Cuba Basin.
However, Cubapetroleo exploration manager Rafael Tenreyro Perez said his company’s estimate was higher because it had better information about Cuba’s offshore geology.
“I’m almost certain that if [USGS officials] ask for all the data we have, their estimate is going to grow considerably,” he told a news conference in the capital, Havana.
If correct, Cuba’s oil reserves would be almost the same as those of the US – 21bn barrels, according to the Oil & Gas Journal – and nearly twice the size of Mexico’s – 11.7bn barrels.
I asked oil industry expert and former PDVSA board member Gustavo Coronel his opinion on these figures and he replied,
No country can claim oil reserves unless some basic requirements can be met:
sufficient geophysical exploration,
sufficient number of confirmatory wells,
clear definition of the dimensions of the reservoir,
certainty that the production of the oil can be economically done.
All of this and more is necessary before a country can claim to have X barrels of oil reserves.
Cuba, so far, has done NO one of these things. In fact, one of the very few companies looking for oil in this area of Cuban territorial waters, SHERRITT, a Canadian company (I think) just CALLED IT QUITS, gave up its rights to continue exploration. Why would a company do this if there were the enormous oil “reserves” claimed by Cuba?
Sherritt’s evaluation was that exploration activity was not worth continuing, an option available within its contract, said Cupet Exploration Director Rafael Tenreyro. “They have their reasons for not continuing,” he said.
So much for the facts on the Cuban claims. But don’t be surprised if you hear about it in the media. After all, they keep praising Cuba’s healthcare even when Fidel himself had to import a gastroenterologist/oncologist to save himself.
It is far safer to be a union member today in Colombia than to be a member of the general population. This is a fact, and it would be interesting to know why Mr. Obama has repeatedly refused to acknowledge it.
Is it because of his heavy reliance on campaign contributions from the antitrade AFL-CIO? Or perhaps, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mr. Obama has an ideological bias in favor of Colombia’s hard left. If it’s the latter, then it is worth asking whether an Obama presidency would change U.S. foreign policy to look more favorably on insurgents of the FARC variety.