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jueves, marzo 24, 2011

Our Nominee For Understatement Of The Week

I know. Most US officials are ahistorical, meaning that either they don't know history of they've conveniently forgotten it. It's in this context that you have to read these remarks by Dan Restrepo, the National Security Council "point person" on Latin America. States Mr. Retrepo:

At a briefing Monday for reporters traveling with Obama, the National Security Council point person for Latin America, Dan Restrepo, indicated that some U.S. actions in the region were “bad.” However, he declined a reporter’s suggestion to be more specific about the impact of U.S. backing for Chile’s brutal [Pinochet] dictatorship.

“There are 34 countries in the Americas and … that time could cover 200 years. The U.S. has had a complicated history with different countries in the Western Hemisphere over the course of our independence,” Restrepo said. “So, if you had a long time, we could go through each country and whether the U.S. was good or bad in a particular decade or a particular century.”

Yes, we could go through each country decade by decade, and what we would discover, if I may be permitted to summarize and simplify, is indisputable: the US has committed atrocity after atrocity after atrocity in Latin America, exploited and expropriated its natural resources, oppressed its people, manipulated its governments, and bestrode it like a Colossus. Generally, the US thinks of Latin America as its Plantation. Not just in 1970s Chile or 1980s El Salvador or 2011 Honduras. In fact, the US has had institutions for a centuries devoted to promoting this role, from United Fruit and the Army to the School of Americas (now WHINSEC) and CAFTA and NAFTA.

"A complicated history." What a joke. My nominee for understatement of the week.

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