Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Chile: Bachelet in Washington

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

bachelet[Translation of an article from Punto Final of Santiago for July 11, 2014. See original here and related articles here and here.]

By Álvaro Ramis

The president’s recent visit to the United States allows us to analyze the relations between the world’s leading power and our country in the context of the awakening of Latin American consciousness in defense of its sovereignty and in pursuit of integration. Michelle Bachelet showed up for her appointment in the Oval Office of the White House at an especially delicate time in the relations between the United States and Latin America. It is not trivial to stress this aspect of it. It is not just the countries of ALBA (Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América — Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) that are currently in a state of open tension with the Obama administration. The differences also encompass countries like Brazil, affected by the policies of economic spying on its strategic enterprises, and Argentina, which finds itself attacked by the recent United States court ruling barring it from settling its credit commitments if it does not agree at the same time to pay the so-called “vulture funds” a sum greater than 13 billion dollars, which threatens its long-term stability. In the midst of all these serious contradictions, the relations between Chile and the United States may seem like a minor consideration. But Chile’s unique position gives it a strategic role in the eyes of Washington. When Obama called Bachelet his “second favorite Michelle,” after his wife, he was not exaggerating. The United States has few friends left in Latin America and those that remain are there more from obligation or duress than from conviction. Within that framework, Chile wants to be the pretty girl playing hard to get. Chilean diplomacy, led by Minister Heraldo Muñoz, has termed the strategy “convergence in diversity.” An elegant way of declaring that in strategic disputes Chile is not going to fall in line but will pursue its own interests, in a pragmatic way. That is the official position but is it the reality? (more…)

El Salvador: Humanitarian imperialism?

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

[Translation of an article from ContraPunto for March 30. See original here. The author, Juan José Dalton, editor-in-chief of ContraPunto, is the son of Roque Dalton, Salvadoran poet and revolutionary killed in 1975. See more on Roque Dalton and his sons here.]

By Juan José Dalton

San Salvador – Sometimes one is mistaken, or wants to be mistaken, and believes in the good faith of the powerful. But the powerful have no good faith.

We have recently had a visit to El Salvador from Barack Obama. In contrast with other places and times, Obama was welcomed in my country with joy and enthusiasm, but above all with hopes that at last we Salvadorans would be seen as partners and as friends of the gringos and not as puppets or as their enemies. (more…)

Mexico: Fast and Furious controversy continues

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

[Translations of three articles from La Jornada of Mexico City. See related article here.]

Barack Obama declares he never authorized arms trafficking to Mexico

[From La Jornada for March 24. See original here.]

Washington, March 23 – United States President Barack Obama said during an interview granted to the Spanish-language television network Univisión that there will be an investigation into the trafficking of weapons to Mexico, which had been authorized by a federal agency, an operation he declared he knew nothing about.

“In the first place, I did not authorize it. Nor did Eric Holder, the attorney general, approve that operation… So what he has done in this case was to assign an inspector general to investigate exactly what happened,” Obama declared in the first part of an interview broadcast by the news network last Tuesday night. (more…)

Obama in Chile: Trapped by his own history

Monday, March 28th, 2011

[Translation of an article from Rebelió for March 27, 2011. See original here.]

By Eduardo Contreras

It could not have been otherwise. President Obama’s visit was a useless and regrettable spectacle. The repetition of well known generalities, reiteration of the imperialist will, cowardly avoidance of responsibility for the criminal coup d’état of ’73. If Piñera or the Yankee ambassador in Santiago or [OAS Secretary General José Miguel] Insulza or José Miguel Vivanco [director of Human Rights Watch Americas Division] or others of their ilk have called the visit “excellent,” it is only because they are fulfilling the role assigned to them in the script; but no one in his right mind could argue that the president’s visit holds any genuinely important meaning for our country or for the peoples of the continent. His speech “for the Americas” was a fiasco. (more…)

An interview with Manuel Zelaya Rosales, deposed president of Honduras

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

La Jornada photo by Francisco Olvera

“The president of my country controls absolutely nothing.”

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for March 22, 2011. See original here.]

By Arturo Cano

Without his hat, Zelaya doesn’t even look like Zelaya. But seeing his demeanor, that of a president without a presidency, will tell you this is the same man who in June, 2009, went from being an obscure Central American president to being an international figure, thanks to, and to the disgrace of, a coup d’état. This is Manuel Zelaya, and one sentence sums him up: “I arrived with the Right and governed with the Left.”

In Honduras, that statement would spark loud protests, but Zelaya is involved now in a leftist event – he came to Mexico at the invitation of the Partido del Trabajo [PT – Labor Party] – and he adapts to the setting: “I am a pro-socialist liberal.”

Ever since the new Honduran administration allowed him to leave the Brazilian embassy, Zelaya has lived in the Dominican Republic as a “distinguished guest.” The Dominicans, he himself states, take care of his expenses: a house, transportation and schooling for his children and grandchildren. “Chávez gave me a stipend but so far they haven’t paid me anything,” he says, without making it sound like a complaint. (more…)

Arms, drugs and intervention

Friday, February 25th, 2011

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for February 24, 2011. See original article here and the Página/12 article quoted below, in English translation, here.  See US embassy cables on Argentina as released by Wikileaks here.]

by John Saxe-Fernández

An enormous C17 (Globemaster III) belonging to the United States air force, with equipment for police “training,” tried to bring into Buenos Aires an undeclared cargo of powerful long weapons, equipment for encrypted communications, secret information programs and narcotic and stupefacient drugs, “with no satisfactory explanation of what it would be used for” (Página 12, 13-II-2011). In view of the regime change operations against Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador and the Honduran putsch, the resumption of this type of operation with United States personnel, halted by Néstor Kirchner, is surprising; the secret cargo on the C-17 demonstrates the serious risk of these schemes in view of a diplomacy of power that is growing more intense: were they going to teach a course or stage a coup? (more…)

Obama does not want Brazil on UN Security Council

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

US diplomat says president opposes country’s permanent membership and will avoid topic during March visit

[Translation of an article from Estadão of São Paulo for February 6, 2011. See original here and related articles here and here.]

By Denise Chrispim Marin

United States President Barack Obama is not likely to bring up support for Brazil’s membership in the UN Security Council during his visit to the country in March. The White House and US diplomats are working to skirt inevitable embarassing questions [on the topic] from the press in order to avoid damage to their project of relaunching bilateral relations…

According to a State Department source, any change in Washington’s position is a remote possibility. It would be a “miracle.” As far as the US government is concerned, Brazil committed a “mortal sin” in June when it voted against a Security Council resolution on new sanctions against Iran.

The Brazilian action was more serious than its insistent attempts to reach a nuclear accord with Iran because “it compromised the very credibility of the system” and revealed signs of interference by former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and former Chancellor Celso Amorim in the most sensitve foreign policy decisions. “It was a blunder,” the source said.

It is still not clear to the State Department whether the administration of Dilma Rousseff, as a continuation of the Lula administration, will continue on the same path in foreign affairs.

The doubt will be resolved on the 23rd when Foreign Minister Antônio Patriota will make his first visit to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington.

This will be the first opportunity for dialogue between the US and Brazil on restructuring the Security Council, which is still pending in the UN.

Peru: García would accept military aid from US for anti-drug effort

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Alan García — La República photo

[Translation of an article from La República of Lima for September 5. See original article here.]

President Alan García has said he is prepared to accept military aid from the United States to help combat drug trafficking as long as it is on the level of logistics and training.

“In all matters that are human and universal, I don’t make an issue of sovereignty and patriotism. That is to say, if the Americans wanted to put troops here for training, since they have helicopters, since they have satelite training, that’s fine,” García declared.

The statements were made during an interview given to CNN en Español which will be broadcast next Tuesday.

The president also referred to US President Barack Obama and to the economic aid that country contributes to the struggle against narcotrafficking in Peru, which García considers insufficient.

“President Obama asked me the same question and I told him, ‘It is your fault because you have sent all the money to Colombia, with Plan Colombia, and nothing to Peru,’” García said.

In the past few years, the production of coca leaf and the manufacture of cocaine have increased in Peru to the point of making it the greatest cultivator in the world of the plant, the principal ingredient of the illegal substance.

At the same time, as explained by the executive president of the Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo y Vida sin Drogas, Rómulo Pizarro, United States economic aid has been decreasing year by year, since the country considers that the Peruvian drug is destined principally for Europe and not for their country.

During the interview, García recognized that “not everything necessary is being done to close the new European and Asian markets, which are demanding more drugs.”

Colombian President Santos: Good chemistry with Lula, unknown with Obama

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

[Translation of an article from Estadão of São Paulo, Brazil, for September 2, 2010. See the original here.]

by Patrícia Campos Mello

I went to Brasilia yesterday to interview the new president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos. This trip to Brazil is Santos’ first official visit to a foreign government. The former defense minister has “excellent chemistry” with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, his advisors say. Santos says he is satisfied with Lula’s condemnation of terrorism in the region, although the Brazilian president made no direct mention of the FARC. Lula confirmed in a speech during lunch with Santos in Itamaraty that nothing justifies terrorism and that he supports the Colombian people’s struggle. (more…)

Obama ignores weapons trafficking to Mexico

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

An interview with Harvard Professor Jorge Domínguez

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for June 21.]

By Gerardo Arreola

Havana, June 20 – “It is really a shame” that Barack Obama sits on his hands on the subject of arms trafficking to Mexico, Jorge Domínguez, veteran researcher at Harvard University and one of the most prestigiuos students of Latin America, told La Jornada.

It is no longer only a problem of drug consumption in the United States but in some ways that country is assuming the responsibility for “arming organized crime in Mexico,” says the Vice Provost for International Affairs at Harvard and teacher of generations of politicians and academicians in the region. (more…)

What is Washington planning for Haiti?

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

[Translation of an article from Haïti-Progrès for March 23, 2010.

René Préval, Barack Obama

On Thursday, March 11, the day after the the end of President René Préval’s visit to Washington, the Barack Obama government issued a report through the state department concerning human rights and corruption in the Préval/Bellerive government. The report covered the year 2009. Unfortunately, no country that we know of has yet produced a report on human rights and corruption in the United States. That might have curbed the arrogance of the leaders in Washington.

Let’s take a brief look at the contents of the Washington report. It says in the introduction, “The civil authorities in general have effective control over security forces. But occasionally elements of the Police Nationale d’Haïti (PNH – Haitian National Police) act independently.” Farther along, in the second paragraph of the 21-page document, the US authorities broach the subject of human rights. “The following problems concerning human rights have been reported: parliamentary elections were not held on schedule… PNH agents are presumed to have engaged in killings… participation of the PNH in kidnappings… violence and social discrimination against women, abuse of children, human trafficking, violations of workers’ rights.” It seems like a fairy tale. What irony! Washington talking about violations of the rights of workers, children and women? When that country is the largest supplier of sophisticated weapons, which kill women and children in particular throughout the world. (more…)