Pommeling America

Once again, Washington correspondent Justin Webb is at it, trying to find self-gratifying excuses to why the world lies waiting to pummel America. This time, in his "Death to America" article he focuses on Venezuela and Latin America.

Suggesting much of the hatred is due to "the result of local attitudes to poverty, local attitudes to honesty in government, and local attitudes to the rule of law," he asks rhetorically "is anti-Americanism a smoke screen, a very convenient smoke screen, whose noxious fumes hide the reality of local failure?"(Notice that clever routing through a rhetorical question, he's not telling; he's asking, right?)

Perhaps due to criticism over the last installment, he does entertain both sides. But he does so by quoting Otto Reich, the former Bush appointed ambassador to Venezuela:
"The United States is the scapegoat. It provides an easy excuse for the failures: if something isn't working, blame the Americans. Scratch the surface of some of these anti-Americans and you find self-loathing."
And comparing him to Ms Golinger, a random Venezuelan and US citizen raised in New York:
"Hugo Chavez is a threat to the United States government but not in the way Washington portrays him, as a threat to democracy. He is a threat to US domination."
Though events like Venezuela's Bank of the South would point more toward Ms Golinger's conclusion, her quote might as well be attributed to a seaside fisherman who rides a bicycle to work. If a news agency like Democracy Now has no trouble getting into contact with Latin American officials, why should Justin Webb? Ms Golinger, a local gardener perhaps, doesn't quite qualify.

Finally, the overall conclusion of the article is that "one of the great features of the anti-American mindset is the blotting out of the positive and the accentuating of the negative." Apparently it would be more fitting for Latin Americans to spend time focusing upon positive aspects like the increased US military aid, training, and arms sales to the region. After all, Kennedy gave humanitarian aid to Latin America, and some still have his picture up on their wall. Bush gives guns. Be thankful.

Even more thankfulness is in order because, as Webb points out, Venezuela sells 39 billion dollars worth of oil to the US and also:
millions and millions of Latin Americans benefit every day from the powerhouse US economy - from relatives cleaning cars in Los Angeles, making beds in Las Vegas and picking fruit in rural Georgia. They send money home to places where economic development is stymied by corruption and government interference.
Isn't that the problem? Money sent home by Latin Americans working elsewhere exceeds the combined total of all direct foreign investment and aid to Latin America. In a NAFTA world, the only way people can help out their family is by leaving, and they don't like it.

Overall, I'd like to hear more of his interview with that congress member, Augusto Montiel:
"They call it free trade when you shut up and against your dignity, your sovereignty, you lower your head and say 'yes' we will give you everything. That is not democracy, my friend, that is dictatorship."