A Forum for Opinions on News, Politics, and Life
May 21st, 2011
By Dan Miller
Clinton gives a maddening speech, full of omissions, on Latin America.
Secretary Clinton delivered an address on May 11 at the 41st Washington Conference on the Americas. Here are some of its lowlights.
Climate Change We Must Believe In
[W]e are building flexible multilateral partnerships to help us address the strategic challenges we face. Pathways to Prosperity and the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas are promoting inclusive growth and sustainable energy security. Mexico’s leadership in Cancun late last year was absolutely crucial in putting the world on a path toward greater cooperation to confront climate change, and it was a Mexican proposal for the Green Fund that will serve as the vehicle for assisting developing countries in meeting their climate needs.
“Flexible” — as in shifting with the wind? Persistently but inflexibly screwing things up to Win the Future or something? Dealing decisively with that old demon dihydrogen monoxide, er, man-made climate change, and how best to (wring money from the United States) tackle such horrors is of crucial importance to the future of … well, somebody or some species. Carbon credit exchanges must be preserved; it’s for the children.
All twenty thousand international delegates at the Cancun Conference were obviously well up to the task before them. Not only that, they probably dropped a bit of change (or at least hope) in lovely Cancun, thus stimulating the Mexican economy. Maybe some jobs were saved or created; maybe some were simultaneously saved and created. And, as President Obama himself seems to know, the only way to create or save jobs is through an equal partnership with Gaia.
Shared (Democrat)ic Values
[W]e continue to work to advance our shared democratic values. Now, Latin America has undergone a stunning transformation over the past few decades, but we cannot afford complacency. We have to keep working on institutionalizing democracy and preserving and protecting fundamental freedoms.
Now, in Honduras we have seen how effective that kind of common approach can be. And now that the obstacles to former President Zelaya’s return to Honduras have been removed, I am confident that we will soon welcome Honduras back as a full member of the inter-American system. That is a step that is long overdue.
Stunning changes? Just look at Venezuela! True Democratic values for sure. If a septic tank is unavailable, Venezuela is well on its way to becoming a great vacation destination. Great food is readily available, there’s no need to worry about disease, and some fine exercise can be enjoyed, democratically.
[T]he high level of medical care means [disease] is not a cause for concern; it’s just great: prompt, efficient, and compassionate. Violent crime may upset some (only in urban and rural areas), but it promotes running and other forms of worthwhile exercise. With a bit of luck, it can be even more exhilarating than other extreme but more expensive sports such as bungee jumping; Winston Churchill once said, “Nothing in life is so exhilarating as being shot at without effect.”
As suggested before, President Obama and his lovely lady should go there and enjoy the unspeakable bounties Venezuela offers to all, rich and poor, local and foreign. Why weren’t they in Mexico’s beautiful Cancun for the Save Us Now (SUN) conference?
Effectiveness of a common approach in solving the problems of Honduras? No, not “threats to shoot police officers and at least one passage calling for the ‘burn[ing]‘ of former President George W. Bush.” It’s just that former (nice word, “former”) President Zelaya is going back to Honduras, finally. Splendid, if he gets to enjoy Honduran hospitality in one of her jails, but that’s probably not what the Obama administration has in mind. Zelaya was Hugo Chávez’s pick to get an unconstitutional additional term of office, was removed from office by the Honduran Congress and Supreme Court in accord with the Honduran Constitution (“the worst in the world,” so the international community should “help” their little brown brothers to fix it), and escorted out of the country by the Honduran military, the latter unfortunately thought necessary to avoid violence. Now, Honduras needs to have him back to promote domestic tranquility and reconciliation. Right. So, since the United States couldn’t get him back earlier that’s what she is still trying to accomplish:
Ambassador Llorens and the U.S. government have continued to hammer Honduras for a year and a half to drop all corruption charges against Zelaya. Most of the original charges have already been dropped due to that pressure but still remaining are the minor difficulties of the well documented L.40 million cash withdrawal from the Central Bank of Honduras four days before the planned election, the L.10 million check paid to the order of the presidency cashed at the Central Bank two days later, and the L.30 million that Zelaya diverted from FHIS (aid money for social investment) to use for cuarta urna campaign publicity.
Maybe letting Honduras handle her own internal political affairs without the meddlesome interference of an Obama administration, far more secure in its own ideology than in knowledge of what was going on in Honduras, would have been displeasing to President Obama’s hardworking labor union members. Still, I guess Secretary Clinton can take great pride in the unrelenting efforts of the administration on behalf of Honduras.
Now, the United States, I believe, is blessed to have one of the largest Spanish-speaking populations in the world. And Latinos are the fastest-growing group in our country. We are interdependent, and we have to deal with the real questions that interdependence poses. Take immigration, for example. I know that makes some people anxious, but it has long been a source of our vitality and our innovative spirit. And that’s why, as President Obama said yesterday in El Paso, we are committed to comprehensive immigration reform.
Note the omission of the word “illegal” in Secretary Clinton’s paean to the awesome benefits of immigration. It’s clearly not worth mentioning that “illegal” is the aspect of most current immigration that makes “some people anxious.” Maybe Mexico should do a bit more to help fix the problem; fixing is a specialty in Mexico as well as elsewhere in Latin America — not that the United States is a world class slacker:
The flow of migrants has increased markedly in the northern and northeastern parts of Mexico since U.S. officials increased security along the border in the northwestern part of the country.
Last month, the National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, Mexico’s equivalent of an ombudsman’s office, identified 71 cities in 16 of the country’s 32 states that are considered dangerous for Mexican and foreign migrants headed to the United States.
“Kidnappings, abuse, extortion, robberies and sexual attacks on migrants have been documented” in the 71 cities, the CNDH said in a statement.
An estimated 300,000 Central Americans and 400,000 Mexicans undertake the dangerous journey across Mexico each year on their way to the United States.
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