Make Real News!

100K Challenge!

$37,200 raised so farEND DATE: October 3   
Every dollar you donate will be matched until we reach our 100K goal!
  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • Past is present in Latin America Pt.2


    Latin American leaders, born out of US backed repression, demand an end to 50 year-old US-Cuba standoff -   April 24, 2009
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

    Audio

      Share to Twitter
    Share to Facebook




    What a hidden gem - Jack
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Bio

    Larry Birns is the Founding Director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, a Washington-based independent research organization dedicated to promoting the hemisphere's common interests. He is a longtime commentator on US-Latin American relations having written hundreds of articles for publications such as: The Nation, New York Review of Books, The Guardian, London Independent, Miami Herald, Toronto Star, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, The New York Times and Foreign Policy, He served previously as public affairs officer for the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America in Santiago, Chile.

    Precis

    Last weekend, the leaders of the Americas met with US President Barack Obama for the first time as a group. While no major agreements were signed, long-time Latin America observer Larry Birns believes that the atmospherics were of a nature never before seen in the hemisphere. Signs of improvement in relations between the White House and Cuba, after 50 years of embargo and intervention. The leaders of Latin America have made it clear to Obama that any future progress in relations will require a drastic shift in his government's policy toward Cuba, and there are signs that Obama will be willing to do so. Until that time, an entire hemisphere lies in wait.

    Transcript

    Past is present in Latin America Pt.2Past is present in Latin America Pt.2

    Producer: Jesse Freeston

    JESSE FREESTON, TRNN: Last weekend, the heads of state of the Western Hemisphere, minus Cuba, met for the fifth version of the Summit of the Americas. The event was hyped as an opportunity for President Obama to set the tone for a new policy towards Latin America. And while the gathering yielded no substantive agreement, many believed that relations have entered a new era.

    LARRY BIRNS, DIRECTOR, COUNCIL ON HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS: This is a different type of rhetoric. This rhetoric, in my own lifetime of watching these things for decades, I have never caught such infectious rhetoric being thrown around.

    FREESTON: The summit is a gathering of the Organization of American states, or OAS. Article 19 of the OAS charter, as agreed to in 1948, states that "No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State"—a founding article that has been routinely infringed upon by numerous members of the group, but by one more universally than the rest.

    BIRNS: For every country in Latin America, I can mention some heinous action that the United States committed. I mean, it's this dreadful history. Nor it can be kissed off by some rejective language, saying, "Well, you know, I'm just moving on." I mean, Latin America right now is concerned with building institutions, and part of the process of building institutions is going to have to involve an inquiry into the misdeeds that the United States has committed.

    FREESTON: Such an inquiry could have started at the summit itself by collecting victim impact statements from the various leaders around the room. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet was arrested and tortured, her boyfriend murdered, and her father found dead of heart failure in a prison cell after he was tortured, all for opposing the US-backed military coup of General Augusto Pinochet. The president of Guatemala, Álvaro Colom, lived the assassination of his uncle Manuel Colom, former mayor of Guatemala City, at the hands of that country's US-backed military dictatorship. Daniel Ortega's Sandinista government in Nicaragua spent the entire 1980s fighting a brutal war against US-equipped contras. President Lula of Brazil was imprisoned for his trade union activities in 1981 by that country's US-backed military dictatorship. President Morales took leadership of Bolivia's union of coca leaf growers during US attempts to eradicate the plant, which is a staple of Bolivian medicine, food, and beverage. Haitian President René Préval, while serving as prime minister under President Aristide in 1991, was forced to flee his country after a CIA-funded coup returned the military to power. El Salvador's new president-elect, Mauricio Funes, saw his brother, a student organizer, murdered in 1980 by security forces funded and trained by the US. At only seven years ago, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez was briefly overthrown by a US-sanctioned coup. The US was the only country in the hemisphere to immediately recognize a military government that would last only 47 hours.

    BARACK OBAMA, US PRESIDENT: I didn't come here to debate the past; I came here to deal with the future. I believe, as some of our previous speakers have stated, that we must learn from history, but we can't be trapped by it.

    FREESTON: In contrast, hours after leaving the summit, Obama spoke at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters, birthplace to so many of the US's interventions into Latin America, where he was willing to discuss the past.

    OBAMA: First, I want to underscore the importance of the CIA. When the CIA was founded, you were focused on one overarching threat, the Soviet Union, and for decades the CIA carried out a critically important mission.

    BIRNS: It's part of the fuel that is stoking the fires that are burning under Latin American leaders. That is, this is why, even after being charmed and romanced by Obama, a lot of Latin American leaders express a certain reservation, and that we still have to see what they're going to do on Cuba.

    FREESTON: The Latin American leaders made it extremely clear that the first and necessary step towards a new relationship would be the normalization of relations with Cuba.

    HUGO CHÁVEZ, VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT: I think we're off to a great start. But, as Lula said it himself, and it's completely true, we can't imagine having another Summit of the Americas without Cuba.

    BIRNS: The United States has abiding relations with 30 or 40 countries in the world that demonstrably are worse human-rights violators than Cuba, so it's not a question of being a human rights violator. Washington's selective indignation is directed at Cuba because of Cuba's historic role as being this country's brothel. And the American Legion conventions were held in Batista's Cuba. And you had Ambassador Earl T. Smith. He wrote a book, and he said, "I was the man who ran Cuba. If you wanted to know who made the laws in Cuba, come to me." He said this proudly.

    FREESTON: A state of affairs that was put to an abrupt end when Fidel's guerrilla army took Havana on January 1, 1959.

    BIRNS: US policy towards Cuba ever since has been a policy of attempting to asphyxiate the Cuban economy and to isolate it. And, of course, the irony is that it ends up today that Cuba has never been less isolated than it is, and the United States has never been more isolated than it is. That is, every country does—or soon, within a matter of days, will recognize Cuba to have diplomatic relations with Cuba. The United States has very troubled relations with any number of countries in Latin America. The reason why everyone felt so good after Trinidad was that almost an irreversible commitment was made by the United States to talk to Cuba.

    FREESTON: And Cuba is ready to talk, but only as equals.

    RAÚL CASTRO, CUBAN PRESIDENT (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): We have told the US government, both in private and in public, that we are prepared to discuss everything—human rights, freedom of the press, political prisoners, every single thing—but under conditions of equality, without the smallest shadow over our sovereignty, without the smallest violation of the Cuban people's right to self-determination.

    OBAMA: Over the past few days, we've seen potential positive signs in the nature of the relationship between the United States, Cuba, and Venezuela. But as I've said before, the test for all of us is not simply words, but also deeds.

    FREESTON: With all the words aligning to bring down 50 years of destructive impasse between the United States and Cuba—a giant step towards a post-imperial era for the Americas as a whole—an entire hemisphere is lying in wait to see the deeds.

    DISCLAIMER:

    Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    Coalition to Fight the Islamic State Unlikely to Succeed
    Upsurge in Voter Participation and Scare-Campaigns As Scots Head To The Polls
    Are Combat Troops on Their Way to Iraq?
    Media Failing to Provide Substantive Debate on ISIS
    Interpret or Change the World?
    Special Report: Scots in Their Own Words on Independence
    What Drives U.S. Foreign Policy Towards Israel?
    The Federal Reserve Makes "Effort" to Rein in Big Banks
    An American Fascism - Eddie Conway on Reality Asserts Itself (5/8)
    Breakthroughs Unlikely at Upcoming UN Climate Summit
    The Untold History of The Star Spangled Banner
    What Drives Obama's Foreign Policy?
    Israel Facing Major Economic Consequences for 50 Day War on Gaza
    FBI Targets Minority Communities in Mortgage Fraud Investigations
    Obama's 'Moderate' Syrian Rebels Are Nowhere to Be Found
    "The State Targeted the Panthers Because We Were Socialists, Not Because We Were Armed" - Eddie Conway on Reality Asserts Itself (4/8)
    Democrats Have Options to Pursue Campaign Finance Reform
    The Bennis Plan: Here Is a Real Strategy for Dealing with ISIS
    Baltimore Cop Says Some Officers Are a Threat to the Communities They Serve
    The World Made A Much More Dangerous Place by the U.S. Since 9/11
    American Bombs Will Not Defeat ISIS
    Obama's Syria Plan Will Strengthen IS and Warlordism
    ISIS Wants the US Drawn into a Ground War
    New Iraqi Government Will Abide by U.S. Regional Goals
    COINTELPRO, Attack on the Panthers - Eddie Conway on Reality Asserts Itself (3/8)
    Federal Reserve Data Shows Growing Wealth Gap Based on Race
    Is The Anti-ISIS Campaign Attempting to Renew War Against Assad?
    Putting Off Immigration Reform May Backfire on Democrats
    Moments of Radicalization - Eddie Conway on Reality Asserts Itself (2/8)
    US-Israel Pressure Palestine Not to Join the ICC

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting