An open letter to the US State Department
Hello, humorless suits...
A little birdie told me today that you've been reading this site--specifically, this entry. I'm not sure exactly what about it intrigued you enough that you took the time, but hey...thanks for taking the time. It's not every day that government agents read this humble blog.
Or is it? Maybe, from now on, it will be; I can only hope.
Now, why would I hope that the traditional enemies of democracy, the sponsors, mentors and trainers of death squads, would stick around here and read stuff I wrote and/or translated? One would think I might be freaked out to learn that you spooks had been here.
Not a chance.
Actually, I've been spoiling for a scrap with you guys. I was bullied as a kid, and now that I'm all growed up, I've decided to stand up for the underdogs, the way no one on the playground stood up for me when I needed it most. So, bullyboys, consider this your long-overdue punching-out.
Since so many people who have a major beef with you speak Spanish, and you seem to be utterly deaf to everything they say (even when they learn enough English to say "Yankee go home"), I've been diligently translating their news in the hope that someone pays attention and takes it to heart. And yes, I hope that someone is YOU.
You see, dear faceless suits and earpieces, I don't think you have any idea how bad you people look to the rest of the world. Especially Latin America. Oh sure, there are a few oligarchs, sell-outs, and paid-off local bottom-feeders who will still flatter you and fawn on you, and take your smelly money and your crappy "advice" on how to run their countries and their economies. They'll wave your flags at their astroturf demonstrations, and they'll go out of their way to eat your burgers and buy your overpriced crap. But in case you haven't noticed, they've lost a lot of ground among their own. Except for Peru, Colombia, Panama and Mexico, they're not in power. Everyone else has a more-or-less progressive government. There's a reason for that.
And no, it's not "anti-Americanism".
Permit me to explain.
First of all, you people are NOT the only Americans. The Americas stretch all the way from our Canadian Arctic Circle to the ice-cold Argentine toe of Tierra del Fuego. Everyone from here to there is an American. Even the Cubans.
Secondly, all these Americans have a right to freely elect their own sovereign governments. Whether you people like those governments is immaterial; you don't get to decide anymore to replace them on a whim. Oh sure, for a while there you did...but those days are over. Got that? They're over. Finished. Kaputt.
(And yes, even the Cubans elect their representatives. They have elections; they just don't have multiple parties, and they don't have right-wing parties as a result, either. Maybe you don't like that. But whether you like it or not, I think it's safe to say that the Cubans prefer it to the alternative. Even your own former generals have admitted as much.)
Thirdly, the weak "democracy" you tried to peddle down there when your beloved military dictatorships failed hasn't worked out either. It was fraught with corruption (which I'm sure was to your benefit) and it left them in insupportable and often odious debt to the IMF, the World Bank and other "development" banks which were nothing more than ATMs for you, and cash vacuums for the people of LatAm. Please don't pretend that you don't know what I mean by that. Anyone can see by how rapidly LatAm grew poorer as the US grew richer that there was a two-way money pipeline operating, and the larger pipe of the two ran south-to-north.
Now that the various strong democracies are putting some serious muscle into turning off the valve and keeping more of their hard-earned dinero at home, diverting it into domestic channels instead of those of international capital, I can hear you guys crying foul. Oh sure, you do it in polite code. Sometimes you do it as yourselves. Sometimes you do it in the guise of media columnists (fifth columnists?) and "journalists" (note the quotation marks; they are there for a reason.) But no matter what way you do it, I know what you're saying. It's plain enough: you label anyone who doesn't keep the valve all the way open as a "dictator", or you claim that they have an "anti-freedom" agenda. You do this even when it's frankly ludicrous. It doesn't matter to you if it's true, as long as the US sheeple believe it to be true.
And yes, I'm well aware of the CIA's ongoing media project. It never really ended. Its job is to "influence" or "shape" public opinion--in favor of whatever the corporate sector and you guys decide between you is in your collective interest. Thus, for a couple of decades there, we got a lot of very strange editorials and opinion pieces proclaiming that brutal military dictators had "saved" Latin America from the communist boogyman, with a blithe glossing-over of the fact that democracy had also died there, in an apparent case of "collateral damage". Perhaps you guys mistook democracy for another nasty-wasty commie? It's an easy mistake to make.
(By the way, I'm also quite certain the CIA reads this blog. I get an inordinate number of hits from Virginia, and an awful lot of seriously stupid, intentionally misleading comments from people whose IPs trace back to there, too. Hi and a big fat one-finger salute to all you folks in Langley, and your Miami station too!)
In the end, though, all your efforts to subvert these countries' democracy--be it through outright dictatorship or the buying and rigging of elections, all the gambits you used have failed. There's only so much moral, intellectual and literal bankruptcy a country can take, and all those "little" countries (some of them as big as Brazil or Argentina) have either reached their limits or are approaching them now. Sooner or later, they were bound to turn their backs on you, the better to turn their faces back toward their own people.
Now they're looking at their own and trying to figure out how to do right by them. Their first priority is not what you think in Washington, or what your CIA pals think in Miami--it's what they themselves think. They might still be willing to have diplomatic relations with you, but this time around, they want it to be a two-way street, with you people listening respectfully for a change and KEEPING YOUR HANDS THE HELL OFF. That's not anti-you, it's pro-THEM. Pro-American, in the most catholic sense of the word.
I prefer not to take any side but that of peace and friendship. It makes for better relations all around. But yeah, if it's a matter of picking sides between them and you, guess what? This former bullied child is gonna stick up for the underdogs. They need to know that someone in the Northern Hemisphere, someone not a native speaker of Spanish (but willing to learn, in fact willing to teach herself) will stand with them. They don't get a lot of solidarity from gringos, but perhaps this Canuck will do. After all, our country has been treated like your backyard, too, and a lot of us are just as angry and resentful at the way you've undermined and subverted us. Even as I write this, I'm seeing the way efforts are being made to privatize our public educational and healthcare systems, all in the name of compliance with NAFTA. Those systems were hard-fought-for in the 1950s by a democratic, elected socialist named Tommy Douglas, who faced ugly anticommunist hysteria back then, too. So, yeah, I can totally relate to the Latin Americans. And if they want to be socialist, I think they should be free to decide it without your interference, however subtle, sneaky, subversive and underhanded.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you learned something. And I hope it makes you deeply doubt yourselves.