For some reason this photo made me laugh… 23 May 2008Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, Cuba, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, South America, Venezuela - Chavez, Viva La Revolucion!, WAR!.
Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama wait before a town hall meeting at the B’Nai Tora Congregation in Boca Raton, Florida, May 22, 2008. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)
Just for context, a report on his appearance before the B’nai Tora, in the Palm Beach Post.
And… Obama’s remarks ”as prepared” for the Cubans, the Cuban American National Foundation… Renewing US Leadership in the Americas
Since the Bush Administration launched a misguided war in Iraq, its policy in the Americas has been negligent toward our friends, ineffective with our adversaries, disinterested in the challenges that matter in peoples’ lives, and incapable of advancing our interests in the region.
No wonder, then, that demagogues like Hugo Chavez have stepped into this vacuum. His predictable yet perilous mix of anti-American rhetoric, authoritarian government, and checkbook diplomacy offers the same false promise as the tried and failed ideologies of the past. But the United States is so alienated from the rest of the Americas that this stale vision has gone unchallenged, and has even made inroads from Bolivia to Nicaragua. And Chavez and his allies are not the only ones filling the vacuum. While the United States fails to address the changing realities in the Americas, others from Europe and Asia – notably China – have stepped up their own engagement. Iran has drawn closer to Venezuela, and just the other day Tehran and Caracas launched a joint bank with their windfall oil profits.
It’s still Norte as Daddy… I cannot wait to hear what Chavez has to say to President Obama OR McCain. At least I will be amused.
I will maintain the embargo. It provides us with the leverage to present the regime with a clear choice: if you take significant steps toward democracy, beginning with the freeing of all political prisoners, we will take steps to begin normalizing relations. That’s the way to bring about real change in Cuba – through strong, smart and principled diplomacy.
And we know that freedom across our hemisphere must go beyond elections. In Venezuela, Hugo Chavez is a democratically elected leader. But we also know that he does not govern democratically. He talks of the people, but his actions just serve his own power. Yet the Bush Administration’s blustery condemnations and clumsy attempts to undermine Chavez have only strengthened his hand.
He goes on and on… he gets to Haiti, to Colombia, Mexico, the Drug war, lards the speech with talk of the poor (always with us: we never free them, we make certain)… he even quotes Jose Marti… Waging democracy abroad is nothing new. It’s just the way it is.
Jesus of the Americas. We are so blessed.
Jose Marti once wrote. “It is not enough to come to the defense of freedom with epic and intermittent efforts when it is threatened at moments that appear critical. Every moment is critical for the defense of freedom.”
Every moment is critical. And this must be our moment. Freedom. Opportunity. Dignity. These are not just the values of the United States – they are the values of the Americas. They were the cause of Washington’s infantry and Bolivar’s cavalry; of Marti’s pen and Hidalgo’s church bells.
That legacy is our inheritance. That must be our cause. And now must be the time that we turn the page to a new chapter in the story of the Americas.