The opinion piece in the Miami Herald crying about the "Gang of 5" Latin American countries who are betraying Latin American traditions is nothing more than a viewpoint which is propagated dishonestly to avoid dealing with the real roots of the tensions between the United States and Latin America.
Yes, these governments have betrayed traditions. Traditionally, the governments of Latin America bent and twisted which ever way that Washington desired. Dependency, US installed dictatorships, and operations like Condor were the traditions in Latin America. Now that these governments march to the beat of their own drums. A beat, the heartbeat of their people, whose desires for governments who respected the will of the people. New constitutions have been written and overwhelmingly supported by the votes of their people.
The United States needs to learn to deal with the new reality. Instead of funding, and creating in some instances, opposition parties, Washington needs to see that by supporting coups and coup attempts, it is undermining its own supposed values and is seen as a hypocritical power.
The stunning thing about the events of the past decade or so, is the fact that these supposed dictators came to power under a system that had been established by the ones we now call the opposition. In actuality, these governments have broadened democratic participation within their countries. How many elections must be won in order for the results to be respected? All of the "gang of 5", as they are referred to in this article, enjoy majority support. They have decreased the indebtedness of their governments, expanded social programs to help the poor who had been previously left out. Literacy rates have risen in all of these countries, as have health statistics.
ALBA is a logical organization based on the idea of development and mutual respect. There are no free trade agreements which are crafted to aid the interests of multi-national corporations. Under ALBA, there will be no subsidized agriculture corporations dumping cheap food products in countries putting farmers out of business. There are investments in infrastructure and productive capabilities which will help develop these nations in rational ways that take into consideration the needs of the countries and not just investors in North American cities.
Where is there in the U.N. Charter a part that states that a vote against a U.S. supported resolution isn't permitted? And if the U.S. believes so much in the U.N.'s General Assembly, why is it that two decades of votes condemning the U.S. embargo of Cuba have been brushed aside by the folks in Washington? In the Security Council, where the votes actually do carry weight, there has never been a country that has utilized the veto more than the United States, often times against the will of most nations.
The United States feels comfortable only in organizations in which it can manipulate, or at the very least have a say that has more weight than most others do. It is no wonder why the Organization of American States is losing its credibility as a meaningful institution, something that should have been recognized years ago, but as long as Latin America had U.S. backed regimes in place the point was often ignored. So it is no wonder why the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is seen as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy and also lacks in credibility. How can a country like the U.S. hold people without charges, considered to be out of the Judicial branch's jurisdiction, or find it acceptable to assassinate people in foreign lands without due process, including U.S. citizens, criticize some Latin American leaders' feelings that this IACHR is incapable of living up to its supposed purpose? Has the U.S. had to answer to the court for its own human rights violations? Of course not. The self-appointed deciders of how things should be wouldn't stand for such a thing.
Washington needs to get off of its high horse, which to many seems more like a slave driver with a whip that a moral example. The situation is one that demands recognition. The author is correct in asserting that "never has there been so much need for cooperation in hemispheric relations, yet never have the divisions been so gaping." What the author fails to interpret correctly is that the next statement that reads: "Those fissures divide one set of countries that espouse democracy and human rights and another that are dismantling those very values." is one that rings hollow. It is presumptuous and arrogant to make such a statement. It is also the very attitude that has helped create the situation that now exists.
This is a link to the article I've referred to.