Seneca on Obama Administration’s Latin Foreign Policy Woes

November 7th, 2009 · 21 Comments

The Obama Administration is plainly showing that its policy for South of the Border is equally as empty, indifferent and at times almost maladroit or inept as it has been for nearly a score of years. During last year’s campaign for the White House, Candidate Obama was judged to have a refreshing view of the world and would use ‘soft power’ like diplomacy more than George W. Bush. Latin America in historical foreign policy terms is usually relegated to the back burner at the White House and the State Department. The US has only engaged in Latin America in a serious policy way only three times in the last 60 or more years since WWII ended. First in 1954, Guatemala was the first Cold War challenge in the region. The outcome of this episodic US involvement was the long lasting policy program, the US Military Assistance Act, which enabled the military institutions of the hemisphere to become much more prepared and powerful in relative terms. The second instance was more menacing: Cuba in 1959 with the emergence of Fidel Castro and his subsequent alliance with the Soviet Union. Before the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, the Kennedy Administration had formulated the short-lived Alliance for Progress. Castro and his brother, Raul, still remain in power and have become more of a domestic policy issue especially after the end of the Cold War. The third one, the Central American crisis which flared in 1979, led to the Reagan Doctrine’s roll-back policy and an intensive ten year involvement by the US in staving off Cuban and Soviet influence in Central America.

Since 1992 and the fall of the Soviet Union, US policy toward Latin America has been generally ‘insufficient’ or one of ‘benign neglect’.  In fact, many observers have concluded that both the Clinton and W. Bush administrations basically handed the lead on Latin policy to the Cuban American lobby in order to secure Florida, a swing state in the Presidential elections. The Summitry Process began by Clinton which some critics considered an every four year photo op and not much more. It did have two substantive themes: a hemispheric free trade area and strongly endorsing democracy by pointing out that Cuba was the only non-democratic country in the region.

After 9/11, Latin America was readily served up and all but forgotten so it seemed. At first, the Bush Administration catered to the fiercely anti-Castro sector which had strongly voted for him. In W’s second term, the policy was pretty much given to the bureaucracy to manage and handle. This disappointed many hardliners. The objective evolved to keep the region’s problems from distracting Secretary Rice from more serious and important areas of concern. The designated hitter for Latin Policy became a fourth level bureaucrat, an Assistant Secretary was left to fend for himself without much visible top cover. Obama reached the White House and Hillary Clinton was ensconced as Secretary of State after having successfully blocked Bill Richardson from the job. Admittedly, Gov. Richardson was in the midst of a brewing scandal in New Mexico. Several political and media wags noted that all the key Latin foreign policy slots have been given to Latinos. These included Dan Restrepo at the NSC, Arturo Valenzuela at State, Frank Mora at Defense and Carmen Lomellin as Ambassador to OAS. This has been applauded notably by the Latino constituency groups. The issue has become now one of policy. Does the Obama administration care about the Latin American region? Where does it stack up? The fact is that the region once again finds itself vis-a-vis the US on the back-burner. It is not on the cutting edge of foreign policy. Yet early on Obama found himself in a tussle on two issues: Cuba and Chavez.

When Obama attended the Summit of the Americas meeting in the spring in Trinidad Tobago, he ran into unexpected or unscripted situations: is the US now ready to re-admit Cuba to the OAS? The vast majority of the Hemisphere’s countries were angling to get Cuba back into the OAS. The Obama team seemed surprised and almost unprepared for this challenge. The other one was how to deal with Chavez. Obama showed class and engaged Chavez briefly but certainly in awkward photo ops. The Cuba question dogged Hillary in the June OAS ministerial in Honduras. At the eleventh hour the Obama team was able to scramble and cobble a mutually acceptable communiqué that did not re-admit Cuba but addressed the irregularity of Cuba being absent from the OAS family. Some labeled the new Administration’s performance “Bush Light.” At the same time the US Mexico relationship was steadily moving forward. Obama revealed his support of Plan Merida to enable Mexico to better take on the drug cartels which have created enormous instability. But the funding for Merida was largely held up because of bureaucratic lack of clarity and other requirements. The other US Mexico challenge is undocumented immigration. No political bravery has emanated from the White House to wrangle with this most sensitive political public policy issue. In fact, no one is able now to predict if immigration reform will be an agenda item in the first two years of the Administration. So far it seems like the Democrats have concluded that the immigration reform bill is a lose-lose situation. The post 9/11 anti-terrorist sentiment coupled with the global economic downturn has inflicted pain on the US body politic. The US public has become more reluctant if not hostile to new immigration flows. This has plainly put a crimp into Obama team’s outlook. The continuation of building the border wall and draconian Homeland Security illegal-immigrant raids on job sites have not been seen sympathetically in Latin America and among Latino audiences in this country.

The more defining moment for the Obama Administration has been the on-going Honduras ‘golpe’ or coup crisis. The Obama team initially sided with the ousted President Zelaya and declared that the sacred principles of democracy had to be adhered and respected. Hence, Zelaya’s restoration to power became the battle cry for US interests in the initial months. Five months later the Obama administration is backtracking on the defense of democratic principles. The Administration appears to have tired of the Honduran crisis. The de facto regime in Honduras dug in and used PR and propaganda cleverly. More interesting seemed to be the Administration’s inability to persuade the defacto regime to cede power. Honduras is small with no political influence, no economic power nor military might — only diplomacy is in its arsenal. The US having all these options thinks in exhausting the first three before employing diplomacy. Hence, the Hondurans readily resorted to the old small country approach to concerns: use diplomacy but follow the rules of not speaking first, do not get angry and finally if unable to resolve favorably the problem then tangle it more. In using these tactics, Honduras wore out the US. The Obama administration slowly began to show  impatience and wariness. They saw Honduras as a small pesky country becoming increasingly more annoying and troublesome on the international stage.

Finally, the US after having declared itself initially pro-restoration of Zelaya and passing the problem to the OAS and Nobel Laureate President Arias of Costa Rica to resolve saw itself being drawn back into the fray. The contentious process dragged out in the discussion of whether the ouster of the Honduran President was legal or not. It attracted Republican die-hearts who defended the coup (because of the Chavista factor against Zelaya) while the Administration and the whole international community condemned the coup as anti-democratic. Obama’s team began to see themselves politically caught between a rock and a hard place: do we support and restore a Chavista (enemy of the US ) while defending democracy? After five months, Secretary of State Clinton and her Assistant Secretary for Latin America (who was being denied confirmation as Ambassador to Brazil by the Republicans) sought to cut a deal and injected themselves finally into the process to basically extricate themselves from this tar-baby. This required an about face or a betrayal of the previous US position. This has now become most troubling in Latin America to see the young dynamic US Administration as less than gracious in this process. In fact, many pundits in and outside the US are remarking or noting that the Administration not only demonstrated confusion or ineptitude or at best a maladroit approach, but callously left most of the OAS membership holding the bag.

To shore up support and bring someone high-level from the US Administration, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis was chosen to be the senior US participant in a so-called Verification Commission to secure the recent signed accords now being hailed as the final solution. Solis, practically unwitting or unfamiliar with the situation, was carefully choreographed by the State Department to ensure that she would stick to the diplomatic script and not become a freelancer. Hilda had been initially hailed as the most liberal member of the Obama cabinet but by the time she left Tegucigalpa she was seen as apologist for the defacto ‘golpista’ government. She now takes the hit, not Hillary. Rather clever and cynical maneuvering it was indeed. As soon as Tom Shannon, the State Department’s overseer of this whole show announced that the Hondurans no longer had to restore Zelaya to get international recognition of the upcoming elections, the defacto government felt it was off the hook and home free.  The Brazilians, who are housing Zelaya in their Embassy and waiting for his restoration, feel the US has behaved at best negligently and indifferent. The problem could have been avoided or minimize by having initially forceful high-level US leadership on the issue. The OAS  had its Secretary General and all the countries in the region had their Presidents or Prime Minister through their Foreign Ministers decry this US perfidy. The US has had a fourth-rung bureaucrat (the Assistant Secretary) in the lead.  Obama’s team failed to recognized from the beginning the limitations of the State Department if not given top White House cover. Moreover, in handing over the volatile issue in this case to the bureaucracy, it plainly did not understand that ‘diplomats seek the path of least resistance, they believe in nothing and everything to everyone’ and as bureaucrats they adhere to: never get between a bureaucrat and his/her ambitions. They mow you down….the additional factor is that while the US behaved like a world power during the Cold War: it basically ordered everyone except the Soviets to do its bidding. In Spanish it was referred to as the ‘dedazo’…now in the post Cold War-era even the tiny insignificant powers have begun to lose their fear of the US. Yet this muddle and lack of focus produce the image of a Gulliver with Lilliputians throwing ropes over his back to bring him down. The US Latino community regardless of partisan bias will feel that if this is all the Obama Administration can provide in terms of moral leadership and support for democratic ideals and most of all the lack of consistency in policy toward Latin America then a closer  look at the expectations must be undertaken. Disappointment is the only word to describe the first real test of fortitude, skill and determination in dealing with Latin America. Arturo Valenzuela the new Assistant Secretary will now have to rectify, re-define as well as need to provide the real Obama vision of the region.

Tags: Barack Obama · Bill Richardson · Cuba · drug war · Fidel Castro · Foreign Policy · GWB · Hillary Clinton · Immigration · JFK · Kennedys · Latin American Foreign Policy · Mexico · Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis · Seneca

21 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anna // Nov 8, 2009 at 8:12 am

    They have given Mexico 1 billion dollars to fund the Merida Plan/Plan Mexico. That money is being used to militarize the country, ostensibly to stop drug dealers, but also to silence human rights activists who oppose the damaging effects of NAFTA. Thousands of innocent people have been killed there just since Calderon took office. I don’t how you can characterize Plan Mexico positively. Initially, some Democrats wanted human rights benchmarks attached to the money, but that fell through.

    Also, the Governor Richardson “scandal,” that bogus investigation that yielded no charges, was obviously just a way to keep him from being eligible for the Cabinet. They did the same thing when Rocky Delgadillo was going to run for Los Angeles DA, and when Fabian Nunez contemplated running for higher office.

    As for Honduras, Lanny Davis, former Clinton Administration lawyer and friend of Hillary, is a paid lobbyist for the supporters of the Honduran coup, so the Obama Administration’s position on Honduras does not surprise me.

    As for Obama, do any of his actions surprise you? When somebody votes “Present” over 100 times in a very short carer, that should be a tipoff that the person has no core values that he is willing to fight for. He will sell anyone out, just as he did women yesterday with the Stupak Amendment. Anybody who thinks he is going to extert any poitical capital on immigration reform is dreaming.

    I wish people had based their decison about him on his voting record rather than on his speeches.

  • 2 Michaelr // Nov 8, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Bravo to Seneca’s insider thoughts. This is proof that not all DC insiders maintain the same myopic WASP mindset, although the attitudes and behavior of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus sure throw a kink in that statement.

    Latin America and the political power structure that governs all those separate countries have always been subservient to the United States, or more precisely Corporate American interests. There was a time when U.S. Administrations actually anointed Corporate American lackeys and made them dictators, military strongmen, and so-called Presidents…for life. The role the Nixon White House and State department played in Chile, during the Pinchot military regime is in many ways parallel to the role several European countries played assisting the Nazis achieve the holocaust. Fidel Castro’s removal of Fulgencio Batista in 1959 opened the door to real independence from Corporate America and the subservience of U.S. governments, but at a tremendous cost to the Cuban people. What you have now in Honduras is a political power clique seeking to free its tiny country of U.S. domination without civil war.

    Hilary Clinton was so worried her labor abuses with Wal-Mart, Monsanto and Tyson Foods would again become front page media conversation and display her ongoing political duplicity, that she forced Labor’s optimistic do-gooder, Hilda Solis to front this mess in Honduras when this is clearly a State department territorial dilemma. What will Hilda do there? Inspect the thousands of sweatshops and cries of the millions of abuses done every day there? All this clearly reveals Hilary Clinton’s definition of public service, and her inability to promote the goals and ambitions of the Obama Administration.

    The word Democracy is a euphemism that Congress and Presidential Administrations use to sugar coat its governance over American society. Class warfare remains fully intact, as displayed by Wall Street, Banker Row, and Main Street’s continuous ability to fiscally steal, abuse, and subjugate the lower classes without doing any real jail time, while we turn around and refinance their businesses and maintain their obscene standards of living. The rule of law that is uttered constantly on media outlets by Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, only applies to those who can afford to spend 100-500K to hire a law firm to represent them in court. In reality, the abuses of Latin America are a reflection of the abuses that happen to people of color here in the United States. We may have a Black President and a diverse ethnic administration, but the fact remains that the phase “equally under the law,” in a court of law is still a pipe dream. I still say this, although, there is now light at the end of the tunnel.

  • 3 Reyfeo // Nov 9, 2009 at 5:51 am

    NObama is showing inexperienced and quite frankly at this point in time cares little for the American Latino (I’m mean the legal ones).

  • 4 Luis Alvarado // Nov 9, 2009 at 8:08 am

    There is no doubt that the people of this country and the rest of the world now understand the difference between Obama the candidate and the Obama the President.

    One sells you dreams on a utopia that is easy to buy. And the other is aloof as he attempts to govern. He gained the White House by passing himself as the new JFK and what we got was Carter II.

    Latin America is a ticking time bomb that needs immediate attention by serious people. Soon they will realize that there is a stronger link between the stability of Latin America and domestic stability.

    With regards to Obama’s Immigration Policy, It will become just one more promise that is broken for the sake of political expediency. Latinos in America will voice their sentiments on this betrayal at the Polls in the next elections.

  • 5 india blanca // Nov 9, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Kudos to Seneca…brilliant and insightful as always…for decades we the United States used our muscle and our dollars to “sell” our democratic principles in Latin America…there had never been a greater opportunity to put that lesson to test than in Honduras after the June 28th coup d’état. But all it took was one duplicitous Foreign Service Officer obsessed with his career to throw it all away, dismissing the serious human rights violations and the reign of oppression that has been implanted since the military took the reins of power in Honduras, aided by the powerful business elite and members of the elitists’ Catholic right wing known as the Opus Dei. Tom Shannon grew accustomed to manipulating hemispheric policy to benefit his careerism. Groomed by none other than Condoleezza Rice during her tenure at the National Security Council, she made him Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs when she became Secretary of State under George W Bush. For her, it was easier to get rid of the pesky LatAm region by simply turning it over to her guy who ran his ship by ingratiating himself with his boss and never defining his position…all things to all people…but only thinking of himself. It was this attitude which gained him the animosity of all those he has crossed, including many in the right wing. They have been mad at him since he was Political Officer at the Embassy in Venezuela. Shannon never appeared to take a stand against or for Chavez he simply navigated the waters and sailed ahead for greener pastures. With his would be sterling career he was nominated for Ambassador to Brazil by the Obama Administration. But the GOP right wing decided it was payback time and held his nomination which was unfortunately attached to that of his replacement, political appointee Arturo Valenzuela. Then on June 28, the Honduran Armed Forces prompted by a powerful business elite decided to oust President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras, who only had six months left in office. The world community join forces as never before condemning the grotesque action which was followed by a state of siege and multiple violations to the most elemental freedoms, press outlets were ransacked and shut down, peaceful demonstrators were shot and killed, maimed, raped and intimidated. The new political climate in Honduras has transformed the population forever. The impoverished mass has been polarized by the obsolete and arrogant discourse of the oligarchy which attempts to disguise their greed and ambition by resurrecting a communist threat long defused and buried. The incipient democracy, we have been attempting to convince the Honduras we strived to nurture, dissipated in one fell swoop. For months the Obama Administration publicly stood within the ranks of the rest of the international community stating the restoration of President Zelaya was an essential element to retake a democratic electoral process underway. After months in exile Zelaya successfully reentered his homeland, and became the guest of the Brazilian Embassy in the capital of Honduras, where he has been under siege by a threatening military presence that does not allow the free flow of visitors, or articles such as food or clothing, blasts the diplomatic mission with loud music and strident sounds and has marksmen perched on high platform menacing the lives of those inside, including the President. Yet Shannon had no problem in violating the trust of the Honduran people, the rule of law, the world’s position and simply turned on a dime to once again hope to advance his career. He journeyed to Honduras and pretended to auspice the negotiation of a good faith agreement that would revert the actions taken on June 28, meaning President Zelaya would be reinstated to finish his term and hence allow for the recognition of the electoral process. Yet hours after the accord was signed the de facto government begun to undermine and disrespect the terms of said agreement. Shannon picked a US Spanish language media outlet to blow his cover; the ink had not dried on the paper when he stated that since the agreement had been signed the US would recognize elections regardless of how the implementation of the accord evolved. His vile betrayal to democratic principle sent shockwaves that rippled on both sides of the border. He not only disrespected all the Honduran people who have maintained their courageous position to safeguard democracy in their country, but he dealt a serious blow to US credibility in the Hemisphere and the rest of the world. President Obama has been ill served by this Foreign Service Officer punch drunk by his desire to survive and protect his upward professional mobility. Secretary Clinton has shown that she lacks the statesmanship to lead. Democracy has once again been trampled and all our efforts of the past few decades have crashed loudly on the world arena.
    Many non believers cannot accept the fact that the number one power in the world, and its new charismatic President who enamored vast crowds with his message of change and hope has allowed one ambitious careerist at the State Department to sit at the helm of the ship and derail our efforts, impugn our standing and land a serious blow to our credibility with the whole world watching. I for one don’t believe in coincidences, GOP Senator Jim De Mint lifted the hold put on Shannon to become the US Ambassador to Brazil and Arturo Valenzuela’s nomination to replace Shannon at the State Department as Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, hours after Shannon made his statement on CNN Español blessing the Honduran elections without any regard to the accord that had been signed or the fact that the Hondurans cannot be guaranteed a free electoral process under a dictatorial regime that undermines individual guarantees and disregards the rule of law. Unfortunately for Mr. Shannon his nomination to be the new US Ambassador to Brazil is now being contested by another GOP Senator who is not in agreement with Shannon’s squirrelly demeanor when it came to the Cuban issue. Sometimes, even in the political world is hard to get by when you take the path of least resistance. Shannon deserves to be immediately retired and banished from public service, for he is willing to betray, for his own benefit, the very principles that make this country of ours great. History will pass the last judgment.

  • 6 Michaelr // Nov 9, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    So is 60 minutes, or 60 minutes on steroids aka as“#1%@t(2)e” producing a segment that will identify this new business elite? Also known as (Russell, Fruit of the Loom, and Hanes) who fled once unionized U.S.A., complete with tax incentives from the Reagan and Bush One Administrations to open up sweatshops in Honduras, then known as Chiquita International and Dole Foods Land, so it can now be known and christened as Honduras-Underwear-Land? Is Russell now making the shoulder patches for Opus Dei? And does Tom Shannon now want to corner the market on Opus Dei emblazoned sweat shirts, T-Shirts, and briefs. This is quite a departure from bananas and pineapples. So is this why Tom Shannon met with the coup leaders before they kidnapped Zelaya in his certified unionized left-wing jammies?

    I make a joke of this…but I am pretty sure your story (India Blanca) probably happened as you state. I am just writing this to fill in the blanks for Seneca. As I am sure he is having a good laugh over this new Opus Dei apparel.

  • 7 DoctorH // Nov 9, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Fruit of the Doom, excuse me Fruit of the Loom, is a Lanny Davis’ client , and one of the larger employers in Honduras now. And their sweatshops not only pay slave wages, they exploit child labor, and violate universal safety standards. Think about that next time you buy underwear, and how much blood and misery went into the manufacture of that product.

  • 8 El Cholo // Nov 9, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    Lanny Davis=Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton=Lanny Davis, Lanny Davis=Hillary Clinton. Talk about a collusive relationship. How long can Hillary Clinton keep her head buried in the sand and continue to undermine the foreign policy goals of the Obama Administration? Bill Richardson…are you following this?

  • 9 Anna // Nov 9, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Re: “undermine the foreign policy goals of the Obama Administration?”

    What makes you think these aren’t Obama’s policies too?

  • 10 india blanca // Nov 10, 2009 at 4:39 am

    Lanny Davis has an op ed piece today in the Wall Street Journal about the Honduran crisis….where he backs the maneuvering orchestrated by Tom Shannon…frankly a piece that falls short of explaining the central point of the accord…reverting things to pre June 28 which targets one main point President’s Zelaya’s reinstation…he also misses the point when he says that the Honduran Congress would vote on whether to restore him, technically that is incorrect…the Honduras Congress would be voting on rescending the decree they emitted in order to put de facto dictator Micheletti as head of the excutive power…a decree based on a fraudulent letter of resignation falsely claimed to be written by President Zelaya…the only line of Davis’ op ed worth reading is his closing line which unmasks who he is and how he feels about the source of reportedly $100,000 a month stipend he receives for his lobbying activities in support of the coup…it states the following:
    ” That will restore to normalcy the proud little constitutional republic that has always been a loyal and reliable friend of the United States.”….
    need I say more….

  • 11 webmaster // Nov 10, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Here is a link to that piece India Blanca mentioned written by Lanny Davis:

    A quick internet search of Lanny Davis reveals that he is firmly connected to the Clintons. He was the WH Counsel for Bill Clinton and was a Hillary supporter for President last year (he wasn’t in Obama’s camp until after she conceded).

    Anna, why would Obama let this mess in Honduras fester as is?

    There is another opinion piece that came out today regarding this issue worth looking at:

    One of the subheadings in the above piece even says, “Clinton’s Coup de Main.” Hillary Clinton needs to be asked some tough questions about this. I personally find it ironic that she sells herself as a feminist of sorts but allows this situation to happen in Honduras, where the right-wing and religious factions take control of the situation.

    There is another piece I read recently about how this coup is impacting women in Honduras:

    There has been a noted increase in rapes and killing of women since the coup. Hillary Clinton has a chance to make a bold statement here about tolerating this, but I guess she’s content to let Lanny and this Shannon guy run the show.

  • 12 Michaelr // Nov 10, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Because this twisted situation in Honduras isn’t a part of Obama’s foreign policy strategy. Those who claim that every department of the U.S. government moves in the precise direction as dictated by the White House are quite naïve. This is Hillary Clinton’s political baggage shifting strategy to Plan B, Plan C, and Plan D. Her relationships with Lanny Davis, Mark Penn, and Tommy Boggs are always going to undermine any positive humanitarian endeavors she may try to achieve abroad as Secretary of State.

  • 13 Anna // Nov 10, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Re: “Anna, why would Obama let this mess in Honduras fester as is?”

    Because corporations, you know the people Obama really works for, stand to lose money if Zelaya is returned to power. Corporations want leaders in Latin America who will let them plunder the nation’s resources and exploit their people as cheap labor. Like Mexico. Zelaya was moving in the other direction, toward taking control of his nation’s natural resources, just as the much of South America is doing.

    Lanny Davis, a close Clinton ally, is a lobbyist for the corporations who supported the coup.

    I don’t know why anybody thinks that this is not also Obama’s foreign policy. Hillary is not some rogue operator. He appointed her after fully vetting her political and business connections. Latin America is not a priority for Obama.

  • 14 webmaster // Nov 10, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    “Because corporations, you know the people Obama really works for, stand to lose money if Zelaya is returned to power. Corporations want leaders in Latin America who will let them plunder the nation’s resources and exploit their people as cheap labor.”

    I think that all heads of state work for business sectors to varying degrees, but Hillary Clinton is running this State Department.

    A lot of times, I hear people who complain about Obama say, “If only Hillary had won.” Well, we are witnessing how Hillary operates as a leader with her State Department management. She is just as embedded to the business interests as Obama probably is.
    Maybe Latin America isn’t a priority for Hillary Clinton either. She’s the one that so many Latinos were hyped about, and I do think that how she used Hilda Solis in this situation is very disingenuous.

  • 15 Anna // Nov 10, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    I still think it would have better if Hillary had won. Yes, all politicians are tied to corporate interests, but at least Hillary isn’t passive. No way would Stupak have been in the health care bill if she were President. She wouldn’t be silent on civil rights or gay rights either.

  • 16 india blanca // Nov 11, 2009 at 5:50 am

    Maybe Hillary should have stayed in the Senate where she could have championed those issues that are close to her heart, such as health care. But she took on a job where she has displayed no real leadership skills, as well as lack of judgement and an incapacity to be an effective diplomat. Her handling of the Honduran debacle not only shows her conservatism but more importantly her lack of commitment to the concept of democratization. She appears to have simply caved in to too many global issues on her plate and the inclination to get rid of those ” unimportant” ones, like the pesky Honduran coup …especially when it is supported by all those “white English speaking elite gringo handler Hondurans” with whom our government officials seem to be more at ease…never mind if they are an essential ingredient of a regime which forcefully gets rid of a democratically eleted president and turns to violent repression of the population such as murder, rape, arbitrary arrests and intimidation in order to shut up their clamor to defend their rights, including the President they chose to lead the nation. A president who might not be the one WE would chose but who the Honduran people feel understands their plight…instead of a religious and empressarial elite whose interests are far different from those of the majority in Honduras, a country of 7 million where 70% live in poverty and 40% of those struggle to survive while they live in extreme poverty.

  • 17 El Cholo // Nov 11, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Hillary Clinton cost Bill Clinton/Senator Ted Kennedy/and the American people a healthcare bill in 1993-1994. Hillary Clinton did very little legislation work (20 bills, 15 of which we naming parks and post offices) the six years she was in the U.S. Senate. Although, that’s more legislative work than Loretta Sanchez and Linda Sanchez combined during that same time period. Despite her feminist views, Hillary has done very little politically supporting and implementing any feminist agenda, or protecting Rowe versus Wade from any legislative amendments, or attacks. Hillary Clinton voted with the GWB White House on every political issue, even when she was critical of the Iraqi war at the same time. Hillary mismanaged her Presidential campaign for the Democratic nomination, hired Mark Penn as an advisor, had difficulty keeping a lid on her collusive labor relations record with Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods, and Monsanto, and had several implosions with key staff infighting and trouble with campaign funding. Hillary Clinton accepted a federal cabinet position as Secretary of State, despite her collusive personal and political relationships with Lanny Davis, Mark Penn, and Tommy Boggs, all A list public relations lobbyists representing Fortune 100 multinational corporations and undemocratic governments of repressive sovereign nations. If Hillary Clinton had been elected President of the United States in 2008, it would have been a continuation of the Bush White House policies, with more scandal, more dysfunctional political relationships, and even more secrecy. We’re all blind to certain degrees, but it’s horrible to add stupid to all that.

  • 18 Anna // Nov 11, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Hillary didn’t cost us health care. Bill put Hillary in charge of it, but you don’t blame him, or the Speaker of the House or the Senate Majority Leader. Just Hillary. Amazing.

    Has it ever occurred to you that Democrats might not pass much legislation when the GOP controls the House and the Senate? I’m sure Dubya was just waiting to sign one of Hillary’s bills into law to give her something to use to run for the White House. SIGH…

    If you look at Hillary’s voting record, you will see that she has always voted to support women’s rights. Furthermore, she has NOT always voted with Bush. In fact, Obama has voted with Bush more than Hillary. He voted for FISA and to extend The Patriot Act. Why are you making things up?

    And you blame Hillary for accepting Secretary of State, despite what you say are conflicts of interest, but you don’t condemn Obama for offering her the job. He vetted her and he hired her.

    And I don’t believe that if she won it would have been a continuation of the Bush white House. That was Obama spin. He needed to link Clinton and Bush to position himself as a “change.” He also needed to make Hillary look old, rich and privileged to undermine the historic nature of her campaign.

    If you had bothered to do some research, you would know that Obama has not changed Bush’s policies to a significant degree.

    Wall St. is still unregulated and stealing everybody’s money, driving more states into insolvency. We are still in Iraq and about to escalate the war in Afghanistan. There is no change in Latin American policy. And of course now there is a rollback of women’s rights.

    Funny, I don’t see a president Hillary Clinton letting the Catholic Bishops or Stupak tell her what to do.

    What we have with Obama is a change in tone.

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