…And Latin America As Well

Friday, August 28, 2009

With allies such as Honduras flatly condemned, and Colombia being left to defend itself over its ties with our military, the United States is squandering its influence in Latin America.

The Obama administration further tightened the screws on Honduras last Thursday, declaring the ouster of President Mel Zelaya “a military coup.” According to Honduras’ constitution, Zelaya’s removal June 28 was neither. Still, the hemisphere’s third-poorest nation is being denied $150 million in aid.

The cutoff presumably is aimed at inciting a hungry-man’s revolt and pressuring the government to reseat Zelaya. This is ironic: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Zelaya “irresponsible” for trying to re-enter Honduras in July because of likely violence. The aid cutoff, intended to do the same, is just as “irresponsible” — and insulting to Hondurans to boot.

Friday’s news out of Latin America was no better. Colombia stood alone at a Star Chamber-like interrogation at the summit of the Union of South American Nations, a defense organization, in Bariloche, Argentina.

Its “crime”? It gave the U.S. military access to seven bases. All Colombia wants is to end what President Alvaro Uribe called “its long dark night” of struggle against murderous traffickers and terrorists.

South America’s soft-leftist leaders have done little to help. Instead, they live as if it was still the 1970s, when regional armies, not terrorists, were the bigger threat. That’s not the case today.

The leaders condemned Colombia’s move as militarism, and contrary to the spirit of regional integration (read: closeness to the U.S.)

Neither Colombia nor Honduras, both U.S. allies, should have to answer for what are in fact internal affairs. But both are, and the Obama administration is doing nothing.

The one who should be answering questions is Venezuela’s brutal dictator, Hugo Chavez, who has trashed democracy in his own country and precipitated both crises abroad through real meddling — buying off a leader in Honduras and bankrolling FARC terrorists in Colombia. Yet the U.S. acts as if good relations with Chavez is a high priority, but ties with allies Honduras and Colombia aren’t.

In an atmosphere like this, is it any wonder that citizens are taking matters into their own hands?

Read the entire article at IBDeditorials.

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