Bush in Uruguay: Mad, Bad and Lucrative to Know


He steps onto our homeland as a character with few antecedents in modern history. We have no doubts that we are up against a vengeful emperor who imposes his absolute power on the “barbarians” who do not submit to his expansionism.

 

His Vice President, Dick Cheney, unhesitatingly explained it: “the United States has the duty to act forcefully to construct a world in its image”. And so that no doubts remained his former Pentagon boss, Donald Rumsfeld, clarified to him, “More can be achieved with a friendly word and a revolver than with just a friendly word”.

 

The central point of his discourse is fear and terror; and little does it worry him to be loved or hated, it bothers him not to be feared. He learnt by heart “oderint dum metuant” of his twin, the Emperor Caligula: “Let them hate us so long as they fear us”.

 

But how can it surprise us if his bedside books, when he reads them, are those of Cabot Lodge (“no other people equalled our conquests nobody will stop us now”), of ‘Marse Henry’ Watterson (“we are a grand imperial republic destined to fashion the future of the world like it has never been done before by no other nation, not even imperial Rome”), of Charles Krauthammer (“the U.S. rides over the world like a colossus. Since the time that Rome destroyed Carthage, no other great power has reached the heights we have attained. The U.S. has won the Cold War, Poland and the Czech Republic are in its pocket, and then it pulverises Serbia and Afghanistan. And, on the way, it has proved the non-existence of Europe.”), of Paul Kennedy (“neither Pax Britannia, nor Napoleonic France, nor the Spain of Felipe II, nor Charlamagne’s empire, not even Imperial Rome can be compared to the North American Dominion) or finally of the ineffable Zbigniew Brzezinski (“the United State’s objective should be to maintain our vassals in a state of dependency, guarantee the docility and protection of our subjects and prevent the barbarians from uniting”).

 

The 43rd President of the Imperial Republic believes in the end of history and in a world reduced to an imperial interpretation under the Texan-petroleum hegemony of the United States.

 

Far from presiding over the transformation of global inequality, using the immense technological power and the role that nobody disputes as the locomotive of the global economy, and of responsibly assuming the ecological and cultural defence of the plant, he decided to put the State that he administers outside of law and of rights, founded a military state based on the Patriot Act and shamelessly approved by a parliament that forgot its history, that abjured Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln, the great precursors of democracy in the United States.

 

This is the homo demens (madman) who we are receiving in our land.

 

What other alternative did the President of all Uruguayans have? Perhaps the slamming of the door, isolation, economic exile from globalised capitalism?

 

The ethics of responsibility is not incompatible with the ethics of ideological belief. The Left did not assume the administration of the bourgeois state to sink into the isolation of the Taliban, Pol Pot or Albania.

 

The President of the Uruguayans, I have no doubt, is profoundly anti-imperialist, and will be so when he meets with the North American President… he represents all Uruguayans and should try, with dignity and pride, to defend the development of our country and the well being of its inhabitants. This does not have to be defended with ill-fated declarations bit with realism, honour and courage. At the end of the visit we will judge the results.

 

Who can doubt the anti-imperialism of Dr Tabaré Vázquez and the government of the Left that today steers the destiny of the country?

 

Since Tabaré Vázquez assumed presidency, the Uruguayan government has kept with a foreign policy clearly different to that of the United States.

 

The first act of the government of the Left was re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba.

 

Uruguay voted to condemn the blockade of Cuba and rejected the U.S. attempt to condemn it in the U.N. for violating human rights.

 

Uruguay rejoined the Group of 20 that represents the voice of the Third World in negotiations with the World Trade Organisation.

 

Uruguay sought a peaceful route in the Middle-East crisis.

 

Uruguay presented, in the name of Mercosur, the motion that frustrated the United State’s intentions to approve of ALCA in the Summit of the Americas at Mar del Plata in 2005.

 

Uruguay drove and supported the admission of Venezuela and Bolivia in Mercosur.

 

Uruguay supported with its vote the candidacy of Venezuela in the Security Council, voting more than 50 times against the United States in General Assembly.

 

It would be pointless to keep repeating the anti-imperialist actions of the progressive government in its short time.

 

Confusing the vigorous desire to gain commercial, cultural and technological respect from an existing imperium (even if it exists against our wish) with ideological desertion is a problem not connected to the science of politics but to sport and political entertainment.

 

That is not our business, but for those over there with their nihilism and rhetorical purity.

 

The repudiation of the civil society of predators and at the same time negotiating with the President of the most powerful country in the world is part of the project of the Uruguayan Left to sort out, hopefully, the productive transformation with equality in our unequal society.

 

We cannot go back, only clearing up the steps ahead, discarding the howls of the anti-political demagogues.

 

Those who do not have the courage to work in this historic project with hair-raising difficulties should at least keep quiet before those who make sacrifices. Please!

 

Translated from Spanish by Supriyo Chatterjee

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A longer version of this article appeared in the La Republica, Uruguay, on March 9, 2007. Federico Fasano Mertens is the Director of La Republica

 

 

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