The Monroe Doctrine called it - we're the bosses in North and South America. After the Spanish lost it came the long slow squeeze of Team USA and our Manifest Destiny.
I've long written about the Americas; from the Zapatistas to the Contras, from the Colombian right-wing paramilitaries to Hugo Chavez in Venezuela there's some amazing things going on and basically they get swept under the rug.
And some of the stuff they do - amazing! The Indymedia movement was based on a Zapatista model, which laid a lot of groundwork for the blogosphere. The Zaps' focus on neo-liberal economics was a huge eye opener to me. And now that the US military has been tied up in the Middle East, the chance of American military action into the hemisphere has been reduced, which is one reason why, I think, we didn't invade Venezuela under the hardline Bush2 regime.
So here's Obama, and he's got some big question marks on how he'll act in regards to foreign policy. Al Giordono, who's 'The Field' has some amazing analysis, has long focused on the politics of the Americas. The Narco News Bulletin has been his passion and project for a long time.
His article, Trinidad - opportonities don't happen, they are made, covers pretty well some major points of the Obama Latin America trip. Thing number one - Mexico's president is a Bush clone, an fucker, and as legitamate as, well, Bush2 himself. (The election was stolen from the left by using the same kind of voter suppression tactics that were used in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004)
But number two and three - Obama's announcing that he's noticed the Cold War is over, and gave Chavez a photo op. The Cuba blockade is headed out, it seems, and Obama's not being an abject prick to Chavez, unlike some. While the Cuban thing will get more press, likely, Giordano points out
The bigger opportunity in Trinidad for Obama, should he seize the moment, is for the US president to begin to normalize relations with Venezuela. Although the Bush Administration denied any involvement in the attempted 2002 coup d’etat against Venezuela’s democratically elected president, most Latin Americans don’t buy it. At very least, Washington lent support to that coup by recognizing the illegitimate dictator-for-a-day, Pedro Carmona, before the Venezuelan people overturned his short-lived military regime seven years ago this week
Haven't read the full statement yet, but here's a thousand word comment.
US President Barack Obama and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
“At Times We Sought to Dictate our Terms. But I Pledge to You that We Seek an Equal Partnership”
Full Obama statement here