The Rise of the New Second World: W(h)ither Democracy? (Part 2 of 2)
By William Warren
“The historic election of an African American to lead the most powerful nation in the world is symptomatic of a changing era that has been conceived in South America and could be knocking on the doors of the United States.”—Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
As discussed yesterday in part one of this two-part series, the term “Second World” is a geopolitical label that has largely fallen off the map of public consciousness. That is because the entity it stood for, the Soviet Bloc, has likewise fallen off the map.
Based on the recent surge of left-wing, borderline Marxist regimes taking power in Latin America, however, the term may once again prove relevant—only in a different hemisphere this time. As foreboding as it sounds—and, indeed, it is foreboding—the Second World may be rising up in “America's Backyard” under the watch of an American President who cares very little—or even approves—of the radical political shifts rapidly transforming Central and South America.
The latest iteration in this worrisome trend occurred Monday with the news that Mauricio Funes, a candidate representing the Marxist-guerilla-group-turned-Marxist-political-party FMLN, had been narrowly elected President of El Salvador. This marks the country's first (elected) leftist government.
On top of that, in February of this year President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela barely succeeded in overturning presidential term limits in a recent public referendum—although the fact that Venezuela is regarded as the second most corrupt country in Latin America calls into question the legitimacy of said “public referendum.”
As it currently stands, El Salvador, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, Honduras, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina and—of course—Cuba are some of the countries in the Western Hemisphere currently being “governed” by radical leftist regimes.
Add the United States to the list.
As ALG News Bureau and nearly every other respectable news entity has observed, Barack Obama was by far the most left-wing candidate America ever elected to the Presidency. In that sense, the United States is the greatest example of the leftist trend sweeping the Americas. And to make matters worse, ever since taking office—and even before—Mr. Obama has sent signal after signal that he is willing and even eager to strengthen relations with the historically anti-American, anti-capitalist, hostile regimes to the south.
For example, the recent $410-billion Omnibus Appropriations bill passed in Congress last week contained a number of subterranean provisions aimed at warming US-Cuban relations. The provisions specifically loosened up travel restrictions between America and its communist “neighbor” to the south and likewise reduced the embargo on agricultural shipments.
Even during the campaign season, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama made clear his willingness to meet with Raul Castro, Cuba's current leader now that Fidel is (finally) winding down.
And when Hugo Chavez gutted his nation's presidential term-limits and moved himself one step closer towards a “dictator-for-life” position, no condemnation or even apprehension was heard from President Obama. Rather, the American head of state congratulated Mr. Chavez on the “democratic” referendum.
Instead of congratulating Mr. Chavez on his fine work eliminating the barriers of executive power, what Mr. Obama really ought to be doing is encouraging these leftist regimes to promote free and fair elections—and give the opposition a legitimate chance. Certain leaders of Honduras have expressed their concern that under left-wing leadership, free and fair elections there may soon fall by the wayside.
At this time, the signals that Barack Obama sends to these nations are of the utmost importance. If he remains wishy-washy on the subject of fair elections and abuses of presidential authority, one can guarantee that the rest of Latin America will end up on the same corrupt circuit on which Venezuela has found itself.
America's relationship with its traditional allies in the region is also of great concern. Worryingly enough, the single pro-American, capitalist leader in Latin America and one of the United States' greatest allies in the region, Colombia's Álvaro Uribe, has been scorned by many in the Democratic Party. During his 2006 visit to the United States, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi publically scolded the Colombian President in the presence of her colleagues. Similarly, former Vice President Al Gore canceled a meeting with him based on concerns regarding his “deeply troubling” record.
Never mind that Mr. Uribe is the single-most popular Latin American president and one of the most popular in the world. And pay no attention to the fact that under his watch, Colombia has enjoyed significant security improvements and sustained economic growth. The Democrats in Washington want nothing to do with him.
Perhaps it has something to do with President Uribe's fierce dedication to the eradication of the left-wing rebel terrorist groups plaguing his nation. Or maybe it's the fact that Mr. Uribe considered himself an ally of George W. Bush.
Either way, Barack Obama and the Democrats' adoration for all things left-wing and radical in Latin America is by no means a one-sided emotion. The Latin American presidents are similarly thrilled at the prospect of “working with” Barack Obama. In fact, their starry-eyed adoration for the new kindred-spirit American president is all-too apparent.
Consider El Salvador, for example. President-elect Funes—of the aforementioned Marxist FMLN party—made a deliberate effort during his campaign to compare himself to his idol, Mr. Obama. As he said:
“It would be very arrogant of me to compare myself with a statesman of President Obama's stature…But people make that comparison because my candidacy represents hope."
Similarly, Hugo Chavez hasn't been able to keep his mouth shut about Barack Obama either. Rather than calling him “the devil”—as he did with the 43rd President of the United States—Mr. Chavez congratulated Mr. Obama after his win in November and spoke of the “changing era that has been conceived in South America and could be knocking on the doors of the United States.”
Joining Mr. Chavez and Mr. Funes in their congratulatory efforts is a host of other leftist Latin American leaders. These include those of Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and more. Perhaps one explanation for the mutual affection shared between the American President and his Latin American counterparts is the fact that President Barack Obama shares a similar history and political heritage with some of the these radical Latin American Presidents. Both Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega were at one time members of radical left-wing groups that actively fought against the government establishment. And although Maurico Funes never fought himself—he was employed at CNN at the time—the party he represents was at one time a Marxist guerilla group also waging war against the political establishment.
Like Mr. Funes, Barack Obama was never a war-waging Marxist zealot fighting the political establishment in his country either. However, it can be argued that Mr. Obama clearly represents those who did.
Whether it is Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn and the Marxist philosophy of the Weather Underground, Reverenced Jeremiah Wright and the Marxist philosophy of Black Liberation Theology, or Saul Alinsky and the Marxist philosophy he espoused, it is perfectly clear from what tradition Barack Obama hails. Barack Obama's connections with these individuals make it obvious enough: He is the ambassador, the manifestation, and the embodiment of the radical Marxist anti-American movement of the 1960s and 70s.
Perhaps Mr. Obama, Mr. Chavez, Mr. Ortega, Mr. Funes and the rest see a little of themselves in each other. Their adoration may, in fact, be familial.
Throughout his first weeks in office, it is apparent to all that Barack Obama has effectively ended the economic policies of presidents such as Ronald Reagan. It's fast becoming clear that he has similarly ending President Reagan's foreign policy as well.
So as this new “Second World” reemerges in the Western Hemisphere, the following question begs asking: who will be the leader?
Up until know, Hugo Chavez has routinely been pegged with that title. Based on President Obama's track record thus far, however, he has proven himself to be quite a contender.
William Warren is a Contributing Editor of ALG News Bureau.