╬Bushian Waterloo' in Argentina was a Historic Turning Point

The 4th Summit of the America's in Argentina was one of those rare occasions when political leaders actually stand up for the people they represent. According to this article from Mexico's La Journal, when Argentine President Nestor Kirchner and a handful of other leaders, gave 'George Walker Bush a swift kick in the buttocks while forcing him to smile for photographs,' a new era had dawned in Latin America.

By Pedro Miguel

November 8, 2005

Original Article (Spanish)

It is an event that is so rare, it sticks out like a sore thumb: after so many encounters, in which the leaders of this hemisphere have shamelessly spent our taxes for hobnobbing with the rest of the political showmen creating documents that pretend to address the concerns of their constituents, finally we have seen a Summit that actually accomplished something: at Mar del Plata, the miraculous union of diplomacy and social reality took place, when a handful of worthy chief executives had the good sense to listen to their respective populations, giving George Walker Bush a swift kick in the buttocks while forcing him to smile for photographs, and sending him and his frustrated plans to turn the continent into a gigantic Wal-Mart home in humiliation. He is already back in his country, alleging that what happened in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo is not called torture.

Soccer Icon Diego Maradona and Hugo Chavez.

There is a pessimistic modern version of the belief that things were better in years gone by, but now the axiom has become that today, everything is much worse. Perhaps if the followers of this belief would calmly analyze what happened at the Argentine resort, and would carefully read the speeches given at Mar del Plata, they would conclude that, for the most part, Latin America has entered into a period of marvelous political representation, despite Chilean ambiguity, Brazilian weakness and several other embarrassments.

Ex-President Carlos Menem

With no intention to ignore what was done by Hugo Chavez, Diego Maradona and company, nor to begin to compare the relative merits of anyone, that we recognize the role played in the Bushian Waterloo by [Argentine President] Nestor Kirchner, who has turned out to be a the kind of president that has not appeared in quite some time, and which Argentines (and Latin Americans in general, who appreciate a leader in the mold of [Mexican President Lazaro] Cardenas and [Chilean President Salvador] Allende, just to cite a few) have long deserved. And the fact is that without the host's [Kirchner's] final showdown [with President Bush during their talks], the work of Chavez would have been relegated to the sidelines, and the work of the anti-globalists would have amounted to nothing more than a carnival of barricades and protest, which is what usually happens. How much things have changed: until just a few years ago, the Argentine government led by [Carlos] Menem [President from 1989-1999], took the continent from ridiculous situation to ridiculous situation, and from crime to crime, and the diplomats of other nations called on him to conduct himself with a minimum of decorum. Over recent days, on the other hand, the President of Argentina showed the region an example of dignity and coherence. Hallelujah.

Former Chilean President Salvador Allede

[Editor's Note: Lazaro Cardenas was Mexican president from 1934-1940, and is best known for cutting his own salary in half and deporting dozens of corrupt officials to the United States. Salvador Allende was the Chilean president from 1970-1973, and was overthrown by a CIA-instigated Coup d'etat]. [READ MORE —Lazaro Cardens —Salvador Allende]

With or without the FTAA, the message coming from Mar del Plata is that Ibero-America is no longer stained, or will no longer march in lock-step behind oligarchical, neoliberal and servile governments. Latin Americans have shown in this first five years of the millennium, that their societies are better represented, or somewhat represented, by their respective national authorities, and that the chasm that existed (political, economic and social) between the machinery of the presidency and the people has been bridged.

One of the issues critical to any victory (Chavez is correct to call what happened at Mar del Plata a victory, from the Latin American point of view), just as it has been during our long history of defeats, is the difficulty of identifying or of recognizing the precise moment when history changed course. In the exasperating story of relations between our nations and the United States, last week's encounter was a turning point. It is now clear that the Free Trade Area of the Americas is impossible without Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela; but that Latin American economic integration is perfectly possible without an agreement intended to impose the will of the White House. Another sobering fact of these changes is the uncertainty of what it to follow. In this case, what follows is to conceive and promote an agreement for free trade in Latin America.

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