International Information Programs
October 28, 2004

October 28, 2004





** Regional papers expect little change in U.S. relations with the hemisphere after the election.

** "Disenchanted" with FTA talks, Andean media contend deals with U.S. are "asymmetric."

** Argentine, Brazilian writers are resigned to further setbacks in FTAA, Mercosur expansion.




For U.S., Latin America 'does not exist'--  Writers in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela carped that the U.S.' relationship with the region "has been one of the most notoriously missing issues" of the election campaign.  Despite the importance of the Latin vote, "Bush's and Kerry's silence demonstrates" that Latin America is not among "the priorities of the future U.S. president"; no matter who wins "nothing will change."  Irked that the "only plan" the U.S. has for the region is Plan Colombia, the centrist Diario de Caracas vented, "for Bush and Kerry we are people from the Third World, second-class citizens, backyard inhabitants."  Mexican dailies doubted that promises on immigration, "however limited," can be kept and claimed that migrants were being used as "cannon fodder" in the election.  Yet Salvadoran and Costa Rican papers struck a more positive tone.  San Jose's economic-oriented La Republica saw the U.S. reluctance to "solve Latin America's problems" as an opportunity, arguing it would force each country to "assume their responsibilities, certainly with very good general results for friendship."

FTA round raises 'anxieties and expectations' in Andes--  With the fifth round of FTA talks underway in Guayaquil, Colombian and Ecuadorian papers recognized the merits of bilateral trade with the world's "greatest power" but also raised concerns about the treaty's impact on national sovereignty.  Vowing not to "bow" to the U.S., Colombia's leading El Tiempo applauded the commerce minister for rebuffing a deal offering "fewer benefits than [Colombia] has under the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act."  A writer in Bogota's business-oriented Portafolio warned the FTA favors the U.S. and could be "a step backward for real democracy." But another columnist promoted the treaty; by stimulating trade, the FTA can be a "very efficient weapon to combat poverty."  Papers in Ecuador stressed negotiations must preserve "above all, national interests," with center-left Hoy demanding the accord be "founded on the principles of reciprocity of justice"; we must not give up certain protections "if others do not do the same."  Centrist Expreso quipped: "Signing an FTA under such conditions would be like accelerating the death of a cow taken quietly to the slaughterhouse without the chance to protest."


FTAA project, Mercosur, South American integration--  Argentine and Brazilian outlets were skeptical about progress on the FTAA and also considered the likelihood of reaching an EU-Mercosur deal "increasingly remote."  Brazilian columnists declared the failure to forge an agreement with the EU a "fiasco."  It was an "enormous mistake in evaluation" that exposed the Lula government's lack of judgment in assuming that "an understanding with the Europeans would be easier to achieve" than hemispheric integration under FTAA.  Although a proposed South American trade bloc is a "good idea" as a mechanism for negotiating with the U.S. and Europe, Peru's influential El Comercio concluded that "to consider a 'United States of South America' as an...alternative to free trade...with the U.S., Europe or not realistic."


Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888,


EDITOR:  Irene Marr


EDITOR'S NOTE:  Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment.  Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion.  Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet.  This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government.  This analysis was based on 50 reports from 13 countries over September 21-October 28 2004.  Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.




ARGENTINA:  "No Matter Who Wins, Very Little Will Change"


Martin Kanenguiser, daily-of-record La Nacion economic columnist, wrote (10/28): "The GOA believes that the result of the elections in the U.S. won’t change the perspectives of the local economy in the short term, although it hints that a Democrat administration will play a more active role in the solution of the debt problem in the future.  Economic authorities admit that Argentina is far from being a priority on U.S. foreign policy agenda and, therefore, they know that in the next months they won't perceive any change in direction from Washington regarding Buenos Aires, whether Kerry or Bush win. In fact, with the eyes set on Iraq, the war against terrorism, the price of oil and China, all Latin America seems to be far away from the focus of U.S. attention, according to Economy officials of the Kirchner administration....  From a technical perspective, the director of the Center for International Economy of the Foreign Ministry believes 'the difference in the result of the election can't be too important. If there's a change, it will take place both in the commercial and financial areas is marginal,' said a CEI analyst. Traditionally, said the analyst, Democrats 'are more protectionist in trade and more flexible in the financial field, therefore, a Kerry victory might spark more affinity between the two countries on the debt issue and Bush's re-election would allow for a broader understanding on trade.' Also, 'Bush's re-election would probably revive FTAA... but this also depends on the fate of U.S.-EU negotiations. If there's an agreement with Europe, on the following week we will sign FTAA.'  However, an academic of the Austral University disagreed saying 'FTAA is in Intensive Care Unit..., however, a new Bush victory may advance bilateral agreements in the region, both with separate countries as well as with the Andean Community of Nations.'"


 "FTAA Implementation Not Dismissed" 


Daily-of-record La Nacion judged (10/27):  "Mercosur should have reached a free trade deal with the EU these days, but the fact that this deal has not been reached yet is not a reason for concern for Argentine Secretary of Commerce, Alfredo Chiaradía. In an interview with 'La Nacion,' the government official underscored that negotiations will be resumed in about one month and he did not dismiss that the FTAA discussion will be resumed....  According to Chiaradia, FTAA negotiations, which have been frozen since the beginning of the year, could revive 'if all parties involved are interested' and 'if authorities are willing to put on the (negotiation) table what the other party is interested in.' Mercosur has asked the U.S. to make up for the effect of its subsidies on exports and agricultural production."


 "'The FTAA Could Make Progress After (US) Elections'" 


Francisco Ochoa, economic columnist of business-financial El Cronista, wrote (10/25):  "Jon Huenemann is currently a private consultant that worked during 16 years for the USTR Office as the main NAFTA negotiator and he also worked on the U.S. free trade deal with Chile. During his visit to Argentina, he talked with 'El Cronista' on the world trade panorama.  Asked about the FTAA being bogged down since the beginning of the year...he answered that the trade position of the Bush or Kerry administration, along with the positive gestures of other countries of the region, could bring the possibility of a deal closer.  However, some decisions to be made by the U.S. Congress during next year will be crucial in the FTAA progress, such as whether the fast track authority will be renewed...or whether the U.S. continue being a WTO member....  Lastly, an issue of vital importance for Argentina is the renewal of the agricultural legislation and programs, which will expire in 2006."


"Corruption, A Lasting Evil" 


Daily-of-record La Nacion carried an editorial stating (10/22): "Highly discouraging conclusions can be drawn from the annual report of Transparency International, which measures perception of corruption in 143 countries. Argentina slumped 14 positions in this international ranking... Now we are in the 108th position under countries such as Peru, Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. This is the first ranking corresponding to some period of the Kirchner administration.... While some progress has been made in the last two years in the general awareness of bribes paid to the Senate as well as in the approval of a public consultation system on the candidates to have seats at the Court or act as federal judges, the [scourge] of corruption does not seem to have been removed and it continues darkening the nation's life."


"If Bush Wins: 'There Will Be No Radical Changes'" 


Jorge Rosales, Washington-based correspondent for daily-of-record La Nacion, wrote (10/22): "Otto Reich, main advisor of the Republican campaign for Latin America said, 'The guidelines of the policy for Latin America have already been set: there will be no radical changes in a second administration of George W. Bush.' And in a provocative way, he added 'And there will be no radical changes either if John Kerry wins.' The future of the U.S. relationship with the Western Hemisphere has been one of the most notorious missing issues in this (U.S.) election campaign, which has been focused on domestic security, the war on terrorism and domestic politics. Bush has said nothing about the hemisphere and in no debate has he spoken about Cuba, one of the Republicans' historic obsessions, but this does not mean that they have forgotten it: both Bush and Kerry have the same tough position regarding Castro.... Reich...said to 'La Nacion' that Bush's policy for Latin America during his second administration would be focused on four points. First, 'Support for democracy in the hemisphere through support for democratic countries or confrontation with anti-democratic countries or movements.' Second, 'Support for working economic policies....  A central aspect of the economic policy has to be efficiency, transparency and fight on corruption.' Third, 'Support for the war on terrorism and backing of security policies....  In this framework, support for the Colombian government in its war on narco-terrorists will continue, as well as for any other country facing real terrorism, not terrorism invented in order to maintain economic support.' Fourth, 'Support for social developments, such as education, health and policies aimed at covering the people's basic needs.'"


"Debating, A Healthy Custom" 


An editorial in daily-of-record La Nacion read (10/21):  "During the three presidential campaign debates, U.S. citizens have had the invaluable opportunity to compare the proposals, attitudes and personalities of President George W. Bush...and his adversary, Democratic Senator John Kerry. This is exemplary of how democracy works and we Argentines should follow this model....  The future of the U.S.-Latin American relationship was one of the great missing issues (in presidential debates) in spite of the fact that the two candidates have said that the US relationship with hemispheric countries will have an important place in the U.S. foreign relations of next years. They did not speak of Cuba or the FTAA... In this framework, it would be erroneous to expect deep changes in the U.S.-Argentine bilateral relationship, whether Bush is re-elected or the Massachusetts senator replaces him. Our relationship with the U.S. has gone through a winding road lately, but the U.S. had a decisive influence on the deals reached between Argentina and multinational lending agencies after the 2001 economic crisis."


"South America Will Be A Free Trade Area"


Florencia Carbone, on special assignment in Montevideo for daily-of-record La Nacion, wrote (10/19): "Yesterday, Mercosur and the Andean Community of Nations signed a free trade deal to make up a free trade area composed of the nine countries from the two blocs.... The new bloc will be a market of 350 million inhabitants, and, therefore, the fifth largest economic area in the world....  During his address to his counterparts, Argentine Foreign Minister Rafael Bielsa said that the (Argentine) Government does not believe that regional integration 'means a protectionist fortress but, instead, open regionalism that will enable us to continue creating trade and improving the competitiveness of our economies.'"


"The US Is Denounced To Hurdle The FTAA" 


Business-financial Ambito Financiero stated (10/13): "FTAA negotiations are hurdled due to the protectionist sector' lobby on U.S. Capitol Hill and they would be strengthened if John Kerry is elected as U.S. president. This is the opinion of Ambassador Adhemar Bahadian, Brazilian representative, co-chair of the FTAA.... The FTAA implementation was originally planned to start in January 2005, but, obviously, that deadline will not be met and a new deadline, possible 2007, should be fixed.... Finally, the Brazilian diplomat recommended that the best for Mercosur would be a 'four plus one' deal with the US, or a multilateral negotiation at the WTO, where 'we have more power.'"


"EU-Mercosur Deal Seems Too Far Away" 


Matias Longoni, columnist of leading Clarin, stated (10/7): "It is almost a fact: the great trade deals that have been announced until a short time ago for 2005 will not be reached at least for a long time. First, it was the FTAA, after that the WTO negotiation, and now the EU-Mercosur seems to be following the same track. Even though the four partners will only adopt an official position on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro, yesterday the members of the (Argentine) Foreign Ministry were discouraged.... Regarding the increasingly remote likelihood that a EU-Mercosur deal be reached on October 31 as scheduled, Foreign Minister Bielsa said 'We will not sacrifice substantial points only to meet deadlines'....  Among the main Mercosur objections to the European proposal, the EU did not make any changes in the import quotas for certain 'sensitive' agricultural products of Mercosur.... One of the points most resisted by Mercosur has been the European pretension that Mercosur stop withholding differential tariffs on exports, which are used to promote the industrialization of raw materials in their place of origin."


"Argentina Is The Latin American Country Having The Worst Opinion Of The US" 


Daily-of-record La Nacion reported (10/2):  "According to a study performed by the Chilean opinion pollster Latinobarometro, the anti-U.S. feeling in Latin America has grown due to the U.S. intervention in Iraq and Washington's decisions regarding terrorism, and Argentina is the country having the worst opinion about the U.S. In our country only 31 percent of the people has a good opinion of the U.S., the lowest percentage among the 18 nations included in the report. The best view of the U.S. was registered in Dominican Republic, where 85 percent of those consulted said they feel sympathy toward the U.S... Since 1995 the Argentine opinion is maintained around 30 percent, except in 1996 through 2000, when the good image of the U.S. was roughly of 50 percent."


BRAZIL: "Solidary Diplomacy"


The Brazilian political mediator sent to Haiti last week, professor Ricardo Seitenfus, remarked in liberal Folha de S. Paulo (10/23): "A quick glance over Port au Prince indicates the indispensable character of the presence of Brazilian civilian and military forces in Haiti.... The immediate challenge consists in stabilizing certain areas of the capital and in question is the modus operandi, not the abandonment of the operations.... It is fundamental that the growing violence and the impoverishment of the Haitian population are checked.... Without financial resources, Brazil offered its expertise and has obtained extraordinary results.... Brazil has acted correctly by sending troops to Haiti, but it has done so without any interest other than that of serving mankind's noblest causes.... Brazil's attitude has shown that we are building a Latin American society in which Haiti will have its place."


"The Farce Of Peace In Haiti"


Political commentator Jose Arbex Jr. opined in liberal Folha de S. Paulo (10/24):  "The reasons why President Lula has sent troops to Haiti are clear.  In the foreign policy area he is following the same logic adopted by the economic sector: to negotiate positions with Washington with a canine fidelity to the White House's global strategy. Lula maintains in the horizon the goal of achieving a UNSC permanent seat for Brazil, and with this goal in mind he has been a partner as reliable as former [Brazilian military] dictators were. But his fidelity is not limited 'only' to sporadic gestures in spectacular situations. The Lula administration accepts, for example, the policy of militarization of the 'war against narcoterrorism' a position that Washington has demanded from Brazil since the 80's.... The war against supposed 'narcoterrorism' legitimates the presence of U.S. troops in the Amazon region (Plan Colombia) and includes the [Brazilian] Federal Police and Brazil's Armed Forces in the fight against guerrillas that resist imperialism."


"Another Diplomatic Fiasco"


The lead editorial in center-right O Estado de S. Paulo contended (10/22): "The effort aimed at producing an agreement between Mercosul and the EU this year has failed.  Such a fiasco may have a high cost for Brazil.... It is unknown from which point the negotiations will be resumed.... The final communiqué after the meeting in Lisbon could not have been more melancholy.... Both sides admitted that they could have been more flexible, but this is just recognition of the obvious. Equally the reference to the strategic importance the agreement would have for the two blocs.... From very diverse positions, the U.S., Russia, China and India -- only to mention the most evident examples -- are competing with Mercosul for the EU's attention.... The fiasco in the EU negotiation has shown an enormous mistake in evaluation committed by the GOB. It had thought that an understanding with the Europeans would be easier to achieve than an agreement to create the FTAA. This belief was reinforced in the current administration by a clearly ideological preference: the EU negotiation was treated as politically correct, while discussions on the FTAA were continuously torpedoed, as the hemispheric integration would only be a mere annexation. From this point of view, supporting the FTAA became a non-patriotic attitude. With the fiasco in Lisbon, Brazilian diplomacy has added another remarkable failure to its curriculum." 



"A Kerry Administration Would Impair Brazilian-Argentine Project"


Emir Sader asserted in independent Jornal do Brasil (10/17): “In current international politics...the two candidates take over the same threats, the same right to preventive actions, the same commitment to increasing actions in Iraq.… The difference would be on Bush’s expressed unilateralism and Kerry’s alleged disposition toward consulting with allies....  The significant differences between the two are on the domestic level, particularly on social policies, in which the Republicans are particularly cruel on wealth concentrators...while Kerry is less conservative on social policies and more liberal on issues such as abortion, gay marriage and support for stem-cells research....  Kerry is committed to labor cells favorable to the inclusion of the environment on foreign trade accords and with the program of investments repatriation to increase employment. Such measures would make the already difficult task of enforcing the FTAA problematic.  As a consequence the Kerry Administration would result in a tougher position of negotiators, thus impairing the Brazilian and Argentinean project of prioritizing South-American integration through a new Mercosul.”


"WTO Measures Might Weaken The FTAA"


Former Legislator, Leo de Almeida Neves, opined in center-right O Globo (10/1):  "George Bush and John Kerry are fighting to conquer the majority of votes...using increasingly aggressive language.  Within this bellicose scenario, if the WTO continues to adopt measures that may fulminate the farm subsidies in the U.S., the European Union and Japan...discussions on farm issues, bilateral or regional accords such as FTAA, might be weakened. It’s now convenient that Brazil occupies greater room on the multilateral level...and profits from the advantages at the upcoming Doha the issues of services, investments, intellectual property and government purchases. While the U.S. House defines rules and the Congress delineates actions to the Executive Power to celebrate universal trade accords, restraining openings in farming and anti-dumping areas with the so-called ‘fast track’ law, here in Brazil all the Senate has to do is to approve or reject such treaties....  Such measures would make the already difficult task of enforcing the FTAA problematic.”


MEXICO: "Migrants: Cannon Fodder of Elections"


Alejandro Ramos Esquivel wrote in the business-oriented El Financiero (10/18): "It is true that in the most recent debate Bush and Kerry discussed migration; experience shows that arguments from electoral campaigns turn into smoke that vanishes into reality....  On January 7, 2004, George W. Bush launched an immigration plan that was presented to Congress; it had the goal of reaching the Hispanic community to attract votes during this electoral year.... This plan, similar to other measures that Bush administration suggested to benefit immigrants, has not been accomplished... Unfortunately, after this flirtation (with specific communities, such as Latinos) during the electoral campaigns of Bush and Kerry, it is unlikely that promises, however limited, can be kept; it is not the same for security measures, which are implemented, especially those concerning police and military actions to halt the crossing of immigrants into U.S. territory."


"Imports, The Failure Of The Model"


The editorial from the left-of-center La Jornada reads (10/18): "The figures show that Mexico spends most of its income to pay for imports, goods that are not absolutely necessary nor should be necessary, instead of using the money either for investments to create jobs and wealth or for social programs to improve conditions under which millions of Mexicans live in poverty. This unsteady trade has its origin in NAFTA, which entered into force a decade ago.... This situation could worsen dramatically if Government authorities get the approval of the polemical structural reforms. We have to remember that those reforms include the energy reform, intended to open the sector to private and foreign investment, which means selling or giving away an important part of our natural resources."


"Business At Work"


Columnist José Yuste writes in the nationalist, Milenio (10/13): "The Nobel Prize in Economics 2004 was awarded to Edward Prescott and Finn E. Kydland for their theories on economic policy and the driving forces behind business cycles   Prescott said that Mexico could be the new economic miracle of the 21st century due to its economic integration with the U.S. and Canada; he talked about Ireland and Greece as examples -- when they entered to the European Union they had to work on reforms to get linked to the most dynamic European countries. Prescott emphasized that Mexico could work the economic miracle if it would move forward on its structural reforms.  Today, as we know, conditions are halting economic growth and productivity in this country. Reforms are necessary."


"The U.S.: NAFTA in Question"


Ilán Semo noted in the left-of-center La Jornada (10/10): "It is curious to observe the indifference that Mexican public opinion reflects regarding the American elections. They say that the bilateral relationship will remain unchanged whether Bush or Kerry wins; nothing could be more absurd!...  During the nineties, Washington took two decisions that changed radically the central theme of the relationship between the two societies and the destiny of each. Mexico is in a process of 'Americanization,' and the U.S. is in a process of 'Mexicanization', according to what Huntington says. The first decision was NAFTA; the second was the financial support that Clinton granted to Zedillo's government during the 1995 economic collapse."


 "Less Distant Neighbors"


Ana Paula Ordorica mentioned in the independent El Norte (10/5): "If Alan Riding had to re-write his book Distant Neighbors published in 1989, he could say that today Mexico and the U.S. are less distant neighbors.… The U.S. – Mexico relations have been growing to a synergy level. The increase of trade and immigration has brought great economic benefits for Mexico. These two factors have become one of the most important motors of impulse for the economy.… The new international environment is demanding and difficult for Mexico. Our geographical situation in terms of being the neighbor of the world’s power, which is currently facing three wars – Iraq, Afghanistan and terrorism – and our condition as developing country forces us to review and redefine our role in the world, our international ambitions, and our foreign policy.”


"The World Against the U.S.?"


The editorial from the left-of-center La Jornada said (9/29): "An American commission asked to evaluate the image of the U.S. government overseas presented a report in which the persistent and increasing antipathy towards the U.S. was evident...  It is noteworthy that the blindness regarding the reasons for increased repudiation of their country in the world occurs both in Washington's political body and in the majority of American society.  The problem is perceived as a one of image, a failure in communication, but not as the result of illegal, criminal and violent actions of the U.S. government against Afghanistan and Iraq. American politicians don't seem to realize that even if they invest millions of dollars to improve their foreign image, the world will not forget the constant unilateralism of Washington in international forums, its refusal to adhere to the International Criminal Court, its blackmailing actions in response to proposals to fight hunger and poverty in the planet as made by Luis Ignacio Lula

 da Silva, Jacques Chirac and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero."   


CANADA: "What Sort of Amigo Are We?


Under the sub-heading "Mexican President Vicente Fox's Visit May Be Our Last, Best Chance To Bolster a Valuable Friendship," Ken Frankel and John Graham commented in the leading Globe and Mail (10/25):  "Imagine the chaos in an unsupervised classroom while a teacher is outside on a prolonged cigarette break.   Parents have nightmares over such images; Canadians ought to be concerned about a foreign policy conducted along similar lines. Vicente Fox, Mexico's beleaguered President, was scheduled to arrive in Ottawa last night in what must be his final attempt to prod Canada to deepen relations between the two countries.   NAFTA has powered the economic relationship, but Mr. Fox's visit and the presence of seven cabinet ministers in his delegation signal Mexico's continued desire for a more far-reaching relationship.   As Canada splashes about in the changing international landscape, only one of four emerging economic powers -- China, India, Brazil and Mexico -- is actively courting us.   It's the country with which we have the most natural opportunities for collaboration....  Although our reservoir of good will is dwindling in the Americas, we have the potential to make a difference.   This is called 'niche' diplomacy and it is high time that Canada had a go at it.   Success in niche diplomacy requires that Ottawa reverse its decade-long habit of drastically underfunding our diplomatic, military and aid machinery.   It should nourish strong strategic alliances.... If Canada dithers in this opportunity to collaborate with Mexico, our political leverage in the Hemisphere will dwindle further.   Mexico will not continue to wait to find international alliances.   Brazil, the primary regional power in South America (with whom we have only mediocre relations) is playing a leading role.   It is managing the dialogue with Mr. Chavez in Venezuela and has committed the largest contingent of troops in Haiti.  China is taking an increasingly active economic interest.   It has invested heavily in oil fields in Ecuador and actively seeks to expand its oil investments throughout the Andean region.   Where there are economic interests, political interests are sure to follow.   China has deployed police as part of the international peacekeeping mission in Haiti. Although we have been here before, we may not have this opportunity again."


"How Free Trade Changed Us"


David Orchard commented in left-of-center  Toronto Star (Internet Version, 10/4):  "In the first three years of the 1989 Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, Canada lost a quarter of its manufacturing base....  However, lost in this exchange is the fact that jobs are only one part of the free-trade equation.  The central issue, as Sir John A. Macdonald put it during the free-trade election of 1891, is our sovereignty.  How, he asked, could Canada keep its political independence after it had thrown away its economic independence?  Instead of the promised 'secure access' to the U.S. market, we have had more trade harassment than before 1989...  The much heralded recent NAFTA 'victory' on softwood lumber — after the industry spent tens of millions of dollars on Washington lawyers — will (if accepted by the U.S., which is far from certain) only return us to the situation that existed before the free-trade agreement....  Evidence of the 'ever-tightening economic ties' from a free-trade agreement that Sir John A. Macdonald warned of in 1891 is everywhere.   As America attacked Iraq last year, prominent Canadians urged that, even though such an invasion was clearly illegal, we should help bomb that little country, because our close trade ties made it important that we not irritate the U.S....  All run smack up against FTA provisions.  Without a vision, a nation and a people die.  While shipping raw resources out of the country at a completely unsustainable and even accelerating rate, we assemble machines designed and manufactured elsewhere and dream other people's dreams.  Yet Canada has the potential to be a proud industrial power using its abundant natural resources to create all the industries of a modern nation....  Instead of learning to live within the straitjacket imposed by the free-trade agreements, we need to open the doors to a comprehensive examination of what we have signed and how it is impacting our economic, political and social well-being.  A full inquiry into the effects of the FTA and NAFTA, undertaken without ideological blinkers, would blow the dust off stale perceptions of what Canada could be and inject a sense of hope and optimism into a country now often lacking both."


COLOMBIA: "FTA: Without Bowing"


An editorial in leading national El Tiempo asserted (10/27):  "The Minister of Commerce did well to advise the U.S. that Colombia is not prepared to accept an agreement with fewer benefits it already enjoys under the  Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) and start from zero....  The U.S. government must not ignore that cost drugs have been to  Colombia.  In areas such as intellectual property, biodiversity and agricultural subsidies, Colombia must negotiate forcefully and not bend.  It would be preferable, ultimately, to abandon negotiations before accepting an FTA that would just mean losses for Colombia."


"FTA Negotiations:  All Vapor"


Abdon Espinosa commented in leading national El Tiempo (10/26):  "The announcement of the preferences not guaranteed by the U.S. is based on the assumption that in a bilateral treaty, concessions should be mutual and equal, even giving a push to the nation's effort in the battle against illegal drugs.  The range of prices reveal their usage and that they must be fought.  What is ironic is that the U.S. has them and pretends to condemn Colombia for them; this hurts the opportunities for legal drugs.  Regarding medicine and intellectual property rights, it is not advisable to lose sight of an evidently slipping economy and high indicators of unemployment and poverty." 


"Negative Aspects Of FTA On Colombia"


Economic-business Portafolio ran an article by German Umaña Mendoza, professor at the National University, stating (10/21):  "I tell you, you should not worry, the results are more or less known, with little news and a lot of disenchantment. If we study previous U.S. negotiations with other Latin American countries we can say that the agreement will be asymmetric and the opposite of free trade. The balance of the negotiations has been broken since the beginning, and the outcome, which will define the future of many generations of Colombians, will be favorable for the United States and some national elite groups, such as those linked to multinationals and large importers. The FTA will diminish the state's role and that of its institutions. National sovereignty will be yielded. The treaty will be a step backward for real democracy; it will restrict the citizens' freedom and that of the country's authorities to choose democratically our own way to insert ourselves into the global economy."


"Trade And Poverty"


Rudolf Hommes commented in the business Portafolio (Internet version, 10/18):  "The FTA is not being negotiated to fight poverty, but to stimulate trade.   Undoubtedly, there is not going to be long-term economic growth if Colombian international trade does not increase considerably.   Trade does not necessarily generate economic growth, but no country has developed without increasing its international trade.   On the other hand, there is no doubt that economic growth is a very efficient weapon to combat poverty.   This is why, if the FTA is going to contribute to the Colombian economy growth and development, indisputably it can also help combat poverty through income and employment increase, and other factors that come with the FTA."


COSTA RICA:  "Latin America And The U.S. Today"  


Economic-oriented La Republica editorialized (10/22):  “Latin American countries are worried about the upcoming U.S. elections and the uncertainty about which candidate will win, since all the polls indicate the race is a dead heat, and because historically their economies have had close links with the U.S.   Costa Rica is a case in point, its main trade partner and export destination is the United States.  It is of particular interest now that Costa Rica is about to decide if it will approve a free trade agreement with the North giant or not.… There is no doubt that powerful geopolitical interests make the U.S. look to zones other than Latin America.  This forces the region to design a flexible and autonomous economic system.… Today, the reality is that the markets have a negative view of Latin America, because of budget deficits and poor access to credit, which led the US Treasury Department, World Bank, and IMF to disperse millions in financial aid.… Since Bush became president, Washington mad clear they would not provide such massive aid as in the past… Neither in President Bush’s statement or Kerry’s statements do they propose the creation of an expensive, new program to solve Latin American countries’ problems with North American resources, and this is a notable change.  Latin Americans - and of course Costa Ricans- have to wipe out the idea that the U.S. has a definite, irreplaceable and very expensive role in our development and in our history.  In this way, little by little each country will assume their responsibilities, certainly with very good general results for friendship."




Left-of-center, independent Hoy commented (10/13):  “It is expected that the Dominican community in the U.S. with the right to vote will exercise it, and if members of Congress mentioned below -- who have taken up the defense of the Dominican people -- run again, the [Dominicans] will vote for them.... The members of Congress...have sent a letter to President George Bush in which they object to arrangements in the FTAs with Central America and the Dominican Republic, Andean countries and Panama by virtue of their harm to the people of the aforementioned countries vis-à-vis producing generic medicines, all in order to protect trademarks....  It is not the first time for talk about how the FTA will cause problems in areas related to pharmaceuticals.  It is known that Dominican authorities have, on different occasions, been subject to enormous pressure from governments of countries where huge multinational pharmaceutical companies are located.  More than once, there have been rumors about pressure from ambassadors, representatives of big nations that ‘protect’ their interests, even at the expense of sacrificing ours.  Of course, those responsible are our local authorities...who are afraid to confront the foreign powers."


“A Violation Of The WTO And The Agreements?”


Claudia L. Mejia-Ricart wrote in independent, left-of-center Hoy (10/13):  “Amcham and Adozona insisted on saying the imposition of this tax would violate the rules established by the World Trade Organization and the recently signed [free trade] agreement.  WTO jurisprudence never has declared itself with respect to the topic, and only after submitting this conflict to a panel for resolution of the controversy will the WTO have the power to decide if it violates the rules or not....  With respect to the violation of DR-CAFTA, which was recently signed in the U.S., it also would not be a violation because in ratifying the agreement, what is important would be to incorporate the contents of corn syrup used in the production of soft drinks under the quota ceded to this nation, which would place it under the conditions free of tariff that are being established.  It does not take a genius to understand that trade remedies are acceptable in the WTO and that the violations, searched for by those with interests in the elimination of the 25% tax, are imaginary and manipulative...  We do not believe that in an agreement where the U.S. is the complete commercial winner, they would dare not to sign DR-CAFTA nor to exclude the Dominican Republic; that simply would not have any commercial logic after achieving so many privileges in the negotiation.”


“Revise DR-CAFTA”


In his weekly op-ed column, economist and former Dominican Ambassador to the WTO, Federico Cuello, stated in independent, centrist El Caribe (10/12):  “Ratification of DR-CAFTA has been postponed.  U.S. Congressmen are opposed to [its] contents.  Modifying the agreement to obtain votes will require taking into consideration our objections.  The moment demands the national unity we lost in May 2002....  Others say that we should forget promoting our interests in the revision of DR-CAFTA because the “Central Americans would not support us in any of that.”  But the result is that those principally affected by a revision measured by U.S. interests will be the Central Americans.  As negotiated, DR-CAFTA obligates them to enforce existing laws on environment and labor insofar as they conform to international standards.  For the U.S. Congress, the Central American laws do not reach international standards nor are they applied effectively....  Because the [Central American] negotiators are experienced and conscious of the implications of changes, they will probably want to charge dearly for the revision of DR-CAFTA.  How?  By improving the market opening for their exports and the defense of their vulnerable sectors.  Therefore, modifying DR-CAFTA is the first opportunity in a long time to articulate a common Dominican-Central American agenda.  Will we know how to take advantage of it?”


ECUADOR:   "A Step Forward"


An editorial in leading El Comercio held (Internet version, 10/26):  "The road is long and difficult and the subject important.  A free trade agreement with the today's greatest power--the United States--and three developing Andean countries understandably raises anxieties and expectations... The fifth round--taking place in Guayaquil--...puts the negotiations in more practical terms.  The advance of deliberations and the proximity of realizing concrete steps, prompts the greater public's interest in this international event.  Free trade issues have been studied marginally by the non-experts, like as foreign news of matters that have little national importance.  But this time is different....  Under these circumstances it is becoming more necessary to communicate so that public opinion is based on the facts and not just relying on rumor, fabrications or prejudices.   It will still take a while to reach the goal....   But...after this fifth round, decisions will be taken that are going to matter in the future  which underscores the need for the negotiating teams to apply maximum effort.  An FTA contains many facets....   It is worth highlighting the need to establish a national agenda, a requirement that is becoming more acute in the coming days.... We cannot forget that Ecuador, along with the other two Andean countries, are immersed in a challenge of very serious and sensible proportions and each step is a delicate feat."


 "FTA Faces Uncertain Political Future


Guayaquil's leading center-right El Universo noted (10/25):  "Congress appears distant from the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations, and several social movements are insisting on undermining the process, which could lead to a complicated political scenario.   The fifth round, which begins today in Guayaquil, will have 53 representatives from Colombia's Congress; 14 from the Peruvian Congress; and zero from Ecuador's.   Yet, if as expected an agreement is reached, it will be up to Congress to approve or reject the FTA.   The congressional committee chairmen feel that there is no purpose to their attending the negotiations because they have no power to make decisions and would not be congressional delegates.   On 5 October Foreign Trade Minister Baki addressed Congress about the FTA but only 56 deputies attended and some of them left to discuss other issues; her appearance was suspended after three hours.   Roberto Aspiazu, coordinator of the Ecuadorian Business Committee (CEE), says that the deputies should keep up with the FTA...the business sector is worried that after the regional elections the government will be weakened, which poses a threat to approval of the FTA.   Meanwhile, indigenous leader Blanca Chancoso says that the indigenous people are participating but from the outside, by staging demonstrations, because they do not like being simple witnesses who are unable to negotiate.


“Let the People Decide On The FTA”


A column by Nancy Bravo de Ramsey in Guayaquil’s centrist Expreso (10/21):  “Devoted in body and soul to the electoral campaign, Lucio Gutierrez and his team do not grasp just yet the political, economic, social and cultural dimensions that the FTA has for the Ecuadorian people and seem to be taken aback by the fast-growing movement that rejects submission to the interests of one nation, whose economic power, technical and scientific development has no relation with our languid reality.  Signing a FTA under such conditions would be like accelerating the death of a cow taken quietly to the slaughterhouse without the chance of protesting.  Thus, ‘bring the form to sign!’ is what the people are saying.”


"Border Security”


An “Analysis” column in Quito’s center-left Hoy (10/14): “Ecuador’s Ambassador in Washington submitted an important initiative for Ecuador to obtain compensation for all it has done and continues to doe with regard to the Colombian conflict.  What Ecuador expends on border control and fighting against drug trafficking would be compensated by a swap in foreign debt in the same amount, which, in turn, would be devoted in its entirety to development activities, especially in border provinces.”


"Let’s Discuss Everything, But The FTA Goes No Matter What"  


A column by Mauricio Pozo in Quito’s center-left Hoy (10/13): “The Ecuadorian team negotiating the FTA has the huge responsibility of coming to an agreement with the U.S. that preserves, above all, national interests.  That means an accord founded on the principles of reciprocity and justice.  If Ecuador reduces tariffs, eliminates pre-tariff measures, eliminates subsidies, it must demand the same from its counterparts.  Regardless how much we advocate for free trade, we cannot act senselessly, stripping ourselves of certain protections, if others do not do the same.  Hence, it is in this game of interests between the U.S. and Ecuadorian business sectors where the majority of difficulties lie. The above in no way opens the possibility of not arriving at a Free Trade Agreement with the U.S.  It would not only be a total absurdity, but a decision that would harm those same national interests that those sectors opposed to it claim to defend.  If Colombia and Peru sign accords, and Ecuador does not, Ecuador would face enormous difficulties in being competitive; its productive sector would be subject to a profound and severe crisis that would have an unpredictable impact on economic growth and jobs. Globalization, FTAA, and FTA, are all types of markets that might at times be cruel, but that force us to get prepared to compete under the best possible conditions.  However, these difficulties in no way are valid arguments to close our eyes and adopt jingoistic positions that lead nowhere and that instead of helping, make our already complicated reality even worse.  Let’s understand well what defending the national sovereignty means.”


"FTA, Checkmate To Democracy"


Alberto Acosta in center-left Hoy stated (10/13):  "Because an FTA is so important, so complex and so comprehensive, we require a debate that will conclude in a referendum.  If those leaders who favor free trade chicken out (they are even working with a ‘confidential’ draft imposed by Washington that will be declassified on April 26, 2014), civil society must assume with responsibility and creativity the challenge of collecting the necessary signatures to strengthen democracy and build up a whole new country.”


"Changes At The UN And OAS"


An editorial in leading El Comercio (10/12): “It is true that a hemispheric organization is the best possible scenario for developing a dialogue between the U.S. and the fragmented countries of Latin American countries.  From the point of view of these countries, however, the organization lacks the capacity to address urgent needs.  The proliferation of political and economic subgroups such as the Rio Group, the Andean Community and MERCOSUR, among others, shows that current times demand more strategic and efficient OAS with a different structure is indispensable, because under current  circumstances, it does not matter if there is or there is not an appointed Secretary General.”


"FTA Treatment"


Luis Enrique Coloma judged in Quito’s center-left Hoy (10/12):  “The indifference shown by [Ecuadorian] congressmen during the official presentations by Minister [of Foreign Trade] Baki and members of the team negotiating the FTA with the U.S. is worrisome.  Congressmen, who will approve in the end the signing of the accord, should be worried about getting information and supervising the negotiation process; however, the majority of congressmen have demonstrated an irresponsible lack of interest in understanding the foundations of the treaty, its negotiation schemes, and the implications of an FTA for the future of Ecuador.  That apathy becomes even more serious as we approach the defining phases and the next round of negotiations that will take place at the end of October in Guayaquil.  Regrettably, the FTA has ceased to be an issue of foreign trade policy that should become one tool (but not the only one) used to place the country on a path of sustainable development; it has been politicized and taken to the level of populist arguments.  In this vacuum devoid of knowledge and filled with disinformation, holding a referendum on the FTA would be a huge mistake.  We must seek mechanisms to distribute information and foster dialogue about the scope and implications of the FTA in order to have a more objective and educated public opinion and arrive at a consensus that would enhance opportunities and minimize threats.  Keeping populism and dogmatism at the margins is crucial for the future of the country.”


"The U.S. And The Guayaquil Round”


Leading centrist El Comercio stated (10/10):  “The opinions expressed by several U.S. congressmen regarding FTA negotiations with Ecuador and Peru, and the direct pressure exerted by U.S. companies to resolve conflicts under judicial process, reveal several things.  First of all, the lack of a strategic concept about Latin America; then, the lack of knowledge about the internal resistance to such an agreement, and the possibility of asymmetric relations among the parties, which within this context will hardly become equitable....  Although Colombia--the most prepared country on this subject - clearly is in the specific interest of the superpower, we should urgently call for a summit of Andean leaders.  It is necessary to design strategies and reclaim the respectability of a region marginalized by fragmentation and concessions.”


EL SALVADOR:  "No Difference"


Eduardo Torres judged in conservative daily El Diario de Hoy (10/23):  "Though others may disagree, in my estimation, it will be essentially the same for our country whether one or the other wins on November 2.  The difference will be whether CAFTA is ratified sooner or ratified later." 


 "Our Country Has Benefited From Various Programs"


In an op ed in the moderate La Prensa Grafica, ARENA legislator Oscar Mixco commented (10/20):  "The electoral race in the United States should not go by unnoticed by Salvadorans.  Our country has benefited from various development programs, the extension of TPS (Temporary Protected Status) and the negotiation of CAFTA.... President Bush has been generous with Salvadorans, recognizing their presence in the labor force and contributions to the U.S. economy.... It will be difficult to have an extension of TPS with a Senator Kerry victory....  One of the most marked differences between the candidates is their positions on terrorism.  President Bush has demonstrated a clear policy to combat this scourge...and as a country we are helping this effort with our contributions to the reconstruction and peacekeeping in Iraq."


GUATEMALA: "Sending CAFTA To Congress Should Wait"


Pablo Rodas Martini noted in influential El Periodico (9/21): "Central American governments are evaluating the possibility of sending CAFTA to their respective congresses.  The argument is easy: if two or three countries approve CAFTA, 'pressure could be put' on the U.S. so that the Congress from that country would not make any changes to the text...If our congresses approve CAFTA without awaiting the debate that will occur between the White House and Congress, we will not be able to put any 'pressure' on the U.S. Congress, quite the opposite, we would make that giant called the Senate or House look at us with skeptical eyes....  Let's not be mistaken, this was a negotiation with the Empire, therefore we must wait for the Empire to clear its position.  If John F. Kerry wins, it has been said that we will go towards the renegotiation.  Kerry has said that he is not satisfied with the text agreed to on labor and environment.  If George W. Bush wins, we must take into account the possibility for renegotiation.  If the mathematics that the US Trade Representative has to figure indicate that they will not have the required majority in favor of CAFTA in the House of Representatives --the Senate tends to be more pro-trade-Bush himself would be force to reopen the labor and environmental chapters...  What we do in Guatemala is not going to change a bit in the decision of Democrat Congressmen for reopening the labor and environment chapters.  For them, the USTR negotiated wrongly.  The only thing that remains is to wait for the sky to clear in U.S domestic politics.... Let's wait for the U.S. outcome."


PERU:  "The United States Of South America"


An editorial in centrist, influential El Comercio observed (Internet version, 10/26): "In an announcement that was almost unnoticed, nine Latin American countries, including Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela, signed an integration agreement which for some of the leaders was the first step toward the creation of a 'United States of South America.'...  According to the agreement signed on October 18...the four members of Mercosur--Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay--and the five members of the Andean Community--Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Peru, agreed to unite the two economic blocks into a common free trade area....  The proposed South American block would have an annual  combined gross product of US$ 800 million, 30 percent of the planet's water resources, and oile and gas reserves for the next one hundred years.  Nevertheless, according to what I heard during a visit to Peru last week, the plan for South American integration will encounter enormous difficulties.  In the first place, the Montevideo accor was signed by chancellors who often don't act in concert with their economic or foreign trade ministers....  Int he second place, some South American countries, sucha s Bolivia and Chile, have such hostile territorial disputes  that they barely have diplomatic relations...  In the third place, while Brazil and Argentina are interested in creating a common market, the idea inspires little enthusiasm in Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and other countries which also have free trade agreements with the U.S., or are about to have them.... My conclusion is that the proposed South American trade bloc is a good idea if treated as a political mechanism to negotiate with the U.S. and Europe.  It is also a good idea if it includes agreements for economic coordination, that,for example, prevents a country from an abrupt currency devaluation, which could harm its neighbor's exports.    But to consider a  'United States of South America' as an economic alternative to free trade agreements with the U.S., Europe or Asia, the largest markets in the world, is not realistic.  As the Peruvian minister of foreign trade put it, the numbers aren't there."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

VENEZUELA: "The Defense Of The Panama Canal, An Imperialistic Pretext" 


Gustavo Robreño Díaz wrote in pro-government tabloid Diario VEA (10/27): "As a complement to the its policy of global hegemony, the United States blows up the alleged threat terrorism pose in Latin America.  Washington seeks to include different regional problems in the framework of 'terrorism.'  One of the most important spokesmen of this hypothetical 'terrorist rise' in Latin America has been Southern Command chief, general James Hill, who has repeatedly insisted on the 'threat' represented by Islamic groups allegedly operating on the border among Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.  The Pentagon has not quit thinking about the military control of the Panama Canal, judging from James Hill's statements, the joint naval maneuverings and Washington's allegedly 'anti-terrorist' campaigns." 


"The Andean Command"

Political analyst Alberto Garrido analyzed in leading conservative daily El Universal (10/26): "The Southern Command will have a new chief in a few days. James Hill, its current commander, leaves in Latin America a structure of such magnitude that Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) gets to say that 'the Southern Command has a growing and disproportionate role in U.S.- Latin American relations.'('Trends in U.S. Military Programs in Latin America,' September 2004). WOLA indicates that the Southcom has more people working on Latin American - over 1,000 - than most key civilian federal agencies combined, including the Departments of State, Agriculture, Commerce and Treasury, as well as office of the Secretary of Defense. The document claims that 'the U.S, military officers are becoming the main interpreters of the region's affairs'. ... Beyond the democratic rhetoric, which will always deny such a statement, the key of the performance of the Southern Command possibly lies in the enlargement of the concept of fight against terror. Ever since Hill got to the Southern Command (2002), 13 units of Special Forces, 5 mobile brigades, 5 battalions of High Mountain and 41 platoons of peasant soldiers were created. The most important step in the militarization of the American policy towards Latin America, whose epicenter is located in Colombia, is the beginning of the Patriotic Plan. This plan is the answer to the criticisms voiced by specialists in Washington (Andes 2020-2003, State Department 2001) regarding the Plan Colombia...The Patriotic Plan, conceived to defeat and force FARC to negotiate in three years, at the most, seeks to reverse that situation aggressively. Hill steps down, but he leaves the beginning of the Plan Colombia-Patriotic-Andean ready.  The time for the new reality to be installed on the Venezuelan border will depend on the energy crisis.  That's all."


"George Bush" 


UCV International Affairs Professor Reinaldo Bolívar wrote in national daily tabloid Ultimas Noticias (10/16): "Bush does not offer his electorate anything new: a security strategy or a Bush doctrine that is summarized in killing his old partner Osama Bin Laden some day, despite the 'collateral damages,' that is, human beings killed in the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq: an excellent excuse to implement the 'energy plan' consisting in seeking cheap or free oil and hydrocarbons in the Middle East, Southern Asia, South America and Mexico.  It is the Bush doctrine what leads him not to sign instruments such as the International Penal Court in order to have license to kill; it is due to Bush's energy plan that he does not sign environmental instruments such the Kyoto Protocol; the Bush doctrine justifies the Patriotic Act, which put an end to Americans' private life; the energy plan encourages Chechen separatism to get hold of the Caucasian oil; sponsors the Puebla Panama Plan to have access to Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela's energy resources.  If Bush is reelected, exploiting the rhetoric of fear...we will see how Washington will get isolated when the weak alliances it established to invade Iraq will finally break.  Aznar is gone, Blair is about to go; many politicians now understand that backing Bush on his 'pre-emptive wars' may mean losing elections." 


"Debates: USA Style" 


Alberto Quiros Corradi wrote in leading liberal daily El Nacional (10/17): "The Bush-Kerry debates demonstrate that the United States wants to continue being the world's first superpower.  They also demonstrate that Latin America does not exist [for the U.S. foreign policy] It was not mentioned in the debates; therefore it does not exist.  Bush and Kerry's silence demonstrates that, despite the Latin votes being the most important minority in the United States, the Latin American countries are not within the priorities of the future U.S. President, whoever wins.  This is sad, because how can the Latinos living in the U.S. know whom to support?  How can Latin American political analysts show any preference?"


"The Backyard"


Centrist Daily El Diario de Caracas (10/5) editorialized: "The term 'backyard' that former U.S. President Ronald Reagan coined to refer to Latin America, though derogatory and humiliating, is exact in light of the omission of the issues related to this region from the Kerry-Bush debate last week.  Why did Bush and Kerry omit and will omit in their televised debates the Latin American issue?  Because it is very delicate and concerns nearly 50 out of the 220 million inhabitants in the U.S. whose 'dads' and 'moms' are from the backyard, and because for all of us, Cubans, Colombians, Venezuelans, etc, there is no plan 'A' or 'B' in perspective; in other words, there are no other plans but Plan Colombia.  Those naïve dreamers that run to Washington and other U.S. cities many times in search for what the gringos call 'equal opportunity' have to stop dreaming and have their feet on the ground, because for Bush and Kerry we are people from the Third World, second-class citizens, backyard inhabitants."


"Politics And Borders"


Iván Gutiérrez wrote in afternoon liberal El Mundo (9/28): "Uribe's arrival in office has stepped up Colombian State's strategy to achieve a military victory that gives him an edge on an old guerrilla force.  The United States joined those efforts by increasing the political and military support through the so-called Plan Colombia.  Both Colombia and the United States have tried to involve our country in the strategy they designed.  That means that we would be involved in a war that is waged among Colombians.  We would have to allocate human, economic and strategic resources for that war.  Is the strategy designed by both the United States and Colombia convenient for our interests?  The Colombian government rushed to blame the attack on Venezuelan military officers and a Pdvsa engineer on the FARC.  The Venezuelan political opposition seconded this accusation.  Why such coincidence?"


TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO:   "The Ugly American"

The tabloid style Newsday newspapers commented (10/20):  "The blinkered arrogance of George Bush and the support he still enjoys among a large section of the United States press and population provide us with telling insights into what we may call the American mentality. Essentially, the message they send is this: We are the world’s only superpower, Bush is our President and Commander in Chief. We can do what the hell we want and those who don’t like it can stuff it!  Instead of holding the President and his team of warmongers accountable for the horror and chaos they have created by their unjustified and illegal invasion of Iraq, Bush is still being hailed as a strong leader who is needed by the US to prosecute the war against terrorism.... But outside observers now have a dramatic insight into the mindset that produces what Grahame Greene has called the ugly American.  In Bush the cowboy president, the world can see a classic example.And who knows, the Commander might even win the coming elections! But outside observers now have a dramatic insight into the mindset that produces what Grahame Greene has called the ugly American. In Bush, the cowboy president, the world can see a classic example. And grow more cynical about the fervent commitment in that country to the great traditions, values and principles that make America unique and strong. The religious right, the born-again believers, the energetic moralists who are the most fanatic flagwavers in the U.S. are staunchly behind their President, although the Christian scriptures that shape their faith and their beliefs declare emphatically: Blessed are the peacemakers. Not warmongers. Has the Iraqi nightmare brought home to them the wisdom of that scriptural injunction? Apparently not."



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