Name:Glenn Greenwald

For the past 10 years, I was a litigator in NYC specializing in First Amendment challenges (including some of the highest-profile free speech cases over the past few years), civil rights cases, and corporate and security fraud matters.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The reality of Latin American reaction to Bush

George Bush is here in Latin America this week, visiting Brazil and Argentina, and the standard reports of the American media are trying to depict a handful of isolated, juvenile socialist-organized "demonstrations" as some sort of sweeping, popular mass protest against Bush’s visit, thereby suggesting, yet again, that the Administration’s policies are flawed because people in other countries dislike Bush. As usual, the truth is vastly different than what the U.S. media is reporting (see UPDATE below) .

It is true that in this region (as is true for the U.S.), there remains a small, fervent band of left-wing fanatics with crazed enthusiasm for the worn-out, socialist/collectivist policies which have condemned millions upon millions of people throughout Latin America to poverty unimaginable to even the poorest Americans. These putative "mass demonstrations" in Argentina and Brazil are, in reality, nothing more than a few isolated spray-painting incidents of trite pacifist slogans in Brasilia, and a Cindy Sheehan-like "rally" of hard-core Socialists in Argentina led by an obese, Castro-idolozing, retired soccer player who found time away from his decade-old cocaine addiction to show up wearing an oh-so-clever t-shirt showing Bush's name spelled with a swastika.

Hardly the stuff of mass demonstrations and popular anti-Bush uprisings, New York Times reports and breathless television correspondents notwithstanding.

In some countries, most notably Venezuela, this vintage left-wing, anti-American fervor is not small, but is predominant, which is what has led that country to be under the repressive thumb of Fidel Castro-copy Hugo Chavez, whose primary interest in attending this Latin American regional summit seems to be to lure Bush and the U.S. into some sort of game of childish taunts rather than doing something constructive to aid his impoverished, unstable country.

Unsurprisingly, the attention-craving Chavez’s principal ally in these escapades seems to be the American reporters and correspondents reporting on Bush’s trip. They instinctively regurgitate stories of supposedly widespread anti-Bush sentiment based upon nothing but a handful of socialist stragglers defacing public property with anti-war cliches and jobless Latin American hippies gathering for some music, celebrity-gazing and chants. The American media is accustomed to misleadingly translating such isolated 1left-wing antics as some sort of symbol of widespread public opinion, and they have obviously packed their reportorial laziness in their suitcases with them as they travel with Bush to Latin America.

As is true in U.S., the Latin American socialist agitators who have captured the attention and affection of the American media are as substance-less as they are inconsequential. They are lovers of Fidel Castro. The insist that the source of their severe economic woes is not their collectivist policies or national character, of course, but the evil economic policies of the U.S. At the same time, of course, they are furious that the evil U.S. is not providing them with greater economic aid.

During Hurricane Katrina, newspapers in Brazil were filled with left-wing Op-Ed columnists and letters proclaiming, with a straight face, that Katrina happened because Bush did not sign the Kyoto Treaty and, as a result, Americans were getting what they deserved. That is the intellectual and moral level of this small crowd.

There is no denying the fact that much of the world is opposed to the war in Iraq, and Latin America is no exception. That is hardly a surprise. Whatever one thinks of the Iraq war, it is always the case that threats to the national security of one country are going to be taken far more seriously by the people of that country, and far less seriously by the people in other countries.

The September 11 attacks did not take place in Sao Paolo and Al Qaeda is not declaring war on Peruvians. It is therefore perfectly understandable, but equally irrelevant, that Latin Americans do not perceive the need to change the Middle East as being as critical and urgent as Americans perceive that need to be. It should be axiomatic that the risks posed to American national security will best be understood and appreciated by Americans, not by those in other countries.

And yet, the American media refuses to understand what American citizens understand quite well: particularly as to matters of American national security, the fact that people in other countries are opposed to what we are doing does not mean that what we are doing is misguided or wrong. That seems like a simple concept to grasp, and yet a central argument of the American media, vividly re-appearing with Bush’s Latin American trip, is that the "people in other countries dislike Bush, therefore he is a bad President."

The overwhelming majority of people here in Brazil, and throughout Latin America, are not spray-painting walls or leaving their jobs and children to attend anti-Bush rallies. Only a tiny number of Che Guevera worshippers are doing that. But none of that will stop the American media from depicting reality here much differently, because large-scale anti-Bush rallies are exciting, fun and consistent with their ideology.

UPDATE Buried in this morning's New York Times account of the "demonstration" -- submerged underneath the initial, typical paragraphs depicting this depraved demonstration as proof that "Bush's troubles trailed him to an international summit meeting here" -- is this passage, which really tells you all you need to know about the protesters and the sentiments motivating them:

As Mr. Chávez spoke, he was interrupted by chants from the crowd mocking Mr. Bush. Every mention of Fidel Castro, in contrast, was cheered, as were frequent references by Mr. Chávez to his desire to unite all of Latin America in a new wave of socialism.
. . . .
The thousands of protesters carried banners calling Mr. Bush a "fascist," "child-killer" or "genocidal beast," some with the "s" in his named replaced by a dollar sign or a swastika.

Fidel Castro has been one of the world's most repressive, spirt-slaughtering dictators for the last 40 years. Is it really a sign of "trouble" for Bush if a crowd which worships Castro protests against him? Only in the eyes of lazy, mindless reporters would this affirmatively pro-Castro crowd and its behavior be seen as something meaningful, credible and noble.

UPDATE II: Photographs of the demonstration speak volumes about what really went on there and about the truly odious nature and authoritarian viewpoints of the "protesters."


Eddie said...

Good to hear the truth for once!!! Amazing that the media takes their shtick even to other countries.

4:29 PM  
scott said...

Great EXPOSE Glenn!

Sounds like the same old tired campaign story.

If our Southern neighbors had any sense at all they would be giving Bush cheak kisses for some of the hundreds of thousands of formerly USA citizens technology service jobs that we've outsourced to India, Pakistan and Malaysia.

Its amazing that our Media is getting away with the mass distortion promotion of this one sided anti-mainstream agenda.

This is a big part of the nationwide apathy we have in this country that typically only turns out 50% of the voting population at national elections. Deceptive Politicians with a Dishonest Media supporting them makes it so easy to say "forgetaboutit"!

I like your authorings Glenn.

7:59 PM  
Anonymous said...

I've heard the "recent polls" of Bush's approval ratings, basically saying that 60% of Americans disapprove of how he's doing his job, etc. Maybe it's gonna take a huge terrorist attack on this country again for those 60% to finally "get it", but knowing how they think they would probably blame Bush for it just like the way they blame him for everything else. In my humble opinion, even an idiot should be able to comprehend that the war in Iraq is all about fighting the terrorists over there instead of waiting around for them to appear here for 9/11 II. All of the U.S. troops that have died fighting to help protect this country deserve our utmost respect and support and it makes me so mad to see them disrespected by certain clueless liberals. I'm so sick of the American media, mostly CBS, ABC and NBC morning and nightly news who are becoming more and more untruthful and liberal in their news. I've actually decided to stop's just too much to take...all the lies each day. I love President Bush and believe that he is meant to be our president at this time. He needs all of our prayers because this is the most difficult time in history that our country has experienced so far. And by the way, I actually still believe we will capture Bin Laden if he's not dead already, and not only that, I believe we will also uncover the WMD unless Hussein smuggled them out beforehand, and that President Bush will be totally vindicated. I still believe in President Bush and I don't care what any liberal or media liar, including the select number of idiot celebrities who bash him on a regular basis (like Kanye...don't take it personally, honey, but of course President Bush likes black people...he probably just doesn't like you!:) You are only hurting yourselves by not supporting him. I can't stand watching Madonna now, or the Dixie Chicks or Ashton Kutcher or Barbara Streisand...they just all sound like ignorant idiots....can't they all go to an island and live's so tiring to constantly hear idiotic opinions from celebrities who seem to have the brain the size of a walnut.....ok, love to you all.....nothing personal.....bye for now...peace....:)

2:17 AM  
Anonymous said...

Oh, boy. I think it's more like you who ought to go live on an island, 'honey', with all the other right-wing cretinous pseudo-Christian sheep.

3:42 PM  
Anonymous said...

Just another right wing freak trying to keep the right wing bubble from bursting.
I can hear a loud pop sound in the near future. Thanks to the failed right wing military strategy, that created Al Qaida and a world wide opposition against US foreign policy, the dominos are falling.
They are falling in Latin AMerica towards independence and democracy, something the US fears the most, and in the middle East towards an islamic theocracy, a united Iraq-Iran Shiite controlled population. Not quite what the right wing freaks envisioned.

5:27 PM  

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