|Raul Castro: First Secretary of the |
Communist Party of Cuba, Dictator, and
now pro-democracy leader.
Today, a supposedly pro-democracy organization appointed the hemisphere's only dictator as its president.
If that makes no sense, it just might interpreted thru the lens of hemispheric politics.
The organization in question, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or CELAC, was founded in 2010 almost solely to defy the United States (and Canada) and to replace the Organization of American States, which is often seen as a puppet of Washington.
The CELAC is certainly not purely Latin. It has a dozen English-speaking member nations, albeit mostly tiny ones, and one Dutch-speaker, and 18 Spanish-speaking ones. Culturally, ethnically, linguistically or economically, these 33 nations with five official languages, lots of religions and varied economies and histories, have little in common.
So, nothing in particular ties the CELAC's members together, except one thing: they aren't the United States.
The CELAC's reasons for being are to exclude Washington and promote Hugo Chavez's ideas about socialist revolution. It was not by chance that Chavez was a co-chair (along with Chilean Pres. Piñera) of the committee that drafted the CELAC's statutes, or that its first summit was held in Caracas and its third is scheduled for Cuba.
|Sure hope Raul's not too busy jailing journalists and |
arranging one-party elections to promote democracy?
The vice president of Venezuela also read a letter supposedly written by Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president who has held power for some 14 years and recently began yet another term even tho he's been out of sight for more than a month in a Havana hospital suffering from cancer. The letter called for unity among the organization's members and denounced the U.S. blockade of Cuba.
Are Venezuela and Cuba the CELAC's models for democracy?
It's healthy to have a counterbalance to Washington-driven policies. But nobody should deceive themselves that an organization evidently directed by Cuba, a dictatorship which permits no free press, and by increasingly authoritarian Venezuela, will promote democratic values like free speech and the right to vote.
Miami Herald columnist Andres Oppenheimer got it right in this quote in a Washington Post article: “it’s hard to take the CELAC seriously when in their foundational charter they put that they’re going to defend democracy and then they elect a military dictator as its president.”
Oppenheimer observes that the CELAC has no headquarters. I couldn't even find a website for the organization. Perhaps the CELAC will do nothing more than organize meetings and issue statements, as leftist demagogues are so fond of doing.
On the other hand, the CELAC might do some good if it makes some think skulls in Washington D.C. realize the imbecility of the embargo against Cuba, which succeeds in giving Cuba a moral standing it didn't earn and generates responses like the CELAC.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours