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 Anti-Americanism in Venezuela

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AuteurMessage
mihou
Rang: Administrateur
avatar

Nombre de messages : 8069
Localisation : Washington D.C.
Date d'inscription : 28/05/2005

20042007
MessageAnti-Americanism in Venezuela

Anti-Americanism in Venezuela



















For the second in a series of sceptical snapshots of the anti-American
world, the BBC's Washington correspondent Justin Webb travelled to
Caracas, the car-choked, sweltering capital of oil-rich Venezuela.






























Why Caracas? Because at the moment it is the heart - the very epicentre - of Latin anti-Americanism.





Venezuela is unusual, indeed unique. It is a Latin American nation
which in recent years has become rich enough to have the power to tell
the US to take a hike. And Hugo Chavez, the democratically elected
leader, loses no opportunity to do just that.




In the early part of this century, he became one of the ringleaders of the worldwide anti-American movement.





Hugo said this recently about George: "The imperialist, mass murdering,
fascist attitude of the president of the United States doesn't have
limits. I think Hitler could be a nursery baby next to George W Bush."







Smoke screen?








You've got to wonder if there is any end to the capacity of the rest of
the world to blame the United States for its problems. Nowhere is that
more the case than in Latin America, where out of roughly 500 million
people, 200 million live on less than $2 a day.





















Why? Is it all the fault of the imperialists from the north? Or is just
a little of it the result of local attitudes to poverty, local
attitudes to honesty in government, and local attitudes to the rule of
law? In other words, in Latin America as elsewhere in the world,
is anti-Americanism a smoke screen, a very convenient smoke screen,
whose noxious fumes hide the reality of local failure? As Otto Reich, a former Bush administration ambassador
to Venezuela and public enemy number one (or two?) among many
anti-Americans, told us: "The United States is the scapegoat. It
provides an easy excuse for the failures: if something isn't working,
blame the Americans. Scratch the surface of some of these
anti-Americans and you find self-loathing."




What a Chavista like Eva Golinger will tell you is that that kind of comment is typical of American "prepotencia" - arrogance.





Ms Golinger, a Venezuelan and US citizen raised in New York, says:
"Hugo Chavez is a threat to the United States government but not in the
way Washington portrays him, as a threat to democracy. He is a threat
to US domination."







Focusing on the negative








For Mr Chavez and his backers, Latin anti-Americanism is rooted in what
the US has done - not in French-style metaphysical hoity-toityness.
Latin Americans say - with some justification - that their neighbour to
the north has behaved badly in the past.

























And the Chavez team says the US is still at it.





"There is a culture in the United States about being the world's
watchdog," says Congress member Augusto Montiel. "They call it free
trade when you shut up and against your dignity, your sovereignty, you
lower your head and say 'yes' we will give you everything. That is not
democracy, my friend, that is dictatorship." One of the great features of the anti-American mindset
is the blotting out of the positive and the accentuating of the
negative.















































If American behaviour changes now, or if free trade turns out to make
everyone wealthier, will Latin Americans change their minds about the
modern USA










































































Yes Washington has been concerned first and foremost with US self
interest, but much of South America's infrastructure - its social
services such as they are - is in place because the Yankees put it
there. Trade between north and south is huge: Venezuela alone
sells $39bn worth of oil a year to the United States. And millions and
millions of Latin Americans benefit every day from the powerhouse US
economy - from relatives cleaning cars in Los Angeles, making beds in
Las Vegas and picking fruit in rural Georgia. They send money home to
places where economic development is stymied by corruption and
government interference. Which leads me to wonder: if American behaviour changes
now, or if free trade turns out to make everyone wealthier, will Latin
Americans change their minds about the modern US? That, it seems to me, is one of the challenges for
Latin America: will it reward US support and good behaviour in the
future with a toning down of the rhetoric?




Enough Hitler stuff, perhaps?






















Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/6572615.stm



Published: 2007/04/20 11:29:12 GMT



© BBC MMVII

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Anti-Americanism in Venezuela :: Commentaires

avatar
Love and hate for US in Egypt
Message le Mer 25 Avr - 20:53 par mihou
Love and hate for US in Egypt
For the third and final part in "Death to America", a series examining anti-Americanism around the world, the BBC's Washington correspondent Justin Webb travelled to Cairo to gauge the range of views held on the US.

"For 60 years my country the United States pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region, here in the Middle East and we achieved neither.

"Now we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people."

Those words were spoken by Condoleeza Rice, the US secretary of state, in 2005, during a visit to Egypt.

During our visit to Egypt to make the last of the programmes in this series, we heard a range of views on the US, many of the most moderate referring explicitly to that speech.

I believe the Bush administration genuinely wanted the Rice bombshell to be a turning-point - a new start.

To many in the Middle East though, it came woefully late.

Failed promises

Fully 50 years ago President Eisenhower appeared to be close to making a similar compact with the peoples of the Middle East when, disregarding the squeals from London and Paris, he sided against the old colonial powers during the Suez crisis and sided against Israel as well.

Again and again in the Middle East you hear the refrain that America is hated because of what it does

It looked to some in the region as if America really did promise to be a friend of moderate Arab nationalism.

But the Cold War intervened along with the Six Day War between Israel and her Arab neighbours and the rest, as they say, is history.

America ended up siding with Israel and a handful of despotic Arab rulers.

So in 2005 did anything change?

In Egypt, one man took the new message to heart.

Ayman Nour, a prominent liberal secular politician, ran for president against Hosni Mubarak. Nour was the first runner-up with 7% of the vote according to government figures.

For his impertinence he was slung into prison on election fraud charges virtually no-one believes to be valid.

The US has complained but not acted to help him. The promise of America has not been delivered.

Beacon of hope

When you talk to most liberal-minded secular people in Egypt the refrain is always the same: the US is admired but the reality of its efforts to help out in this region has always been a disappointment and is a disappointment still.

One educated and cosmopolitan Egyptian woman told us that America was a genuine beacon of hope for her, an example of freedom where rational discussion of politics was possible, where religious and sexual freedom genuinely existed.

These are views from the Middle East that you do not often hear: it is easier for the television cameras to concentrate on flag-burning.

The fact that these people - the America lovers - are being let down is a reason to be exasperated with Washington, to wish the White House was a little braver when it comes to trusting its instincts on democracy, but not, it seems to me, to hate America.

Again and again in the Middle East you hear the refrain that America is hated because of what it does.

If only it would cut Israel adrift, everything would be fine. Or get out of Saudi Arabia, or get out of the whole region.

But what you hear less often is anyone wondering aloud whether they hate America because they fear the universality of its message, the power of the idea of individual liberty, or religious liberty.

The right for instance of a person to convert from Islam to Christianity if he or she chooses, or to be an atheist. And the right of a woman to control her life.

Opposing views

Another thought struck me after our visit to Cairo.

It is odd how anti-Americanism migrates around the world clothing itself in attire to suit the neighbourhood, so in Europe we are used to seeing the United States as too religious.

But in the Middle East the attack is often from the opposite flank.

The United States is seen as the home of licentious secularism - a threat to the morals of the world.

They cannot both be right - and the Middle Eastern attack seems to me to be a profound misreading of what America is about.

True they make pornographic films in Los Angeles and there are probably some prostitutes in Las Vegas but American attitudes to social and sexual matters have much more in common with thinking in Damascus than Paris.

The United States is not the capital of world liberalism.

What is it, then?

Home to 300 million people, most of whom genuinely believe they have earned the right to lead the world, though not to coerce it.

Perhaps one day they will meet their nemesis and American dominance will be a memory?

Other nations or movements will be in charge and I suspect we - or our children - will long to have the Yanks back.

Justin Webb will also answer your questions about his trip and Anti-Americanism. Send him your questions using the form below.

Name:
Email address:
Town and Country:
Phone number (optional):
Comments:

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/6592759.stm

Published: 2007/04/26 02:11:47 GMT

© BBC MMVII


















For the third and final part in "Death to America", a series examining
anti-Americanism around the world, the BBC's Washington correspondent
Justin Webb travelled to Cairo to gauge the range of views held on the
US.






























"For 60 years my country the United States pursued stability at the
expense of democracy in this region, here in the Middle East and we
achieved neither.




"Now we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people."









Those words were spoken by Condoleeza Rice, the US secretary of state, in 2005, during a visit to Egypt.































During our visit to Egypt to make the last of the programmes in this
series, we heard a range of views on the US, many of the most moderate
referring explicitly to that speech.




I believe the Bush administration genuinely wanted the Rice bombshell to be a turning-point - a new start.









To many in the Middle East though, it came woefully late.












Failed promises








Fully 50 years ago President Eisenhower appeared to be close to making
a similar compact with the peoples of the Middle East when,
disregarding the squeals from London and Paris, he sided against the
old colonial powers during the Suez crisis and sided against Israel as
well.


















































Again and again in the Middle East you hear the refrain that America is hated because of what it does


























































It looked to some in the region as if America really did promise to be a friend of moderate Arab nationalism.





But the Cold War intervened along with the Six Day War between Israel
and her Arab neighbours and the rest, as they say, is history.




America ended up siding with Israel and a handful of despotic Arab rulers.









So in 2005 did anything change?









In Egypt, one man took the new message to heart.





Ayman Nour, a prominent liberal secular politician, ran for president
against Hosni Mubarak. Nour was the first runner-up with 7% of the vote
according to government figures.




For his impertinence he was slung into prison on election fraud charges virtually no-one believes to be valid.









The US has complained but not acted to help him. The promise of America has not been delivered.












Beacon of hope








When you talk to most liberal-minded secular people in Egypt the
refrain is always the same: the US is admired but the reality of its
efforts to help out in this region has always been a disappointment and
is a disappointment still.

























One educated and cosmopolitan Egyptian woman told us that America was a
genuine beacon of hope for her, an example of freedom where rational
discussion of politics was possible, where religious and sexual freedom
genuinely existed. These are views from the Middle East that you do not
often hear: it is easier for the television cameras to concentrate on
flag-burning. The fact that these people - the America lovers - are
being let down is a reason to be exasperated with Washington, to wish
the White House was a little braver when it comes to trusting its
instincts on democracy, but not, it seems to me, to hate America.




Again and again in the Middle East you hear the refrain that America is hated because of what it does.









If only it would cut Israel adrift, everything would be fine. Or get out of Saudi Arabia, or get out of the whole region.





But what you hear less often is anyone wondering aloud whether they
hate America because they fear the universality of its message, the
power of the idea of individual liberty, or religious liberty. The right for instance of a person to convert from
Islam to Christianity if he or she chooses, or to be an atheist. And
the right of a woman to control her life.







Opposing views












Another thought struck me after our visit to Cairo.





It is odd how anti-Americanism migrates around the world clothing
itself in attire to suit the neighbourhood, so in Europe we are used to
seeing the United States as too religious.





























But in the Middle East the attack is often from the opposite flank.









The United States is seen as the home of licentious secularism - a threat to the morals of the world.









They cannot both be right - and the Middle Eastern attack seems to me to be a profound misreading of what America is about.





True they make pornographic films in Los Angeles and there are probably
some prostitutes in Las Vegas but American attitudes to social and
sexual matters have much more in common with thinking in Damascus than
Paris.




The United States is not the capital of world liberalism.









What is it, then?





Home to 300 million people, most of whom genuinely believe they have
earned the right to lead the world, though not to coerce it.




Perhaps one day they will meet their nemesis and American dominance will be a memory?









Other nations or movements will be in charge and I suspect we - or our children - will long to have the Yanks back.







































































































Justin Webb will also answer your questions about his trip and
Anti-Americanism. Send him your questions using the form below.


























Name:





















Email address:





















Town and Country:





















Phone number (optional):





















Comments:







































Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/6592759.stm



Published: 2007/04/26 02:11:47 GMT



© BBC MMVII
avatar
'Death to US': Anti-Americanism examined
The US is perceived by many as an international bully, a modern day imperial power. At this critical moment in history, Washington correspondent Justin Webb challenges that idea.

He argues anti-Americanism is often a cover for hatreds with little justification in fact. His three part series takes him to Cairo, Caracas and Washington but it begins where anti-Americanism began - in Paris.

In the Abbey Churchyard in the lovely English city of Bath, groups of demonstrators, many - though not all - of them Quakers, regularly gather to protest against the iniquities of the world.

My dear mother Gloria Webb, who died last year, was one of the protesters. In her day, she was an energetic duffle-coated figure who wanted to ban the bomb, stop wars of all kinds and suffering anywhere.

She was a wonderful person, my mum, and so were her friends. Yet it always struck me, when she told me about these protests (and when, I freely confess, I attended them with enthusiasm as a youngster) that there was an odd one-sidedness to the game.

The protests against nuclear weapons, for instance, concentrated on American weapons. The anti-war rallies were against American-led wars. The anti death penalty campaign focused on Texas.

A pattern was emerging and has never seriously been altered. A pattern of willingness to condemn America for the tiniest indiscretion - or to magnify those indiscretions - while leaving the murderers, dictators, and thieves who run other nations oddly untouched.

In the beginning

And if anti-Americanism is alive and well among surprisingly mild-mannered people in Britain - how much more virulent must it be in tougher parts of the world?

To find out, I have visited Venezuela, where the nation's leader Hugo Chavez compares George W Bush to Hitler, and Egypt, where the regime warns of a tide of stars and stripes burning if its hold on power is weakened.

And Paris. Paris? Yes Paris - where it all began.

Anti-Americanism was born in France. And here's a fascinating fact: it was born well before the United States existed. It was not caused by Coca-Cola, or McDonald's, or Hollywood or George W Bush.

The prevailing view among French academics throughout the 18th Century was that the New World was ghastly. It stank, it was too humid for life to prosper. And, as one European biologist put it: "Everything found there is degenerate or monstrous."

In their heart of hearts, many French people still believe that to be true.

A French intellectual once compared the United States with Belgium. Wounding. But you see what he meant: the French capital has a grandeur about it that demands attention on the world stage. Belgium does not, nor does most of America.

Washington is grand but Washington was designed by a Frenchman and his vision didn't fit the rest of the nation. America is ordinary. Go on say it out loud on the streets of Paris: "America is ordinary". It celebrates the pursuit of small-scale happiness - in families and communities - and that is what the anti-Americans can't stand.

Dislike

In the heart of Paris, there is the Avenue Franklin Roosevelt. Roosevelt, the man who helped defeat Nazi Germany and liberate Parisian streets, is celebrated here. And the point many French people make is that they would celebrate George W Bush, too, if they agreed with him. The source of anti-Americanism is plain they say. As one interviewee told us: "It's the policies, Stupid."

Well up to a point: in Paris there is plenty of evidence to be found that anti-Americanism is way more than that, that it's not simply reasonable opposition to the things America does.

The kind of anti-Americanism fostered by French intellectuals down the centuries revolves around intense dislike of what America is - not what it does .

Sitting in the Cafe de Flore, in the very seat where Jean-Paul Sartre once held sway, the self-described writer and philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy puts it like this: America became the nightmare that French right-wing intellectuals long feared, a nation built not on respectable ties of blood and tradition but on the self-conscious desire to create something new.

Antagonism

Levy is sympathetic to the US, and a book he wrote on his travels there, American Vertigo, is a balanced and thoughtful piece of work.

But such balance is, according to Levy, missing in the French political debate on American power and American life. He describes a process whereby this antagonism to the fundamentals of the USA - to the kind of democracy that celebrates and encourages ordinariness - migrates hither and thither in the French body politic.

It began on the right but now in the shape of Jose Bove (the anti-McDonald's campaigner, and presidential candidate) and other luminaries of the left, it lives on.

And this is not a recent migration brought on by Mr Bush. In May 1944 (just weeks before American GIs landed on the beaches of Normandy), Hubert Beuve-Mery, the founder of Le Monde newspaper - certainly no mouthpiece of the right - wrote this: "The Americans represent a real danger for France, different from the one posed by Germany or the one with which the Russians may - in time - threaten us. The Americans may have preserved a cult of Liberty but they do not feel the need to liberate themselves from the servitude which their capitalism has created. "

It is time that we understood that this attitude, this contempt for what democracy can do, is at the heart of at least some of the anti-Americanism we see in the world today.

"Death to America": Anti-Americanism examined will be broadcast on Radio 4 over three weeks starting on 16 April at 2000 BST.

Justin Webb will also answer your questions about his trip and Anti-Americanism. Send him your questions using the form below.

Name:
Email address:
Town and Country:
Phone number (optional):
Comments:

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/6547881.stm

Published: 2007/04/12 10:55:28 GMT

© BBC MMVII
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