News Release

Obama’s Latin American Legacy: Support for Right-wing?

441286_1280x720President Obama is scheduled to travel to Cuba on Sunday and then to Argentina — see accuracy.org/calendar for such upcoming events.

JAMES EARLY,  earlytempos at gmail.com
Early has been to Cuba more than 50 times. He is former director of cultural heritage policy at the Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and is now on the board of numerous organizations including the Institute for Policy Studies, Fundacion Amistad (a group “seeking understanding between the peoples of the United States and Cuba”) and Regional Articulation of Afro Descendants Latin America and Caribbean. See his interview with The Real News: “Will Cuban Reforms Create More Inequality?

SUYAPA PORTILLO, suyapa_portillo at pitzer.edu, @SuyapaPV
AlterNet reports: “Another Indigenous Activist Is Assassinated, Urging Calls for Clinton to Come Clean on Role in Honduran Coup.” Portillo is assistant professor of Chicano/a-Latino/a Transnational Studies at Pitzer College. She is among the signers to the just-released letter: “730 Scholars Decry Impunity in Honduras and Urge the U.S. State Department to Demand Human Rights Accountability.”

ALEXANDER MAIN, via Dan Beeton, beeton at cepr.net, @Dan_Beeton
Main is senior associate on international policy at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He said today: “Obama’s trip to Cuba is being spun as a great advance in U.S.-Latin American relations, but the reality is that the administration is doubling down on its support for the right in the region and its ongoing efforts to isolate left-wing governments like Venezuela’s, against whom the Obama administration just renewed sanctions.

“The real message Obama is sending is that the U.S. stands behind right-wing governments like Mauricio Macri’s in Argentina even as Macri unleashes a wave of harsh austerity measures and troubling infringements on human rights.

“Obama had originally been set to arrive in Argentina on the 40th anniversary of the 1976 military coup – which, we know from declassified documents – was supported by the U.S. government at the time. Such symbolism would perhaps have been appropriate considering that the Obama administration helped Honduras’ 2009 coup to succeed, and that coup led to the ongoing human rights disaster there, with indigenous environmentalists Berta Cáceres and Nelson Garcia being some of the most recent victims.

“It’s important to remember that it was the Obama administration’s efforts to block democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya’s return to office – efforts led by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – that led to a rupture with Latin American and Caribbean countries so significant that those countries formed a new organization, CELAC, that includes all the countries in the hemisphere except for the U.S. and Canada.”