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LATIN AMERICA: The policy of George W. Bush?

Many people view the two main US political parties as Tweedledum and Tweedledee, but not Insight, which bashes the Clinton government and beats a loud drum for the Republicans and George W. Its November 6 issue contains a feature article entitled "Santa Fe IV: The Definitive Report. Latin America Today". I had heard vaguely of the Santa Fe study group, which began meeting in Santa Fe in 1980. Its first report guided the Latin American policy of Reagan; many of its authors were appointed to ambassadorships in Latin America.

The latest, fourth report, about which Insight gives important information, will presumably determine the policy of a George W. Bush administration. The group is "unlike other students of the hemisphere, whose expertise is based on academic study or driven by ideological passion." It consists of people who "have spent many years in the region in private business, journalism [Insight?] and the highest ranks of the American military." The thrust of the report is to stress the Monroe doctrine, with all that this implies, including a tough military line.

My comment: The Latin American situation is more serious than most Americans realize. The FARC in Colombia is supported by Castro and Chavez of Venezuela, and it has a foothold in Brazil, where it keeps two representatives in Brasília. In the past Brazilian TV ran a series of reports from FARC-dominated territory, obviously with the approval of the guerrillas, happy to get this publicity. Now Brazilian TV has run another series of reports about the FARC armed forces in training, including women happy to kill. A group of government soldiers taken prisoner were shown behind wire fences. They asked the TV crew to tell the outside world about their plight.

All this is related to the US-backed Plan Colombia, about which Latin American governments have mixed feelings. The possibility of serious trouble in Latin America is very real, and justifies WAIS for paying so much attention to that area.

Ronald Hilton - 11/28/00