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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Carlos Alberto Montaner: Trump, Bolton and the 4 Stooges
Latin American genius Carlos Alberto Montaner on the United States new Latin American policy against the four stooges in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia.

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

It has to do with the implacable “electoral reason”. That’s what is behind this hellish screaming. It is absurd (and dangerous) to militarize the border with thousands of soldiers. It is also criminal to instill fear of foreigners, as Trump does, because it is politically profitable. Outraged, John Kasich, Republican Governor of Ohio, said it in an interview with CNN. Former president of Florida’s Republican Party Alberto de Cárdenas repeated it, with the same intensity, in response to the demagogic use of the images of a Mexican who was prosecuted for murdering two policemen.

Trump shouldn’t do that. He is going to destroy the Republican Party and then there will not be many people willing to defend fiscal moderation, the limits to the central government and the supremacy of free markets. It is true that every country must protect its borders, but the United States is a Republic of laws and neither he nor anyone can skip the rules approved by Congress or the international treaties signed by Washington. There are formal procedures that must be met. If there is a right to ask for asylum, it must be respected. Nor is it in Trump’s hands to snatch citizenship from those born in the United States of foreign parents. That is an unconstitutional atrocity.

Not all of Trump’s actions, of course, are wrong. The appointment of diplomat John Bolton as head of the National Security Council was an intelligent maneuver. Bolton is a brilliant lawyer, a Yale graduate, with a great experience in international affairs and organizations.

He has a Kantian vision of relations with other nations, founded on principles. He was one of the few talents that could replace General Herbert McMaster at the head of that organization. His work -- and it is no small thing -- will give meaning and form to the contradictory ideas and attitudes of Trump, a disconcerting person who admires Vladimir Putin and praises Kim Jong-un, while (rightly) detesting Nicolás Maduro.

John Bolton has just delivered one of his first fundamental speeches. He delivered it in Miami, in the Freedom Tower of Miami Dade College, the largest and most diverse university in the country (165,000 students, most of them Hispanic and African-American). The event took place before Cuban-American Congress members Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Díaz-Balart, Carlos Curbelo and 250 other prominent people, among whom were Venezuelan exiles (Asdrúbal Aguiar) and Nicaraguans, along with Cuban-Americans Lincoln Díaz-Balart (former congressman), Modesto Maidique, former president of Florida International University, Frank Calzón, of the Center for a Free Cuba, and Marcell Felipe, leader of Inspire America, an organization that, increasingly, is becoming the unofficial representation of the most active Cuban community in the United States.

Bolton delineated what will be Trump’s Latin American policy. Trump will keep the offensive of trade restrictions and punishments against corrupt people and companies, or against individuals or businesses that have a key role sustaining the dictatorships of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, whose leaders were called “the three stooges” of socialism (Moe, Larry and Curly), without specifying which clown is which.

Actually, there are four stooges, because Bolton did not mention Evo Morales, the despot of Bolivia, a nation with political prisoners, murdered adversaries, exiles, unpunished corruption, attempts to perpetuate himself in power against the will of the voters, and the rest of the symptoms of an inflexible tyranny.

One of the successful decisions of Trump-Bolton has been to transfer another notable lawyer, Mauricio Claver-Carone, from the IMF to the National Security Council, and put him in charge of the Western Hemisphere, which includes all of Latin America.

For the United States, it was (and is) crazy that such an important region of the planet should not have its place among the priorities of Washington’s foreign policy. Claver-Carone, who regularly monitored the activities of the Cuban regime, knows that the script of the aggressive dictatorships of 21st Century Socialism is written in Havana, even though Cuban diplomat and intelligence officer Jesús Arboleya diligently tries to hide the obvious (Cuba in the frenzy of the White House).

As in the comedies of the Three Stooges, there is always one who slaps the others. It is the Moe of this tragicomedy. Remember? He used to discipline his brothers. He had an abundant black hair, parted in the middle. That role today belongs to Miguel Díaz-Canel, the Cuban puppet president.

Carlos Alberto Montaner is a journalist and writer. Born in 1943 in Cuba and exiled, Montaner is known for his more than 25 books and thousands of articles. PODER magazine estimates that more than six million readers have access to his weekly columns throughout Latin America. He is also a political analyst for CNN en Espanol. In 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named Montaner as one of the fifty most influential intellectuals in the Ibero-American world. His latest novel is A Time for Scoundrels. His latest essay is "The President: A Handbook for Voters and the Elected." His latest book is a review of Las raíces torcidas de América Latina (The Twisted Roots of Latin America), published by Planeta and available in Amazon, in printed or digital version.


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