Nevertheless, war on them shifts to this hemisphere as CAFTA passes
Plagued by battles with different-colored humans in the other hemisphere — unpleasantness like Iraq and the Great Game — the Bush regime finally got a chance early today to celebrate a win over them on our half of the globe.
The House’s narrow approval of CAFTA, 217-215, just after midnight, turns Central America back into our pumpkin. Then it’s on to South America, where leftish regimes—like Lula‘s in Brazil and Chavez‘s in Venezuela—have emerged in recent years.
Just like the expensive war in Iraq, this new front in the Western Hemisphere also bodes ill for the average American, as feisty Dennis Kucinich tried to point out:
“CAFTA is for multinational companies who want to make a profit by shutting plants in the United States and moving to places with cheap labor.”
The Washington Post‘s Paul Blustein and Mike Allen not only picked up on that quote but also beautifully captured the Capitol Hill CAFTA caca plopped by the elephantine Republicans:
The last-minute negotiations for Republican votes resembled the wheeling and dealing on a car lot.
Republicans who were opposed or undecided were courted during hurried meetings in Capitol hallways, on the House floor and at the White House. GOP leaders told their rank and file that if they wanted anything, now was the time to ask, lawmakers said, and members took advantage of the opportunity by requesting such things as fundraising appearances by Cheney and the restoration of money the White House has tried to cut from agriculture programs.
Lawmakers also said many of the favors bestowed in exchange for votes will be tucked into the huge energy and highway bills that Congress is scheduled to pass this week before leaving for the August recess.
How dare the Post try to spoil the GOP’s party. Let’s tip our hat to the regime’s front man, George W. Bush, who made a rare appearance at the weekly closed-door session of the House Republican Conference—with his boss, Dick Cheney, of course. Unnamed sources filled in the Post‘s reporters on Bush’s performance:
“Mothers and fathers in El Salvador love their children as much as we love our children here,” Bush said, stressing the need to look out for the young democracies in “our neighborhood,” according to lawmakers.
Take that, Kucinich! Bush’s insight is remarkable. Maybe it even held true in the ’80s, when the U.S., on John Negroponte‘s watch, helped Salvadoran death squads exterminate some of those parents, some of those children, and assorted nuns and priests.
Doubt that Bush brought up that history to his fellow Republicans. And he probably neglected to add that El Salvador’s mothers and fathers who have come to the U.S. also love their families. That point has been made by many people, including Paul Jeffrey of the National Catholic Reporter, who wrote last April from El Salvador on the 25th anniversary of the death squads’ assassination of populist Archbishop Oscar Romero:
Why Romero—25 years after his death—is growing in popularity here must be understood against a background of deteriorating economic conditions for the country’s poor.
Globalization has made some Salvadorans even wealthier than before; the traditional landowning rich have been replaced by new financial sector elites who benefited from extensive privatization and the 2001 “dollarization” of the country’s economy.
The 43 percent of the population that lives on less than $2 per day faces difficult times, and the looming approval of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) promises only to deepen the crisis for the poor.
Were it not for the more than $2 billion received every year in family remittances from outside the country, and particularly from the United States, the feeling of hopelessness would be even worse.
Hopelessness. You know, maybe Bush is right: Those Salvadorans sound almost like … like … us. Only a lot poorer.