Skip to comments.President of Costa Rica: US not to blame for past, present or future ills confronting Latin America
Posted on 05/09/2009 11:11:39 AM PDT by AuntB
La Prensa (Managua, Nicaragua) 5/7/09
(Full translation of speech by Oscar Arias, President of Costa Rica, at the Summit of the Americas meeting in Trinidad & Tobago on April 18, 2009)
I have the impression that every time Caribbean and Latin American countries get together with the president of the United States of America it is to ask for things or to demand something. Almost always its to blame the United States for our past, present and future ills. I dont believe that is at all just. We cannot forget that Latin America had universities before the United States created Harvard and William & Mary, which are the first universities of that country. We cannot forget that in this continent, as in the whole world, at least until 1750 all Americans were more or less the same: all were poor.
When the industrial revolution came about in England, other countries hopped on that wagon: Germany, France, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and thus the Industrial Revolution passed over Latin America like a comet, and we didnt realize it. Certainly, we lost the opportunity.
Theres also a very big difference. Reading the history of Latin America, compared with the history of the United States, one realizes that Latin America did not have a Spaniard John Winthrop, nor a Portuguese who might have come with a bible in hand, ready to build a City on a Hill, a city that would shine, as was the wish of the pilgrims who arrived in the United States.
Fifty years ago, Mexico was richer than Portugal. In 1950, a country such as Brazil had a higher per capita income than that of South Korea. Sixty years ago, Honduras had more riches per capita than Singapore, and today Singapore in something like 35 or 40 years is a country with $40,000 annual income per person. Well, we Latin Americans did something wrong.
What did we do wrong? I cannot list all the things we did wrong. To start, we have a seven-year schooling. That is the average length of schooling in Latin America and its not the case with the majority of Asian countries. Its certainly not the case in countries such as the United States and Canada, with the best education in the world, similar to the Europeans. For every 10 students who enter high school in Latin America, in some countries only one finishes. There are countries with an infant mortality of 50 children per thousand, when in the more advanced countries it is 8, 9 or 10. We have countries where the tax load is 12 percent of the gross national product, and its no ones responsibility, except our own, that we dont tax the richest people of our countries. No one is to blame for that, except we ourselves.
In 1950 each American citizen was four times richer than a Latin American citizen. Today, an American citizen is 10, 15 or 20 times richer than a Latin American. That is not the fault of the United States, its our fault.
The value system of the 20th century, which seems to be the one we are putting into practice in the 21st century, is a wrong value system. Because it cannot be that the rich world devotes 100 billion dollars to alleviate the poverty of 80 percent of the worlds population in a planet that has 2.5 billion human beings with a $2 a day income and that it spends 13 times more ($1,300,000,000,000) in weapons and soldiers.
Its incredible that Latin America spends $50 billion in weapons and soldiers. I ask myself: who is our enemy? Our enemy, of that inequality which President Correa (of Ecuador) points out very correctly, is the lack of education; it is illiteracy; its that we dont spend on the health of our people; that we dont create the necessary infrastructure, the roads, the highways, the ports, the airports; its that we are not dedicating the necessary resources to stop the deterioration of the environment; its the lack of equality which we have, which really makes us ashamed; it is a product, among many things, of course, of the fact that we are not educating our sons and our daughters.
One goes to a Latin American university and it still seems we are in the sixties, seventies or eighties. It seems we forgot that something very important happened on November 9, 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell, and that the world changed. We have to accept that this is a different world, and about this I honestly believe that all thinking persons, all the economists, all the historians, almost agree that the 21st century is the century of the Asians, not of the Latin Americans. And I, unfortunately, agree with them. Because while we keep arguing about the isms (which is better? capitalism, socialism, communism, liberalism, neo-liberalism, social-christianism ) the Asians found a very realistic ism for the 21st and for the end of the 20th century, which is pragmatism. Just to mention an example, let us remember that when Deng Xiaoping visited Singapore and South Korea, after having realized that his own neighbors were quickly becoming richer, he returned to Peking and told the old comrades who had accompanied him on the Long March: Well, the truth is, dear comrades, that I dont care whether the cat is black or white, the only thing that matters to me is that it catch mice. And if Mao would have been alive he would have died again when he said that the truth is that becoming rich is glorious. And while the Chinese do this, and from 79 until today they grow at some 11, 12 or 13 percent, and they have taken some 300 million out of poverty, we keep on arguing about ideologies which we should have buried a long time ago.
The good news is that Deng Xiaoping achieved this when he was 74 years old. Looking around, I dont see (among the presidents who participated in the Summit) anyone who is close to 74 years of age. Thats why I ask you not to reach that age in order to make the changes which we have to make.
The rest of the report:
La Prensa Grafica (San Salvador, El Salvador) 5/7/09
* Some 1,395 Salvadorans have been assassinated in the period from January to April of 2009, according to a report by the National Civil Police. This yields an average of 12 homicides per day. Sixty one murders have occurred during the first six days of May. (El Salvador is slightly smaller than Massachusetts; its estimated population for mid 09 is 7,185,000)
* The Inspector of the National Civil Police has ordered the opening of investigations on 14 members of that agency due to their links with well known merchandise and drug smugglers. Those fourteen cases will be added to three others against police chiefs in the eastern portion of the country due to their association with the Los Perrones criminal group. - - - -
El Heraldo (Tegucigalpa, Honduras) 5/7/09
* An investigation concerning the kidnapping for ransom of a well known entrepreneurs grandson revealed that two police agents linked to organized crime were directly involved in the affair. The unpaid ransom was for 1.5 million dollars. Honduras Minister of Security said the two are not exactly members of the police but rather criminals infiltrated into the Police
* 81 Hondurans arrived at Tegucigalpas airport yesterday after deportation from the United States; two of them were immediately arrested by Interpol due to pending criminal charges in Honduras. - - - -
El Diario de Coahuila (Saltillo, Coahuila) 5/7/09
Mex. military seized five tons of marihuana from two locales in the town of Diaz Ordaz (some 10 mi. up the Rio Grande from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, near McAllen, TX) Two subjects were arrested. - - - -
El Financiero (Mexico City) 5/7/09
The flu epidemic event was unable to halt the violence of organized crime. Contrary to the declarations by Janet Napolitano there has been an average of 15 executions daily on the northern boundary of the country; according to official data, from April 23 to date there were around 216 executions. Chihuahua, a northern border state, continues to head the list of these events. - - - -
El Universal (Mexico City) 5/7/09
The state of Tabasco Dept. of Justice began a case against Jose Macias, the driver of a semi truck which was found to have 1,773,998 pseudoephedrine pills hidden under a false floor. The event took place on the Villahermosa-Coatzocoalcos highway. - - - -
Frontera (Tijuana, Baja Calif.) 5/7/09
At 6:40 a.m. today, on the main avenue of the Los Laureles section of Tijuana: the body of a man, wrapped in bedding and covered with a plastic bag. Minutes later, in the La Mesa area of town: another victim of execution, also wrapped in a blanket. There was also a preliminary report of a shootout between police and a couple of armed robbers at a store in Tijuana. And Preventive State Police announced the arrest of thirteen narco retailers last night and this morning, mainly on the east side of town. - - - -
La Cronica de Hoy (Mexico City) 5/7/09
In Coyuca de Catalan, Guerrero, police came upon the body of a man whod been dumped on a street crossing. His hands and feet had been tied with electrical wire. His eyes had been taped over. He had been shot at least twelve times with cal. 7.62X39 mm. and .38 super firearms. - - - - The Mexican government has announced an end to the worst of the swine flu virus emergency. The attached cartoon appeared today in Milenio, a Mexico City paper. Its title reads: Off with the mouth covers. The man says: At last, back to normality - - - -
- end of report -
he sounds like a RACIST!
Lets get this guy a Hawaii birth certificate and let HIM be POTUS!
But his words will be ignored in Latin America. The Caudillos like Castro, Chavez, Lula da Silva, Calderon and the pathetic Evo Morales will never admit that it was Spaniard culture and custom that destroyed Latin America.
They will go on by stealing what they cannot create: note what Chavez did just yesterday, nationalizing the oil field services companies in Venezuela.
A voice in the wind. Costa Rica will probably continue to prosper, and the rest will simply continue on their path to social oblivion.
Independent of this, I wanted to go to Costa Rica — it comes off the “kinda wanna” list to the “next chance I get to break away” list!
Great post and I am happy to bump it!
P.J. O’Rourke aptly summed it up in Eat the Rich...it’s all about respect for the rule of law, respect for natural rights and respect for private property. National success mirrors these principles.
“P.J. ORourke aptly summed it up in Eat the Rich...its all about respect for the rule of law, respect for natural rights and respect for private property. National success mirrors these principles.”
Perfect, Red Dog #1.
He is the Messiah after all, so whatever he says must be right. As Obama's "close longtime friend, mentor and spiritual advisor" said, "Goddamn America!". Everything in the world is America's fault one way or another.
Costa Rica ping.
30-plus Latin American or Caribbean countries are now independent nations, and how many have sensible governments? Two or three? Besides Costa Rica, maybe Colombia and Chile? Or has Chile veered leftist again?
Is there even ONE Latin American or Caribbean country that hasn’t been a persistent underachiever or in a constant state of dysfunction for the past century?
Victim-hood and seeking foreign-aid are certainly easier than the sort of self-reflection and responsibility this writer is talking about, but poor nations will make the transition to developed powers when enough of their citizens and leaders come to the same realization. China and India have both taken that step forward. Much of Latin America and most of Africa need to do the same.
“Is there even ONE Latin American or Caribbean country that hasnt been a persistent underachiever or in a constant state of dysfunction for the past century?”
I once did a search for inventions, nobel prizes, etc. Didn’t find much!
The Caudillos like Castro, Chavez, Lula da Silva, Calderon and the pathetic Evo Morales will never admit that it was Spaniard culture and custom that destroyed Latin America.
When the natives finally revolted, they maintained that culture and became a new set of oppressors.
I became aware of it when my roommate in college had to go back home to Mexico when his father died so he could bribe the officials to keep the family business.
Of course, sometimes (e.g.,when I see the “earmark culture” in Congress) I have doubts that we are that much better than Mexico.
I just got back from 10 days in Costa Rica. Three of us jammed around looking for real estate to invest in and what a simply lovely country we experienced. In one year, when my youngest son finishes high school I intend to move there. Also, I am attempting to convince my son to attend med school there. What a beautiful country and lovely, warm peoople. I have traveled Mexico and Panama extensively and they do not compare to Costa Rica.
President of Costa Rica: US not to blame for past, present or future ills confronting Latin America
A request from NAFBPO:
Border Patrol seeks family of fallen Agent
May 8, 2009 8:55 AM ET
COLUMBUS, N.M. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection is asking for the public’s help in finding any relatives of a border patrol inspector who died in the line of duty in February 1942.
Officials plan to honor Ralph W. Ramsey by naming a new forward operating base west of Columbus after him.
Ramsey was 27 when he died while attempting to board a freight train in search of illegal immigrants. He was stationed in Columbus when the accident happened.
Officials say research revealed an article in a 1942 edition of the Deming Graphic regarding Ramsey. It mentioned his sister and brother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Mechem of Westbrook, and in-laws Mr. and Mrs. W.M. Gage of Big Spring, Texas.
Anyone with information about Ramsey’s surviving relatives is asked to contact the Border Patrol’s El Paso sector.
And as you said, nothing changed when the Mestizos and their native born Spaniard overlords took over. It was just a new set of oppressors who wanted to keep the loot for themselves.
I don't think you can compare it to the U.S. yet. It's true that possibly you could say we just have a more sophisticated version of their corruption, but I can sincerely say that the cops I know and grew up with in Arizona are a million times better than the thugs with guns just across the border in Nogales.
The politicians in the U.S. are a different story. But then, they do have to worry about U.S. police, who are chomping at the bit to bury their butts....at least in most places, we'll forget about New York, Chicago and L.A.
But all of that can and will change as Mexicans flood into the U.S. and agitate for the vote and other entitlements. Eventually, Mexican politicians emerge from them - already have in California, and Los Angeles especially - and will institute the same sick "system" of intimidation and extortion. Any police who try to stop it will be accused of "racism", which has to have the Mexicans laughing their butts off - all they need to stop the Gringos dead in their tracks is a silly little word.
This year, 4 million children of illegal aliens will be born in the United States. Mexico has no such problem....the Americans have not flooded into their country against their will. So their culture and nation will endure, but not ours, which is being colonized by them.
Makes you wonder which culture really is the strongest.
I’m moving there. I can’t wait. Once I build my fund I’m bugging out.
You are right that the people are warm and lovely. But the government is quasi socialist and the infrastructure is dreadful. The cost of living is higher than Panama, the unions are more powerful than in the US and can and do shut the place down to protest, and the petty corruption to get anything done ( like phone lines, cable TV set ups ) is tiresome.
I know plenty of Americans who retired there and have now decided to leave because the crime is getting worse. It is a major land route for drugs coming up from Columbia. Car jackings are commonplace, not for ransom as in Mexico but for your car!
All in all I suggest you rent a place before you buy and actually live there and immerse yourself in the daily life. You will find that below the surface it is a very poor country. The people Americans meet on tourist or investment trips are the well to do professionals that have been selling their poorer countryman's labor and property to stay ahead of the pack.
On the plus side is the climate and the natural beauty. But that wears thin every time the water goes out or the electricity fails. In our case, in Alajuela, that was a monthly occurrence. All that glitters is not gold.
Just a tip to a fellow FReeper to be cautious before you invest your money and relocate your life.
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