Latin America

Posted on June 27, 2023


Lately I’ve been reading pundits, journalists, and sundry experts on American foreign policy about different parts of the world, each waxing on with apparent expertise on what we need to do in Sudan, or Ukraine, or to China to get the world right again, something along those lines. They write or speak in videos, television, and the dozens of digital ways of communicating these days with great authority.

Now the Chinese Communists are planning a “spy base” in Cuba, so we’re told, a “listening” station on the island to keep track of what the gringos are doing in Florida where we have a bunch of military bases. Alas, even the digital warriors, abreast of every false step taken by our somewhat aging President, are behind the curve on this one.

Back on November 21, 1963, Fidel Castro told his guy listening to the station broadcasting CIA news to listen up the next afternoon. Sure enough, he heard that President John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas, by some dude named Lee Harvey Oswald. He was a communist and married to a Russian lady. He had traveled to Russia and later had visited the Cuban Embassy in Mexico. So, without going too deep here, did Oswald get Kennedy before Kennedy got rid of Castro? Conspiracy theorists have been chewing on this one for over half a century.

What do we know about Cuba today? Or, for that matter, the rest of Latin America, like Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras and on down the South American continent to Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil? Let’s pick up a bit where we left off on the banana republics here in the Northport Gazette a while back.

 Latin America (a phrase invented by French journalists in the nineteenth century) is part of the Western Hemisphere—the Americas– which we also inhabit. We share much in common.

Just like us, it had an indigenous population, very well developed in some areas like Mexico (the Nahua/Aztec) and Inca (highlands of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador). It suffered, or was lifted up culturally, depending upon your point of view, from European “discoverers” and invaders in the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. And it was both crassly exploited economically and Christianized in the reigning faith of Europeans at the same time.

Tenochtitlan, the Capital of the Aztec Empire, Today Mexico City

The dichotomies of life in Latin America are often astounding, from the defense of the indigenous people led by Christian priests and friars beginning in the sixteenth century, to the gross imposition of authority and obedience for economic exploitation by the Spanish and other European invaders, the French, the Dutch, and the English for example.

Just like when we broke off from the English Empire in 1776 and moved to carve out our own nation, so did the Latin American colonies of Spain and Portugal in the early nineteenth century in their own wars of independence. They were very often modeled after our American Revolution, since the ideals of liberty, equality, republican forms of government, and independence mirrored our own successful struggle to create a new nation.

The new Mexicans, Peruvians, Brazilians, etc. all carried much of the same baggage into the nineteenth century, such as slavery, which dragged us into the most disastrous war, the Civil War, in our entire history.

Ruins of the Magnificent Inca City of Machu Pichu in the Andes of Peru

In fact, our destinies have often coincided and intersected (like immigration today). My last book—still with the publisher in Great Britain—focuses for example on a revolutionary priest and friar, Bartolomé de las Casas (1485-1566), who led the fight for Christianity and social justice in the face of the brutal conquest of the Americas.

But as Bobby Dylan phrased it in a great song a while back, “The Times They are A-Changin’.” We don’t even call this early contact period between Europe and the Americas–beginning with Christopher Columbus’s First Voyage in 1492–the “Conquest” anymore. It is deemed far too vulgar and celebratory of European civilization.

Now the politically correct, the Wokes, the radical Left, the Marxists, whatever term you want to apply for those rewriting history to suit their politics, label it the “Encounter” or the “Invasion,” great food for thought and deliberation in a good seminar! Diversity of thought and opinions still belongs in our institutions of higher learning. More later as we explore a bit on how Kennedy planned to take down Castro.

Posted in Northport Gazette, Wed. June21 2923