US President George Bush’s commitment to promoting democracy worldwide has turned out to be no more than an opportunity for petty scoring of points with traditional foes.
Bush, with an eye to the Hispanic population of the US, is planning to issue a stern warning Wednesday that the United States will not accept a political transition in Cuba in which power changes from one Castro brother to another, rather than to the Cuban people, according to a report in the New York Times.
Bush will say that while much of the rest of Latin America has moved from dictatorship to democracy, Cuba continues to use repression and terror to control its people.
It is cynical that Bush is concerned about democracy and change in government in Cuba but not in Saudi Arabia, that he is concerned about suppression of democracy in Iran but not in Pakistan.
This selective concern about democracy makes a mockery of freedom and democracy, and attempts to manipulate it to serve the US’ pet peeves and geopolitical concerns.
It is embarrassing for us in the free world to find that the most vocal and often quoted advocate of democracy is a cheap trickster, who invokes people’s freedom only when it suits him, and his meddling in other countries’ affairs.
Bush is also violating principles of national sovereignty. What happens in Cuba is none of his business ! Cuba is a sovereign country, and the new government came to power in a revolution against the brutal dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista supported by the US.
Nor is the US record in promoting democracy in Latin America even-handed. The US used a variety of economic and political levers to replace the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile by that of the military dictator Augusto Pinochet.
Bush should also put his own house in order, before positioning the US as a beacon and advocate of freedom and democracy. The torture of detainees by the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), the snooping on calls in the US, the growing impotence of Congress, and the emergence of an imperial presidency, do not speak well for US democracy. Probably the Castros and Bush have a lot in common after all.