A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
blackagendareport.com - The U.S. is the Worst Kind of Neighbor
"The United States has repeatedly raped and ravaged Latin America and the Caribbean."
In 1933, the new administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt announced its Good Neighbor Policy for the Americas. It was supposed to be a change from the more than century-old Monroe Doctrine, which treated Latin America and the Caribbean like the United States' backyard, to do with as Washington saw fit. President Roosevelt withdrew the Marines from Nicaragua and Haiti, where they had waged savage wars against the peasants, and abrogated parts of the 1903 treaty it had imposed on Cuba, by which the U.S. had reserved the right to intervene whenever it wanted in Cuba's internal affairs.
Roosevelt declared, "The definite policy of the United States from now on is one opposed to armed intervention.
" The U.S. Secretary of State at the time, Cordell Hull, said quite bluntly that "No country has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of others."
Needless to say, the Good Neighbor Policy, such as it was, did not last long. In the three generations following FDR's death, the United States has repeatedly raped and ravaged Latin America and the Caribbean, causing the premature deaths of millions through direct and indirect intervention. Not one neighbor to the South has been spared. The great success story in Latin America has been Cuba, an island the U.S. once considered annexing as a slave territory, but which flipped the historical script on the racist bully to the North, to become a beacon of independence in the hemisphere.
Cuba has stretched out her arms to Africa, where its soldiers held back the armies of the white minority South African regime, backed by the U.S., to preserve Angolan independence. Twenty-five thousand Cuban doctors serve in 68 countries around the world, and Cuba's infant mortality rate is lower than the United States.
"Cuba told Washington to keep its pocket change."
It is Cuba that has shown what a Good Neighbor Policy really is, extending its hand even to the people of the vastly wealthier United States, training young American to become doctors in U.S. inner cities, and offering millions of dollars in medical personnel and life-saving drugs to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina - an offer the Bush regime rejected.
In the last several weeks, two major hurricanes have slammed into Cuba, the first, Hurricane Gustav, destroying 100,000 homes. What did the superpower United States offer its wounded neighbor? A measly $100,000 - and that only if the pittance would be handled by an aid group of Washington's own choosing. Cuba, of course, told Washington to keep its pocket change.
Despite Hurricane Gustav hitting with the force of what former Cuban President Fidel Castro called "an atomic bomb," no fatalities were reported. Cuban society is organized for self-defense - not just against the United States, but against the ravages of nature.
In the neighboring nation of Haiti, once again reduced to a virtual colony of the United States and its minions in the United Nations, many hundreds have died this hurricane season. Having deposed and kidnapped Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide and systematically destroyed Haitian civil society, the population is rendered helpless to the elements. That's the kind of neighbor the United States is: super-petty, mean-spirited, small-minded and stingy - a blight on the whole hemispheric neighborhood.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com