George W Bush’s “tour’ of South America has been dogged, unsurprisingly, by demonstrations and unrest from the locals. In Guatemala today he visited a Mayan shrine. After he had left, the priests in charge of the site hastily performed purification rituals, to rid the site of “evil spirits” Bush may have left behind.
The US president’s remarks during a speech in Columbia, stating, “The US cares about the people of South America” cuts little ice, either there or in the US.
The true reason for Bush rushing south recently has more to do with China, and the rapidly developing ties between it and the Latin American nations Bush is now desperately endeavoring to foster. Those more narrow-minded members of Congress, who forever see “Reds” under every bed, and view China as the next US adversary after the Middle East, are becoming nervous of the Oriental invasion taking place in their backyard.
Unfortunately for Mister Bush, the Venezuelan lefty, Hugo Chavez, is probably doing a better job of persuading South Americans that his way is better. After all, there is a measure of truth in his statement that George W Bush is a “political corpse”, given that the US president is entering the final death throes of his incumbency, and unlike Bush – who dare not risk speaking directly to the people, and is content to only converse with national leaders – Chavez woos the populace, drawing huge crowds to his conventions.
While George W Bush claims to be the “close personal friend” of Guatemalan President Oscar Berger and Columbia’s wholly dubious Alvaro Uribe, Hugo Chavez is presenting himself as amigo to all Latin American peoples.
At least, for now.
Filed under: Chinese chequers