Obama proves the Ugly American still defines US foreign policy

Yeah – I put in just enough to illustrate continuity

Latin American leaders slammed European governments on Wednesday for diverting Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane on rumors it was carrying a wanted former U.S. spy agency contractor, adding a new diplomatic twist to the Edward Snowden saga.

Bolivia said Morales was returning from Moscow on Tuesday when France and Portugal abruptly banned his plane from entering their airspace due to suspicions that Snowden, wanted by Washington for leaking secrets, was onboard. Italy and Spain also banned the plane from their skies, it said.

The unusual treatment of the Bolivian military aircraft touched a sensitive nerve in the region, which has a history of U.S.-backed coups. Regional leaders, particularly from the left, rallied behind Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president and a former union leader of the country’s coca farmers.

“(These are) vestiges of a colonialism that we thought were long over. We believe this constitutes not only the humiliation of a sister nation but of all South America,” Argentine President Cristina Kirchner said in a speech in Buenos Aires.

“Latin America demands an explanation,” tweeted Ecuadorean leader Rafael Correa. “If what happened to Evo does not merit a Unasur summit, I don’t know what does.”

Dilma Rousseff, president of regional economic powerhouse Brazil, issued a statement repudiating the European countries that denied Morales access to their airspace based on what she called the “fanciful” notion that Snowden might be on board…

Much more blunt was the statement from Mexico’s Congress condemning what it called the “disgraceful and discriminatory” treatment Morales had received in Europe…

Spokesmen ranging from petty bureaucrats in France to tame professors in Chicago offered predictable plausible deniability. RTFA if you think you need to.

The Bolivian government said it had filed a formal complaint with the United Nations and was studying other legal avenues to prove its rights had been violated under international law…

In May of this year, Morales expelled a U.S. development agency from Bolivia in protest after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry referred to Latin America as Washington’s “backyard.”

The comment was a stark reminder of the United States’ history exploiting South America’s natural resources and supporting some repressive right-wing regimes…

Ugly American is a pejorative that refers to loud, arrogant, demeaning, thoughtless, ignorant, and ethnocentric behavior of Americans abroad…including the actions of our government and its leaders. We used the term a lot during the resistance to the VietNam War. Taking it from the book by Burdick and Lederer, it characterized the lies and deceit perfectly agreed to by Democrats and Republicans alike in the rape and murder of Southeast Asia.

In the early 19th Century our government warned the world of the Monroe doctrine. It meant Latin America was our own private Africa. Europeans had to maintain their retreat from the continent of South America under threat of war with the United States. Resources, the natural wealth of South America was reserved for American corporations.

The average ignorant American voter may have to Google the details; but, no Latin American with even a minimal education has any difficulty describing the policy. Only speechwriters for US political campaigns and Congressional declarations try to convince the rest of the world it ever ended.

Bolivian farmers urge rethink on Mother Earth law

Soy farmers in Bolivia are urging leftist President Evo Morales to reconsider a ban on genetically modified seeds contained in a package of environmental regulation called the Mother Earth law.

The Andean nation is a small producer of soybeans compared with its giant agricultural neighbors, Brazil and Argentina, but output and exports of the oilseed have jumped in recent years due to improved crop yields and bigger plantings.

Production should reach 2.4 million metric tons this year, of which about 80 percent would be exported, industry groups say.

Virtually all Bolivian soy uses GM seeds and the law signed by Morales earlier this month has rattled growers in the lowland east, historically a bastion of opposition to the Aymara Indian president — a vocal advocate of organic farming methods and Pachamama, which means Mother Earth in the Andes.

The legislation, which former coca farmer Morales has called a means “to live in equilibrium and harmony with Mother Earth,” also calls for limits on the expansion of farming into new areas and assigns a spiritual value to land beyond its social and economic function…

Agricultural leaders are holding talks with the government to call for changes to the GM ban and express broader concerns about the legislation. A second meeting between farm groups and officials was due to take place on Wednesday.

“We want them to understand the potential consequences of the measures contained in the Mother Earth legislation and to make changes or clarifications either in the implementation of this law or through a new law,” Fernando Asturizaga, an advisor from the Anapo farming association said.

Soy exports brought in about $800 million last year, making the oilseed the country’s third-biggest foreign currency earner after minerals and natural gas, according to the Bolivian Foreign Trade Institute…

“It’s like running the 100-meters but shooting ourselves in the foot first. We’re giving our neighbors too many advantages,” said Marcelo Traverso, president of the APIA agricultural suppliers’ association.

“It’s a big step backwards that’s going to have serious economic repercussions for the Bolivian farmer.”

I’m not offering a detailed response, but, even a casual look at the question provokes support for equitable opportunity I try for on most issues. As long as we’re not discussing war and peace, or gangster lobbyists. I can’t support organic farming interests – in power, in government – ordering all farmers to conform to their methods. Just as I don’t support the opposite among the existing farm community in the United States.

Of course, I support limits on pesticides and practices which spread beyond individual farms. But, that’s a 2-way street. Just as I support reasonable hooks in GM seeds to inhibit wildfire spread of new genes, I won’t support a ban on self-limiting GM products.

In sum, I guess my attitude is like my feelings about abortion. Don’t approve? Don’t have one. Don’t deprive someone else of the right to make up their own mind.