United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice promised before the US Congress to resist what she described as growing “undemocratic populism” in Latinamerica.
Even admitting that certain populist rhetoric can be constructive, Rice said that in Latinamerica this is “not generally the case.”
Rice specifically mentioned the oratory coming from Venezuela ruled by President Hugo Chavez who is an unabashed opponent of the President Bush administration.
US Secretary of State made the remarks during a Senate hearing on the Central American Free Trade Association, Cafta, which faces strong resistance in Congress.
Rice went even further and said that a previous Latinamerican populist whose demagogue attitudes did no good to its country was Argentine president Juan Domingo Perón.
Apparently, the exchange over the extent of populism erupted when Rice argued that Congress must approve Cafta to help combat the “forces of populism”.
“I’ve never heard populism described in such negative and pejorative manner,” stressed Senator Dick Durbin.
Rice admitted that populism as such has a long and proud tradition in many parts of the world mentioning leaders such as Andrew Jackson and Nelson Mandela, but added that Latinamerican populism is not necessarily so “respectable”.
“Rhetoric currently being heard in some parts of the region has nothing to do with responsible governance or with a responsible economic policy.”
Rather “it appeals to poor and needy people in a clearly undemocratic way and this can be clearly appreciated in certain parts of Latinamerica. This we must resist”.
However Ms. Rice emphasized that United States can work with center-left countries of the region such as Brazil and Chile and specifically mentioned Brazil and Chile, countries with governments that follow responsible, sustainable policies.
In a recent late April short visit to four countries of the hemisphere, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and El Salvador, Ms. Rice took every chance to attack Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez claiming they don’t respect peoples’ rights and guarantees and accused them of non democratic governance.
This article appeared originally in Mercopress.