This website is no longer actively maintained
Some material and features may be unavailable

January 20, 2010
Obama and the World: Latin America

Christopher Sabatini, the senior director of policy for the Council of the Americas, and Shannon O’Neil, a fellow in Latin American studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, join Martin Savidge to discuss U.S. foreign policy.

They discuss natural resources, relations with Cuba, Venezuela and the war on drugs.

Also, watch our signature video on lithium in Bolivia, in which Worldfocus’ Ivette Feliciano, Bryan Myers and Ara Ayer venture to “Salar de Uyuni” — the largest salt flat in the world.

And listen to Worldfocus Radio: Resources in the Developing World.

For more on the Obama and the World series click here.

bookmark    print




The term ‘third world’ isn’t some pejorative that indicates one’s bias against the ‘developing world.’ It’s a colloquialism.
That said, I am not surprised someone like Pirl would attempt to establish some kind of credibility because he uses de rigueur terminology that happens to be popular amongst the politically sensitive (you need to get a grip).
China and India’s development have been facilitated by the current global economic structure. Yet you selectively focus on its solely negative effects.
Though I agree with some of your examples re. corporations and human rights, the fact of the matter is that the Latin American model of governance has proven to be ineffective in helping its citizens.
Putting blame on US foreign policy (Monroe doctrine, CIA, etc.) is perfectly acceptable.
The problem is that there have been cases where ‘liberal’ governments use an anti-corporate message as a means to demagogue their way to power.
This anti-corporate message does nothing but dry up the economies of these banana republics (yes, another offensive term) because the global economic system no longer has any incentive to invest in these ‘nationalized’ economies.
You can continue to live in a fantasy world where the exchange of capital is something that should be ignored (until the failed model of capitalism has disappeared), rather than used to increase the standard of living (life expectancy, health, technology).
Unfortunately, the masses in developing countries completely free of exploitation tend to be the very ones who suffer a perpetual state of famine and war. Or in the case of a country like Venezuela, political dissent is squelched under the foot of a benevolent dictatorship.
Take your pick.
Either way, people who defend these totalitarian states (draped in the rhetoric of progressive revolution) do the citizens of those countries a disservice.



You get to employ a carrot + stick approach when you are talking. When you isolate, it’s just stick. So the opposite side hardens, and 3rd parties don’t come over to your side of the matter — saw a cool site; Balkingpoints ; incredible satellite view of earth


To: Maya Washington:

“If the people who railed against greedy companies spent half their energy chasing after ‘progressive’ 3rd world governments (who tend to have appalling human rights track records), the world would be a much better place.”

When the US government sends in Marines to subdue a labor strike against an American company that is abusing its workers and destroying the environment by polluting drinking water etc. and the government of that country complacently allows this to happen because it is in the pockets of the corporations and that these governments are protected by the CIA, supporting right wing militia, the US Government is indeed a major player in that government.

The use of the word “Third World” as opposed to “developing countries” is indicative of who is really using rhetoric and labeling as you so wantonly do. Unfortunately the history of the US government and companies in Latin America has been one of clandestine manipulation and protection of abuses by American Corporation. Rallying against globalization a system that is even affecting the American worker is a call to stop the biggest factor in abusive human rights campaigns going on throughout the globe corporate greed. Attempting to dismiss criticism of American abuse in Latin America by dismissing it as “Leninist rhetoric” is revealing of craven political naivete.


A brief thought experiment:
If corporations were to magically disappear, would unjust government, mass starvation and genocide disappear?


Some of the commenters here seem to have an exceedingly facile/politicized grasp of globalization and the international economy. To wit, the masses in China and India, who have fluorished as a result of companies sending labor their way. Any labor and human rights violations that take place in those countries should be addressed by those governments. It’s up to the people in those countries to demand just governance.
On a semi-related note, just because one is able to spout off Leninist rhetoric or took a couple sociology courses, it doesn’t make them educated or enlightened individuals. Blaming big bad corporations is intellectually disingenuous. It also plays into the hands of caudillos like Chavez.

If the people who railed against greedy companies spent half their energy chasing after ‘progressive’ 3rd world governments (who tend to have appalling human rights track records), the world would be a much better place.


The USA has demonstrated over and over again its nefarious intentions and abuse, think, Monsanto, American fruit Companies, etc., CIA support for right wing insurgencies, military invasions to protect its interests and monetary sanctions to bully governments into trade deals that help destroy economies in these respective countries. Protected by a complacent media, the American public gets the twisted information to make their government appear justified in these nefarious maneuvers. What the USA must do is get out of Latin America. It is time to accept the reality that some countries prefer social democracies or socialism than what the USA has, a plutocracy. The US taxpayer is a modern day slave to a merciless one party governmental system with two heads.


Chris Sebatini says the Chinese extract resources from the countries they invest in for profit alone and don’t care about the environment and labour practices:Haven’t the U.S.Britain,France,Germany,the Dutch done the same for the past 500 years?..If only the U.S.and the rest of the developed countries were to exercise what we preach this world would be a better place.We have outsourced a bajillion jobs to India and china because of cheap child labour and cheaper raw material and resources.We are getting fatter as a nation because Walmart is springing up everywhere you look,while the rest of the world goes hungry.Sebatini:Worst person of the day.


The war on hard drugs (heroin, coke, meth) is a joint problem (no pun intended) among USA and southern neighbors (Mexico, Columbia, Bolivia, the Caribbean drug corridor). Expending tax dollars on the huge pot industry seems misplaced. Legalization of marijuana can result in a concentration on the hard drug trade which represents a real threat to society, both American and Hispanic, and let the potheads to their relatively harmless weed.


tonight the question was how can the usa help mexico solve the drug traffic problem,
i strongly believe that the problem is not only mex and the number of carteles but, the demand generated by the usa, one question is; what does really happen with all the confiscated drugs?
another is why confiscations happen only to the small transporters?
by elliminating demand, one eliminates the offer.

Produced by Creative News Group LLC     ©2020 WNET.ORG     All rights reserved

Distributed by American Public Television