THE ARROGANCE OF THE US
Hal Pepinsky, firstname.lastname@example.org, “peacemaking” at pepinsky.blogspot.com
March 20, 2015
If I were teaching my course on violence and peacemaking today, I would be giving priority to showing and discussing today’s “Democracy Now!” interview with Ecuadoran Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño (http://www.democracynow.org/2015/3/20/ecuadorean_foreign_minister_the_united_states?autostart=true). Interviewed by Juan Gonzalez and Amy Goodman, Patiño gave a succinct, plainly spoken lesson on US overthrow of democratic regimes in Latin America and in the IS war zone, to support economic exploitation. He explains the multinational Latin American call for the US to rescind economic and travel sanctions newly added to US attempts to overthrow the democratically elected government of Venezuela. He recounts our overthrow of the Iraqi government in 1991, based on a lie that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction”; when asked he diplomatically acknowledges that control of oil in the region might be an underlying motive for our military history there.
When asked about the recent International Court of Justice civil arbitration award to Ecuadoran citizens harmed by Chevron’s history of oil dumping, he pointed out that the ruling superseded the agreement made by an undemocratic government that his government represents. It also departs from an earlier ruling by a US court in favor of Chevron.
When asked about the Ecuadoran government’s grant of diplomatic asylum to Wikileaker Julian Assange, and the Swedish government’s decision to send prosecutors to the London embassy to interview Assange before the statute of limitations on sexual assault charges runs out, Patiño welcomes them, noting that he wishes Swedish prosecutors had accepted Ecuador’s invitation to do the interview when the evidence was fresh, rather than waiting 1.000 days to ask for an embassy visit. He also defended Ecuador’s decision to grant Assange asylum as a protection of free speech, a freedom respected by his government.
I wish all schoolchildren, let alone older students who discuss current events could have a class period to play and discuss this 30-minute segment. And in my class, I would open discussion with the question: Why should anyone trust the US to do anything but set up governments that will let us exploit them for US corporate gain? Love and peace, hal