Thursday, April 23, 2009

Obama is already a believer

Pernicious Best-Seller
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY Posted Wednesday, April 22, 2009 4:20 PM PT
Latin America: Whatever else he is, Hugo Chavez is quite a salesman. The anti-American book he shoved at President Obama last weekend soared to No. 2 on Amazon's sales rankings. Our advice: Save your money.

The screed Chavez presented to Obama, called "The Open Veins of Latin America," by Eduardo Hughes Galeano, is probably the biggest reason why people tune out when the subject of Latin America comes up.
Galeano, a Uruguayan with a bad case of white liberal guilt, wrote his florid blame-the-U.S. polemic way back when hippie beads were "in" in 1971. But his "history" is nothing but a systematic effort to blame the U.S. and Europe for all the ills of the hemisphere.
That's something President Obama, at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad, had actually tried to urge Latin Americans to walk away from.
"We can't blame the United States for every problem that arises in the hemisphere," he said. "That's the old way, and we need a new way."
This book has it all: hate of capitalism, fury over trade, guerrilla worship, rage against responsibility, and zero-sum economics.
"The strength of the imperialist system as a whole rests on the necessary inequality of its parts," Galeano wrote. "The more freedom is extended to business, the more prisons have to be built for those who suffer from those businesses." These are just some of the book's self-pitying tenets designed to erase all responsibility for dictators, mercantilism, liberation theology and absence of property rights that have kept the region underdeveloped.
Naturally, Galeano thinks the U.S. is on its last legs. "Obama presides over a failed state," he told a gathering at a Mexican university on April 2, as Chavez was saying nearly the same thing.
His book is already a staple in Latin American studies classes in the U.S., unfortunately. It has misinformed an entire generation.
If one is curious about Galeano's nonsense, the book to read is the one that dissects it, called "The Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot," by Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza, Carlos Alberto Montaner, and Alvaro Vargas Llosa. The critique, whose third chapter, "The Idiot's Bible" was written by three real Latin American intellectuals, debunks the romantic nonsense that has kept the region back.
This isn't just about name-calling. The book came about in 2001 after the three authors found themselves fuming together in a taxi following a demagoguery-filled conference. They were so disgusted they decided to write the book, which deserves to be read.
And it has a sequel, written in 2007, "The Idiot's Return," which sums up Latin America's problems even better than the first. It's all about Hugo Chavez.
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