Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Latin America in the Republican Platform

The RNC has been quite a spectacle, and given the tenor of the presidential campaign we shouldn't be surprised at the alarmism of the Republican platform. It actually has multiple references to Latin America, including an entire section. Here is a chunk:

We express our solidarity with all the peoples of the Western Hemisphere. Their aspirations for economic betterment and political liberty have deserved better from our government than its policies of the last eight years. The current Administration has abandoned America’s friends and rewarded its enemies. A Republican president will never embrace a Marxist dictator, in Venezuela or anywhere else. The current chief executive has allowed that country to become a narcoterrorist state, an Iranian outpost threatening Central America, and a safe haven for the agents of Hezbollah. Now, with their country ruined by socialism and on the verge of chaos, the Venezuelan people are fighting to restore their democracy and regain their rights. When they triumph, as they surely will, the United States will stand ready to help them restore their country to the family of the Americas. 
We affirm our friendship and admiration for the people of Colombia and call on the Republican Congress to express its solidarity with their decades-long fight against the terrorist FARC. Their sacrifice and suffering must not be betrayed by the accession to power of murderers and drug lords. 
We want to welcome the people of Cuba back into our hemispheric family — after their corrupt rulers are forced from power and brought to account for their crimes against humanity. We stand with the Women in White and all the victims of the loathsome regime that clings to power in Havana. We do not say this lightly: They have been betrayed by those who are currently in control of U.S. foreign policy. The current Administration’s “opening to Cuba” was a shameful accommodation to the demands of its tyrants. It will only strengthen their military dictatorship. We call on the Congress to uphold current U.S. law which sets conditions for the lifting of sanctions on the island: Legalization of political parties, an independent media, and free and fair internationally-supervised elections. We call for a dedicated platform for the transmission of Radio and TV Martí and for the promotion of internet access and circumvention technology as tools to strength Cuba’s pro-democracy movement. We support the work of the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba and affirm the principles of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966, recognizing the rights of Cubans fleeing Communism. 

In short: we oppose dialogue, negotiation, and common sense. Interestingly, though, given Trump's comments he would ignore the entire Cuba section. I don't think he cares enough about Colombia to try and block its own decision to end the civil war.

Overall, this is a Cold War document. The references refer overwhelmingly either to Cold War disputes or re-labeling of current disputes (Venezuela) as essentially Cold War.

And, of course, the Mexico wall.

Our highest priority, therefore, must be to secure our borders and all ports of entry and to enforce our immigration laws.  
That is why we support building a wall along our southern border and protecting all ports of entry. The border wall must cover the entirety of the southern border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. 

Anyone writing "the entirety of the southern border" is not familiar with the southern border, or the border economy, but of course the wall idea didn't make sense in the first place. Interestingly, the document shies away from saying who will pay for this wall.

The other thing that struck me was how the platform is like many Latin American constitutions, such as the Venezuelan. In such documents, you throw in a lot of ideology and ideas that can't be fulfilled, going on for pages and pages (50+ for the platform). This is ironic for a group that purports to love the U.S. constitution, which has lasted so long in no small part because it is so short and based on consensus.


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