Feb 15/05 - On the confirmation of Ambassador Zoellick as #2 at State
PMBComments: towards the end of his confirmation hearing Robert Zoellick, in response to a question from Senator Dodd, made one of the most eloquent statements I have heard about the state of Latin America today and went on to outline US policy with regards to those that rule it recklessly, and those that have been left out of the game entirely. In a nutshell it reads: expose the first without fear, and try to be more effective reaching down to the latter.
While I would take issue, and suggest caution, with blanket revisionist statements such as “governments elected by Venezuelans before Chavez became president in 1999 did not serve the people”, it is beyond debate that a country that in 1998 elected someone as unhinged as Hugo Chavez must not have been sea worthy itself. But rest assured that while Hugo Chavez might be the proof of the problem, he is hardly its solution. And this was also Zoellick’s point when he referred to the rise of the “pied pipers of populism”. Whether they come from the right like Fujimori, or from the left as Mr. Chavez “we know how this ends” he said.
Ambassador Zoellick’s informed and principled command of the subject bodes well for a region on the verge of a populist meltdown. Hopefully in the very near future the soon to be confirmed #2 will be able to help Dr. Rice select a better qualified team to help lead
Bush Nominee Aims at Latin
By GEORGE GEDDA
Associated Press Writer
Robert Zoellick, designated by President Bush for the State Department's No. 2 position, cited in particular the actions of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Zoellick, who has served as Bush's chief trade official since 2001, said Chavez has been carrying out anti-democratic activities in the same way that former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori did during the 1990s.
"I think it's a very dangerous course for these countries," Zoellick said, testifying before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing.
Chavez has closely aligned his country with
"The imperialist forces are starting to strike against the people of Latin America and the world," Chavez said in a speech two weeks ago to a gathering in
Chavez has accused the
Zoellick said a new breed of authoritarians follows similar patterns. "You win the election, but you do away with your opponents, you do away with the press, you do away with the rule of law, you pack the courts," he said.
He said pro-democratic changes adopted by the Organization of American States in 1991 were designed to protect elected governments against military coups and should be altered to deal with a trend toward authoritarianism.
His comments offered a view of the challenges the
Chavez, he said, wants to portray his relationship with the
Zoellick said the governments elected by Venezuelans before Chavez became president in 1999 did not serve the people and thus made possible the election of Chavez.
What is happening in
"What we're seeing now is that people who are on the margins of the traditional society are using some of the democratic openings and they are saying, 'Look, I want my share. I want my piece of this.'"
He said the
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., expressed concern that
This could leave the
Zoellick dismissed that suggestion, saying the