Subscriber Services

Monday, April 09, 2007


PANAMA CITY -- For the first time in many decades, Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic are enjoying a series of favorable economic winds that -- if they don't blow it -- may lead the region to a long period of prosperity. To find out the reasons, read the full column here, and let us know what YOU think.


Blogger leftside said...

Only someone as distanced from the reality of Central America could lay his hopes for progress on the building of luxury condos for Venezuelan and American elites out by the airport in Panama City. In Costa Rica, I saw such developments as well. They were invariably hidden behind security gates and high walls that seperated them from the real Ticos. But at least a gringo could get a meal from Dennys...

Central America is going nowhere fast. I would challenge Andres to walk through the center of any Central American capital next time he goes. He'd be risking his life, crime is so bad. Nevermind the links coming out between these criminal gangs and the politicos of El Salvador and Guatemala... both will swing left next election as well.

If Panama's coffers can take the economic beating until 2014, they might make it out ok. CAFTA will raise exports marginally, but result in mass unemployment and dislocation of the rural population (like it did in Mexico). Sugar cane is not going to get off the ground in Central America for a decade at least - and faces much resistance from a people who can barely feed themselves. Dreams of a US-Latin America old people health exchange is just that (though one with considerable merit).

But lets me honest. Andres' optimism comes from ideology much more than reality. Until Central American addresses its root problems - massive emigration of their best and most ambitious, lack of popular education and health care and widespread corruption - they will continue to lag behind.

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from: Paul Thørsen

åndèrs, I actually give you credit for blaming Daniel Ortègä for ruining Nicaragua and not blaming the USA as 99% of Latin Americans do.

10:07 PM  
Blogger leftside said...

Thorsen, thanks for reminding me of Andres' completely false and actually insulting Nicaragua remark. It is what perhaps set me off on that nasty tone above...

Nicaragua under Ortega was becoming a true model of development, according even to such kool-aid drinkers like the World Bank and IADB. Nicaragua's infant mortality improved faster than nearly any other developing country. In response the US launched an illegal terrorist war - mining harbors and arming the nastiest of proxies against all international opinion. By the end more Nicaraguan's had died, per capita, than the US civil war and all 20th Century wars combined (Chomsky). The country was ruined. The US was certainly more responsible for all this than Ortega.

1:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree fully with the comments from the poster "Leftie"; what I find particularly disturbing about Oppenheimer is that he tries to portray himself as a neutral observer of Latin America when clearly that is not the case; when we analyze Oppenheimer's views we can only conclude that we are dealing here unfortunately with an extremely right wing biased neoconservative reporter.

Oppenheimer's crocodile smile might convince some but everybody should be aware that Andres Oppenheimer seems to have very close links to the most reactionary neoconservative right wing in the United States.

Oppenheimer's favorite guest on his TV program is "Otto Reich" - a man who has been involved in the dirtiest of wars in Central America, Cuba, Venezuela and even in the dirty wars of Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile in the 70's. (somewhat surprising that Oppenheimer would associate himself with such dangerous extremists given that Oppenheimer has claimed in the past that he left Argentina to escape from the Argentine generals in the 70's...). Otto Reich for instance stands accused of helping a terrorist who blew up an civilian airliner in Venezuela killing some 70 civilian passengers on board; you would think that Oppenheimer would stay clear of such people given the threat posed by terrorism and yet Oppenheimer has made Otto Reich his number 1 special guest on his TV show inviting him some 10 different times! Even the US Congress refused to deal with Otto Reich given that he was accused of engaging in illegal propaganda in the US in the 80's to justify America's dirty war in Central America and to cover up the Iran/Contra Arms scandal.

Personally therefore I am disappointed by Oppenheimer; clearly Oppenheimer has the potential to be a truly outstanding reporter/commentator but his tendency to see the world only as black/white is very unprofessional in my opinion for somebody trying to come across as a neutral observer of political and economic realities in Latin America.

Oppenheimer is still relatively young and still has time to change his style if he wants to become a truly outstanding reporter; step number 1 however would be to publicly and clearly denounce the genocidal policies of George W Bush and to stop portraying the American regime as some sort of model for Latin America.

The US has many things to teach Latin America but the current regime in the US is absolutely not something which can inspire Latin America. Step 1 therefore should be to clearly denounce the current American regime and to focus strictly on those issues where America can inspire Latin America. I'm not a reporter but what comes to mind as examples from the US could possibly include the generosity of American charities; American involvement in their local communities and government; American respect for the law (applies only to the common citizen as the people running the regime there have descended into total corruption).

10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from: Paul Thørsen

Hey åndèrs, I got real problems with your grand plan for Centeral America. Each and every one of your ideas involves either stealing from the USA or depending on Anglos to retire in Centeral America. You never once talked about what Central America could do to make their own money instead of stealing from the Anglos. Japan didn't get rich be sneaking hordes of people into the USA and having them smuggle obscene amounts of money back home. What they did was to build a better automobile and to excel in electronics.
Likewise with China and the Mahatma Gandhi Indians. They made their niche in the world market by excelling in certain fields.

from the book "The World is Flat", by Thomas L. Friedman, copyright 2005
page 333
India and China both have a long tradition of parents telling their children that the greatest thing they can be is an engineer or a doctor. But building the schools to make that happen in Mexico simply has not been done. India and China each have more than fifty thousand students studying in the United States today. They come from about twelve time zones away. Mexico, which is smaller but right next door, has only about ten thousand. Mexico is also right next door to the world's biggest economy, which speaks English. But Mexico has not launched any crash program in English education or invested in scholarships to send large numbers of Mexican students to the United States to study......
You would have to look a long time for a graduate science or math program at an American university that is dominated by Mexican students the way most are dominated by Chinese and Indian students.

10:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous, was åndèrs Ôppênhëimèr actually raised in Arhentina? I assumed his parents were from there and that he was USA born. Just an assumption on my part becasue he seems to speakie fluent English. His wikipedia entry just says his family originated from Arhentina. Nothing about his parents. I think his mother's side has got to have a significan tamount of Spanish blood in it.

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul Thørsen,

Oppenheimer is an Argentine - however he's been living since years in Miami which in my humble opinion has led him to lose track of the real political and economic trends in Latin America.

Tonight unfortunately I have become even more disappointed by Oppenheimer- frankly speaking I thought that Oppenheimer naming Chavez a "Narcissist Leninist" was somewhat original until I found out tonight that Thomas Friedman (another right wing nutcase neoconservative) had come up some years ago with the term "Islamo Lenninist" when referring to the leadership of AL QAEDA.

So there you have it; Oppenheimer took Friedman's "Islamo Lenninist" coinfrase and adapted it to "Narcissist Lenninist" to refer to Chavez.

I can only think that Hugo Chavez will be disappointed to find out that Andres Oppenheimer does not even have the creativity to come up with a proper propaganda term for Chavez.

My post will probably have a very short life under Oppenheimer's censorship but I think its important to let everybody know that Oppenheimer is not being very original when he copies Thomas Friedman in such a blatant way. (Friedman by the way is also a failed neocon- everybody should look up Thomas Friedman's evolving writings on the "liberation" of Iraq; truly pathetic- any American soldier who died in Iraq following the crazed writings of these chicken hawk neocons died for nothing- hopefully one day the American citizens will wake up and deal with all these crazed neocons who tricked the American masses into invading that defenseless country).

11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Despite my criticism of Andres Oppenheimer´s political statements I have to recognize, once again, his contribution to the Latin-American debate.

It´s difficult to talk about Central America or Latinamerica as a whole. But, the intention is welcomed.

The Miami Herald is the voice of the American most reactionary right wing and Oppenheimer, is an important part of the team.

I can understand many of the Right Wing political and especially the economical positions and opinions, but there is only one thing I can never accept: The usage of a "defense of the freedom" speech against a government or country that is affecting US or Big Corporations interests.

When the "defense of the democracy speech" is used against Chavez, Correa, Evo Morales or Daniel Ortega I automatically ask myself: What American interest is being affected? Usually take me just a minute to discover it.

The last Bush-Lula summit was interesting because it showed common interest in ethanol and divergences in others points like the Brazilian oil business in Iran.

It´s nice to see this adult relationship between the US and a Latin-American country. I hope Oppenheimer, Otto Reich, Roger Noriega, etc. could also see it in that way with the rest of the hemispher countries.


Ruben P.
Rosario - Argentina

10:11 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home