Latin America’s Moral Failure
From the 1970s to the 1990s, when Latin America’s military dictatorships slaughtered tens of thousands, it was right to ask the world to intervene and stop the carnage. Today, Vladimir Putin is doing the same thing in Ukraine, yet Latin American governments blabber on about “neutrality.”
MONTEVIDEO – From the 1970s to the 1990s, when Latin America’s military dictatorships slaughtered tens of thousands of civilians, it was both right and necessary to call on the world to intervene and stop the carnage. Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin does what Argentina’s Jorge Rafael Videla, Peru’s Alberto Fujimori, and Chile’s Augusto Pinochet did, and on a much vaster scale. Yet Latin American governments, most of them belonging to the same left that was persecuted in decades past, blabber on about “neutrality” and “non-intervention.” It is a moral failure of appalling proportions.
In a recent commentary, Slavoj Žižek puts it starkly: if you see a man relentlessly beating a child on a street corner, the only moral response is to try to stop him. Blaming the child makes as much sense as blaming a rape victim. But that is exactly what President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil did, announcing to Time Magazine that Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky bear equal responsibility for the war in Ukraine. Repeating the word “peace” ad nauseam will not help the child, either, despite what Colombia’s president, Gustavo Petro, seems to think. Any similarities to the film Miss Congeniality, in which Sandra Bullock’s character must call for “world peace” to win the title, are surely unintended.
But the prize goes to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, widely known as AMLO, who claimed that Germany’s government decided to give Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine because of pressure from German media. “Media power is used by oligarchies around the world to subdue governments,” he added, puzzlingly. Perhaps he meant that oligarchies use government to subdue the media, as often happens in Mexico. In any case, his words did not go unheeded: the Russian embassy in Mexico City promptly issued a thank-you note.
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