Denver recently welcomed the ambassador of Argentina, Chile and Mexico as part of the warm up to the new Denver Biannual Celebration of Latin and North American art and culture. All three of them backed the Obama administration’s position of condemning the Honduras military expelling President Manuel Zelaya.
Although there is widespread support for this position, partially because it has the benefit of limiting the propaganda advantage that Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez wanted to gain, it distracts from the salient fact Zelaya was following the Chavez playbook that is endangering democracy throughout northern Latin and Central America.
Any American policy must address Chavez’s sophisticated strategy of destabilizing the constitutionally governed regimes in the region. Using advice and tactical help from Cuba and oil revenue, he has constructed an alliance that includes Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua. Allies extend to Argentina, Paraguay, El Salvador and the OAS. He has also pulled in a host of Caribbean Islands: Antigua, Barbuda, Saint Vincent, Grenadines and Dominica.
Center-left and center-right politicians, like the Ambassadors, are either aligning and accommodating the strategy for domestics left and anti-American purposes, or trying to stay out of the way. But, their regimes are also endangered by Chavez’s 21st century socialism and “relentless ideological delegitimization of republican values and private property, and the establishment of a method for bringing about dictatorship through apparently democratic means.”
Unless the U.S. and its allies develop an equally sophisticated strategy, this new challenge will allow budding dictators to take the normal problems that exist in second world countries and turn them into crises that can destroy the constitutional order.
(See RealClearPolitics and WSJ articles)