11.16.2011 0

Obama Appeasement to the South Threatens Liberty

By Bill Wilson — Are we cozying up to dictators in Central and South America?

On Nov. 7, the State Department restored diplomatic relations with Bolivia for the first time since Sept. 2008, when the U.S. Ambassador and the DEA were both expelled for allegedly inciting opposition forces against the regime.  It is a small indication of where the Obama Administration is on advancing liberty and U.S. interests in the Western hemisphere.

Run by a Marxist dictator, Evo Morales, the country under his rule has seized oil and natural gas fields, mines, and communications companies, instituted price controls on goods, snatched and redistributed property, and engaged in human rights abuses.  There has been a wave of refugees from the country since Morales took power in 2006, mostly for political persecution.

The move at restoring diplomatic ties has been in the works by the Obama State Department since May 2009.  It was sealed by Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo Valenzuela in June 2010, who agreed with his Bolivian counterpart to what became the framework that ultimately reinstated relations.

But that’s not all.  Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security is sitting on several high-profile political refugees from Venezuela, fleeing the Hugo Chavez regime’s many nationalizations and suppressions.  Is he trying to cater to the thug, Chavez?

And who could forget when the Obama State Department sided with Manuel Zelaya in his attempt to violate the constitutional term limits in Honduras? They actively worked to isolate the representative government  of Honduras, even after it had impeached and lawfully removed Zelaya from office.

Now, in Nicaragua, Sandinista dictator Daniel Ortega has violated his own country’s constitution to stay in office for a third term, following in the footsteps of Chavez.  What can be described as no less than a coup has been completely ignored by the White House.  Nor has it done anything about the Nicaraguan invasion of Costa Rica’s Calero Island over a year after it began.

All of which is hardly surprising.  What else can one expect from a White House that nominated Valenzuela to oversee Western hemisphere relations? At the time, Americans for Limited Government objected to the appointment because of Valenzuela’s incredibly weak record defending liberty in the region.

Valenzuela has argued for “dialogue and an opening towards Cuba,” defended Venezuela’s cracking down on press freedom while serving at Freedom House, and sat on the advisory board of Americas Watch with George Soros, a group that supported reinstating Manuel Zelaya to power in Honduras.

The Senate had every indication that Valenzuela’s background portended a very weak policy by the U.S. to defending liberty in Latin America.  Two years after Valenzuela’s appointment, history has vindicated that view.

The Western hemisphere desk at the State Department has become a rat’s nest completely inimical to defending liberty and American interests in the region.

Nobody is paying attention while tyranny is being allowed to rise in our own backyard.   The Obama policy of appeasement of thuggish tyranny is beginning to look like approval.

Bill Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government. You can follow Bill on Twitter at @BillWilsonALG.

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