I love how liberals will go out of their way to say that Fidel Castro or other Latin American leftists are monsters and then just never even speak about the horrors of the Latin American right. This isn’t a defense of Castro or Chavez or Morales per se. They certainly make a mistake. But it’s a very strong condemnation of the hypocritical way people in the U.S. use Cuba and other Latin American leftists to score their own points about being reasonable or whatnot. So when Bernie Sanders says that Castro did some good things–which is true–he is roundly criticized. And yet if only we spent as much outrage on condemning the horrifyingly awful Latin American right that is actually supported by the American government, maybe we would actually be moving in the right direction instead of supporting reaction. And this leads us to Bolivia, which all those liberals who like to criticize Castro and politicians who tell the truth about his complexity seem to have completely forgotten about:
The knock at Orestes Sotomayor’s door on the outskirts of this high-altitude metropolis came just as he was about to leave for work. The 35-year-old publisher of the Resistance, a left-leaning online news outlet, answered to find a group of plainclothes police officers eager to speak with him about a “cybercrime.”
He accompanied them to the station, where he was informed that he, in fact, was the cybercriminal they sought. The charge: sedition against the state, for running news stories critical of Bolivia’s U.S.-backed interim president, Jeanine Áñez.
“My arrest is part of a much larger effort by this government,” said Sotomayor, who spent five weeks in prison before he was transferred to house arrest. “This is no different than what happened in Bolivia during the military governments of the past.”
Critics cite another glaring similarity. As a right-wing, pro-American government represses, threatens and jails its leftist opponents, the United States has stayed largely silent — just as it did during the abuses of the Latin American dictatorships it supported during the Cold War.
Washington’s response — or the lack thereof — reflects what analysts say is the most ideological policy on Latin America by an American administration since the region’s shift toward democracy in the 1980s and early 1990s. Critics say the Trump administration has played down a wave of repression unleashed by Áñez in Bolivia, the killings of left-wing community leaders in Colombia, shootings by police in poor Brazilian neighborhoods, and the alleged drug-trafficking links and human rights abuses of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández. All are countries run by conservative, pro-Trump governments.
At the same time, the Trump administration has led Washington’s most aggressive campaign in years against abuses committed by leftist leaders, particularly in socialist Venezuela and communist Cuba. Those abuses are among the most severe in the region. But critics say the failure to also call out wrongdoing by right-wing governments has rewarded leaders who have themselves been seriously and credibly accused.
That double standard, analysts say, could be working against the administration’s stated goals in Venezuela, where U.S. officials are trying to turn the leftists in President Nicolás Maduro’s inner circle against him.
Gee, ya think!?!
But no, let’s hear more about how Bernie Sanders was supporting a monster in Cuba.
Basically, my rule is this–feel free to criticize Cuba all you want to. It is messed up in some profound ways, though not really more messed up than the rest of Latin America, just different messed up. But if you aren’t placing it in the context of the rest of Latin America and if you aren’t spending at least as much time criticizing the Latin American right in all its horrors, you are at best a hypocrite and perhaps also a useful idiot for global reaction.