Saturday, May 02, 2009

Mumia Speaks: A 'New Relationship?'

Handout picture released by the Venezuelan Presidency press office showing the President of the US, Barack Obama (L), and his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez (R) shaking hands in Port of Spain, on April 17, 2009. Obama defended on Sunday his amicable first encounter with Chavez, which critics back home assailed as naiive and "irresponsible". (AFP/HO/File)

[col. writ. 4/19/09] (c) '09 Mumia Abu-Jamal

As U.S. President, Barack Obama treks to the Caribbean to sit and sup with Latin American leaders, he does so amidst a promise of a new relationship with America del Sur.

While this brand of quiet and thoughtful presence is indeed profoundly different from the thoughtless bravado and bluster of his immediate predecessor, George W. Bush, it still hearkens back to a bygone era, one rarely recalled today, that of John F. Kennedy.

Yet is this merely a difference of style or substance?

From the time of the 5th U.S. president, James Monroe (ca.1820) this country has pursued a policy of domination, interference and control over the countries to the south. The U.S. has toppled governments it doesn't like, supported dictators, backed military coups, and both trained and funded armies to oppose trade unionists and social activists, all in the name of the so-called Monroe Doctrine.

And while some presidents have thundered and bellowed, and others have whispered, the essential elements of U.S. foreign policy have remained virtually unchanged in a region many Americans think of as their 'backyard.'

But Latin America is experiencing a renaissance of late, one caused, in part, by popular resistance to U.S. domination of their economies, governments and politics.

There is a wave of leftist governments arising in Latin America today. Any serious student of U.S. - Latin American history can't be surprised by this trend.

The U.S. has either intervened, invaded, or supported dictators in: Chile, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panama, Grenada, Dominican Republic, and Haiti (just to name a few).

It must be said, only slightly tongue-in-cheek, that the U.S. has never met a dictator it didn't like -- especially when opposed by a populist or a nationalist.

The best exemplar of this imperialist trend may be seen in the U.S.response to the 1963 election of Dr. Juan Bosch as President of the Dominican Republic, after the CIA-backed assassination of dictator Rafael L. Trujillo in 1961. Bosch was shortly thereafter overthrown by a military coup.

The U.S., under President Lyndon B. Johnson, moved heaven and earth to insure the installation and election of Joaquin Balaguer, a Trujillo clone who outdid his former boss at repression. * After the armed intervention, Johnson invited two leading Republican congressmen to the White House, to boast that he'd "just taken and action that will prove that democratic presidents can deal with Communists as strongly as Republicans" (p.80).

Because of U.S. intervention (and occupation, with some 40,000 troops!) the country endured some 60 years under brutal dictatorships -- backed, trained, and funded by the U.S.

What would be a 'new relationship' would be an abandonment of U.S. interference, intervention, invasion and subversion of neighboring states to the south.

Kennedy smiled, and he was a brilliant politician, but he sent in Green Berets when he couldn't get his way.

A new relationship would be an end to U.S. imperialism.

--(c) '09 maj

{*Source: Chester, Eric Thomas, Rag-Tags, Scum, Riff-Raff and Commies: The U.S. Intervention in the Dominican Republic, 1965-66. (N.Y.: Monthly Review Press, 2001.)


The Power of Truth is Final -- Free Mumia!

Audio of most of Mumia's essays are at:

Mumia Abu-Jamal's new book -- JAILHOUSE LAWYERS: PRISONERS DEFENDING PRISONERS V. THE USA, featuring an introduction by Angela Y. Davis -- will be released soon!
It will be available from City Lights Books at a 30% discount weeks before you can get it at any other bookstore, or from Amazon.

Sign up for an email alert and when the book becomes available for sale you'll receive an email letting you know:

In support of Mumia and the publication of JAILHOUSE LAWYERS, organizations around the country will be holding "More Than a Book Party" events on or around Mumia's birthday, April 24, 2009.

If you are planning to organize an event or would like to order in bulk, you can also receive a 45% discount on any bulk orders of 20 copies or more. The book retails for $16.95, for orders of 20 copies or more the discounted price would be $9.32 per book, plus shipping and handling. Prepayment would be required and books are nonreturnable. If you or your organization would like to place a bulk order, please contact Stacey Lewis at 415.362.1901 or

Let's use the opportunity of the publication of this brilliant, moving, vintage Mumia book to build the momentum for his case, to raise the money we desperately need in these challenging economic times, to get the word out – to produce literature, flyers, posters, videos, DVD's; to send organizers out to help build new chapters and strengthen old ones, TO GET THE PEOPLE OUT IN THE STREETS … all the work that we must do in order to FREE MUMIA as he faces LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT PAROLE OR EXECUTION!

Please make a contribution to help free Mumia. Donations to the grassroots work will go to both INTERNATIONAL CONCERNED FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL and the FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL COALITION (NYC).


Please mail donations/ checks to:
NY 10030

215 476-8812

Send our brotha some LOVE and LIGHT at:
Mumia Abu-Jamal
AM 8335
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370


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