The US becomes the repository of all that goes wrong in Latin America. When we gave China a free pass in a ridiculously lopsided trade agreement, the US not only killed off much US manufacturing but also took much of the starch out of the factories in Central and South America.
Cheap Chinese goods transported on subsidized ships filled the stores and bodegas of the Americas. Nascent industries collapsed and a growing underclass fueled with crack and smack spread violence and terror throughout the slums in the southern part of our own continent.
Salvador, a country of six and one half million and two million of them is the US, is the latest American country to select a left-wing government. Many more good people will flee to the US. Along with them will come the refuse of failed ideas.
We continue to consume our treasure and time in the Middle East when our freedom, opportunity and future is in the Americas. We have been screwing around in the Middle East for forty years. Why?
Our presence and attention is needed where it matters and where we can have an effect and that is in our own continent in America.
El Salvador moves Latin America further left
BY DAVION FORD AND JOSÉ ZEPEDA Radio Netherlands
El Salvador has a new left-wing president. Former journalist Mauricio Funes defeated the ruling right-wing president Rodrigo Avila in Sunday's election, polling 51.2 percent of the votes. He defeated his right-wing opponent from the ARENA party by a mere 60,000 votes.
Mr Funes ) explained the cause of his victory to Radio Netherlands' José Zepeda:
"What matters is not the long time that ARENA was in power, but the way they were in power. (...) A small group got preferential treatment, at the disadvantage of the rest of society. In the end, everybody will rise up against that."
The victory seals an historic journey to power for Mr Funes' FMLN party of former Marxist rebels. It also means El Salvador joins the growing tide of socialist-led Latin American countries.
But regional expert Dirk Kruijt told RNW Newsline's Davion Ford that the president-elect is considered a moderate; so is his deputy:
"The newly elected president is a former journalist with sympathy for the original guerrilla Frente which transformed in 1992 into the Farabundo Martí political party, FMLN. A late member, and a person who could forge alliances with other parts and segments of the population.
President-elect Funes has always presented himself as a friend of the US. And Sánchez Cerén, the vice president, the representative of the orthodoxy line, stated in several interviews that 'Socialism cannot be decreed from above.'"
The regime change will not make much difference for El Salvador's economy, which is not doing too badly. But, Mr Kruit says, the new president has another task on his hands:
"The real problem of Salvador is public safety and public security. It is one of the countries with the highest murder rate in the world, in terms of murders per 100,000 inhabitants; it has a stock of small arms that is sufficient to kill 40 percent of the world population, and it is in part terrorised by youth gangs. The country is also suffering from hard crime and organised crime, and that is not attacked by the police authorities."
Shift to the left
El Salvador had been a right-wing stronghold for decades. With the leftward shift in Central and South America, some of the people in El Salvador are saying that the country will become a Venezuelan satellite. But Mr Kruit points out that neither the new man, nor his deputy favour a sharp move to the left, and adds:
"The changes will be slow, there is not going to be a process of nationalisation of industry, it wouldn't be in the interest of the national economy, so the claim of a second Hugo Chávez of Venezuela is an enormous exaggeration."
The main challenge for the new president is to live up to the hopes of the impoverished one-third of El Salvador's population. The people who elected Mauricio Funes will judge him by his successes in fighting poverty and insecurity in his country.