[Marxism] It's Bush versus Maradona, and Bush is behind

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Thu Nov 3 06:44:57 MST 2005

Andres Oppenheimer of the MIAMI HERALD wrote a book in 1992 called
CASTRO'S FINAL HOUR, which may will the April Fool's Day award for
non-promptness in predictions. But he's eligible to other awards.

Oppenheimer probably wins the title as "Castro-Basher-In-Chief" at
the Miami Herald, though he can compete with the terrorist Carlos
Alberto Montaner for that title. There's a similar article today
in the Wall Street Journal. There Cuba is not mentioned at all,
but there's big focus on Chavez and the worries which those who
are running the diplomatic summit, from which Cuba is exclulded,
that Chavez will march with the protesters against the gathering
itself. Yes, the process of continental integration, today at the
demonstrations in Mar del Plata, are proceeding relentlessly and
Washington's isolation couldn't be greater. The world now seems
to have forgotten the tough measures Cuba took two years ago to
defend its sovereignty against Washington's paid collaborators
on the island, as well as on would-be hijackers as well, and it
is no wonder, given the things which the world has learned about
what Washington's been up to from Abu Graib to Afghanistan to
the "Black Sites" in Eastern Europe and, of course, in the US-
occupied micro-segment of Cuba. Together these have provided the
world with powerful lessons on what Washington would do were it
to reclaim Cuba as its own annexed property. If those weren't
enough still, comparing and contrasting Cuban and US responses
to Katrina and Wilma showed the capacities and determinations of
the governments of each country to take care of domestic needs.

And on a parallel track, the process of continental integration,
proceeding on the streets and meeting halls of Mar del Plata is at
the same time proceeding at Expo Cuba, the giant exposition venue
here in Havana, near Lenin Park. I spent five hours there yesterday
and could not get to see all of it. This seems a lot larger than it
was just a year ago, with large pavillions from Venezuela, and many
companies from all over Latin America and Canada, as well as those
from the United States, who are bidding for sales to the Cuban
market. The US companies included Archer Daniels Midland, which has
worked hard at cultivating Cuba for years, and many others ranging
from transportation services to medical supplies and agricultural
commodities randing from frozen chicken and turkey to fresh as well
as canned vegetables. No medicines, as these are forbidden under
the blockade, but various medical equipment is available here. In
a separate report I'll give a sense of the event itself

There's a substantial Cuban delegation participating in the counter
summit at Mar del Plata, lead by Ricardo Alarcon, Abel Prieto and
others. There are four TV channels in Cuba, and those who want to
watch politics - there are alternatives like sports and educational
fare as well - can watch the Mesa Redonda, then the evening news,
and now can watch an hour of daily highlights from TELESUR, the new
TV network initiated by Chavez and broadcasting in many countries 
across Latin America. It just started in Bolivia last week. Here
are more of the items in the Cuban media about Mar del Plata.

Here are some of the items in the Cuban media in English on these
remarkable events.

We Shall Hold A Summit In Defense of Latin America:
Third People's Summit Begins Today in Argentina:
The People of the America's Fists in the Air:
Argentine Media Highlights Fidel-Maradona Interview:

Last night they showed part of Maradona's interview with Fidel on
the Mesa Redonda here in Havana. He's the most popular person in
Argentina at the moment, evidently more than his own country's
elected president, Nestor Kirchner. When someone as completely and
totally reactionary as Andres Oppenheimer is compelled to admit a
situation like this one, the forces of political reality must have
rolled over him like Hurricane Wilma rolled over the Malecon wall.

Walter Lippmann, CubaNews

Posted on Thu, Nov. 03, 2005	
The Oppenheimer Report
It's Bush versus Maradona, and Bush is behind

Andres Oppenheimer
aoppenheimer at herald.com

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina -- Judging from what you hear in Argentina,
the fourth Summit of the Americas starting in this coastal resort
city Friday with President Bush and 32 other heads of government from
the hemisphere will boil down to a battle of two titans -- Bush
versus Maradona.

Maradona? Yes, you read well: Diego Armando Maradona, the
internationally known former soccer star, who is now this country's
most popular TV talk-show host and by most measures Argentina's most
admired public figure.

The soccer legend, who has been treated for drug addiction in Cuba
for the past five years, has become a zealous follower of Cuba's
dictator, Fidel Castro. Maradona announced earlier this week from
Havana that he will lead a massive ''March of the Peoples'' against
Bush at the start of the summit here Friday.

Earlier this week, Maradona's TV show La Noche del Diez aired the
first leg of a five-hour Maradona interview with Castro, and got a
near record rating, almost as much as all the other major networks
together. A day later, Maradona's picture with Castro was all over
the front pages.

In the interview, which may go down in history as a model of lap-dog
journalism, Maradona wore a ''Che Guevara'' T-shirt under his jacket.
In addition to his ''Che Guevara'' tattoo on one of his arms, he
proudly showed Castro another tattoo on one of his legs -- with a
drawing of Castro's face. ''I didn't know this. It's an honor,'' a
delighted Castro responded.


But Castro was even more delighted when, during the interview,
Maradona informed him that he would lead an anti-Bush march in Mar
del Plata.

''You deserve a statue,'' Castro applauded. Castro will not
participate in the summit, because Cuba is not part of the 34-country
Organization of American States, which organizes the meeting.

''He's a murderer,'' Maradona said in a separate television
appearance in Cuba, referring to Bush.

On Friday, Maradona will lead the ''March of the Peoples'' to this
city's soccer stadium, where Cuban singer Silvio Rodríguez will
entertain the crowd before speeches by Venezuelan President Hugo
Chávez and Cindy Sheehan, the mother of the 24-year-old soldier
killed in Iraq who protested outside Bush's Texas ranch last summer.

''If I were the honorable president of the United States, I wouldn't
go,'' Castro told Maradona in the interview. ``You can't go against
the spirit of the Argentine people so blatantly.''


A poll by the pro-government leftist daily Página 12 this week showed
that 58 percent of Argentines oppose Bush's visit and only 10 percent
of Argentines want their foreign policy to move closer to the United

Indeed, Argentina, one of the region's most pro-American countries a
decade ago, has become one of the most anti-American countries in
Latin America, and one where Castro's image is ranking the highest,
according to comparative polls. Most Argentines blame U.S.-backed
free-market policies for the country's financial collapse of 2001.

Enrique Zuleta Puceiro, who conducted the poll for Página 12, says
the U.S. war against Iraq and the recent TV images from New Orleans
have led many Argentines to reject not only Bush, but the United
States as a country.

''America has definitely ceased to be the promised land that many
[Argentines] saw five years ago,'' Zuleta told the newspaper.

My conclusions? It's sad to see that Argentina's left, which suffered
a dictatorship only three decades ago, can't protest against Bush
without embracing Castro. They seem to have forgotten that there is
no such thing as a good dictator.

It sets a bad precedent for this country: Today they admire Castro,
tomorrow they may embrace another ''savior of the fatherland'' who
could jail peaceful oppositionists at home.

Washington could have prevented the Maradona-Castro love affair if it
had given the soccer star a U.S. visa when he wanted to come for drug
treatment in Florida in the 1990s. U.S. officials in Argentina at the
time told me Maradona had requested a visa, but he was told he would
not qualify. That led him to seek treatment in Cuba.

Now, we are bound to see a Bush versus Maradona propaganda battle
over the next 48 hours. It hasn't started, but Maradona is playing at
home. Advantage, Maradona.

© 2005 Herald.com and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.


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