EL CENTRO Y PERIFERIA:
Latin America and the United States:
"I mean, as a Latin American, I was feeling like jumping off my seat, almost a bit infuriated."
Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 01:15:42 -0600 (CST)
From: Mario Navidia (email@example.com)
I came across your pages (starting with Unamuno and the Spanish Civil War) and I was gratefully surprised for what I saw. You seem to be a very knowledgeable (the amount of /good/ pages you host is amazing) and what is more important sensitive person. I was also pretty amused by the mails calling you yankee ignorant and such idiocies. Talking about that, there is in fact some prejudice that foreigners, both here and abroad, have against Americans, that are childish, ignorant, superficial, arrogant, puritan, manichean, moralistic, and what not. However the mails were amusing because they showed clearly that the people writing to you were in fact the bigotted and ignorant ones.
Anyhow, I think that you are mature enough to face this discussion openly and can be willing to follow it to its last consequences. I supposes that to a certain extent you may be limited (as anyone of us is) by your own prejudices and ideological background. I mean that as a liberal humanist, somewhat left leaning perhaps, you have your mind set on certain values, and what is even more significant, on a certain way of looking at things or of interpreting the world. So, while respecting that let me jump straight into a dialogue which I feel needs to be done with Americans, in particular since given its exceptional position in the world and history generally, it is somehow difficult to reach a common ground of understanding.
The USA is a young country, but at the same time is a very old one. It has lived and developed extremely quickly and so it appears as if it has not lived every stage of its development with enough slowness and depth. It lives in a permanent future; it utilizes the past; and perhaps it misses the present. I think it is way beyond the stage of crude materialism of which it was accused during the days of the construction (of its urban and industrial base), and yet there is still some people, especially in Latin America, that cling to this anachronic view. However, I remember Raymond Aron saying that despite the fact that most European visitors appear greatly surprised when they come here, and that most of their ideas of what it would be like dissipate quickly, there is a lingering sense of uneasiness, a discomfort, about America. They can't quite point out what it is, and so many of them in order to preserve their integrity simply resort to cliches, stemming from a sense of superiority, of having more "history", more "culture", etc. etc. As a student I have witnessed this process many times. Now Latin Americans have a greater sense of our own deficiencies, and even an inferiority complex, and they also resent the ignorance or contempt many Americans--in some cases even those who have humanitarian or political concerns--have for our own history, culture, etc. Often they can't understand what they live, they haven't been all that prepared for it, and so they either strive to assimilate themselves or they resort to Latin American gringo cliches: "they are cold and distant", "they don't know how to e to enjoy life", "they don't know how to make good friends", "they just care about work and money", etc. etc. Needless to say that for me all these are very raw opinions, but nevertheless I believe that the instincts of the people seldom are completely wrong, and so these manifestations or outbursts contain at least a grain of truth which should be further elaborated. So I come back to Aron. He said (in the 50/60s) that what bothers European "intellectuals" is the fact that most of them have a Marxist horizon of meaning, with all its narrative of the world being run by capitalists exploiting the proletariat, and that they felt very uneasy at finding that these ideas were not that relevant for the American situation, given the fact that the line between the working and the middle class tended in those days (and even now, despite all the talk of the widening gap brough about by Reagan economics) to be blurred (and yet so many American leftists use European categories in a way that many outsiders will not take seriously!). Aron also, in a typical French fashion, and in a nice way insinuates that besides this shaking up of their world-view that America brings about, Europeans also find that Americans don't really appreciate "culture" and that their impressive achievements are just material. I don't remember exactly how he says it but I remember it was persuasive and subtle in a way I can't reproduce now. I guess that also this uneasiness has to do with the fact that much of the reality of this society seems to run against these ideas about America. For instance, they say that Haydn would be impressed by the quality of the New York Philarmonic Orchestra, or that (Carlos Alberto Montaner) the best place in the world to study Spanish Literature is not Salamanca or Bogota but Indiana. One could say many things about this, and I believe that without a doubt the levels of scholarship, erudition and technique achieved in this country are amazing; however, there is an element of soullessness that people perceive when they, despite all evidence to the contrary, speak about the lack of "culture" or tradition (Thanksgiving doesn't count?) in this country.
I know that speaking of "culture" in these times is an anachronism, and one can't do it without some irony. Also one must reckon with the sign of times which is a complete debunking of every myth, everything that before was considered somehow sacred or canonical. I think we cannot turn our minds away from the challenges to a "high culture" brought through the mass media culture and the empowerment of minorities and oppressed groups. We can't speak in the same way as Matthew Arnold or Ortega y Gasset, but we shouldn't forget about them either, we shouldn't forget their discourse. I would advise you to read Jean Baudrillard ("Cool Memories", "America", etc.) and I think that what I am saying would make a lot more sense. It is time that every American with an awakened mind starts realizing that living is a problem, and that problems brought about my the "mind" are just as important and painful as practical problems. The thing is to start "problematizing" more and "externalizing" less; to realize that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that it is naive to assume that "we don't pose problems, we solve them". After seeing your Mexican page, I am sure you can see what I am trying to convey. Only a sense of irony (but not the light irony of pre-theoretical "postmoderns") and sense of tragedy puts the emotional conditions for achieving certain types of knowledge. True understanding can't arise simply out of intellectual combinatorics.
Excuse my pontifications. Please let me know what you think.
Thank you for your very insightful e-mail. The vast majority of the e-mail I get off the net is mostly puerile gab from teenagers; the rare e-mail such as yours is a delightful antidote from the usual lame missives that dribble into my electronic mailbox.
It is true that America is a "young" country, although this is made complicated by two facts. First, the United States imported largely intact the Anglo-Saxon political and cultural tradition of Protestantism with its emphasis on parliamentary rule and "natural" freedoms. Secondly, the United States still uses its same Constitution after some 210 years and this document has force of law and long tradition; France, on the other hand, is on its fifth republic -- and knows much more political instability. The American tradition of Alexander Hamilton on one hand and Thomas Jefferson on the other is one few outsiders appreciate: they want to import a more strictly continental "left" vs. "right" paradigm imported from Europe. Stendahl's "Red and Black" with the revolutionaries of the "left" and the church and army of the "right" does not wear well when fitted to early 19th century America of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. The 20th century European communists and fascists have neither the one of them had much pull in the United States today or yesterday; but sullen Confederates and crusading Unionists, traditional Southerners and progressive New Englanders, religious fundamentalists and moral relativists, globalist technophiles and ecologically-minded neo-Luddites, internationalists vs. isolationists -- these fault lines and others in the American conversation rumble and grumble incessantly.
One could also look at the United States as a culturally desolate country, a collection of upstart philistines -- as do some Europeans. The Europeans like to paints themselves in the color of advanced, intellectual but disunited Greece as compared to the powerful, brutish Romans. There might have been a grain of truth in this during the first part of the 20th century when Americans rarely traveled beyond their national borders or cared about the larger world across the oceans; but today the United States is a very cosmopolitan nation and cities like New York, Miami, or Los Angeles are world centers and hardly need take a back seat to London or Tokyo or Rome. The quality of American scholarship is reflected in the number of Nobel Prizes awarded to scholars in universities in the United States every year. Here in Los Angeles I can get authentic Thai or Nigerian or Russian food; one can hardly swing a cat overseas without knocking down an American businessman or tourist. But both in the United States and elsewhere, the vast majority of persons are not going to read or appreciate Plato or Raymond Aron; they are mostly simple people, seeking to worship their God, try to raise their families, and keep their jobs as best they can. The elite thinking minority in any country are relatively small, and they are the ones who shape the national debate and frame the references.
But let us not overstate the matter: the vast majority of Americans can read, write, and go about their business in an advanced post-industrial nation. And the American scholars and journalists who write in publications such as "The Atlantic," "Harpers," or "The New York Review of Books" are hardly inferior to those in "The London Times Literary Supplement." (I should know, subscribing to all those periodicals!) That so many people in the United States watch so many inane TV sitcoms (or telenovelas in Latin America) does not mean everyone does so. Before mass media, most people were probably doing something equally frivolous with their spare time. But with so much popular American culture and ideology broadcast around the world, the ironic result is that most people think they know more about the United States than they actually do. I have honestly met foreginers whose ideas of America were no larger than Harley Davidson, the "Bay Watch" TV show, the U.S. Marine Corps, and Marilyn Monroe. Again, to anyone who would seek to understand the United States the proper subjects of inquiry are Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. But how many non-Americans know who is Alexander Hamilton? Many Americans have only the vaguest ideas who he is.
As a teacher in America, I almost everyday exhort my students to expect and derive more from their minds than "Seinfeld" or the "Howard Stern" show. Some respond, and some don't; I can be gratified, and I can be extremely frustrated by my fellow countrymen. But I am not so sure it would be different in Paris or London. One last time: Most people are not attracted by the life of the mind. They have more immediate, visceral concerns. To appreciate a symphony by Haydn or Mozart requires a patience and concentration that most people are not willing to invest in a piece of music. They want to listen to a catchy tune on the way to work in the morning in their cars. So it goes. I think it absolutely indispensable that a country know who are Matthew Arnold and Ortega y Gasset and be able to engage in that conversation of humanity across the centuries. I don't think the average person on the street needs to know who they are to live full and happy lives. We all have our different roles in society.
You talked about the relationship between the United States and Latin America, and I would make a few comments. I grew up in the United States at the end of the 20th century amidst polemical Cold War debates and the "global" economy so talked about today. I have never felt that out of wits in places like Berlin, Hong Kong, Paris, London, etc. They are the centers of power in the world today, and one can read a world-class newspaper there and stay completely abreast of important events and/or trends. But I have always felt a bit out of it in Latin American countries, as they are a bit outside the currents of world power. For example, a major city like San Diego neighbors Tijuana and its 1.7 million residents, but San Diego does not look south to Mexico but east to Asia and west to Europe -- where the power and money are. To read a newspaper in Santiago de Chile is to barely be able to read about Kosovo or the Taiwan-China imbroglio; the people in Latin America are pretty far removed from international affairs, and the world is a smaller place to them. The United States may find its young men fighting and dying in Kosovo, for example, but Venezuela or Mexico the whole thing is a bit academic. Likewise, to study WWII or WWI in Nicaragua or Colombia is to talk about events not particularly germane to the national story; but Americans, Europeans, and Asians can look at all their uncles and grandparents who suffered or even perished in that struggle.
I remember in college reading, for example, about the various wars that occurred in South America in the 19th century and seeing how bloody there were. "I never knew about this!" I exclaimed to myself, wondering why they get so little attention. Then I realized that these wars had not influenced wider world history in the least. In Chile I see the war monuments to victories over Peru in the year 18-whatever, and I have to kind of laugh. It is not exactly the same as walking around the beaches of Normandy, taking in the capacious cemeteries around Verdun or the Somme, or gazing upon the sunken bow of the U.S.S. Arizona at Pearl Harbor. One might counter that even little countries have their national stories which mean something to them, but as an American it has been drummed into my head to try to be the best, to achieve great things, to make history that is important on the large scale. Athens in the fifth century BC, Rome in the age of Augustus, the Baghdad of the Abassids, China in the time of the Song Dynasty, Florence during the Renaissance, Paris in the era of Voltaire, England under the reign of Queen Victoria. One wants to be at the center of things. One does not want to be in a backwater. The New York Yankees don't worry too much about the high school baseball teams in Brooklyn, for example.
For better or for worse, I love to be at the center of the digital revolution occurring here and to work in a high tech school with highly literate, intelligent young people (future world leaders!) and to be an American at a time when this nation is so predominant in the engine running the world. I still love to travel to Mexico and do nothing all day but talk to the old man on the corner and listen to the music of my soul in the quiet, but I could not rusticate there for too much time. I remember asking a friend who studied abroad in Chile during college why he did not want to live in that country after he graduated. He greatly appreciated his stay in Chile, you see, absolutely loved the country and its people. He countered: "Man! There is nothing to do there!" He was talking about the lack of jobs and important business. Chile is one of the most "advanced" of the Latin American countries with a relative wealth of oppourtunity, but it is still a small, isolated country without much say in the affairs of the world. My friend loved drinking pisco and talking until all hours of the evening in the Latin American style, but when he graduated from college it was time to get real and start to work. You mentioned that Americans fixate on work and power to the detriment of enjoying life. Perhaps my friend is a case in point. Maybe I am, too.
Last week I was reading the Spanish language newspaper here in Los Angeles where they were covering the recent speech by presidential candidate George W. Bush on foreign policy. They mentioned in their headline that he did not mention Latin American even once. They were complaining about this, you see. The "Los Angeles Times," on the other hand, did not mention this fact once in its extended coverage of Bush's speech. It concentrated almost entirely in analyzing Bush's vision of America vis-a-vis China, Russia, and Europe. Again, the United States look east and west in its relations with the world to where the pillars of power and money lie (and not to the south). Some might say this is out of prejudice or racism, but that is not really the case. Latin America simply lacks political gravity because of its financial weakness and disorganization; most Americans don't have much of an opinion for good or for ill about the area. But I know a lot about the history of the different nations in Latin America, for example, and have traveled widely there. And I appreciate Latin America for its rich culture (as you noticed in my Mexican literature page) and the friendliness of its people. But past a point, I have a problem taking its politics too seriously. Government is not the forte of Latin American culture, to generalize hugely. And when I experience some anti-American feeling directed at myself, it is easy to shrug off. The Central Americans whined about U.S. interference in their affairs during the Cold War, for example. Now they whine that the U.S. ignores them in their poverty and would leave the region to starve. Tomorrow they will whine about something anew. Or take Cuba, as another example. The U.S. policy there is dominated by Cold War inertia, the presence of Fidel Castro's aging dictatorship, and the corresponding influence of a minority of Cuban Americans in Florida. However, the vast majority of Americans, including myself, could care hardly at all if the U.S. embargo against Cuba remains forever or is lifted tomorrow -- it is a lot of noise and fury about something very insignificant in the larger picture. When there were Soviet troops and possibly nuclear missiles in Cuba, it was different. Now who cares?
At any rate, I trust this message finds you and yours well this Thanksgiving. I see you live in Kansas, and I hope it is not too cold there. It is a perfect 75 degrees here in Los Angeles and I am off to bike through the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu. No complaints.
Very Truly Yours,
Date: Fri, 26 Nov 1999 16:46:38 -0600 (CST)
From: Mario Navidia (firstname.lastname@example.org)
To: Richard Geib (email@example.com)
Subject: centro y periferia
Dear Rich, I will tell you that your letter was very refreshing in its honesty. I mean, as a Latin American, I was feeling like jumping off my seat, almost a bit infuriated. However, it was so-well written and seemed so true that I just got pretty excited. You are unapologetically arrogant! In truth this was a good respite for me from the self-contented, good natured but tedious attitude of most mid-westerns. People here, for the most part, behave nicely and smile at you but you don't know for sure what it is they are thinking or even whether they think that much. Es una vida de pocas calorias. En general yo siento que tienen una actitud de condescendencia hacia Latinoamerica, pero en realidad nunca me lo dicen claramente excepto por alusiones veladas o mostrandome de manera indirecta cuan poco realmente saben de nosotros. En cambio vos conoces la region y hasta hablas el idioma, entonces tus opiniones aunque "sin pelos en la lengua" tienen mucho peso. Hay de Kansas, Missouri o Iowa, es verdad, unos cuantos que han estado por alla, pero creo que por la modestia o timidez del midwestern, nunca he oido (p. e. en el depto. de Estudios Latinoamericanos) a nadie que se expresara con tanta fuerza. Pienso que con gente como vos que tiene una claridad sobre cual es su mision y su destino y que no se enganha con una falsa etica de una bondad mediocre y facilona es que realmente se puede abrir un dialogo. No es que este absolutamente de acuerdo con todo lo que dices, al contrario existen muchas cosas que me gustaria discutir, pero tu has fijado una posicion que es muy autentica y que condice con quien es de algun modo parte del centro del mundo. Creo que Camus decia a los cristianos algo como "podemos dialogar pero siempre y cuando uds. sean cristianos y no pretendan contemporizar".
Yo reconozco que nosotros somos "periferia", pero vos no crees que el estar en la periferia nos podria permitir una vision mas cabal de las cosas? No crees que el ser expectador y no protagonista tiene tambien sus ventajas? Pienso que el estar demasiado comprometido con la accion con ser lider en el mundo y todo eso impide ver muchas cosas, impide desarrollar un sentido verdaderamente critico. Es algo que va mas alla de la mera inteligencia. EEUU es un lugar donde existe muchisimo "brain power", pero esto no es suficiente. Es la tierra de los /experts/, de los /scholars/ (que no son mas que expertos en su area), pero realmente con unas cuantas excepciones no es una tierra de "intelectuales", los cuales por otra parte son vistos con mucha sospecha. El sociologo germano-americano Peter Berger define al intelectual como counter-expert, uno que rema contra la corriente de la mistagogia (religiosa, academica, humanistica, pero sobretodo, en nuestros dias, tecnolatrica). El no dice nada sobre el caso especifico del que estamos hablando, pero yo creo que se aplica muy bien a esta realidad. El sistema "funciona" bien, demasiado bien quizas y es por esto que la plausibilidad de un cambio no entra muy hondo en la consciencia, excepto de unos cuantos radicales que estan, como decimos alla, "pateando oxigeno".
Tu dices que quienes escriben en las revistas "high-brow" de la costa este son tan buenos o preparados como los que lo hacen en Londres. No estoy tan seguro que esto sea una prueba contra la supuesta superioridad cultural de los europeos (en realidad creo que este problema tiene ahora que plantearse de manera totalmente diferente, pero de eso quiero hablar despues). Mira, Rich, EEUU tiene muchos focos culturales de importancia, esto no lo estoy negando, pero al mismo tiempo el hecho de encontrarse en el centro lo hace, paradojicamente, muy provincial. No hay muchos escritores yanquis, novelistas o ensayistas, que yo halle que sean de valor universal (a excepcion de Poe, Melville, o incluso Susan Sontag y Margaret Mead, etc.) y aun en este caso en la generalidad de los casos me resultan menos interesantes, menos integrales que sus contrapartes europeos o inclusive latinoamericanos. Por ejemplo entre leerme a Betty Friedan o Simone de Beauvoir, prefiero diez veces mas a Simone de Beauvoir, que es mas vital, mas poetica, etc.; y esto sin negar el valor de Betty Friedan. Entre Marvin Harris y Levi-Strauss encuentro que Levi-Strauss es mas serio y al mismo tiempo tiene un estilo mas interesante, personal. Bueno, estas comparaciones son insulsas a fin de cuentas, aqui se trata de la vida del espiritu y en esto lo que cuenta es lo cualititativo, no los rankings. Ademas mi opinion se origina en mis propios prejuicios y preferencias. Por ejemplo, tengo mas afinidad por los escritores norteamericanos que muestran alguna afinidad o sensibilidad hacia el pensamiento "continental" (siempre y cuando no sean malos calcos o caricaturas de aquel). Al mismo tiempo me doy cuenta de que lo que es genuinamente (whatever that means) norteamericano no tiene porque medirse frente al tipo de reacciones personales que nos produce el ethos existencialista, marxista, surrealista, o postestructuralista. Sencillamente no me conmueve aunque sepa que si es necesario estar "a la altura de los tiempos" y tratar de conocer que es aquello que se esta realizando en los centros de poder en el mundo, porque nuestro destino comun como humanidad depende mas que nunca en la historia de todo aquello.
Para simplificar un poco las cosas y pese a la globalizacion, podria decir que desde un punto de vista espiritual Europa (Francia, Alemania, Italia) es todavia el centro del mundo. El eje del pacifico (EEUU, Japon, etc.) esta destinado a ser, o ya es, el centro del mundo en la esfera del desarrollo material e informativo. Europa no se queda tan atras, aunque a lo mejor seria deseable que si lo hiciera para no perder lo poco de espiritualidad que le queda y lo poco o mucho que ha aprendido con la Guerra Civil Espanhola y la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Estos son solamente modelos o esquemas que nos ayudan a entender la realidad, pero de cualquier forma es nomas cierto que las configuraciones y los ambitos discursivos han cambiado y que en vez de hablar de Este-Oeste, o Viejo-Nuevo Mundo, ahora toca hablar de Norte-Sur. Eso es lo que es vigente hoy en dia.
Es triste. Mas no voy a quejarme como los centroamericanos. Creo que no puedes negar el hecho de que la interferencia en Centro America fue muy danhina para la paz. En todo caso, EEUU actuo como cualquier potencia imperialista del pasado y no como el imperio "benevolo" que ha pretendido ser, sobretodo desde la Alianza por el Progreso de Kennedy. Su desarrollo extraordinario Norteamerica se la debe a si misma, a su propio genio creador, y sin embargo tambien existe un factor importante de dominio y explotacion economica que ayuda a sostener su situacion de hegemonia, y que Latinoamerica ahora es como el limon exprimido, que fue usada, violada, apaleada, primero por Espanha, luego por Inglaterra y finalmente por los EEUU, y ahora queda para el desvan de las cosas viejas. Yo no niego que su importancia economica y politica sea infima, pero ese no era el discurso que nos daba Kissinger durante la Guerra Fria ni el que nos daba Roosevelt durante la era del Buen Vecino (o sea de la depresion y la Segunda Guerra Mundial, cuando ciertos recursos estrategicos de Latinoamerica fueron asegurados por el astuto intervencionismo norteamericano; y no es que yo habria querido que ganen los nazis, pero nosotros debiamos haber sido neutrales o por lo menos exigir mejores compensaciones para el futuro). Para mi es curioso y a la vez triste que Chile que el Wall-Street Journal presenta como el ejemplo a seguir, como un milagro economico y demas, le resulte una cosa tan aburrida a tu amigo. Triste e ironico, sobretodo despues del precio que tuvo que pagar por su supuesta prosperidad actual (que es discutible, puesto que de todas formas Chile era ya una sociedad relativamente organizada y con mucho potencial). Pero de todas formas tu amigo tiene razon con toda seguridad, el futuro no esta en Chile, ni en Mexico, ni en Brazil, ni mucho menos en Bolivia que es la periferia de la periferia. Nuestros paises son para la nostalgia, para meditar sobre las posibilidades de un proyecto nacional que nunca fue, para ver si a lo mejor en medio de nuestro fracaso no existe algo -la imaginacion? el cruce de fronteras? la plausibilidad en el mundo de un orden emocional?- que pueda redimir a una humanidad que ya no cree en nada, ni siquiera en su fabulosa capacidad de hacer, pues hace a ciegas, como llevada por la inercia del progreso, devestida de la utopia del positivismo.
Hay muchas cosas en tu carta que me gustaria responder, pero esto para despues. (By the way, what do you teach?). Espero que sigamos manteniendo este dialogo.
quiet, but I could not rusticate there for too much time. I remember rusticate!!?? that is amusing. Ahora voy a introducir al castellano el neologismo "rusticar".
At 12:06 PM 2/18/00 -0800, you wrote:
EMAIL_SUBJECT: Feedback and or Questions
Name: Cristiano Guião de Tontos
It was so good, why you had to destroy it?
I began to read your page, and thought to myself: "There´s an intelligent man!" but then, i fell on those Castro pages.
I guess it´s not your fault that you are so narrow minded,your country under the guise of "patriotism", has created one of the most hateful, full of lies propaganda ever created by the human race!
Do you really believe that to be American is something to be proud of? Your country is like the old Roman Empire, military and economicaly, the United States is the most powerful country in the world, but you have to agree with me, Culture is not your "forte".
In case you are wandering, i am a brazilian guy, i don´t particulary like my country, in fact, i think Brazil deserves to be this "banana land", it´s the heritage of the Potuguese colonizers, but, there´s something in the brazilian people i like, WE ARE NOT SO EASILY FOOLED BY OUR GOVERNMENT!, we all know the simple truth of politics, doesen´t matter if you are ruled by a Crazy King (like the english) or a Psycho President (Like your Bill PINTON), we know the real power does not come from the mass (are you familiar with bread and circuses?), but instead comes from that fucking so called "elite" that decides the lifes and the fate of´those bellow it, You know what i pity the most, you think you are so educated, you thinik you are different because you have your cuban friends, you read and write spanish, OH what a understanding you have of latin america!, Let me tell you something, doesen´t matter, you´re still a GRINGO, and the fucking GRINGOS are the enemies, you try to exploit us and then say its our fault? sure, we are so easily dominated by uncle sam because it´s in our nature, we are lazy since the birth, get off your cloud and taste the mud pal!
One Enraged Latin American.
PS:Feel free to reply me, i would like to know your opinion.
Sorry you liked parts of my page but not others, but you never get the rose without the thorns.
Brazil is poor and negelected? You blame this Brazilian weakness on the legacy of the Portugese colonizers, but the argument is getting a bit long in the tooth (re. old). You might blame it on modern American power, but the argument does not ring true (and is also getting old). Bottom line: I suggest you whine less and clean up your "banana" country (as you put it). Nobody likes excuses; they respect results. "Oh, poor me!" you say. I recommend you get off your ass and build up your country. Recommended first step: accept responsibility for your present situation instead of blaming others for it.
You say we "gringos" are the enemy and seem to hate us, but I cannot muster enough emotion to return the hatred. I don't care enough about Brazil or most of Latin America to feel anything as strong as hate. Culture and economics connect Latin and North America in many ways, but for me there is a lack of gravitas between the two actors which makes the whole issue less than earth shattering. Brazil is a weak underdeveloped country that languishes in geopolitical inconsquence -- as is Castro's Cuba to a much higher degree, for that matter. Tell me one thing that has happened in Brazil, or South America for that matter, during the past 100 years that has directly affected the direction of world politics?
Europe as the arena of totalitarian government versus liberay democracy during the 20th century, Asia as an emerging power in the 21st century -- these are places where my attention is turned and where power and the future of the world will be determined. Latin America, in contrast, is a backwater. That may change, but I doubt it. I wish the best for Latin America, but in reading your words my pessimism grows.
As it is the nature for the weak to whine about the powerful with reason or otherwise, so I take your comments with a grain of salt.
I trust this e-mail finds you well.
Very Truly Yours,