FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Latin America’s Next Decider

by MATEO PIMENTEL

Romney, Obama, as we Unitedstatesians say in our vernacular: same difference. Some of us care and some do not. Some think the vote counts for squat while many others can’t help but lament how the fate of the world and its Christ-charged duty hinges on this 2012 presidential election. To be sure, there’s a lot of truth to be unearthed and nitpicked as we consider a less-than-adequate number of repercussions and political paradigms involved. Nevertheless, one truth is deftly glossed over regarding our hemispheric cousins: Latin America also awaits its new Gringo president, its new Decider-in-Chief.

I was sitting in my friend’s house just some days ago in the ‘Heroic City of Tacna’ on the Peruvian border with Arica, Chile. We were eating some of Tacna’s reputable pollo al broaster when my friend’s dad asked me, “So, who’s my next President going to be?” It was a joke to be sure, but a sobering joke all the same. “I’ll have to go down to the Gringo consulate, to secure my vote for Obama, to make sure I get to vote for my new President,” he added sardonically. I can only imagine what some of my compatriots would think of this Peruvian man’s joke: “Who the shit does he think he is, making fun of our democracy anyway?” That’s precisely the point. It’s not just our democracy. Politically ethical choices would be easier if it were.

Certainly the millions of Latin Americans living inside the US already have experience with Obama as their titular president, whilst experiencing the hot and cold paradoxes of his presidency—be it on the border, the Northeast, deep in America’s South, wherever. I wonder about the farcical exclusion of other Spanish, Portuguese and indigenous-speaking populations from around the hemisphere this election season. Mexico, for one, is close enough in proximity to Yanquilándia to share a border. And yet many pretend that the tens of thousands of Mexicans who died in the last handful of years—thanks to America’s psychotic obsession with guns and its super industrialized affair with illegal narcotics—is outside the scope of our vote; not to mention the hundreds of thousands of people whom Obama has managed to oppress and deport from the US-Mexican border in the last few years. They too understand an interesting side of an American presidency.

My family has lived on what is now the US-Mexico border for something like 185 years, having migrated from Chihuahua, Mexico. I have family in the Border States of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California to this very day. A professor at my undergraduate graduation ceremony in Philadelphia even stopped me and commented that he studied the trek which my family made to Mexico from Spain with Hernán Cortez in the early 1500s. Damn! That makes me feel so important. Not. And one would think my background is shared by many proud Americans who understand the clash of cultures, the enriching of peoples, land invasions and expulsions, indigenous roots, the amalgamation of different languages, a shared sense of history and direction, etc. Obviously this is not the case (we don’t share anything, let alone historical trajectories). With nearly half the US population expected to be Latino within little more than a generation’s time, can Unitedstatesians—can we—in good conscience elect but one more president who runs the gamut of oppression and paternalism both at home and abroad for the sake of political points? Are we completely foolish?

I like to fantasize about how oddly coincidental and prophetic it was that my friend’s dad let me in on his transnational political joke—as if, given my background, I was the one destined to receive a subtle truth via the insight that followed our lighthearted palavering. But living in such a globalized world, I doubt that this politico-cultural exchange on the margins of yet another highly polemic international border in the Americas was really all that strange or special. I do believe, however, that if we’re going to vote for a president this November, we ought to keep in mind that there are other Americans who will not be voting for their President—marooned immigrants within our own borders as well as future immigrants and émigrés who await their very conception somewhere in the regions of Central America, the Caribbean or the Southern Cone. These other Americans will have their national Presidents chosen by our transnational corporation support, our government-backed sedition, our military-backed coups, our economic plans which do not favor the poorest of their poor… these Americans currently await their new Decider too.

Mateo Pimental lives in the southern Andes region of Peru.

Mateo Pimentel lives on the Mexican-US border. You can follow him on Twitter @mateo_pimentel.

More articles by:
July 27, 2016
Richard Moser
The Party’s Over
M. G. Piety
Smoke and Mirrors in Philadelphia
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Humiliation Games: Notes on the Democratic Convention
Arun Gupta
Bernie Sanders’ Political Revolution Splinters Apart
John Eskow
The Loneliness of the American Leftist
Guillermo R. Gil
A Metaphoric Short Circuit: On Michelle Obama’s Speech at the DNC
Norman Pollack
Sanders, Our Tony Blair: A Defamation of Socialism
Claire Rater, Carol Spiegel and Jim Goodman
Consumers Can Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics on Factory Farms
Guy D. Nave
Make America Great Again?
Sam Husseini
Why Sarah Silverman is a Comedienne
Dave Lindorff
No Crooked Sociopaths in the White House
Dan Bacher
The Hired Gun: Jerry Brown Snags Bruce Babbitt as New Point Man For Delta Tunnels
Peter Lee
Trumputin! And the DNC Leak(s)
David Macaray
Interns Are Exploited and Discriminated Against
Ann Garrison
Rwanda, the Clinton Dynasty, and the Case of Dr. Léopold Munyakazi
Brett Warnke
Storm Clouds Over Philly
Chris Zinda
Snakes of Deseret
July 26, 2016
Andrew Levine
Pillory Hillary Now
Kshama Sawant
A Call to Action: Walk Out from the Democratic National Convention!
Russell Mokhiber
The Rabble Rise Together Against Bernie, Barney, Elizabeth and Hillary
Jeffrey St. Clair
Don’t Cry For Me, DNC: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Angie Beeman
Why Doesn’t Middle America Trust Hillary? She Thinks She’s Better Than Us and We Know It
Paul Street
An Update on the Hate…
Fran Shor
Beyond Trump vs Clinton
Ellen Brown
Japan’s “Helicopter Money” Play: Road to Hyperinflation or Cure for Debt Deflation?
Richard W. Behan
The Banana Republic of America: Democracy Be Damned
Binoy Kampmark
Undermining Bernie Sanders: the DNC Campaign, WikiLeaks and Russia
Arun Gupta
Trickledown Revenge: the Racial Politics of Donald Trump
Sen. Bernard Sanders
What This Election is About: Speech to DNC Convention
David Swanson
DNC Now Less Popular Than Atheism
Linn Washington Jr.
‘Clintonville’ Reflects True Horror of Poverty in US
Deepak Tripathi
Britain in the Doldrums After the Brexit Vote
Louisa Willcox
Grizzly Threats: Arbitrary Lines on Political Maps
Robert J. Gould
Proactive Philanthropy: Don’t Wait, Reach Out!
Victor Grossman
Horror and Sorrow in Germany
Nyla Ali Khan
Regionalism, Ethnicity, and Trifurcation: All in the Name of National Integration
Andrew Feinberg
The Good TPP
400 US Academics
Letter to US Government Officials Concerning Recent Events in Turkey
July 25, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
As the Election Turns: Trump the Anti-Neocon, Hillary the New Darling of the Neocons
Ted Rall
Hillary’s Strategy: Snub Liberal Democrats, Move Right to Nab Anti-Trump Republicans
William K. Black
Doubling Down on Wall Street: Hillary and Tim Kaine
Russell Mokhiber
Bernie Delegates Take on Bernie Sanders
Quincy Saul
Resurgent Mexico
Andy Thayer
Letter to a Bernie Activist
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan is Strengthened by the Failed Coup, But Turkey is the Loser
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail